Fake Papers

Francisco Stefano – Director

Kimberley Pardo – Marketing and Business Development Analyst


In a previous blog, we described how scientific work was primarily disseminated through a method initiated in the 17th century, almost simultaneously in Paris and London. A manuscript containing key findings or data was sent to a prestigious entity in the field (academy, university, or professional colleges), whose members decided whether to publish it in the association’s journal. Reviewing the material and the decision to publish were not governed by rules but by the judgment of the institution’s members. This system persisted until the 20th century when the increase in scientific activity and the predominance of publication by commercial publishers not linked to research led to the role of manuscript reviewer and the emergence of Peer Review. This figure is crucial because it guarantees the originality and importance of the manuscript and enables its publication in the journal.


Another innovation of the last century is the Journal Impact Factor (JIF), introduced by Eugene Garfield to calculate the average number of citations received by works published in a journal over two years. The JIF initially helped librarians select and decide which journals to include in the library, as more citations indicate more readers. This factor gained popularity among scientists as they can choose journals with a larger audience in their field of work and therefore have more chances of being known by their peers.


The third factor is Open Access, a movement that advocates for the free publication and reading of scientific information. The high publication costs are a barrier for many researchers, as is reading publications that are only available to subscribers or in libraries. The cost of a PDF can range from $20 to $30.

The combination of these three factors has allowed rapid growth in peer-to-peer communication and facilitated scientific progress in developing countries, as well as the growth of the publishing industry.


However, there has also been rapid growth in inappropriate behaviors, such as plagiarism and data fabrication. Studies show that around 34% of neuroscience papers published in 2020 contained data or manipulations contrary to scientific ethics. One of the most well-known cases was that of Andrew Wakefield, who published an article in 1998 indicating

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