The credibility of scientific publications go through a delicate moment by the rise of predatory journals, lazy journals that are only interested in charging money to scientists desperate to publish, or open access journals, which often do not have filters or methods to distinguish good science from bad, and may even end up accepting a made-up avatar of the internet as editor.
The last example stars John McCool and a urology journal call Urology & Nephrology Open Access Journal.
McCool is not a urologist or nephrologist, but the founder of Precision Scientific Editing. Despite his credentials, the Urology & Nephrology Open Access Journal He invited him to submit a scientific study to consider for publication, and McCool didn’t even think twice. “So I decided to troll this magazine and see if they would agree to publish a ‘case study’ based on Seinfeld that I would write about a man who develops poisoning by uromycisitis“, ha explicado McCool a Retraction Watch.
The uromycisitis is a fictional disease that Jerry Seinfeld invents in a chapter of his homonymous series, broadcast in 1991. In it, the protagonist urinates in a garage and is surprised by a security guard. As an excuse, Seinfeld argues that he suffers from a pathology called uromycisitis and that you could die if you don’t urinate every time you feel like it.
But the joke didn’t end there. The name McCool chose as the author of the paper it was Dr. Martin van Nostrand. “He’s the alter ego of Kramer’s doctor,” explains the editor. For those who do not know the series, Cosmo Kramer is Seinfeld’s neighbor, played by Michael Richards. Additionally, the study was co-authored by Jay Reimenschneider, a friend of Kramer’s who eats horse meat, and Leonard Nicodemus, another minor character who once suffered from gout. Among other references cited was “Constanza, GL“, Referring to George Constanza, character played by Jason Alexander.
In short, a good buffoon.
Only one hour after sending the item to the magazine, McCool received the following response:
We are happy to inform you that your manuscript has been accepted for a future peer review and we will keep you informed in time of updates on the article.
Three days later, the magazine’s editors suggested some minor changes, such as shortening the abstractBut they said they would agree to publish it if McCool paid them a fee of $ 799 plus tax. He refused to pay anything, but nevertheless the study has ended up being published.
Fans of Seinfeld or to the credible studies that are torpedoing the open access science movement can download the infamous study in PDF here.