Four journals accepted a bogus spoof article written by the famous Neuroskeptic describing the nature and function of midichloria, those nonexistent organelles introduced in Star Wars episode one.
To grasp how disgusting this is we shall compare it to the the most famous prank paper of all—the Sokal hoax.
Sokol’s fake paper argued that quantum gravity is a social and linguistic construct. While it is true that being lives in the house of language, the plasticity of being stops at the level of mathematical physics. The Sokal paper argued that social constructivism is bottomless—that quantified observations and lawful change do not have objective reality, and that subjective (or social) conceptual projection goes all the way down.
The Sokal hoax was not obvious to the reviewers because they did not understand the terminology. The parts they could understand were coherent, so they let it pass … and then lamented it with gnashing teeth and falling hair for the rest of their lives.
Unlike the Sokal hoax, the midichloria hoax had dead giveaways peppered throughout the text. The prankish nature is obvious and hilarious and any layperson will find it a joy to read.
Here’s the paper from the International Journal of Molecular Biology: Open Access (MedCrave), Austin Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Austin) and American Research Journal of Biosciences (ARJ). A fourth fake journal offered to publish it but demanded a fee ($360) which Neuroskeptic naturally refused to pay.
Here are download links for when the above journals learn about the hoax and delete the PDFs:
Medcrave (the owner of multiple fake journals) is a well-known fake publishing company. Their damage control consists of such watertight defenses as the following, which I found on their free wordpress site:
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So now you know: you can be published in a popular online journal, if you like. Just like Lucas McGeorge.