Summary of The Rise of Junk Science

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While this article may seem applicable only to the narrow world of professional scientists and academics, the problem it describes has broader ramifications. Publications of dubious merit can spread misinformation, influence public behavior and ultimately devalue legitimate work. The advent of so-called junk science also serves as a cautionary tale about the power of personal ambition and how the democratizing force of the internet can lead to abuse. Investigative journalist Alex Gillis’s sobering analysis is emblematic of the challenges of the digital age and should be requisite reading to improve awareness and foster change. 

About the Author

Alex Gillis is an investigative journalist and feature writer. 



Academics must publish to progress in their careers. 

The publish-or-perish mantra has long been a feature of the academic community. Those who hope to achieve professorships must prove their worth by publishing in scientific journals, attending conferences and receiving grants. However, the peer review process at reputable — traditionally print-based — publications can be so rigorous that the process may take years, and some scientists don’t feel they have the luxury of waiting for the full process. In other cases, fake publications appear legitimate enough to genuinely confuse scientists and may...

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