Scientists get peer-reviewed journals to publish nonsense based on ‘Star Wars’ to prove a point

You know all of those peer-reviewed journals that “prove” man-made climate change is genuine?

It seems they may not be so peer-reviewed or accurate after all.

A neurology expert has unveiled a sting operation he embarked on to show that many of these journals will publish anything that is sent to them.

Using the names “Dr. Lucas McGeorge” and “Dr. Annette Kin,” references to “Star Wars” creator George Lucas and “Star Wars” character Anakin Skywalker, the neurologist was able to have several journals publish a paper he wrote on the fictitious “midi-chlorians.”

The midi-chlorians live in the cells of Star Wars characters and gives some of them the power of “the force” which makes them Jedis.

The neurologist, who goes by the name Neuroskeptic, admitted that the paper, titled “Mitochondria: Structure, Function and Clinical Relevance” was “an absurd mess of factual errors, plagiarism and movie quotes.”

“Four journals fell for the sting. The American Journal of Medical and Biological Research (SciEP) accepted the paper, but asked for a $360 fee, which I didn’t pay. Amazingly, three other journals not only accepted but actually published the spoof. 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) I hadn’t expected this, as all those journals charge publication fees, but I never paid them a penny,” he wrote in a blog for Discover Magazine.

He called the manuscript “A travesty, which they should have rejected within about 5 minutes – or 2 minutes if the reviewer was familiar with Star Wars.”

He pointed to some of the absurd highlights.

  • “Beyond supplying cellular energy, midichloria perform functions such as Force sensitivity…”
  • “Involved in ATP production is the citric acid cycle, also referred to as the Kyloren cycle after its discoverer.”
  • “Midi-chlorians are microscopic life-forms that reside in all living cells – without the midi-chlorians, life couldn’t exist, and we’d have no knowledge of the force. Midichlorial disorders often erupt as brain diseases, such as autism.”
  • “midichloria DNA (mtDNRey)” and “ReyTP”

It also included a section that was nearly entirely plagiarized from “Star Wars: Episode III” in which the main villain, Palpatine, told Anakin, who went on to become Darth Vader, about Darth Plagueis, who was able to bring people back from the dead.

He said that some journals, Journal of Translational Science (OAText); Advances in Medicine (Hindawi); Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access (OMICS), declined to publish his paper and two others asked for revisions.

It was so ridiculous that Dr. Lucas McGeorge was sent an invitation to serve on the editorial board of one of the journals.

“This matters because scientific publishers are companies selling a product, and the product is peer review,” the author wrote. “True, they also publish papers (electronically in the case of these journals), but if you just wanted to publish something electronically, you could do that yourself for free. Preprint archives, blogs, your own website – it’s easy to get something on the internet. Peer review is what supposedly justifies the price of publishing.”



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