We’ve mentioned that there are “scientific journals” that will publish anything if you pay them. They just skip peer review and publish. It appears that some journals don’t even have an editor read the submitted papers. The science blogger Neuroskeptic submitted a research paper about Midi-chlorians, the microscopic entities in the Star Wars prequels that gave a person the powers of the Force. We didn’t even buy that in a fictional universe. Neuroskeptic talked to Gizmodo about the project.
“The goal was to see whether journals would publish a manuscript that, while seemingly scientific, was actually a joke,” Neuroskeptic told Gizmodo in an email. “I didn’t want to just submit nonsense (like a computer-generated text), or a bad paper, but rather something that was verifiably based on fiction (i.e. Star Wars).”
Most of the paper’s text comes from copying the Wikipedia page about mitochondria, replacing any instance of “mitochondr-” with “midichlor-,” and then rearranging the words so the paper didn’t look like straight plagiarism. Neuroskeptic even included the text of the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the wise, word-for-word.
The paper was submitted to nine journals, and three published it (although two later pulled it). Read Neuroskeptic’s story of the project at Discover.