It appears as if some scientific journals will post just about anything these days, but for a price. In fact, it’s pretty easy to do, so easy that a Star Wars Prequel meme-filled paper by “George McLucas” and “Annette Kin” was published by multiple scientific journals who posted the paper about midi-chlorians, aka “feeling the force,” and deemed it important scientific information. All of this is possible thanks to what are known as “predatory journals” who were quick to post the new scientific findings after receiving payment and without proper peer review.
The fake study was set up as a sting by anonymous blogger Neuroskeptic as a way to highlight how fake journals can harm the integrity of the Open Access publishing movement, by taking advantage of a loophole as Nerdist reports. Neuroskeptic told Gizmodo in an email that, “The goal was to see whether journals would publish a manuscript that, while seemingly scientific, was actually a joke. 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).” Out of the 9 suspect journals that Neuroskeptic uploaded the journals to, 3 actually posted it and one asked for $360 for doing so.
Most of Neuroskeptic’s article is copy and pasted from the mitochondria Wikipedia page except wherever the word mitochondria appeared, he changed it to midi-chlorian. He then went on to rearrange the text so that it didn’t look like plagiarism and then as an added bonus, he used all of text from the tragedy of Darth Plagueis, the wise. The Star Wars Prequel meme is just about everywhere these days and now it’s even being passed off as legitimate science since one of three Open Access journals still has the article posted in all of its Prequel meme glory.
In the Star Wars universe, midi-chlorians were intelligent, microscopic life-forms that served as organelles within all living cells, existing in a symbiotic relationship with the beings that they inhabited. The midi-chlorians also comprised a collective consciousness among themselves. The microscopic life forms reside in all living things, but tend to be a lot higher in the Jedi. The magnitude of the midi-chlorian count served as a measure of one’s potential in the Force and in fact, the midi-chlorians could be influenced by the force and even be able to create new life, which is a technique that Darth Plaugueis developed.
Leave it to Star Wars Prequel memes to point out the fallacies and injustices of the open-access “predatory journals.” Though the movies were absolute crap, they can still serve a purpose in the world outside of ruining childhoods and boring viewers to tears. There were some good journals that actually reviewed the paper and actually sent feedback in the form of more Prequel memes, so at least 5 out of the 9 selected in the sting by Neuroskeptic are on the up and up. The stock in Prequel memes is sure to rise after this stunt.