Some scientific journals will publish literally anything for a price. That includes a meme-filled paper by "Lucas McGeorge" and "Annette Kin" referencing "midi-chlorians". Yes, George Lucas' attempt to explain feeling the Force with faux biology is now published "scientific research".
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Probably the suckiest thing about science is the fact that lots of the time you can't read the research yourself. If it isn't open access and you're interested, either you shell out $46 for a pdf, email someone asking for it, or settle with listening to some dummy like me interpret the results peppered with quotes and my biases.
If someone applied to a top position at a company, you'd hope a hiring manager would at least Google the applicant to ensure they're qualified. A group of researchers sent phoney resumes to 360 scientific journals for an applicant whose Polish name translated to "Dr Fraud". And 48 journals happily appointed the fake doctor to their editorial board.
Imagine reading a study from a prestigious science journal and finding out that the scientists performed and wrote the study as a joke. Sure, all of the data is true, but they littered the abstract and conclusion sections with irony. Other years you might have found it funny. But what if the joke was so arcane that only the scientist got it? And what if just minutes before you'd seen another fake news article denying climate change?
Science fiction and fantasy are genres where almost anything can happen -- as long as the author can make it seem plausible, and as long as it's part of a good story. But that doesn't mean there are no rules. If anything, the fact that these genres are so wide open mean that there are tons of rules out there, some unspoken and some written in black and white.
Spring is here, and so are some great beach reads! What does April have in store? Two Terry Pratchett tributes. New books from C.J. Cherryh, Harry Turtledove and M.R. Carey. Wish-granting moonshine! New space opera! And much, much more. Here are the most essential science fiction and fantasy books in April.
A decade ago, cutting-edge writers/publishers were crafting books that were physically works of art, in response to the rise of ebooks. Now, those same people are making apps. Miranda July, creator of the instant-messaging app Somebody, talks to Russell Quinn, co-creator (with Eli Horowitz) of The Pickle Index and The Silent History, about making apps that are deliberately difficult to use.
Last week, academic publisher Elsevier announced that it would be donating 45 free ScienceDirect accounts to "top Wikipedia editors," granting them access to thousands of paywalled scientific journals. And people are outraged.
Promising public access legislation FASTR (Fair Access to Science & Technology Research Act) has been re-introduced by a bipartisan coalition in Congress. Lawmakers now have an important opportunity to strengthen and expand rules that allow taxpayers to freely read articles resulting from research their tax dollars support. EFF continues to encourage legislators to pass this bill as an important step forward -- though there are still some measures to improve.
Amazon is no stranger to independent publishing drama. But when it pulled books in the past, it at least purported to have some sort of legitimate reason. In the case of High Moor 2: Moonstruck (the story of one werewolf gang's quest to keep its existence hidden and the extreme lengths to which it goes to protect its deadly secret) that reason appears to be... hyphens.
Amazon and publishing house Simon & Schuster have reached a multi-year deal, sources told Business Insider. This means the tides could be turning in favour of Amazon in its battle against publishers. And that means you'll likely see cheaper Simon & Schuster books on Amazon soon, although whether or not that will be good for the publishing industry is still up for debate.
How neat is this? The folks at Faber & Faber, an independent publishing house in London since 1929, recently found a forgotten hand press in their archives. As it turns out, the half-century-old machine was used by the firm's most famous designer, Berthold Wolpe: they've since refurbished the relic, which is going to be back in action producing limited edition broadsides and paper goodness for a brand new imprint.
Peter Higgs, who proposed the existence of what would be dubbed the Higgs Boson, says that he wouldn't cut it if he were entering academic science today. Keep in mind that this dude won a Nobel Prize for physics a few months ago.