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If questioning peer-reviewed literature makes us deniers of science, what does that make doctors who don't?

Peer review
(NaturalNews) It sounds legit -- this study was published in a peer-reviewed open-access medical journal. A study published in one of those sounds official, and the science behind the study sounds irrefutable and "settled." When we look further into peer-reviewed medical literature, however, we often find fraudulent procedures financed unethically. Sometimes, a little known medical journal will find a way to make their mark by projecting a scientific study only for attention instead publishing science that brings about solid, practical conclusions. Sometimes, a study may be published only to suit an agenda. Sometimes, a medical journal will use its promises to prey on scientists looking to make their mark in their field of study.

Studies may be "peer-reviewed" by publications with little credentials. In all cases of medical research, it's important to follow the money. Still, many doctors accept all peer-reviewed medical literature without questioning how it was funded and if the study was honestly peer-reviewed or just propped up by collusion in the industry.

"When you dig into these publications, it's clear that the vast majority of authors on their table of contents come from lower-income countries," said Harvard medical researcher Mark Shrime. "They're preying on people who aren't able to get into the mainstream medical journals because they come from a university that nobody recognizes or they have some other scientific disadvantage."

Bought-off peer-reviewed literature distorts the scientific method

Mark Shrime attests to the corruption behind peer-reviewed literature. He admits that he receives a special kind of spam to his email on a daily basis. Open-access medical journals are constantly marketing to him, promising that they will publish his research if only he would fork over $500 to have it published. In this way, his study may never actually be "peer-reviewed." Instead, his studies could be just being sold in vain.

Shrime is a medical doctor pursuing a PhD in health policy. Peer-reviewed publications prey on him daily to broadcast his work. "You block one of them with your spam filter and immediately another one pops up," he said. If peer-reviewed literature is open to the highest bidder, then how reputable are these studies being published? How could unfounded conclusions be bought off as solid science, misleading medical professionals across the board?

17 of 37 peer reviewed medical journals accept bogus scientific study

Shrime wondered the same and thought up a clever way to test how easy it would be to have bogus studies accepted by medical journals. Using a random text generator, Shrime create a fake article titled, "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?" He made it obvious that the study was bogus, writing in the authors as Pinkerton A. LeBrain and Orson Welles. The subtitle of the fake article read, "The surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals."

After sending the bogus study to 37 journals over the course of two weeks, he waited for responses. A whopping 17 of the publications accepted the bogus study. The "peer-reviewed" literature even promised to publish the study only if Shrime paid the "processing fee" of $500. Some of the publications gave reviews for the article. One even called Shrime's methods "novel and innovative."

After investigating the locations of these publications, Shrime found that some are not even legitimate at all. One had the same address as a strip club!

"As scientists, we're aware of the top-tier journals in our specific sub-field, but even we cannot always pinpoint if a journal in another field is real or not," Shrime said. "For instance, the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology is the very first journal I was ever published in and it's legitimate. But the Global Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology is fake. Only someone in my field would know that."

There's every reason to question peer-reviewed literature, even if one is called a "denier of science" for doing so.

The real question to ask: Is a medical doctor nothing more than a mindless blind follower for not questioning the "science" they read in open-access medical journals?

Sources for this article include:

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