Gina Kolata in the NY Times has been running a good series of articles on fraudulent academic publishing. The basic business model is an unholy alliance between academics looking to enhance their resumes, and quick-buck internet sites. Initially, I thought these sites were enticing naive academics. But many academics are apparently willing participants, suggesting that it’s easy to fool many promotion and award committees.
All but one academic in 10 who won a School of Business and Economics award had published papers in these journals. One had 10 such articles.
Since academic institutions supposedly put a lot of effort into credentialing and verification of claims, it is surprising that there is apparently little penalty for cheating in this way.
I suppose this is part of society’s overall trend to blur boundaries between reality and fantasy. This trend is undermining democracy; now it is undermining science, as well. However, I would say it is far behind the problem of unreplicatable research, as a destructive force in most sciences. So far.