From the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’, dubious practices from peer reviewers to academics and predatory publishers, the South African Journal of Science’s latest edition sets out to detail the measures in place to mitigate against ‘bad, fast science’ and ensure the integrity of critical academic citizenhood.
The authors are diverse in their opinions but forward a range of generally appreciative perspectives on the importance (and often thankless task) of the peer reviewer. It also exposes, directly and indirectly, a series of practices that paint a sometimes nefarious picture of the publishing academic.
Crowd authoring, the gaming of the system, predatory publishing, unethical and racist research, and the ever-absent reviewer are all examples of what goes on behind the scenes in academic publishing. And as in the ‘mirror-verse’ to Fox News, publishing has given rise to what the Lancet Infectious Diseases terms as the ‘COVID-19 infodemic’, where individuals re-imagine themselves as COVID specialists and put out research that is ill-conceived, riddled with questionable assumptions, or simply wrong.