According to the blog Scholarly Open Access, this PDF made the rounds, and an Australian computer scientist named Peter Vamplew sent it to the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology in response to spam from the journal. Apparently, he thought the editors might simply open and read it. Instead, they automatically accepted the paper — with an anonymous reviewer rating it as “excellent” — and requested a fee of $150.
This incident is pretty hilarious. But it’s a sign of a bigger problem in science publishing. This journal is one of many online-only, for-profit operations that take advantage of inexperienced researchers under pressure to publish their work in any outlet that seems superficially legitimate. They’re very different from respected, rigorous journals like Science and Nature that publish much of the research you read about in the news. Most troublingly, the predatory journals don’t conduct peer-review — the process where other scientists in the field evaluate a paper before it’s published.