“Google Scholar is Filled with Junk Science”

magnifying-glass-76520_640Jeffrey Beall is a librarian known for his monitoring and criticism of predatory open access publishers. He maintains a list of “potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers” and journals known as Beall’s List.

Recently, Beall has criticized Google Scholar, which is the largest and most-used academic search engine, saying that its seemingly admirable goal of comprehensiveness has resulted in Google Scholar being filled with “junk science.” Since peer review in predatory journals is fake or absent, Google Scholar’s comprehensive coverage is littered with articles posing as legitimate science.

These junk science papers that could never pass peer review, enabled by predatory publishers, include “activist science” (that promotes hypotheses that mainstream science has proven false) as well as papers promoting personal interests including pseudo-science and business interests. These articles pose a threat to the future of science because others may base research on these illegitimate papers.

Beall suggests that in order to avoid this low-quality junk science, people searching for literature on a topic should use curated databases licensed by libraries. The Boston Children’s Hospital Library maintains a list of databases with descriptions of each one.

Google Scholar is Filled with Junk Science (Scholarly Open Access) by Jeffrey Beall

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