Fake science is hurting academia and society at large in many ways. Legitimate scientific literature is being drowned in an ocean of junk journals and articles. Almost everywhere in the world, there seems to be simulacrums of science where people wear pompous titles, pay to publish seemingly scholarly literature, go to conferences, etc. but produce 0 contribution to human knowledge. This might be still manageable now because legitimate scientists can easily weed out the junk, but if the amount continues to increase it could go out of control.

At stake are the trust from the general public, the appropriate use of public and private research funds and the advancement of science in general.

Who knows, we might be going towards a new Dark Age but where science is not hindered by powerful religious and aristocratic organizations but rather by an overdose of junk.

What can be done at the individual or institutional level to fight junk science?

Edit: by junk science I mean pseudo-science (i.e. work done with flawed or frivolous methodology), deliberately faked results, and generally very low quality research. I'm not interested in a debate about what is junk and what's not, I'm looking for tangible actions that an individual can take or advocate as an academic, member of a professional/scientific society, employee of a university, etc. very much like what Murphy or Thomas wrote in their comments.

  • 9
    Produce more good science.
    – Thomas
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 14:01
  • 14
    First and foremost, you should clearly define the term "junk science". Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 14:03
  • 8
    While this is an important question, I am not sure that this site is a good place for it: it's a topic for discussion and debate rather than clear answers. Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 14:51
  • 5
    I don't think this question is too unclear. It lays out the problem and asks for what measures individuals can take to improve things. Simple ones would include pre-registering your experiments, call out bad science when you see it, publicly call out bad methods and bad data, encourage your colleges to follow best practices. Attempt to replicate what you can and always publish your results, positive or negative.
    – Murphy
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 19:35
  • 3
    @Devin unfortunately, homeopathy is as popular as Mendelssohn.
    – Davidmh
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 8:49