Last month, doctoral student Mr. Dev Kumar Thapa and his advisor Prof. Anshu Pandey from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, claimed to have discovered evidence for superconductivity at a temperature much higher than ever before. The researchers have posted a preprint of their paper titled, “Evidence for Superconductivity at Ambient Temperature and Pressure in Nanostructures” to the arXiv, an online repository of pre-prints of journal papers. They have also submitted a paper outlining their findings to the journal Nature. In this particular instance, questions of various kinds have been raised about the research reported in the preprint in the public debate.
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Earlier this month, we erred. Among the 1000+ articles published on Research Matters, it was the first for us. An alert reader expressed displeasure on Twitter with a hashtag #fakescience on one of our stories. Alarmed, we investigated to note that the story was based on a research paper published in a journal listed as ‘predatory’, and with that, found a lot more about the prevalence of ‘predatory’ journals that hound the world of science.