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Tom's Restaurant from Seinfeld

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‘Study about nothing’ highlights the perils of predatory publishing

Ever heard of uromycitisis? If it sounds familiar, it's probably because you remember it from an old episode of Seinfeld—but a paper on the (totally fictional) disease just fooled the reviewers of Urology & Nephrology Open Access Journal, according to Retraction Watch. The journal’s publisher once graced Jeffrey Beall’s now-defunct list of predatory journals, which extract high fees from would-be authors and publish their work without proper peer review. In the fake case study, freelance scientific editor John McCool writes under the pseudonym of Dr. Martin van Nostrand, another callout to the 1990s “show about nothing.” He explains that uromycitisis—brought on by a “prolonged failure to evacuate the contents of the bladder”—can cause infection and even psychological problems. The fake study, part of McCool’s effort to expose predatory journals, was inspired by an episode in which Jerry gets in trouble for urinating in public. Then again, these journals might be more Seinfeld-savvy than we thought. In the immortal words of George Costanza: “Just remember. It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

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