Conspiracies Infiltrate PubMed

A right-wing journal pumps conspiracies into the NLM via PMC, apparently because OA validates it

Conspiracies Infiltrate PubMed

I recently left Substack because its founders began to let conspiracy theorists, fraudsters, and liars publish and profit on its platform, despite assurances that it would maintain fealty to the truth and guard its business model’s integrity. They justified their choice by flying it beneath the libertarian’s current favorite banner, “free speech.”

When it comes to “free speech,” rank hypocrisy often attends. In Substack’s case, they didn’t allow pornography or lascivious materials at the time, because I guess reactionary prissiness was more their thing than embracing scientific evidence about life-saving medications and treatments. Now, their Terms of Use state:

We reserve the right to remove any content from Substack at any time, for any reason (including, but not limited to, if someone alleges you contributed that content in violation of these Terms), in our sole discretion, and without notice.

That’s all fair, but “free speech” shouters fail to acknowledge that private entities can deny service to anyone, a fact which makes arguments about rights meaningless. Some indulge in attacks on actual protected speech. Peter Thiel, an adamant libertarian billionaire, bankrolled the lawsuit that put Gawker out of business because he didn’t like its form of free speech, while Elon Musk is posturing about Twitter’s free speech choice to block or ban certain accounts, as if choosing not to publish or say something isn’t also within the bounds of freedom.

Now, it has come to my attention that via PubMed Central (PMC), PubMed has been indexing and republishing materials from a right-wing, conspiracy-laden journal — one that flies its “free speech” flag high. Due to this inclusion, the journal is also indexed in Scopus, which uses PubMed indexing as one of its baselines.

Indexing these articles would be sketchy enough, but PMC goes one step further since they are so supportive of OA, and publishes the full text.