In academia, nobody knows you’re a dog — even when you send in a picture.
Dr Olivia Doll has fooled people into thinking she’s an academic scholar. But Dr. Olivia is not a doctor, or even a human— she’s a Staffordshire terrier named Ollie.
So how did the ambitious end up on the editorial boards of seven global medical journals?
Dog days of academia
Ollie’s owner, Professor Mike Daube (reportedly of Curtin University) “decided to test how carefully some journals scrutinised their editorial reviewers, by inventing Dr. Doll and making up her credentials.” Australian publication PerthNow reported Curtin’s story.
Though Dr. Olivia Doll’s bio clearly indicates she’s not a real person, Daube said that the big journals didn’t find her out.
Check out, for instance, Ollie’s current listing as an editor for the Global Journal of Addiction and Rehabilitation Medicine. According to the journal, Dr Doll is from the Subiaco College of Veterinary Science in Australia. And her interests are a little odd.
“Avian propinquity to canines in metropolitan suburbs; Relationships between Doberman Pinschers and Staffordshire Terriers in domestic environments; The role of domestic canines in promoting optimal mental health in ageing males; The impact of skateboards on canine ambulation; The benefits of abdominal massage for medium-sized canines; Implications for canine and equine animals of participation in gambling sports; Accidental drug use by Staffordshire Terriers in a roadside setting; Passive exposure of canines to alcohol fumes in the domestic environment,” her description reads.
How far from realizing Ollie’s identity were the journals? Well, the pup was even contacted to weigh in on tumor management paper — perhaps too sophisticated a subject for a pup.
A nose for news
The pup is being featured in a more highly-regarded text called the Medical Journal of Australia’s Insight magazine, which reportedly “is looking at the surge in journals which charge desperate would-be researchers up to $3000 to get their studies published.”
Professor Daube spoke about the message he hopes to send with his experiment.
“While this started as something lighthearted, I think it is important to expose shams of this kind which prey on the gullible, especially young or naive academics and those from developing countries,” Professor Daube told the publication.
It looks like every so-called academic journal isn’t created equal. As the Huffington Post quipped, “it looks like science has gone to the dogs.”
Luckily, Ollie has a nose to sniff out scams.
Absolutely love this story! Well done Ollie for helping to expose shams! Such a fun interview for a Monday morning.
— Melinda Edmunds (@Melinda_Edmunds) May 22, 2017