After ‘post truth’, ‘alternative facts’ will soon find its way into dictionaries. There is growing momentum as more and more people are using the phrase on a daily basis. It all started when Kellyanne Conway, counsellor to U.S. President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway used it on January 21 during the Meet The Press event and Chuck Todd reacted saying: “Alternative facts are not facts; they’re falsehoods.”
Now we have a tweeter account of the Journal of Alternative Facts, which according to the Twitter bio is “the greatest scientific research peer reviewed by politicians and approved by public relations/submissions accepted via tweet”. It has posted a preview of its first issue of the “journal”. And guess what the title is: “We Have All the Best Climates, Really, They’re Great” and the author is none other than “Iwas A. Scientistonce”.
The founding editor of the “journal” told Retraction Watch that the main reason for starting the “journal” was because “it is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists, or from fake news sources like The New York Times or the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In fact, this is such an important mission to us that not only are we an open access journal, but we are taking steps to ensure that we are the ONLY open access journal”.
And the editorial board consists of the “greatest minds of American scientific thinking, primarily politicians. They are indeed the greatest. Terrific. Tremendous. We also have all the best peer reviewers, by which we mean PR reviewers.”
Scientists have taken several steps to save science and help fellow scientists – duplicating climate change data from U.S federal agency websites to other websites in servers based in Europe, starting rogue accounts of federal agencies to disseminate scientific facts without having to worry about the administration stopping or censoring them, organising a Science March on April 22 in Washington and satellite marches in other cities across the world, and asking fellow scientists not to attend conferences in the U.S. to name a few. Making a parody of Alternative Facts peddled by the Trump administration through this Twitter account is one of the novel forms of protest.
Will these ever be noticed by the administration which care two hoots for facts and scientific opinion? Only time will tell but scientists are not prepared to sit idle. That’s something to cheer about in these gloomy days.