In the autumn issue of Antiquity is a fine debate piece (behind a pay wall) by William Meacham of Hong Kong about the Russian Baptist science fraudster Dimitri Kouznetsov. In 1989, 1996 and 2000, Kouznetsov managed to trick three peer-reviewed journals to publish papers full of faked data, references to non-existent journals and thanks at the end to fictional scholars. And all three papers are in different fields. Much of the information about the Russian’s scams has been unearthed by Italian skeptic Gian Marco Rinaldi who published his findings in his mother tongue in 2002.
Kouznetsov’s 1989 paper in International Journal of Neuroscience reported fake findings about voles intended to call evolutionary theory into question. After five years, my Swedish Skeptics buddy Dan Larhammar became the first to blow the whistle on that.
In 1996, Kouznetsov reappeared with a paper in Journal of Archaeological Science. Here he claimed to have found a mechanism by which the Shroud of Turin might have a High Medieval radiocarbon date but still actually originate around the death of Jesus of Nazareth. Radiocarbon specialists protested vigorously, and the following year Kouznetsov was arrested in Connecticut for passing stolen cheques.
In 2000, Studies in Conservation published a paper titled “Biochemical methods in cultural heritage conservation studies: an alkylation enzyme, S-adenosylmethionine”. This paper featured a list of archaeological textile samples from Ireland, including the shroud of a man named in the Annals of the Four Masters, who died in AD 640! All samples were fake.
This is chilling but fascinating stuff, particularly if you happen to edit a scientific journal. A Swedish translation of Meacham’s paper will appear in the winter issue of Folkvett.