A harmless research project on superfoods turns into a national science scandal, entangling top universities, researchers, and even a science minister. These days, many scientists are eschewing lengthy formal review processes for scientific journals by publishing their research results in Open Access Magazines that print “crap studies” without quality control. Some experts fear the whole scientific establishment is in danger if more and more bad research circulates under the disguise of science. Author Peter Onneken wants to know how the system works in practice, so he launches a project of his own. He publishes a fake paper claiming that ordinary chia seeds make people smarter. His “scientific theory” makes it into respected journals, and Onneken even presents his fake research at conferences. But what Onneken really proves is that when consumers are involved, bad research can become a game of life and death.


  • Written and directed by: Peter Onneken
  • Camera : Jean-Marc Junge, Mirko Schernickau
  • Editing: Rolf Mertler
  • Producer: Wolfram Giese

A K22film production on behalf of WDR

Length: 60 min and 45 min. First broadcast: 24.07.2018