More gibberish than usual? I’m joking…
The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.
Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed by Labbé, say that they are now removing the papers.
Some of the papers were proceedings from a conference in China. Many of the authors were from China. Does this have to do with padding your resume just to appear to have more published papers? I get notices for these types of conferences very often. I’m not even associated with the field but they still want me to submit papers. I tend to think papers should be written when there is something important to say. That’s not their main purpose in today’s system.
There are programs that will generate nonsense papers for you. Are they not read by any reviewers? Are they even passed to reviewers? I’ve read plenty of papers that LOOK like complete gobbledegook, even in my own field, because they are chock full of obfuscatory language and esoteric jargon. It’s nigh impossible to tell if you are reading actual human derived content if you aren’t familiar with some jargon-heavy scientific fields. And then there is postmodernism, which is crazy talk.
There is currently a dispute regarding open-access papers focusing on their standards of acceptance. The author pays for publication so does the publisher CARE how good it is? He still gets paid. The alternative is expensive pay-walled journals where the reader pays these publishing costs. There are several ideas in the works to improve this situation but it is a long entrenched system that means changing the scientific community, not just the journals.