120 papers in scientese, I mean gibberish

More gibberish than usual? I’m joking…

Publishers withdraw more than 120 gibberish papers : Nature News & Comment.

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.

The Sokal Affair.

The influence of scientese ...

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.

  7 comments for “120 papers in scientese, I mean gibberish

  1. Statistique
    February 25, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    Conference talks and posters are rarely reviewed in Physics except to detect submissions that are woo. These (usually posters) are then lumped together in the same session time and room. This way the crazies can present their new theories of everything or perpetual engine designs or anti-gravity devices without disturbing the serious sessions and organizers don’t have to spend a lot of time weeding out submissions and be free of censorship accusations (pocketing the extra registration fees along the way doesn’t hurt either).

  2. Cathy
    February 25, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Does this mean the chicken paper has gone? “Chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken……”

  3. February 25, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    Users who want to see these tools in action might be interested to check out Mathgen, which generates random mathematics research papers, with the output in perfectly formatted LaTeX.


    Mathgen has been responsible for unveiling several potentially problematic journals. Its handiwork can be viewed on Twitter under the hashtag #Mathgen, which has generated quite the list of shame for predatory open access journals.

  4. February 25, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    A fellow geologist has stopped subscribing to Geology journal because he can’t understand the papers anymore. It’s complete esoterica. Though, we wouldn’t be able to tell if it was computer generated or not.

    I get many emails for these types of conferences, as I said. People don’t seem to realize that conference papers and abstracts are not peer reviewed except by those in the audience. I’m actually surprised Creationists haven’t tried this route to publishing. Maybe they have, I don’t read those journals.

  5. RandyRandy
    February 26, 2014 at 4:31 AM

    Please don’t give the Creationists and pseudoscience crowd any ideas! The last thing science needs is these nuts citing more of their own published BS sources.

  6. RandyRandy
    February 26, 2014 at 4:36 AM

    On a positive note, I hear Springer and IEEE et al were able to sell these gibberish papers for a decent profit to NaturalNews.com. So it’s not a total loss.

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