Caption: Nobel winner Peter Higgs says that today, he wouldn’t be “productive enough” to land an academic job.
In 2005, a group of MIT graduate students decided to goof off in a very MIT graduate student way: They created a program called SCIgen that randomly generated fake scientific papers. Thanks to SCIgen, for the last several years, computer-written gobbledygook has been routinely published in scientific journals and conference proceedings.
According to Nature News, Cyril Labbé, a French computer scientist, recently informed Springer and the IEEE, two major scientific publishers, that between them, they had published more than 120 algorithmically-generated articles. In 2012, Labbé had told the IEEE of another batch of 85 fake articles. He’s been playing with SCIgen for a few years—in 2010 a fake researcher he created, Ike Antkare, briefly became the 21st most highly cited scientist in Google Scholar’s database.
How nonsense papers ended up in respected scientific journals..
A number of studies have spotted a worrisome trend: although the number of scientific journals and articles published is increasing each year, the rate of papers being retracted as invalid is increasing even faster. Some of these are being retracted due to obvious ethical lapses—fraudulent data or plagiarism—but some past studies have suggested errors and technical problems were the cause of the majority of problems.
A new analysis, released by PNAS, shows this rosy picture probably isn’t true. Researchers like to portray their retractions as being the result of errors, but a lot of these same papers turn out to be fraudulent when fully investigated. If there’s any good news here, it’s that a limited number of labs 38, to be exact are responsible for a third of the fraudulent papers that end up being retracted.
via Research fraud exploded over the last decade | Ars Technica.
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