Science Journals Shuttering from the Flood of Fake Papers

Once upon a time, scientists built their reputation by publishing papers on their research. These papers were submitted to prestigious science journals, where they underwent scrutiny by other scientists, known as peer review. Once a paper was published, other scientists would cite the author in their own research, which also boosted the author's prestige. That was then.

As scientists fell under the pressure of "publish or perish" and new technology and the sheer number of journals made it more tempting to cut corners, science papers with lower standards started getting published. Real scientists saw a shortcut to getting more citations, which added to their reputation and job security. Then non-scientists found the value of getting published. Then even non-people. You can buy a citation to be included in a paper, and your company can publish findings in favor of whatever you are selling. Now the flood of fake science and AI-generated papers is causing publishers to rethink their entire business model. The 217-year-old publisher Wiley announced this week they are shutting down 19 of their journals. They aren't the first, and certainly won't be the last.

There are scientists investigating the massive numbers of papers for fraudulent research and fake citations, rooting out the worst of the worst and exposing paper mills who submit science papers for profit. One of the ways they do this is by scanning for "tortured phrases."

Cabanac and his colleagues realized that researchers who wanted to avoid plagiarism detectors had swapped out key scientific terms for synonyms from automatic text generators, leading to comically misfit phrases. “Breast cancer” became “bosom peril”; “fluid dynamics” became “gooey stream”; “artificial intelligence” became “counterfeit consciousness.” The tool is publicly available.

But scammers are constantly finding new ways to work around the system. Read about the never-ending war against fake science. -via Metafilter 

(Image credit: Vmenkov

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