Peer Reviewed

You can’t argue with science, or the peer-review process, except when it’s been demonstrated repeatedly that the process is horribly broken, as represented by the fact that many prestigious peer reviewed journals are having to remove papers that are automatically generated gibberish.

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.

These were people trying to game the system, but it’s been done deliberately to expose weakness:

There is a long history of journalists and researchers getting spoof papers accepted in conferences or by journals to reveal weaknesses in academic quality controls — from a fake paper published by physicist Alan Sokal of New York University in the journal Social Text in 1996, to a sting operation by US reporter John Bohannon published in Science in 2013, in which he got more than 150 open-access journals to accept a deliberately flawed study for publication.

Someone quick, send them a Turbo Encabulator!

3 Responses to “Peer Reviewed”

  1. Cargosquid says:

    Or…for that matter…every paper by Mikey Mann of Hockey Stick fame.
    Or any other paper supporting that clap trap in the face of observable NON-warming.

  2. And yet, getting anything published in a history journal was so utterly impossible, that I no longer even try. Perhaps I needed more automatically generated gibberish.

  3. Andy B. says:

    That was bound to happen. I have to reach back almost 40 years for my example, but in my time as a graduate student I was aware that professors published gibberish far and wide to punch up their resume’s of published papers. In the cases of professors I worked for, I usually knew the substance of what they were reporting was somewhere between nonsense and trivial. The more I observed, the more it took the polish off the degree I was working toward. In any case, it does not surprise me in the least to learn that the generation of gibberish has been automated.

    Remember Julia’s job in PornoSec?