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At last! Computer-generated sci babble papers to be “retracted”

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Never mind what took them so long. Here’s a coffee room question: Does the word “retraction” properly apply in a situation in which no original thought was, in principle, possible? Anyway, from Nature:

Nonsensical research papers generated by a computer program are still popping up in the scientific literature many years after the problem was first seen, a study has revealed. Some publishers have told Nature they will take down the papers, which could result in more than 200 retractions.

The issue began in 2005, when three PhD students created paper-generating software called SCIgen for “maximum amusement”, and to show that some conferences would accept meaningless papers. The program cobbles together words to generate research articles with random titles, text and charts, easily spotted as gibberish by a human reader. It is free to download, and anyone can use it.

By 2012, computer scientist Cyril Labbé had found 85 fake SCIgen papers in conferences published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE); he went on to find more than 120 fake SCIgen papers published by the IEEE and by Springer.

Richard Van Noorden, “Hundreds of gibberish papers still lurk in the scientific literature” at Nature

The most likely reason one can think of for the persistence of computer-generated gibberish in the science database is that many other papers sound like that — but are in fact authentic human creations — so no one really wants to go there.

How about this: Kim Kardashian’s Paper One Of Top Ten Science Retractions Of 2018

Guys, this wasn’t helping.

Okay. Here’s SCIgen

Here’s how SCIgen works, as Rob Sheldon explains. Robert J. Marks offers some thoughts on why it works.

If it’s any help, SciDetect was developed to spot the sci babble.

One Reply to “At last! Computer-generated sci babble papers to be “retracted”

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Janelle Shane at AI Weirdness tried to generate some scientific explanations as typically seen on the web.

    https://aiweirdness.com/post/651171970623455232/botsplaining

    Some of them sound like my standard “debunking” comments, but some are a little more original:

    It has also been suggested that part of the reason human-bipedal animals are so powerful magicians is that they are so squishy. That much isn’t literally true. Squishy animals don’t know when to put on a sweater, or whether they’re snowflakes or rocks. Squishy objects are so sparsely covered with fluff that you’d probably have to cut through about 50 percent of the cushy thing to discern that it’s actually a ball.

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