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Detecting fake research papers

A few months ago we posted about a slate of Springer and IEEE computer science conference papers that had been determined to be fakes generated by SCIGen paper-generator software.

Since then, Nature has published a paper describing a methodology for detecting, by linguistic analysis using word clusters, fake papers generated by SCIGen, MathGen and other such software. The article specifically dealt with Arxiv.org, a prepublication depository used extensively by researchers in physics and related fields. The method detected a group of similarly suspect papers in Arxiv. Arxiv.org does not pre-screen or review papers submitted, which is perhaps what allowed them to slip through. The common thread emerging seems to be that any venue of publication without very stringent review (and/or which uses the method described in the Nature paper) may find itself unwittingly hosting gibberish papers as a prank or act of fraud.

Ginsparg, P. Nature. USA doi:10.1038/508044al (2014).

 

Original image by olarte.ollie courtesy of Creative Commons.

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