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US lawmakers turn attention to plague of fake journal papers

Discussion in 'Research methodology news and research' started by CRG, Jul 30, 2022.

  1. CRG

    CRG Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    26 Jul 2022 | News

    AI tools are now allowing so-called paper mills to trick journals with fake articles on an industrial scale. The issue risks scientific integrity and is beginning to get high level political attention.

    ut without the time, resources, or English language skills to do so honestly, he said.
    US lawmakers have warned that fake research papers risk compromising trust in the entire scientific system, as artificial intelligence (AI) makes it ever easier for so-called paper mills to fool journals into accepting made up articles.

    Some estimates suggest hundreds of thousands of fake papers could exist in the human genomics literature alone. Paper mills have also managed to impersonate guest journal editors to wave through hundreds of their own fraudulent articles.

    “The automation arms race is upon us,” warned Democrat congressman Bill Foster in a hearing of the US House of Representatives’ science, space and technology committee last week.

    To prove his point, Foster, along with another representative, created a fake nuclear physics paper using a text generator that easily evaded plagiarism detectors.

    “The creation of hundreds of papers – complete with figures and citations – becomes the work of an afternoon, much to the disgust of real scientists who might spend months on a single paper,” said Foster.

    Fraud in scientific work will undermine honest academics’ work, and could have “disastrous” effects if it ends up influencing policy or public behaviour, warned congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who chairs the committee.

    Concern around paper mills has existed for at least a decade, but improvements in AI image and text generation have made fake paper production possible on an industrial scale. Now, with last week’s congressional hearing, there is high level political attention focused on what it could do to the scientific system.

    “This is the first time the US Congress has been interested,” said Chris Graf, research integrity director at scientific publisher Springer Nature, and one of those who testified at the hearing, told Science|Business.

    More at: https://sciencebusiness.net/news/us-lawmakers-turn-attention-plague-fake-journal-papers
    MeSci, Sean, alktipping and 9 others like this.
  2. cassava7

    cassava7 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    From the fake paper:

    “We are much obliged to the U.S. Department of Energy for empowering us to work with enormous amounts of triuranium octoxide in our tests (…)” :woot:

    Jokes aside, it is good that the issues surrounding research integrity are finally being considered by political decision makers, even though AI-powered paper mills are on the extreme end of the fraud spectrum. I hope that they go on to address less blatantly obvious issues, such as forged data in papers written by actual researchers.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2022
    MeSci, TigerLilea, alktipping and 6 others like this.
  3. Jaybee00

    Jaybee00 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2022
    alktipping, Peter Trewhitt and Hutan like this.
  4. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Just out of curiosity...

    The people listed as authors in these fake papers... Are they real people who have published real papers in the past? Or are they fake people? It would be a good idea if honest researchers, lecturers, or anyone else who might do research had a daily or weekly task to google themselves to see if anyone has been taking their name in vain.
  5. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    But surely vastly increased output, faster and with reduced costs, that's the holy grail of capitalism.

    So a few corners had to be cut, a less good product produced, but many more, at higher speed, and lower cost.

    Increased productivity - the quality of the result is the 'customers' problem, not the 'manufacturers'.

    If it's good enough for pies, lasagna, furniture, in fact virtually everything, why is it not a fantastic thing for science.

    Science - is run by business, for profit, for the most part, so why would anyone expect them to behave in a different manner than all other businesses?
    alktipping, oldtimer, Ariel and 4 others like this.
  6. alktipping

    alktipping Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    The law in many if not all countries needs a massive overhaul . when it comes to the so called science or medical journals the publishers who make vast profits from a clearly broken model should face serious consequence for publishing and promoting garbage academic papers as science.
    Arnie Pye and Wonko like this.
  7. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Yep - but what would happen, if anything, is probably something like this;

    A committee of experts in the field would need to be assembled, from the pool of experts that exist i.e. the publishers. They would probably have to call on expert testimony to get to the bottom of it all, from a pool of experts, i.e. themselves, senior employees, and various hench persons.

    The results of an such committee would probably find that they were doing such a good job that everyone should have a 500% salary increase, and a few mill bonus.
    alktipping, Art Vandelay and shak8 like this.

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