Two major publishers will remove more than 120 papers created with random paper generator SCIgen, according to Nature.
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.
Although it’s unclear who submitted the papers, or why, it’s hard not to see the revelations as as the ying to the yang of John Bohannon’s sting of open access publishers that appeared in Science in October. Bohannon, posing as a fake academic, got half of a group of more than 300 journals to accept fake papers. From today’s Nature story:
Labbé emphasizes that the nonsense computer science papers all appeared in subscription offerings. In his view, there is little evidence that open-access publishers — which charge fees to publish manuscripts — necessarily have less stringent peer review than subscription publishers.
Indeed, as we and many others pointed out at the time, Bohannon didn’t include any traditional journals. As we noted:
…Retraction Watch readers may recall that it was Applied Mathematics Letters — a non-open-access journal published by Elsevier — that published a string of bizarre papers, including one that was retracted because it made “no sense mathematically” and another whose corresponding author’s email address was “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
With about 500 retractions per year in 2012 and 2013, these 120-plus — if they show up as retractions in databases — could make 2014 another record-breaking year.
Hat tip: Allison Stelling