Publishers Withdraw More Than 120 Fake, Computer-Generated Papers

Two academic publishers are removing from their subscription services more than 120 papers that a French researcher found were computer-generated nonsense, Nature News reports.

Sixteen of the papers appeared in publications by Springer, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

The fraudulent papers were identified by Cyril Labbé, a computer scientist at Joseph Fourier University, in Grenoble, France. He developed a way to detect manuscripts produced by software called SCIgen. The program, invented by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005, builds papers from randomly combined strings of words. Its inventors created it to prove that conferences would easily accept fraudulent papers.

Nature News said that most of the papers had authors with Chinese affiliations, and that most of the conferences had taken place in China. A scholar at China’s Lanzhou University who was named as a co-author on one of the papers asserted he didn’t know why he had been identified as a contributor, and said the matter was being investigated.

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