More than 120 bogus scientific articles have been published in peer-reviewed publications) from 2008 to 2013, according to computer scientist Cyril Labbé, confirming suspicions that sometimes, papers that read like gibberish are actually gibberish. Again.
In 2005, MIT students developed (the super fun to use) SCIgen, a program which throws random, jargon-laden sentences together to produce documents that seem like computer-science papers. The program was designed to "maximize amusement, rather than coherence." According to the creators of the program, it can also be used to test the paper-acceptance standards of science conferences. They wrote in 2005 that they had, in fact, submitted a fake paper titled "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy," to the World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI) for just this reason — and that it was accepted (at least at first).
Back in 2010, Labbé himself used SCIgen to generate fake articles under the name of fictitious scientist Ike Antkare who, thanks to Labbé's manipulation of Google Scholar, became the 21st most-cited author on the site. That's a big deal, considering Albert Einstein is 36th on the list.
Now, according to Labbé's finding, others have also used SCIgen to successfully trick peer-review publishers. To test out whether a scientific paper is genuine or fake, Labbé wrote a piece of software to determine whether a document was created by SCIgen. "The papers are quite easy to spot," he told Nature last week, explaining that the detection program involves a search for words commonly used by the generator. Labbé has spent the past two years cataloguing fraudulent papers before reporting them to Springer, a academic publishing company, and IEEE, which have since pulled the false papers. He says that it's possible the authors didn't realize their names were attached to the papers. He also said that the conferences which accepted the papers were based in China, and that most of the fake report authors have Chinese affiliations.