How Academia and Publishing are Destroying Scientific Innovation

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Publishers withdraw more than 120 gibberish papers

The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.

 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.


…Among the works were, for example, a paper published as a proceeding from the 2013 International Conference on Quality, Reliability, Risk, Maintenance, and Safety Engineering, held in Chengdu, China. (The conference website says that all manuscripts are “reviewed for merits and contents”.) The authors of the paper, entitled ‘TIC: a methodology for the construction of e-commerce’, write in the abstract that they “concentrate our efforts on disproving that spreadsheets can be made knowledge-based, empathic, and compact”. … The IEEE has now removed the paper)….


This has got to be an embarrassment to IEEE and Springer.
As of this moment, a scanned copy of the first page of the cited example is still online at
I read a bit of it to assure myself that it was really gibberish and not just a poor mechanical translation. It is definitely gibberish. Here’s the first paragraph:
“Replication must work. To put this in perspective, consider the fact that acclaimed researchers generally use wide-area networks to overcome this quagmire. Next, the notion that hackers worldwide collaborate with metamorphic algorithms is never considered unfortunate. Thus, unstable epistemologies and the location identity split have paved the way for the simulation of B-trees.”
There is also a diagram, a sort of flow chart, that has nonsensical conditions and transitions.
Is this a fraud perpetrated by the named authors or their assistants, a parody, a prank or an act of digital vandalism? In any event, Labbé’s discovery of 120 gibberish papers have exposed a flawed publication process.
This conference requests two versions of each paper: one to review and decide acceptance and one for the printer’s camera. The 2014 edition of the same conference has posted this schedule:
10 Apr 2014 Full Paper Submission Deadline
10 May 2014 Full Paper Acceptance Notification
30 May 2014 Camera Ready Papers Due
22 Jul 2014 Conference Begins
There’s not a whole lot of time for the handlers of the camera-ready copies (some of whom may not be fluent readers of English technical prose) to verify their integrity before they are printed. There is opportunity for a bad actor, whether author or vandal, to replace the submission by gibberish.
Larry Tesler

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