Journal Accepts CRAP

Cornell grad student Philip Davis describes on Scholarly Kitchen an experiment he designed to test the peer-review process at Bentham Science, a publisher of "open-access" journals. (Open-access journals charge authors for publication, but make the articles available for free.)

He used software to create an article full of computer-generated nonsense, such as, "we discuss existing research into red-black trees, vacuum tubes, and courseware [10]. On a similar note, recent work by Takahashi suggests a methodology for providing robust modalities, but does not offer an implementation [9]."

He told Bentham the manuscript had two co-authors from the Center for Research in Applied Phrenology (CRAP). Four months after submitting it, a Bentham representative told him the manuscript had passed peer-review and would be published in The Open Information Science Journal... assuming he paid the $800 publication fee. He declined the offer. New Scientist has more details.

Four years ago a group of MIT students pioneered the "computer-generated article" hoax when they submitted a nonsense paper that was accepted for presentation at the World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics Conference. Though you can go back to 1944's Ern Malley hoax for an example of hoaxers submitting nonsense for publication.


Posted on Thu Jun 11, 2009


N.B. Open Access as defined in this article is Gold O.A., as distinct from Green O.A.
Posted by Robert Seddon  in  Durham, UK  on  Thu Jun 11, 2009  at  06:06 PM
personally i prefer SCIgen, I have used it successfully several times with most amusing results.
Posted by John  on  Thu Jun 11, 2009  at  07:08 PM
Kind of reminds me of the Atlanta Nights hoax.
Posted by Yoyogod  on  Thu Jun 11, 2009  at  09:41 PM
John, it actually was SCIgen he used. I just failed to mention that.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Thu Jun 11, 2009  at  10:37 PM
You don't mention Alan Sokal's fake paper for Social Text, in which he argued that liberal politics are rooted in quantum physics.
Posted by Goober  on  Fri Jun 12, 2009  at  02:02 PM
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