Bet you thought that some of those academic papers you’ve been attempting to read were gibberish. Well, maybe some of them actually were. Bruce Schneier cites a Nature report that the publishers Springer and, heaven forbid, IEEE, are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services. That’s after a French researcher “discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.”
Security pros should be mindful that there’s a software program called SCIgen that “randomly combines strings of words to produce fake computer-science papers. SCIgen was invented in 2005 by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge to prove that conferences would accept meaningless papers – and, as they put it, ‘to maximize amusement.’” Well, there’s nothing funny about demonstrating how eminently useless crudely wrought writing can be.