Fake Papers: Blame the Education System

December 30, 2013

I sure don’t want to blame a person. I am delighted that SMRITIweb.com provided some information about where the blame for misinformation, reformation, and disinformation should be placed. I will be able to enter 2014 with that problem shifted to the “education system.”

You can work through the explanation in “How I Published a Fake Paper, and Why It Is the Fault of Our Education System.” The write makes clear that Navin Kabra was not trying to become an expert in fabrication. The purpose was nobler.

There are a number of memorable statements in the article. May I highlight and comment on three. The Navin Kabra writing is in bold and my personal comment is in italic. Here we go:

  1. We submitted to two fake papers to this conference – one was complete gibberish auto-generated by using the online fake paper generator at SCIGen, while the other was auto-generated gibberish interspersed with completely ridiculous statements, movie dialogues, and other random things. Both these papers where accepted by this conference. 

    Are the conference organizers off the hook? What about the people who created the papers? What about the indexing systems and their “smart” software that filters certain content? I think the education system is a good target, but are there others?

  2. One section of the paper consists entirely of dialogues from the movie “My Cousin Vinny.”

    What about the super sophisticated duplication detection algorithms that some large Web indexing outfits perform? What about the plagiarism services? I find it interesting that in this era of smart software, a simple copying is just fine. Fascinating.
  3. The conference organizers allegedly said: “All the papers were reviewed by panelists from a panel of international experts using a double-blind review methodology. Only high quality papers were accepted All accepted papers were sent reviews from at least 3 reviewers each and the authors were then asked to update the papers based on the review comments. (No such thing happened with the 2 papers we submitted to the conference.)Imagine that. Conference organizers not doing what they said. I find that quite hard to believe. The conferences I have attended have been first class operations. No PR pitches. No fouled sessions. No glitches in putting Tab A in Tab B.

I find the education system performing at a level that I find acceptable. I don’t have any first  hand experience with schools any longer. I assume that the standards of excellence remain lofty. Articles about teaching assistants who give A’s because it is the path of least resistance are obviously minority views. The rumor that McKinsey is unhappy with the quality of new MBAs is similarly fallacious. The failure of the kid at Walgreen’s to know how to make change is also a once in a million fluke.

Yep, 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for pinning problems on systems, not individuals. Notice that the author is not putting the responsibility on the individuals who generate false information:

The root of all evil is this stupid rule that mandates that all M.E./M.Tech. students must have two publications. Until that is changed, this sort of a thing will continue to thrive. (Note: I don’t really know for sure whether there is indeed such a rule, and whether it is applicable to all colleges in India – I’m just repeating what I heard from the students and the organizers of that conference.

Yep, the root of all evil.

And what about search?

Well, if the content is filtered and not findable, researchers won’t find correct or incorrect information. Is there an app for that? If you want tips for finding useful information online, check out the librarian-centric DeeoerQI.com.

Stephen E Arnold, December 30, 2013


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta