The AI Research Paper Was Real. The ‘Coauthor’ Wasnt
David Cox, the co-director of a prestigious expert system lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was scanning an online computer technology bibliography in December when he noticed something odd– his name listed as an author alongside 3 scientists in China whom he didnt understand on 2 papers he didnt recognize.
Initially, he didnt believe much of it. The name Cox isnt uncommon, so he figured there need to be another David Cox doing AI research. “Then I opened up the PDF and saw my own photo recalling at me,” Cox says. “It was astounding.”
It isnt clear how prevalent this sort of scholastic fraud may be, or why someone would note as a coauthor someone not associated with the research study. By checking other documents composed by the same Chinese authors, WIRED discovered a 3rd example, where the photo and biography of an MIT scientist were noted under a fictitious name.
It might be an effort to increase the possibilities of publication or gain academic eminence, Cox says. He states he has heard reports of academics in China being provided a financial benefit for releasing with researchers from prominent Western institutions.
Whatever the reason, it highlights weaknesses in scholastic publishing, according to Cox and others. It also shows a more comprehensive absence of rules around the publishing of documents in AI and computer system science especially, where lots of documents are published online without evaluation in advance.
” The basic obstacle that we deal with is that publishing has, for years, worked based on trust.”
Suzanne Farley, research integrity director at Springer Nature
According to Retraction Watch, a website that tracks cases of scholastic fraud, one of the Chinese authors, Daming Li, a scientist affiliated with the City University of Macau, blamed the situation on a junior author, Xiang Yao, who is connected with a company Zhuhai Da Hengqin Science and Technology Development. Li told the publication that Yao included Coxs name after “listening to his good ideas” and stated the researcher had actually been fired. Li and Yao did not react to emailed ask for comment.
” This stuff would not be so damaging if it didnt weaken public rely on peer evaluation,” Cox states. “It truly shouldnt have the ability to happen.”
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All three papers have since been withdrawed, and the publishers state they are investigating. However Cox was angered that the journals would release something so obviously fake in the first place. He states IEEE quickly pulled back the paper listing Bill Franks.
” Our investigation found evidence of an infraction of IEEEs policies, and, in accordance with our editorial procedures, the post in concern has been pulled back,” states Monika Stickel, director of business communications a brand name marketing at IEEE.
Cox says it wasnt until he threatened legal action that Springer Nature, the publisher of Cluster Computing, removed his name from the 2 papers and provided a retraction. He was told that the journal had actually gotten an email verifying him as an author, although that came through a Hotmail address.
” The essential obstacle that we face is that publishing has, for decades, worked based on trust,” says Suzanne Farley, research integrity director at Springer Nature. “Unfortunately, it has ended up being clear that there are some individuals and groups who are intent to deceive and abuse this trust, as well as cases in which there are sincere errors and misunderstanding.”
Farley says often academics do not utilize an institutional e-mail address, in which case efforts are made to verify that the address and the author are genuine.
Cox, who directs the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, a cooperation that explores basic difficulties in AI, was credited as a coauthor on 2 documents in the niche journal Cluster Computing. One paper worried a device knowing approach for protecting mobile networks from cyberattack; another outlined a networking plan for a smart transport system in Macau.
The paper recognized by WIRED, about another smart transport project, noted as one author “Bill Franks,” presumably a professor in MITs electrical engineering department. The paper, which appeared in IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, showed a bio and photograph for a real MIT teacher, Saman Amarasinghe, along with the bogus name.
The name Cox isnt uncommon, so he figured there need to be another David Cox doing AI research. “Then I opened up the PDF and saw my own image looking back at me,” Cox states. All 3 papers have actually since been withdrawed, and the publishers state they are investigating. Cox was outraged that the journals would publish something so clearly phony in the very first place. Li told the publication that Yao included Coxs name after “listening to his great concepts” and stated the researcher had actually been fired.