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Spam Science News

Profanity-Laced Academic Paper Exposes Scam Journal 137

Frosty P writes: A scientific paper titled "Get Me Off Your F****** Mailing List" was actually accepted by the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology. As reported at Vox and other web sites, the journal, despite its distinguished name, is a predatory open-access journal. These sorts of low-quality journals spam thousands of scientists, offering to publish their work for a fee. In 2005, computer scientists David Mazières and Eddie Kohler created this highly profane ten-page paper as a joke, to send in replying to unwanted conference invitations. It literally just contains that seven-word phrase over and over, along with a nice flow chart and scatter-plot graph. More recently, computer scientist Peter Vamplew sent it to the IJACT in response to spam from the journal, and the paper was automatically accepted with an anonymous reviewer rating it as "excellent," and requested a fee of $150. Over the years, the number of these predatory journals has exploded. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, keeps an up-to-date list of them to help researchers avoid being taken in; it currently has 550 publishers and journals on it."
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Profanity-Laced Academic Paper Exposes Scam Journal

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  • The Source Document (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Saturday November 22, 2014 @01:58PM (#48440667)

    Of course I didn't use the word "F******" in my submission, but I suppose Slashdot must be couth.

    Anyway, here's a link to the actual paper (warning: PDF) - http://www.scs.stanford.edu/~d... [stanford.edu]

    • Nice flowchart. I like how diagrams the structure clearly. With such clean diagrams, I understand why it got accepted.
    • Remind's me of a similar case [wikipedia.org] where a physics professor submitted what amounted to meaningless expressions or general nonsense to a journal. You can read the article in question [nyu.edu] if you're interested. It has some rather funny bits and some humor sprinkled in occasionally:

      Mathematically, Einstein breaks with the tradition dating back to Euclid (and which is inflicted on high-school students even today!), and employs instead the non-Euclidean geometry developed by Riemann. Einstein's equations are highly nonlinear, which is why traditionally-trained mathematicians find them so difficult to solve.

      In the 1980's a very different approach, known as string theory, became popular: here the fundamental constituents of matter are not point-like particles but rather tiny (Planck-scale) closed and open strings. In this theory, the space-time manifold does not exist as an objective physical reality; rather, space-time is a derived concept, an approximation valid only on large length scales (where ``large'' means ``much larger than 10^-33 centimeters''!).

      As Althusser rightly commented, ``Lacan finally gives Freud's thinking the scientific concepts that it requires''. More recently, Lacan's topologie du sujet has been applied fruitfully to cinema criticism and to the psychoanalysis of AIDS. In mathematical terms, Lacan is here pointing out that the first homology group of the sphere is trivial, while those of the other surfaces are profound; and this homology is linked with the connectedness or disconnectedness of the surface after one or more cuts.

    • by rmstar ( 114746 )

      Of course I didn't use the word "F******" in my submission, but I suppose Slashdot must be couth.

      I hope you don't come to regret your bravado.

      Not because there will be any retaliation (they don't give half a rat's ass, as you very clearly demonstrated) but because what you did was the proverbial wrestling with pigs - with the inevitable result of ending up covered in shit. Now you stand there, and it is not unlikely that people will remember you first and foremost for publishing a paper filled with foul lan

      • I think it's more likely that people won't remember this at all than it is that they'll remember someone submitting some paper with words some people arbitrarily deem to be bad.

      • I didbn't publish this paper. I submitted the story to Slashdot.

    • The paper isn't mis-using religious concepts or entities or terminology for secular and negative purposes, it's using vulgar terms instead of more polite ones. People keep f******* mistaking the two concepts.

  • by Blrfl ( 46596 ) on Saturday November 22, 2014 @02:14PM (#48440725) Homepage

    It's no Chicken Chicken Chicken [isotropic.org], but it'll do.

  • Over the years, the number of these predatory journals has exploded.

    If the journal is the predator, who or what is the prey? Pray tell.

    • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

      Those who write the documents, clearly as indicated in TFS.

      I have been approached myself by several journals, all of which I have rejected because they ALL wanted ME to pay THEM to publish my work. I would sooner give it away than pay(!?) to have it published, particularly given the subject matter of my most important research into the trafficking of foreign children by the British State.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        the trafficking of foreign children by the British State

        Historical, or contemporary?

        Linky?

        • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

          it's very much a current issue: https://www.academia.edu/57099... [academia.edu] (I'm listed as report drafting, I basically did the analysis) [PDF].

      • It does not sound like the prey are those that write the documents but those people the authors are using the published articles for some form of benefit.
      • While I agree that there are predatory journals out there and that authors need to be wary of them, I am not entirely sure that requiring authors to pay for publication is quite the correct criterion for determining whether or not a journal is predatory. Peer review, editing, and publication cost money. Traditionally, this cost is paid by subscribers to the journal, and these subscriptions can often be quite expensive (consider how Elsevier prices its journals). If the goal is to disseminate information,
        • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

          The current trend is through adclicks. The content is a side dish, like GMail, G+, Google Search, OK Google and Facebook Newsfeed. The real content as far as the likes of Zuckerberg and Google's shareholders are concerned, is the ad space. The actual user data, however it is used or not by the respective companies, is merely a means to a targetted end.

          For THE definitive demonstration of this in action, check Million Dollar Script. This was a social experiment, covered on Slashdot in September 2005, to sell

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The prey are the authors who want to get published, and are willing to pay money to do so.

      If you even bothered to read the summary, that would have become obvious.

    • Dumb researchers they can bilk publishing fees out of.
    • Whenever I see the juxtaposition "predatory scientific journals", I'm immediately reminded of the unforgettable Monty Python archeology sketch.
    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      The one who has less money at the end.

  • "The University of Siegen in Germany working in the research and development of an autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (DORIS) project as in figure 1. As it is still a work-in-progress, a problem has been identified in the de- signing and implement a speed control system for DORIS_1 and DORIS_2 where a mechanical transmission and Hydro- static transmission used. An electro hydraulic servo system developed for DORIS_3 [1]." They do not waste monies on grammar the editing.
    • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Saturday November 22, 2014 @02:47PM (#48440841)

      Also note the "Editorial Board" for this illustrious publication: http://www.ijact.org/eb.htm [ijact.org]

      I suspect that this "journal" not only provides these guys with extra income, but also serves publication destination for their own dubious science papers.

      Of course what keeps these "journals" in business is the fever pitch that academics must publish just to stay relevant in their professional / social strata (and who cares what they publish as long as they do), and their quest for tenure...

      • I have not been keeping up with video games. What can you tell me about Quest For Tenure?
  • I wonder if this is where all the anti, and all the pro AGW "studies" are done

    What I mean is has anyone actually sourced out all the sources on both sides of the isle? does one side use these shady journals to "prove" the other side wrong? Do both do it? or do the studies we get side come from mostly reputable sources
  • There are two problems with the situation, one is easy to solve and the other less so.

    The first problem is that occasionally researchers (usually junior) will submit actual meaningful work to these journals, likely driven at least in part by the exceptionally low publication charge. Publishing in a top-tier journal is expensive, and even the reputable open-access journals (such as PLoS ONE) can easily be over $1000 to publish. As junior researchers don't have the larger budgets of their senior colleague
    • I think the solution is a FOSS(Free Open Source Science) journal. Moderated by a community, for the benefit of the community.

      After vicious attacks by the outside world against FOSS, I think its time we demand the new standard for all learned fields that describe scientific, engineered, and otherwise proccess oriented objective knowledge, to be Free.

      We could have an organization like debian, that instead of publishing a distribution of other people's software, publishes an online journal, of other people

      • And how would you fund that?
      • We could have an organization like debian, that instead of publishing a distribution of other people's software, publishes an online journal, of other people's papers. Run, and reviewed in the same manner.

        That is a great idea. The problem though is that it takes money to do it. You need editors to review the papers. You need a web page that can handle traffic for distributing the papers. You need a physical space to store the hardware. You need a communication system for editors and reviewers to communicate with authors and with each other.

        Even if a faculty member at a research university were to propose to do this, they would still need to dedicate money from their grant or their salary to fund it

    • I am a staff engineer at a university, so I receive most all the spam that is sent to the university's professors. I get many invitations to conferences. I assume that most, if not all, of them are bogus, since I'm not a researcher and most of them are for fields that I don't work in.

      When I have looked into one or two of them out of curiosity, I went down a rabbit hole of internet weirdness (SEO, lack of citations, etc.)
  • Now they're going to put this esteemed journal out of business and their paper will never receive the sort of impact factor needed for tenure.

  • So, you're telling me the $300 I paid to the Journal of Experimental Onanism to publish my findings was a waste of money?

    Damn. I've already printed up my CV and that paper is at the top of my list of publications. I suppose I should have been suspicious when I saw that the editors that were assigned to peer review my paper were Jack Meihoff and Richard Gazinya.

  • As a reviewer, I would have rejected the paper because I don't see where either of the references given are cited in the text. However, they would get a point for being up-to-date in citing RFC2821 rather than RFC 821.
    • by sk999 ( 846068 )

      The references are cited in the text on p. 2 - look for [1] and [2].

      However, good catch r.e. the RFCs. That must be the reason the paper was accepted. This journal doesn't let just anything in.

  • There are sham politicians, sham journalists, sham non-open-access-journals, sham universities, sham scientists, even sham-poo. Why shouldn't there be sham-open-access-journals? What are these people trying to prove?

  • It took two computer scientists to write up this document? I fear for the future
  • /unsubscribe
    fucking /unsubscribe

  • Because, that's what SPAM is intended to do, only a fraction of a percentage of the people have to give them money (even if it's as a joke, opposite research or any reason whatsoever) for them to be profitable.

    These sites are literally auto-generated for any field you can think of (I work in association with physicists, biologists and neurologists, they have at least a dozen journals across these fields). I get daily spams from at least 5 of them. The websites are identical (replacing the $field), the journ

  • IJACT'ed from the community of honorable journals?
  • While the scientific merits of their approach are indeed somewhat questionable, their article addresses a topic of widespread public interest and they make a valid point. I suppose it has entered the journal not under the category "original research" but rather under "discussion and critical commentaries".

  • http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scig... [mit.edu]

    SCIgen, an automatic CS paper generator, which got several "authors" accepted to talk at conferences !

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.

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