Crane-kick that publication, Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

Who doesn’t love a sequel? Summer is a great time for them, isn’t it? (Reminds me… still need to get to How to Train Your Dragon 2…) Of course, some are better than others…

Last month I re-blogged a helpful little article with tips for getting published. This morning I saw that the author, a journal editor at the University of British Columbia, wrote a follow-up piece with some helpful advice. Since we’re at about the halfway point of the summer, a prime time for many of us to re-focus on our scholarship, it seemed prudent to pass it along. (And since the author references The Princess Bride right after the jump, you know she’s cool.)

So enjoy this follow-up from Kirsten Bellpublished in Vitae from the Chronicle.

______________________________________________________________________

Random Reflections on Getting Published

Full_07142014-peanuts

July 14, 2014

In my last article, I provided a handful of obvious tips for junior scholars on getting journal articles published. My aim wasn’t to provide a comprehensive guide to publication, but instead to highlight common (and easily rectified) issues that I see regularly as an associate editor of an academic journal.

But there’s more to say. So as a follow-up, I thought I’d offer a few random reflections informed by my work as an editor and my experiences as an author.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Just For Fun: What’s the impact factor of gobbledygook?

If you’re like me, you’ve occasionally read a research article in a respected journal and then asked yourself, “Huh?!? Was that written by monkeys on typewriters?” Evidence continues to accumulate that peer review is not necessarily a foolproof guard against nonsense in print.  In 1996 physicist Alan Sokal had his essay “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” published in Social Text, only to immediately reveal that his essay was an intentional spoof designed to reveal the potential for absurdity in radical cultural studies. The hoax sparked a firestorm in academia.

Now it appears that intentional nonsense is pervasive — at least according to this new article in Slate.

In 2005, a group of MIT graduate students decided to goof off in a very MIT graduate student way: They created a program called SCIgen that randomly generated fake scientific papers. Thanks to SCIgen, for the last several years, computer-written gobbledygook has been routinely published in scientific journals and conference proceedings.

According to Nature News, Cyril Labbé, a French computer scientist, recently informed Springer and the IEEE, two major scientific publishers, that between them, they had published more than 120 algorithmically-generated articles. In 2012, Labbé had told the IEEE of another batch of 85 fake articles. He’s been playing with SCIgen for a few years—in 2010 a fake researcher he created, Ike Antkare, briefly became the 21st most highly cited scientist in Google Scholar’s database.

The article goes on to discuss the implications of how the publish-or-perish imperative in academia might make such a farce less surprising than we expect, and why this is a problem. It’s a good read — check it out!