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A Paper By Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel Was Accepted By Two Journals 100

An anonymous reader writes "A scientific study by Maggie Simpson, Edna Krabappel, and Kim Jong Fun has been accepted by two journals. Of course, none of these fictional characters actually wrote the paper, titled "Fuzzy, Homogeneous Configurations." Rather, it's a nonsensical text, submitted by engineer Alex Smolyanitsky in an effort to expose scientific journals — the Journal of Computational Intelligence and Electronic Systems and the Aperito Journal of NanoScience Technology."
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A Paper By Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel Was Accepted By Two Journals

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2014 @03:19PM (#48566359)

    This should be done all the time, like whitehats and pentesters, culling the ranks of bullshit journals.

    Unfortunately, this will just get used by anti-science folks to point out how full of shit "science" is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 )

      This should be done all the time, like whitehats and pentesters, culling the ranks of bullshit journals.

      It is. At this point, I don't even know why "journal publishes nonsense paper" is even a news story any more. It's been happening for close to 20 years now.

      • by Defenestrar ( 1773808 ) on Wednesday December 10, 2014 @03:30PM (#48566503)
        It'd be a lot more newsworthy if it was a journal with an extant impact factor. Neither of these even show up on search [impactfactorsearch.com].
        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by Moryath ( 553296 )

          Relatively accurate. It's about the same as "racist nonsense published on right-wing 'news' site."

          The journals they got the stuff into are about as reliable and factual as, say, youngcons or breitbart.

        • Indeed. When someone manages to get something like this past, say, Computational Linguistics, then we'll have something newsworthy. This is akin to announcing "House without door has lock picked!"

          • This is akin to announcing "House without door has lock picked!"

            Not to be pedantic, but actually that would be pretty interesting. What's the lock attached to and what was keeping the bugler from gaining entry that required the lock to be circumvented?

            • This is akin to announcing "House without door has lock picked!"

              Not to be pedantic, but actually that would be pretty interesting. What's the lock attached to and what was keeping the bugler from gaining entry that required the lock to be circumvented?

              Perhaps a safe inside the house with no door had its lock picked? That should still constitute the house having its lock picked, since the safe was part of the house, and therefore so was the safe's lock.

              Of course, it could later be revealed that not only did the house not have a door, but there was no opening anywhere where a door would have been, meaning the one breaking into the house had to either go through a window, bash a hole in a wall, or squeeze down the chimney.

              • In both cases, it would still be at least somewhat interesting. Which was my point. Certainly more so than what passes for news some days.

                A house with no door for entry that has a safe with a keyed lock. Generally ones that are large enough to be part of the house have combination locks that you either crack or have to cut through. Certainly not one that can be picked.

                And a house that either requires such security that there is no door, or had a contractor so incompetent that they forgot the door. That'

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        What you need to do is look at the impact factor of each journal -- a measure of how often articles in that journal are cited. What constitutes a "good" IF varies from field to field, so you want to compare the IF of a journal to the leading journals in that field. In this case the IF for the journals in question are 1.47 (0.3 for a five year period) and 1.15.. By comparison, the ACM Transaction on Intelligent Systems and Technology has an impact factor of 9.39.

        There have always been low quality journa

    • by ichthus ( 72442 )

      Unfortunately, this will just get used by anti-science folks to point out how full of shit "science" is.

      Or, it will be used by pro-science folks to point out how full of shit the peer "review" system is -- or can be.

    • No, it's proof that those journals your university pays a fortune to stock in their libraries, and which often charge researchers for the privilege of submitting their papers could for a lot less money be replaced by wiki sites where researchers could submit their papers and solicit peer review. A simple account registration process would filter out most pranksters.

    • Unfortunately, this will just get used by anti-science folks to point out how full of shit "science" is.

      Yes, but those idiots aren't actually capable of forming rational arguments. They only know how to recite dogma, and their faith doesn't require proof. Just stating something and believing make it true.

      The reality is that this exposes the strength of science: Anyone can publish a pile of rubbish and call it fact, but the scientific community will quickly call it out, discuss it, and dismiss the rubbish as such.

  • by Kiwikwi ( 2734467 ) on Wednesday December 10, 2014 @03:21PM (#48566381)
    Sheesh. What kind of journal accepts a paper written by a baby?
  • The 'author' should have been Lisa Simpson

    • Well there is often the case where TV characters have the same name as real people.
      There could be a Maggie Simpson out there who is writing papers.
      I mean the Simpson had the episode [wikipedia.org] to explain this phenomenon.
       

      • I have Michael Jackson;s business card. I worked on the sound system in his car. He is older than the music industry recording star. He was never black.
        Donald Duck served in the US Navy in the 1970's. Not the cartoon.

        • by jythie ( 914043 )
          If it was just the names I would agree 'ho hum' since rejecting a legitimate paper based off the names matching up with fictional ones would be pretty unprofessional, but the nonsense content of the paper is more concerning.. or would be concerning if those were journals of any note to begin with.

          This is kinda like submitting Alice in Wonderland to some vanity publisher and then people highlighting it as an example of how publishers do not check for obvious plagiarism. Technically correct for shakey values
          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            This is kinda like submitting Alice in Wonderland to some vanity publisher and then people highlighting it as an example of how publishers do not check for obvious plagiarism.

            That depends on what new content you can coax fans into making for Carroll's novel. Illustrate every scene in Blender perhaps?

        • by jd2112 ( 1535857 )

          I have Michael Jackson;s business card. I worked on the sound system in his car. He is older than the music industry recording star. He was never black.

          You mean the author and world-renound beer and whiskey authority? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

      • Yes, name coincidences happen. My dentist has the same name as my father and has a son with my name. (I told him I was going to bolt out of there if his wife was the same name as my mother and if he had a daughter with the same name as my sister.) However, the more these coincidences happen, the less credible they become.

        One person with the same name as a fictional character would be an interesting coincidence. Two people with the same name as fictional characters (on the same TV show no less) would str

    • Why? Lisa speaks eloquently. Simpsons canon does not indicate that Maggie cannot write. Perhaps that's how she conspired to plan the Burns assissination.

    • That would be appropriate, especially if one of the co-authors was Gracie Bermudez. [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2014 @03:24PM (#48566429)

    With a double blind review system, the identities of the authors should be irrelevant. If the paper itself has merit, then it should not matter if it is written by a well-respected reviewer, a newcomer, someone writing pseudonymously, or even an anonymous author.

    The real story here isn't the authors' pseudonyms, but rather the nonsensical content of the paper, and even that aspect of the story is hardly original.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      well the news is that these particular two journos are shit.
      nothing more to it, really.

      if you knew the names of the people who accepted it through, you would also know that they don't do shit. that would be nice info.

  • missing the point (Score:2, Insightful)

    by markhahn ( 122033 )

    Fake and/or predatory journals are an interesting phenomenon with repercussions greater than just whether they accept nonsense papers. Could the poster edit to include some commentary on why this is interesting?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Here's the problem though. If you actually spend some time reading journals, like for reals reading the actual articles. You find that even in the "very good" journals, there's a lot of garbage. For example, I can't remember the exact citation, but for a class I had to read a paper out of IEEE transactions. This is a top tier journal, not some podunk piece of crap journal. It was about wireless sensor network for in house automation. Their test set up looked like pictures ripped from an IKIA catalog.

      • by jythie ( 914043 )
        Quite true. In many journals it comes down to the often random process of who reviews your submission, with some judges being highly critical and others passing anything that lines up with what they like. It can be very hit or miss.
    • by Threni ( 635302 )

      Not sure there are many repercussions, to be honest. I'm sure when stuff gets published the author's mothers are very proud, and it's great that other people can then learn from the good stuff, but there are a hell of a lot of pointless, boring papers being written as part of some study or project that nobody gives a shit about either way. What are the implications of this paper being published? Other than giving a few people a laugh, and perhaps whoever is responsible for the quality of the journal havin

  • I have a theory that most scientific papers are loaded with slush to look beefier and more studied, just like typing double-spaced for "a two-page essay" was done. all I have to do is Greek five more pages, gin up collaborative letters from my colleagues I. B. Fulinyuh, Seymour Butts, and N. Onsence, and I'm due for my first IgNobel.

    • I don't know how things are done now, but back when I was in school, we were assigned to write essays by word count, not page count for exactly that reason. And, that's why writers talk about how many words they've written recently, not how many pages because page counts are much easier to inflate than word counts. (Double spacing, large fonts and bigger margins can make the same number of words fill more pages.)
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday December 10, 2014 @03:38PM (#48566555) Homepage
    Everyone knows Marge and Maggie simpson are totally unqualified authors for a journal on the combinational properties of Ethernet and websites. And Edna? oh id laugh to think she would be capable of reading or even WRITING something so absurdly complex. Shes deceased (gvoy). But that isnt however to say that other journals arent worth READING from these and other outlets (mmhey). Why for example I myself wrote a paper on a device i call the Sarcasm detector, and as you know my work on the hamburger earmuffs are also published science. Lets not also forget my published conference proceedings on general properties of Operation Hoyviiin Mayviiin!!

    Glayvin --
    Professor John Nerdelbaum Frink, Jr.
    Springfield Heights Institute of Technology
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can't really take the high ground when you accept all the crap that Bennett writes.

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Wednesday December 10, 2014 @03:40PM (#48566589) Homepage

    This example was about predatory journals. There are also predatory "vanity publishers" that convince aspiring authors to pay money to get their book published.

    A group of science fiction authors put together a complete novel to sting one such vanity press. The result, Atlanta Nights, is a hoot!

    In one chapter, Bruce Lucent is a young hotshot software developer; in another, he is an old, broken-down shell of a man. Some chapters have new characters that are never heard from again. Near the end of the book, the full text of the first chapter appears again as a new chapter. Also, someone wakes up and realizes that it was all a dream... and then the book continues for a few more chapters. And my favorite: the last chapter was written by feeding other chapters into a Markov Chain nonsense generator. Example: "Bruce Lucent walked around anymore."

    Rather than using Simpsons names, they chose a fake name "Travis Tea" that sounds like the word "travesty".

    Atlanta Nights was accepted for publication, but after the authors had their press release the publisher changed its mind.

    http://www.sfwa.org/members/travistea/backstory.htm [sfwa.org]

    They got a bunch of famous authors to give tongue-in-cheek blurbs about the book. Jerry Pournelle: "Don't fail to miss it if you can!"

  • Does author matter? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ksevio ( 865461 ) on Wednesday December 10, 2014 @03:43PM (#48566615) Homepage
    I'm more concerned about the "papers" that contain gibberish nonsense than one where the author isn't correct. Those are both names that could easily exist, but even if they didn't, it shouldn't be a problem to publish an article by Anonymous as long as it's peer-reviewed and contains good material.
  • Obligatory HaHa [youtu.be]
  • Bad summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by upontheturtlesback ( 2605689 ) on Wednesday December 10, 2014 @04:02PM (#48566803)
    This is a terrible summary, and should clearly state that this was a joke effort to expose two essentially fake journals (that no one in the field thinks are real) as predatory and accepting papers for money without peer review. The summary makes it sound like this is a big deal or that these might have been important journals, but really as an academic (or anyone with a university email address) you get at least 10 of these offers to publish papers in random fake journals for money in your inbox every day.

    For non-academics, these "journals" are basically the difference between a guy in a trench coat coming up to you on the street and offering to "publish" your book for money, and a real and respected publishing house like the MIT Press offering to publish your book after a laborious review process. If a real journal or publisher accepted a paper or book that was fake or had genuine errors, this would be substantial news (and it does happen occasionally that things do get past the reviewers, they're only human), but that is very far from the case here.
    • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Wednesday December 10, 2014 @04:28PM (#48567057)
      I now have a sudden urge to start walking around campus with a trench coat asking people 'hey kid, that's a nice little dissertation you got there, youz maybe wanna get it published perhaps?'
    • I also get loads of these. I can't imagine anybody being stupid enough to fall for it, but like other spam, I expect it continues because they do get enough replies to be profitable. I'd like to believe that it's funded entirely by people submitting sting articles, but that's probably too optimistic :)

      I think the second greatest harm these fake journals do (after the harm they do to science's reputation due to how the media report on this) is to make it much harder to establish new journals. I think arXiv o

    • that there are several Journals doing pay for play. In that context the summary is fine.
  • nice to see (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2014 @04:03PM (#48566809)

    I think it's great to see more women of all ages in the STEM fields. Good show!

  • Skinner!?!?
  • I noticed that the title of the summary only had two of the three names. What, Kim Jong Fun not sounding female enough for the New Improved Slashdot?

    • While I share your exasperation at the pervasive feminSJW tilt slashdot has undergone recently, I have to point out that in the US, usage of the name "Kim" still skews heavily to the female gender.

    • Story titles are limited to 80 Latin-1 characters, comment subjects to 50. How would you rewrite the headline?
  • Of course, the guys from Futurama would have written an actual paper.

    .
  • Note the lack of a space in "Fun,Edna" in the acceptance letter.

    Also, using a gmail address doesn't exactly seem professional. You would think a legitimate professional journal could splurge a few bucks for their own domain-name. Oh wait....

  • B. Experiments and Results

    "Is it possible to justify the great pains we took in our implementation? No. With these considerations in mind, we ran four novel experiments: (1) we measured Web server and DNS latency on our decommissioned Macintosh SEs; "

    Now that's hilarious.

  • The Journal of Computational Intelligence and Electronic Systems and the Aperito Journal of NanoScience Technology are perfectly cromulent journals.

  • I am really not sure what this says about me... -Milhouse
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why anyone buys into the academic racket is beyond me. You spend a decade or more of your life working at-or-below minimum wage paying high tuition costs to do some cool science. To advance your academic career, you must publish your findings, which means turning over all rights to your findings to the journals. And if you're lucky, you might be one of the 8% who get a tenure track position, the rest are screwed.

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2013/12/11/how-academia-resembles-a-drug-gang/

  • es, I'm serious [imdb.com]. He's a freind of mine, and he's had the name since long before the show went on air. My point is that having the name 'Maggie Simpson' means nothing -- unlike the bogus content. I don't know if they did this, butit seems that a properly juried work should have the name removed from it during the review process.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard

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