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April 15, 2005

Academia trips over own hubris

It was only a matter of time before cheeky computer science students (from MIT, no less), perhaps inspired by the success of the ever witty and popular R. Robot's random blogging, have developed a tool for creating random computer science papers (text, graphs, and citations). One of these random papers was accepted at WMSCI 2005.

What is WMSCI? In the traditionally easy-to-understand language of conference mission statements, it is

an international forum for scientists and engineers, researchers and, consultants, theoreticians and practitioners in the fields of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics.

Obviously. Perhaps for an encore, the students should host a randomly generated conference. To add layer upon layer of hubris to the embarrassment, the conference organizers defended their acceptance of the random paper. Academia rarely gets so tangled in its own contradictions...

Update: Lance Fortnow has an interesting take on the random paper: it's equivalent to academic fraud. His readers, however, seem to think that the prank is more akin to a validation of the review process at the SCI conference (which the conference failed).

posted April 15, 2005 02:59 AM in Simply Academic | permalink