In the nether realms of academia, the “publish or perish” mentality is as strong as it ever was. Nontenured professors and slave-like graduate students will submit their work anywhere to make a name for themselves. Predatory journals take advantage of these poor souls, but a few intrepid scholars hope to expose these fraudulent outlets.
Such is the case for The Simpsons‘ Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel, whose paper “Fuzzy, Homogeneous Configurations” was accepted for publication by two “scientific” journals: the Journal of Computational Intelligence and Electronic Systems, and the Aperito Journal of NanoScience Technology. According to VOX, engineer Alex Smolyanitsky hoped the submission would expose both journals. It worked:
These outlets both belong to a world of predatory journals that spam thousands of scientists, offering to publish their work — whatever it is — for a fee, without actually conducting peer review. When Smolyanitsky was contacted by them, he submitted the paper, which has a totally incoherent, science-esque text written by SCIgen, a random text generator. (Example sentence: “we removed a 8-petabyte tape drive from our peer-to-peer cluster to prove provably “fuzzy” symmetries’s influence on the work of Japanese mad scientist Karthik Lakshminarayanan.”)
Then, he thought up the authors, along with a nonexistent affiliation (“Belford University”) for them. “I wanted first and foremost to come up with something that gives out the fake immediately,” he says. “My only regret is that the second author isn’t Ralph Wiggum.”
Considering Maggie’s 25-year infancy, I think it’s about time she do something with her life. And it was awfully nice of the aging teacher Edna Krabappel to help Maggie into the real-ish world of higher education.
If you’re interested (or a glutton for punishment), VOX published the paper online. It’s obviously gibberish, but with an opening line like “The Ethernet must work,” it begs to be read and (mis-)understood.