I recently came across several papers in the area of Information Extraction and Data Mining which seem to have passed the review process even if they (1) use some new terminology without describing it, (2) replicate some old and popular technique and just describe it in a new way, (3) use new datasets without releasing them publicly or describing them in detail, (4) confusing language that doesn't seem to describe the methods... and much more.
Why challenge them? Such papers give these people a kind of leverage in situations where number of publications count rather than quality of genuine work. They also encourage, let's say, 'pseudoscience' within the scientific community - or fraud, as those more experienced among you say.
I've faced situations like:-
- Someone hired me from a freelance site to implement a previously published paper. The paper doesn't adequately describe the novel methods they claim. I spend a week on it but don't get paid.
- Similar situation but the implementation's accuracy doesn't match the claim.
- In a semi-academic gathering (tea time in a summer school), a discussion turned into a debate. Though I wasn't involved in it, one of the others said something which I pointed out as being logically wrong. It turned personal and one of them claimed that they knew better because of having twice the number of papers than me. Later when I read their papers I found that they didn't contain any ideas that would count as a genuine research.
I guess some of you might have been in similar situations before. Yes it doesn't matter in the longer term; but it is hard to avoid some situations like this and I think it might be hampering the research community as a whole.
Here are the exact points of my question:
- Should we confront such publications? Would we get anything out of it?
- Is it even feasible?
- How can I do so? What actions are possible in such cases? What is the best course of action?
p.s. Yes citations matter more than just throwing papers - but such publications also get citations from other equally content-less papers published in similar conferences.
pps. Most of these papers are from less-than-tier-3 level conferences but still published by top publishers like IEEE and Springer.
I spend a week on it but don't get paid.- You should always get paid for your time. You may want to revise whatever contractual agreement you send them in advance for your work, as well as be sure you know what you're making, (and they know what they're getting), before you start working.