Update on SCIgen-generated papers in conference proceedings

Berlin | 20 March 2014

As reported in the media, on 11 February 2014 we were alerted to 16 fake submissions that were published in conference proceedings in Springer publications, mostly in computer sciences and engineering. The submissions were generated by the SCIgen computer program, which creates nonsense documents. On 27 February 2014, we posted a statement on springer.com with the facts at that point and a promise to provide further information.

On 27 February, we said that we would *remove* the articles, not retract them -- because as they were so obviously nonsense we thought they needed to be taken down as quickly as possible. Retractions are usually initiated by editors or authors, whereas in this case we thought immediate action on our part was justified and appropriate.

However, retraction is the best available mechanism for correcting the literature and ensuring its integrity (including details such as pagination). In order to include a placeholder notice and explanation on all platforms, the technical retraction process was initiated and the articles are marked as “retractions” – in spite of the fact that the fake articles are not typical examples of retractions.

On 27 February we also mentioned that we had reached out to Dr. Cyril Labbé for advice and collaboration. We are very pleased that Dr. Labbé, with whom we have been in continuous contact since then, is helping us build a strong and efficient system to detect SCIgen generated papers.

If any more such papers are found, they will receive the same treatment as the original 16 papers, and we will issue a final statement when this process is completed. The final statement will provide information on additional measures we will be taking to ensure the highest possible quality for conference proceedings published by Springer.

Read the latest update here.


Eric Merkel-Sobotta (Global)
Annika Dirks (Berlin)
Ruth Francis (London)
Alexander Brown (New York)
Renate Bayaz (Heidelberg)