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The seven lies of the AI expert who cited himself thousands of times on scientific papers

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the case of Juan Manuel Corchado, a professor of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity at the University of Salamanca in Spain, who is the sole candidate for the position of rector at the prestigious university. The article alleges that Corchado has artificially boosted his academic metrics and citations through various unethical practices, such as:

  • Publishing "pseudo-studies" with hundreds of self-citations
  • Instructing his research group to include his own work in their studies
  • Editing special issues of journals that easily publish insubstantial studies in exchange for a fee
  • Organizing a conference that is known to be "predatory" and accepts papers from anyone

The article also suggests that Corchado's candidacy for the rector position was rushed and lacked transparency, raising suspicions about the motives behind the early resignation of the previous rector.

🙋 Q&A

[01] Corchado's Alleged Unethical Practices

1. What are the seven lies that Corchado is accused of telling in his response to the information published by the newspaper?

  • Claiming that the documents with thousands of self-citations were simply "class exercises posted on a university website" (first lie)
  • Claiming that he deleted the documents with self-citations when he realized they were boosting his resume (second lie)
  • Claiming that the newspaper's article was an "attack with political intentions" to prevent him from becoming rector (third lie)
  • Claiming that the Retraction Watch reporter did not identify himself as a journalist (fourth lie)
  • Claiming that he regularly receives a multitude of emails and did not pay attention to the Retraction Watch reporter's message (fifth lie)
  • Claiming that he and his collaborators used their cybersecurity knowledge to delete the false profiles on ResearchGate (sixth lie)
  • Claiming that his metrics are also very good in other more selective databases, such as Scopus (seventh lie)

2. What evidence is provided in the article to support the claims of Corchado's unethical practices?

  • The article cites specific examples of Corchado's presentations at conferences where he cited himself hundreds of times, as well as internal emails showing that his research group was instructed to include his work in their studies.
  • The article also provides evidence of Corchado's involvement with journals that are known to easily publish insubstantial studies in exchange for a fee, as well as his organization of a "predatory" conference that accepts papers from anyone.

3. How do the experts quoted in the article characterize Corchado's alleged practices?

  • Jordi Camí, a physician and reference in scientific ethics in Spain, says that Corchado's practices are "very bad news for the University of Salamanca" and that "these ways of doing things are possible because there is impunity."
  • José María Díaz Mínguez, a professor of genetics at the University of Salamanca, calls it a "flagrant case of academic fraud" and warns that Corchado is "artificially boosting results due to an excessive desire to try to make people think that you are a very good scientist, not because of the quality of your discoveries, but because of manipulated figures."
  • Javier Mateos, a professor of electronics at the University of Salamanca, has publicly criticized Corchado's "shenanigans" and "cheating," stating that "without those tricks he would not be among the most cited, and the Arabs would not be calling him."

[02] Corchado's Candidacy for Rector

1. What are the concerns raised about the process of Corchado's candidacy for the rector position?

  • The article suggests that Corchado was already campaigning for the position before the previous rector's unexpected resignation, even though the elections were theoretically almost two years away.
  • Susana Pérez Santos, a professor who initially threatened to compete against Corchado, quit the race after unsuccessfully requesting that the elections not be called so urgently, citing "opacity" and "pre-established planning" in the process.
  • The political scientist Francisco Sánchez, director of the Ibero-American Institute of the University of Salamanca, expressed astonishment at the "irresponsible" resignation of the previous rector, stating that it "caused an unforeseen early election that only favors one candidate who was already campaigning."

2. What is the significance of Corchado being the sole candidate for the rector position?

  • The article notes that Corchado is the "only candidate for the top position at the prestigious University of Salamanca in Spain," despite the allegations of his unethical practices.
  • The article suggests that if there are no surprises, Corchado will assume command of the university, which has an annual budget of almost €290 million.
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