In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the implications of ChatGPT’s authorship, the role of AI in scientific literature, and the future of research production.
ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot created by OpenAI, has made its way into the world of scientific literature by being listed as a co-author on at least four published papers and preprints [1–4]. This news has sparked a debate among journal editors, researchers, and publishers about the place of AI tools in the published literature and whether it is appropriate to cite them as authors.
“We’re making this analogy that AI is the new electricity. Electricity transformed industries: agriculture, transportation, communication, manufacturing.”
– Andrew Ng
The Role of AI in Scientific Literature
ChatGPT is a large language model (LLM) which generates convincing sentences by mimicking the statistical patterns of language in a huge database of text collated from the Internet. With its capabilities, the bot is already disrupting various sectors, including academia. The question that arises is whether it is appropriate to use and credit AI tools such as ChatGPT when writing studies.
Publishers and preprint servers contacted by Nature’s news team agree that AIs such as ChatGPT do not fulfill the criteria for a study author, because they cannot take responsibility for the content and integrity of scientific papers. However, some publishers say that an AI’s contribution to writing papers can be acknowledged in sections other than the author list.
In one case, an editor told Nature that ChatGPT had been cited as a co-author in error and that the journal would correct this. The team behind the medical repository medRxiv and its sister site, bioRxiv, are also discussing whether it is appropriate to use and credit AI tools such as ChatGPT when writing studies.
The Future of AI in Scientific Literature
As AI technology continues to advance, it is likely that we will see more and more AI tools being used in the scientific literature. However, it is important to establish clear guidelines and policies for their use.
Authors take on legal responsibility for their work, so only people should be listed as authors on a paper. However, acknowledging the contribution of AI tools in sections other than the author list can give credit where it is due.
Publishers and preprint servers need to distinguish the formal role of an author of a scholarly manuscript from the more general notion of an author as the writer of a document. This will ensure that the integrity of scientific papers is maintained while also acknowledging the contributions of AI tools.
In conclusion, the use of AI tools such as ChatGPT in the scientific literature is a rapidly evolving topic that will require continued discussion and collaboration among journal editors, researchers, publishers, and AI experts to establish clear guidelines and policies for their use.
1 T. H. Kung, M. Cheatham, ChatGPT, A. Medenilla, C. Sillos, L. De Leon, C. Elepaño, M. Madriaga, R. Aggabao, G. Diaz-Candido, J. Maningo, and V. Tseng, “Performance of ChatGPT on USMLE: Potential for AI-Assisted Medical Education Using Large Language Models,” in medRxiv, 2022.
2 O’Connor, S. & ChatGPT Nurse Educ. Pract. 66, 103537 (2023). Article PubMed Google Scholar
3 ChatGPT & Zhavoronkov, A. Oncoscience 9, 82–84 (2022). Article PubMed Google Scholar
4 GPT, Osmanovic Thunström, A. & Steingrimsson, S. Preprint at HAL https://hal.science/hal-03701250 (2022).
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