AI tools such as ChatGPT threaten transparent science, according to Springer Nature, the world’s largest academic publisher, which has laid down ground rules for its use, saying software like ChatGPT can’t be credited as an author in papers published in its journals.
First, no large language models (LLMs) tool will be accepted as a credited author on a research paper.
“That is because any attribution of authorship carries with it accountability for the work, and AI tools cannot take such responsibility,” said Nature in an article.
Second, researchers using LLM tools or AI chatbots should document the use in the methods or acknowledgements sections.
“If a paper does not include these sections, the introduction or another appropriate section can be used to document the use of the LLM,” said the publisher.
The AI chatbot ChatGPT has brought the capabilities of such tools, known as LLMs, to a mass audience.
ChatGPT can write presentable student essays, summarize research papers, answer questions well enough to pass medical exams and generate helpful computer code.
It has produced research abstracts good enough that scientists found it hard to spot that a computer had written them.
“Worryingly for society, it could also make spam, ransomware and other malicious outputs easier to produce. Although OpenAI has tried to put guard rails on what the chatbot will do, users are already finding ways around them,” said the report.
That is why Nature is setting out these principles.
“Ultimately, research must have transparency in methods, and integrity and truth from authors. This is, after all, the foundation that science relies on to advance,” the report mentioned.