The reality TV star and social media influencer is listed as an author on a paper published in a scientific journal earlier this month, and her co-author is none other than Satoshi Nakamoto – the mysterious recluse and inventor of Bitcoin, whose identity has never been revealed.
Strange company to keep, and the nature of their collaboration is even stranger.
Their paper, published in Drug Designing & Intellectual Properties International Journal, is an impenetrable treatise on the topic of ‘Wanion’, an algorithm methodology for optimising e-commerce systems.
The sheer technical language of the paper suggests Nakamoto may have led the work, because Wanion’s complexity seems a world away from Kim K’s usual fare. Or perhaps the third author, computer scientist Tomáš Pluskal from MIT, shouldered the bulk of the writing.
In comments to Retraction Watch, Pluskal spoke glowingly of working with Kardashian.
“I have always thought that Kim’s scientific talents were a bit under-appreciated, so I wanted to give her the opportunity to show this unknown side of her,” Pluskal says.
“Needless to say, the science presented in the paper would never have reached such high quality without her input.”
Yet… if you read the paper, the ‘high quality’ of the commentary is somewhat questionable.
“In recent years, much research has been devoted to the synthesis of the Turing machine; nevertheless, few have enabled the deployment of systems,” the paper opens.
“In this work, we show not only that e-commerce can be made cacheable, semantic, and client-server, but that the same is true for vacuum tubes.”
Hmm. We’re no experts on e-commerce or vacuum tubes, but something about that doesn’t read quite right.
The journal the work appears in is published by a company called Lupine Publishers. That name has a vaguely sinister, predatory ring to it – which is ironically fitting, because (surprise!) this entire study is a sham.
As Pluskal explained to Retraction Watch, the paper – which neither Kardashian or Satoshi Nakamoto actually co-authored – isn’t a real study, but a contrived fake designed as yet another sting on predatory journals.
These journals prey on up-and-coming scientists who are desperate to get noticed in their fields, by charging them exorbitant fees to get their research published, while skipping the peer review process that gives scientific literature its integrity.
In this case, it turns out none of the authors were actually legit, and the paper is gibberish.
While Pluskal set up the sting, he had computers write the paper for him, using an MIT program called SCIgen that automatically stitches together scientific-sounding text, and which has previously fooled journals into publishing nonsense.
Of course, the chaotic output generated by the program is completely meaningless. But that doesn’t mean SCIgen isn’t useful, at least when your tongue is firmly embedded in your cheek.
“I have been using SCIgen for a while,” Pluskal told Retraction Watch.
“It is a fantastic tool that saves so much time and reduces the burden and stress associated with paper preparation. It’s cutting-edge MIT technology at its best.”
So, sadly, it seems Kim Kardashian is not a published scientist after all. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t made an important contribution to the field.
The ‘findings’ are reported in Drug Designing & Intellectual Properties International Journal.