Some of the world’s biggest academic journal publishers have banned or curbed their authors from using the advanced chatbot, ChatGPT. Because the bot uses information from the internet to produce highly readable answers to questions, the publishers are worried that inaccurate or plagiarised work could enter the pages of academic literature.
Set aside the current enthusiasm about the power and eloquence of ChatGPT. It mines text previously published to the web. It splices together paragraphs without genuinely understanding what it produces. At the very least its products will need to be paraphrased and checked for logical or other errors. We are just about to publish a foundation of institutional guidance on the use of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence systems in research outputs.
It’s not surprising the use of such chatbots is of interest to academic publishers. Our recent study, published in Finance Research Letters, showed ChatGPT could be used to write a finance paper that would be accepted for an academic journal. Although the bot performed better in some areas than in others, adding in our own expertise helped overcome the program’s limitations in the eyes of journal reviewers.
However, we argue that publishers and researchers should not necessarily see ChatGPT as a threat but rather as a potentially important aide for research – a low-cost or even free electronic assistant.