Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to help authors improve the preparation and quality of their manuscripts and published articles are rapidly increasing in number and sophistication. These include tools to assist with writing, grammar, language, references, statistical analysis, and reporting standards. Editors and publishers also use AI-assisted tools for myriad purposes, including to screen submissions for problems (eg, plagiarism, image manipulation, ethical issues), triage submissions, validate references, edit, and code content for publication in different media and to facilitate postpublication search and discoverability.1
This open access editorial takes a further look at the emergence of ChatGPT, the use of Artificial Intelligence in scholarly publications, why some publishers have rules that preclude the listing of ChatGPT as a co-author. As we have observed recently, this reflects the fact the system cannot be held responsible for the text that it produces. It also cannot be held accountable if it breaches the standards of responsible authorship (such as the reuse of wording from another publication or website without acknowledgment). Perhaps in the future, there may be a general AI that can be thought responsible and accountable, but it appears we are not there yet.
Nature has since defined a policy to guide the use of large-scale language models in scientific publication, which prohibits naming of such tools as a “credited author on a research paper” because “attribution of authorship carries with it accountability for the work, and AI tools cannot take such responsibility.”7 The policy also advises researchers who use these tools to document this use in the Methods or Acknowledgment sections of manuscripts.7 Other journals8,9 and organizations10 are swiftly developing policies that ban inclusion of these nonhuman technologies as “authors” and that range from prohibiting the inclusion of AI-generated text in submitted work8 to requiring full transparency, responsibility, and accountability for how such tools are used and reported in scholarly publication.9,10 The International Conference on Machine Learning, which issues calls for papers to be reviewed and discussed at its conferences, has also announced a new policy: “Papers that include text generated from a large-scale language model (LLM) such as ChatGPT are prohibited unless the produced text is presented as a part of the paper’s experimental analysis.”11 The society notes that this policy has generated a flurry of questions and that it plans “to investigate and discuss the impact, both positive and negative, of LLMs on reviewing and publishing in the field of machine learning and AI” and will revisit the policy in the future.11
Flanagin A, Bibbins-Domingo K, Berkwits M, Christiansen SL. (2023) Nonhuman “Authors” and Implications for the Integrity of Scientific Publication and Medical Knowledge. JAMA. 2023. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.1344