ChatGPT invents Henrik Enghoff academic citations

Occurred: August 2023

Danish biologist and academic Henrik Enghoff was falsely cited by ChatGPT in a scientific paper about millipedes. 

The citation resulted in the paper's withdrawal and raised further questions about the generative AI tool's tendency to 'hallucinate', or produce plusible sounding falsities.

Enghoff had first noticed something strange when he saw the paper, which was written by academics from Ethiopia and China, citing his work for something he does not write about, and referenced two paper he knew he had not authored, and which turned out not to exist.

The paper was first taken down in June 2023 by preprint archive, after David Richard Nash, a University of Copenhagen colleague of Enghoff's, had identified ChatGPT as the likely cuplrit and notified editors of the errors. The paper subsequently resurfaced on preprint platform Research Square, which later withdrew it and blacklisted the 'authors'. 

In July 2023, Kahsay Tadesse Mawcha of Ethiopia's Aksum University had admitted to Danish newspaper Weekendavisen that he had used ChatGPT when writing his paper, adding that he only later realised the tool was 'not recommended' for the task. 

Operator: Aksum University
Developer: OpenAI

Country: Denmark

Sector: Research/academia

Purpose: Generate text

Technology: Chatbot; NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning; Reinforcement learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Mis/disinformation

Transparency: Governance; Black box

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: September 2023
Last updated: November 2023