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Communications of the ACM


Collusion Rings Threaten the Integrity of Computer Science Research

crown formed by shadows of chess pawns

Credit: Lightspring

The discipline of computer science has historically made effective use of peer-reviewed conference publications as an important mechanism for disseminating timely and impactful research results. Recent attempts to "game" the reviewing system could undermine this mechanism, damaging our ability to share research effectively.

I want to alert the community to a growing problem that attacks the fundamental assumptions that the review process has depended upon. My hope is that exposing the behavior of a community of unethical individuals will encourage others to exert social pressure that will help bring colluders into line, invite a broader set of people to engage in problem solving, and provide some encouragement for people trapped into collusion by more senior researchers to extricate themselves and make common cause with the rest of the community. My motivation for writing this Viewpoint is because I became aware of an example in the computer-architecture community where a junior researcher may have taken his own life instead of continuing to engage in a possible collusion ring.a


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