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Could AI Help or Hurt Scientific Research Articles?


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chatbot character at a laptop computer atop a stack of books

AI cannot always synthesize provided information to make meaningful connections between concepts, researchers said.

Credit: Getty Images

Could the ChatGPT artificial intelligence system be a useful tool for writing scientific, peer-reviewed research?

"Right now, many journals do not want people to use ChatGPT to write their articles, but a lot of people are still trying to use it," says Melissa Kacena, vice chair of research and a professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "We wanted to study whether ChatGPT is able to write a scientific article and what are the different ways you could successfully use it." 

To that end, researchers took three different topics and prompted the subscription version of ChatGPT to create scientific articles about them. The researchers took three different approaches for the original draft of the articles: all human; all ChatGPT; or a combination. The study is published in Current Osteoporosis Reports.

In the articles written only by ChatGPT, up to 70% of the references were wrong. But when using an AI-assisted approach with more human involvement, they saw more plagiarism, especially when giving the tool more references up front. Overall, the use of AI decreased time spent to write the article, but required more extensive fact checking.

The writing was another concern. Even though ChatGPT was prompted to use a higher level of scientific writing, the words and phrases were not necessarily written at the level someone would expect to see from a researcher.

From Indiana University
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