Victor Tangermann
Academic Shortcut

This Site Turns Wikipedia Pages Into Fake Academic Papers

byDan Robitzski
9. 25. 19
Victor Tangermann

M-Journal is all about helping students trick their teachers.

Homework Helper

A new website called M-Journal will automatically turn Wikipedia pages into realistic-looking academic papers.

The idea is to give students a hand on their homework, making it seem like they’re citing more reputable sources than Wikipedia without having to do any extra work, according to Buzzfeed News. Its creators, from a company called MSCHF, told Buzzfeed News that M-Journal is meant to help students circumvent busy work.

Paywalled Pranks

If a teacher attempts to look up what sources their students are citing, they’ll see what appears to be a poorly-scanned copy of an academic journal article. The most devious part: the fake journal is paywalled and asks would-be subscribers for $300 to read the full version of an article, or $2,000 for an annual pass.

“For all intents and purposes, most papers should be able to refer to Wikipedia,” MSCHF founder Gabe Whaley told BuzzFeed News. “Wikipedia is a pretty good source.”

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Kicking The Tires

Unfortunately, the articles aren’t very good. Whaley claimed that he knows of at least one college professor who was fooled by an M-Journal citation, but based on the site’s shoddy output it seems more likely that the prof simply didn’t bother looking into it.

Students hoping to use M-Journal as a shortcut are also banking on the chance that their teachers don’t know about any of the open-access projects that help navigate around paywalls.

Or, you know, simple fact-checking Google searches.

READ MORE: This Website Will Turn Wikipedia Articles Into “Real” Academic Papers [Buzzfeed News]

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