Today, I tried to use ChatGPT to help me with a related works section. It was for a short paper about a student work which I supervised earlier and the student has not done a very good job in that part 🙂
So, I started by asking ChatGPT:
This is what I’ve got from ChatGPT:
and so on, until the end:
Wow, I thought first. Holy *, I thought next. Thats great! I can use it at least as a start. As a good scientist, I wanted to check the papers, especially whether they are really peer-reviewed. But maybe I can already create the BibTex file, so it is ready. So, I asked ChatGPT:
Great. I can now check the papers quickly, and then I am done! How wonderful is that?!
I copied the first paper into Google Scholar, and I’ve got:
Ugh. What do you mean, Google, “did not match any results”?! I’ve got it straight from ChatGPT!!
OK, the ones of you who already worked intensively with ChatGPT and actually critically evaluated it and read some articles about this would not be caught by surprise here. Not so for some of my students… None of these articles were real, but the journals were. I went to that particular issue of that particular journal, and the paper was not there, bot even a similar one or another one by the same authors.
In fact, when you confront ChatGPT with the fact that none of these articles seem to exist, it says:
This is, of course, true and should be known by all users of ChatGPT. However, I must admit that the way it answered my first query was super confusing and misleading, letting me truly believe that the text is correct and I can rely on it. It is not my experience and general scepticism against things that are too good to be true, I would have been trapped.
Be warned! ChatGPT might be a nice search engine, but the user is still fully responsible for checking and confirming the results before using them. It is not a peer-reviewed or any other kind of trusted information source.