When New Zealand professor Christoph Bartneck received an invitation to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics in the US, he was skeptical given he has "practically no knowledge" of nuclear physics. So he decided to use his iPhone's iOS autocomplete function to help him write a paper by feeding it a word like "atomic" or "nuclear" and then randomly tapping one of the suggested next words, he writes in a blog post. (Bartneck demonstrates how on YouTube.) Sample line: "Physics are great but the same as you have been able and the same way to get the rest to your parents." Bartneck then submitted the nonsensical paper under the fake name Iris Pear (think "Siri Apple"). He received a reply three hours later telling him the abstract was approved for presentation at the Nov. 17-18 conference in Atlanta.
Registering to attend, however, costs $1,099, reports the Guardian. Bartneck declined to move forward. This isn't the first story of its kind. One paper that simply repeated the phrase "get me off your f---ing mailing list" ad nauseam was accepted by the open-access Journal of Advanced Computer Technology in 2014. In this case, Bartneck may have simply scammed a scam; one commenter on his blog says the conference isn't legit and only exists to "phish larger conference fees." The Christian Science Monitor agrees that, "Between its poorly designed website, open calls for abstracts, and vague location, the conference smacks of a scam." Bartneck says it does indeed smell like "a money-making conference with little to no commitment to science," but he's tempted to ask for the reviewers' comments for a laugh. (One study finds issues with open-access journals.)