There are a lot of conferences out there. If you are in science, or even science media, you have gotten emails soliciting papers. The benefit for them is you pay a big registration fee, the presumed benefit for the contributor is you get to say you did a paper at a conference.

Likely inspired by the Sokal affair, where a hippie physicist got tired of hippie, anti-science nonsense in philosophy and created a paper stuffed full of postmodernist gibberish that was immediately accepted by because it was by a physicist and lauded the weakness of physics compared to philosophy, a group at MIT knew they could get all kinds of papers accepted at science conferences the same way.

SCIgen was born. Their paper was accepted at a conference. Busted.

They made it freely available as a download and it has gotten used quite a lot - and not as a gag. But it isn't just rubbish pay-to-publish (open access) journals accepting these, Springer and IEEE have both been caught too.

Now there are new efforts to detect fake papers. Corporate science publishing is a multi-billion business and they want to remain the gold standard. The Arms Race to win the Publish or Perish War is on.

How computer-generated fake papers are flooding academia by Ian Sample, The Guardian