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Scholarly Communications: ChatGPT and other Artificial Intelligence tools

This guide provides useful information on scholarly publishing, such as finding the best journal, author identity, or promoting publications and communications.

What are Large Language Models such as ChatGPT?


Language Learning Models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, are designed to reflect human language by using mathematical models to predict what word is most likely to come next in relation to the prompt that you have asked about. 

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence language learning model, developed by OpenAI. ChatGPT can be responsibly and appropriately used as a research tool for students, researchers, academics, professionals and anyone seeking information on a wide variety of topics. It is crucial to recognise that Chat GPT is not a search engine whereby you input similar to a chatbot in that it is capable of engaging in conversational interactions and can offer responses where ChatGPT creates “new content”.

As such it is critical to know that LLMs do not necessarily choose, understand, read or give you the "best" or "most trustworthy" information. The easy to use and familiar search bar interface may allow it to sometimes look, feel or seem like it, but that is not how LLM technology works. Additionally LLMs can also be unreliable in terms of citing its source material or where it found the information it's pulling from. This can impact the quality or bias of the response it presents. Many LLMs are unregulated and influenced by how people interact with it, as it learns more from each interaction which influences its future interactions. As such the information we input within our initial prompt is rather important . 


How does Chat GPT work?

The main way users interact with ChatGPT is by asking it a question, or alrternatively the user may give ChatGPT a prompt, then ChatGPT responds with a rather quick answer. ChatGPT is currently free to access and use as it is currently in a research preview capacity, however this may not always be the case. OpenAI could at any point restrict access to this by putting it behind a paywall. OpenAI has already launched some paid subscription plans for ChatGPT plus.


*It is important to note, according to Open AI the owner of ChatGPT's Privacy Policy they "may share your Personal Information with third parties without further notice to you."


Large Language Models such as Chat GPT and Google Bard and others present a potential opportunity for enhancing academic research. However with great power comes great responsibility, researchers must use these tools responsibly and appropriately, keeping research integrity and ethical standards at the forefront of their research process. By using AI tools responsible and appropriately and considering ethical considerations, researchers can use LLM's while adhereing to the principles of academic integrity and ethical conduct.

Ways to use AI tools to benefit your research

  • Framing Research Questions - You can clearly define your research questions and objectives before using an AI tool to ensure you stay focused and succinct. You can use LLM's as a tool to explore and refine your ideas and research questions. However it is always critical to evaluate the content generated.
  • Literature Review Assistance - LLM's can assist in conducting literature reviews by summarizing research articles, generating annotated bibliographies, or suggesting relevant keywords and sources.

  • Idea Generation and Brainstorming - You can use Chat AI tools to spark creativity and brainstorm research ideas, hypotheses, or potential research questions in various fields of study.

  • Drafting and Editing - AI tools can be very useful in helping to summarise and edit research papers, reports, or grant proposals, enhancing clarity and coherence in writing.

  • Multilingual Research - LLM's can assist in translating and interpreting texts in multiple languages which can enable researchers to access a wider range of academic resources.

  • Data Analysis and Interpretation - You can use AI tools for data analysis tasks, such as summarizing survey results, creating visualizations, or generating explanations for statistical findings.

  • Collaboration and Communication - You can use LLM's to collaborate with peers and colleagues by using them to facilitate communication, generate meeting summaries, compile notes and draw out themes or draft collaborative documents.

Guidance for using AI tools

It is vital to maintain positive standards of research integrity and ethical use of AI when using such tools. Here are some ways to ensure that you maintainn good research integirty while using AI tools:


  • Transparency: It is important to clearly disclose the use of an AI tool in your research and acknowledge its contributions when presenting your research findings or publishing papers.


  • Cross-Verification: It is critical that you always cross-verify information generated by AI tools with reliable sources to ensure accuracy and reliability in your research.


  • Responsible Experimentation: If using AI tools for experiments, document the methodology, settings, and any limitations of the AI system to provide transparency to your readers and peers.


  • Citation and Attribution: Properly attribute the AI tool used and it's contributions by including it in your citations and references when relevant.


  • Avoid Plagiarism: Never present content generated by LLM's as your original work without proper attribution. Always cite sources and give credit where it is due.


  • Ethical Data Handling: Protect individuals' privacy and adhere to ethical data handling practices when using AI tools for research involving sensitive or personal information.


  • Bias Mitigation: Be aware of potential biases in AI tools responses and take steps to mitigate them by crafting well-structured and unbiased prompts.