Is AI ready to mass-produce lay summaries of research articles?

peter.suber's bookmarks 2024-03-21


"Scientists are drawn to AI tools because they excel at crafting text in accessible language, and they might even produce clearer lay summaries than those written by people. A study1 released last year looked at lay summaries published in one journal and found that those created by people were less readable than were the original abstracts — potentially because some researchers struggle to replace jargon with plain language or to decide which facts to include when condensing the information into a few lines....

Mass-produced lay summaries could yield a trove of benefits. Beyond helping scientists to speed-read the literature, the synopses can be disseminated to people with different levels of expertise, including members of the public. Osarfo-Mensah adds that AI summaries might also aid people who struggle with English. “Some people hide behind jargon because they don’t necessarily feel comfortable trying to explain it,” she says, but AI could help them to rework technical phrases. Max Heckel is the founder of SciSummary, a company in Columbus, Ohio, that offers a tool that allows users to import a paper to be summarized. The tool can also translate summaries into other languages, and is gaining popularity in Indonesia and Turkey, he says, arguing that it could topple language barriers and make science more accessible....

The risk of AI summaries introducing errors is one concern among many. Another is that one benefit of such summaries — that they can help to share research more widely among the public — could also have drawbacks. The AI summaries posted alongside bioRxiv preprints, research articles that have yet to undergo peer review, are tailored to different levels of reader expertise, including that of the public. Osarfo-Mensah supports the effort to widen the reach of these works. “The public should feel more involved in science and feel like they have a stake in it, because at the end of the day, science isn’t done in a vacuum,” she says.

But others point out that this comes with the risk of making unreviewed and inaccurate research more accessible...."


From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » peter.suber's bookmarks

Tags: oa.preprints oa.summaries oa.quality oa.benefits oa.risks oa.multilingualism oa.intelligibility oa.lay

Date tagged:

03/21/2024, 09:30

Date published:

03/21/2024, 05:30