Date: October 09, 2018
“A trio of writers who describe themselves as left-leaning but decry the academic influence of political correctness, identity politics, and what they call “grievance studies” conducted an experiment: Could they fool scholarly journals into publishing hoax papers masquerading as legitimate scholarship?
The answer, it turns out, was yes. Seven journals accepted the fake papers, which were written by James Lindsay, a mathematician; Helen Pluckrose, editor of Areo; and Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University.
Four of the papers have been published, according to The Wall Street Journal:
One of the trio’s hoax papers, published in April by the journal Fat Studies, claims bodybuilding is “fat-exclusionary” and proposes “a new classification…termed fat bodybuilding, as a fat-inclusive politicized performance.” Editor Esther Rothblum said the paper had gone through peer review, and the author signed a copyright form verifying authorship of the article. “This author put a lot of work into this topic,” she said. “It is an interesting topic, looking at weight and bodybuilding. So I am surprised that, of all things, they’d write this as a hoax. As you can imagine, this is a very serious charge.” She plans to remove the paper from the Fat Studies website.
A hoax paper for the Journal of Poetry Therapy describes monthly feminist spirituality meetings, complete with a “womb room,” and discusses six poems, which Mr. Lindsay generated by algorithm and lightly edited. Founding editor Nicholas Mazza said the article went through blind peer review and revisions before its acceptance in July, but he regrets not doing more to verify the author’s identity. He added that it took years to build credibility and get the Journal of Poetry Therapy listed in major scholarly databases. “You work so hard, and you get something like this,” he said. Still, “I can see how editors like me and journals can be duped.”