• Deletedmemberzc
    2.5k
    Researching the Sokal affair, I discovered another amusing and revealing hoax - The Grievance Studies Affair, also known as Sokal Squared - directed, this time, against critical theory and "cultural Marxist" conventions in Academia.

    The grievance studies affair, also referred to as the "Sokal Squared" scandal, was the project of a team of three authors—Peter Boghossian, James A. Lindsay, and Helen Pluckrose—to highlight what they saw as poor scholarship and eroding criteria in several academic fields. Taking place over 2017 and 2018, their project entailed submitting bogus papers to academic journals in cultural, queer, race, gender, fat, and sexuality studies to determine whether they would pass through peer review and be accepted for publication. Several of these papers were subsequently published, which the authors cited in support of their contention. — wiki

    The funniest bit to my lights was a paper on dog "rape/humping" culture at a dog park in Portland:

    Averaging across my data, in my observational vicinity there was approximately one dog rape/humping incident every 60 min (1004 documented dog rapes/humping incidents) and one dog fight every 71 min (847 documented dog fights). (Here, I use Palmer’s (1989) criteria for rape, noting my anthropomorphic limitations in assessing when a humping incident constitutes rape in dogs. NB: the phrase ‘dog rape/humping incident’ documents only those incidents in which the activity appeared unwanted from my perspective – the humped dog having given no encouragement and apparently not enjoying the activity.) These numbers increased or decreased based upon the number of male dogs present at any given time, rising at times to one such incident or the other every three to five minutes
    during peak male-density periods. In general, more dog rapes/humping incidents occurred when more male dogs were present, and, somewhat surprisingly, 100% of dog rapes/humping incidents were perpetrated by male dogs.
    — Human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity at urban dog parks in Portland, Oregon (2018)


    The entire collection is available here:

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1cJLr_o04R-zpHcMNaIWPGs7Ue_i-tkCw


    Then I discovered there have been a slue of these hoaxes - called "stings" - in a variety of fields; compiled here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scholarly_publishing_stings

    Enjoy!
  • jgill
    2.6k
    I'll speak to mathematics publications. First, open access journals are no more legitimate than the several large academic posting sites, including ArXiv.org and researchgate.net , where authors can present papers either before or after publication in refereed journals, or preprints that may not even be submitted to these journals. To join these sites requires some minimal academic credentials, however. And the sheer number of legitimate articles is overwhelming. ArXiv.org receives 140 - 250 papers a day, 365 days a year.

    Most open access journals are there to make money, not guarantee accuracy. My guess is that no credentials at all are needed.

    Even highly-regarded journals print duds from time to time. In math, sometimes the referees are a little lax and let results reach print that are simply not valid. This can happen when the article being examined is by a known colleague who is respected. Or a paper far out of the mainstream, so that it has little to no importance to the larger community, and the referee would rather be doing something else. Usually referees are volunteer academics who get no extra pay for their services, but their institutions show their appreciation in release time or whatever.

    My take on the whole situation is that "fake academic news" is way more prevalent in publications in the humanities, where the sheer volume of words, some of which are poorly defined, may provide opportunities for intellectual contamination. Toss in only lightly understood statistics and there goes the ball game.
  • Deletedmemberzc
    2.5k


    Thanks for the informative response. :smile:
  • Agent Smith
    8k
    The LaMDA affair could be just a hoax after all. If people can't tell the difference between genuine and fake research, what else can't we do?
  • Deletedmemberzc
    2.5k
    The LaMDA affair could be just a hoax after all. If people can't tell the difference between genuine and fake research, what else can't we do?Agent Smith

    They should do a study on it. :smile:
  • jgill
    2.6k
    Journals are overflowing, so the possibilities of mistakes and intentional deceptions is fairly high. In math it's impossible to keep up with new subjects (24K on Wikipedia). Although I continued doing research I gave up on publishing over twenty years ago, thinking, Why go through the sometimes lengthy procedure when only a few people in the world are interested (and I had gone through the promotion processes years before)? There's a tremendous amount of scholarly clutter out there.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    ever encountered the pomo generator? (Hint: after scanning the content, hit refresh, it will auto-generate a new article.)
  • Deletedmemberzc
    2.5k
    Yeah I remember reading about it. :smile:
  • hypericin
    745
    What I want to know is, how many of those articles have been submitted to journals, unedited? If you could scan for some telltale signature, how many hits would you get in all these journals?
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    All of the 'articles' on the pomo generator are machine-generated. :lol:
  • Agent Smith
    8k
    They should do a study on it. :smile:ZzzoneiroCosm

    :grin: The solution to all our problems: study.

    This problem as exposed by Sokal2 is probably just peculiar to the subject, whatever that is in postmodernism. I don't think you can pull of such a stunt in the so-called hard sciences (replicating the alleged findings is probably cheaper, faster, and mathematically precise).
  • ssu
    6.5k
    This problem as exposed by Sokal2 is probably just peculiar to the subject, whatever that is in postmodernism. I don't think you can pull of such a stunt in the so-called hard sciences (replicating the alleged findings is probably cheaper, faster, and mathematically precise).Agent Smith
    I think you give too much credit to "hard sciences". Everywhere where a lot of people are involved, mediocrity and partly lousy standards can and will prevail.

    I think you can pull it off. But naturally only those who know the subject matter would notice the bullshit. When it's not dogs and dogparks (that we have some information and understanding about), but molecular biology or analytical chemistry, we wouldn't notice it.
  • Agent Smith
    8k
    It's hard to lie about experimental findings in (say) physics for they can be replicated by other scientists in other labs - that, in fact, is the meat of the hard sciences.
  • ssu
    6.5k
    Yet I think only a fraction of physics is actually experimental lab work. A fraction of physics is about "here's an experiment we did in the lab, please confirm our experiment".

    A lot of it is theoretical in every field. And then you do have all the ways how you can use mathematics and statistics to create things that look like actual theorizing, but actually are nonsense.

    One crucial aspect of any "Sokal Hoax" or similar hoaxes is to show that with adapting accurate inside jargon and terms of the field, simple nonsense can go through peer review system. Every hoax article has to sound like it would be a genuine article. To use jargon and terms only known to the field can be a way to state the obvious easily, but also an important way to seclude the discussion to "experts". In a way, to create this niche where you can talk about the subject at hand. Hence scientific articles are made to be "scientific", not as easy as possible to understand. And then this can confuse the reviewers.

    So as this is a Philosophy forum, you likely know Heidegger's term dasein. And if you talk to philosophers of dasein, they'll understand what you are referring to. But just translating it to English and calling "being there", your argument might be misunderstood. However speaking about "da sein" will confuse the layperson. And sometimes this trick is used so well, that even the reviewer doesn't notice that a trick has been played on him.
  • Agent Smith
    8k
    While you're not wrong, I'd hurry to add that it's not that simple. The more people involved, the more stages there are, the more complex it becomes to diagnose the problem, assuming the Sokal affair is one! Sometimes people think they're spewing gobbledygook, but it turns out that it makes a whole lotta sense.
  • jgill
    2.6k
    I don't think you can pull of such a stunt in the so-called hard sciencesAgent Smith

    Not exactly a stunt, but close:

    The Bogdanoff Affair
  • Manuel
    3k


    That is quite remarkable. Not that I should be surprised, what with all papers submitted at the pressure to publish or perish.

    It's a (very) slight relief to know that there is non-sense everywhere, though, much harder to formulate in the hard sciences.

    But still, surprising. Thanks for bringing it up, will have to make sure to take a good look at it later.
  • Agent Smith
    8k
    Not exactly a stunt, but close:

    The Bogdanoff Affair
    jgill

    Muchas gracias señor for the link! Intriguing to say the least.

    However I did say something to the effect that most plane crashes are due to human error.
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