Prickly questions (Crooked Timber):
Many CT readers will already be familiar with the recent effort by two scholars to repeat the Sokal hoax, as they understood it, by getting a bottom-feeder journal to publish a piece on imagined penises and global warming. (...)
James Taylor at Bleeding Hearts LibertariansThe first journal that Bognossian and Lindsay submitted their hoax paper to, and that rejected it, was NORMA: The International Journal for Masculinity Studies. This journal doesn’t even hit the top 115 journals in Gender Studies. So, what happened here was that they submitted a hoax paper to an unranked journal, which summarily rejected it. They then received an auto-generated response directing them to a pay-to-publish vanity journal. They submitted the paper there, and it was published. From this chain of events they conclude that the entire field of Gender Studies is “crippled academically”. This tells us very little about Gender Studies, but an awful lot about the perpetrators of this “hoax”…. and those who tout it as a take down of an entire field.Two additional notes. First, developing Taylor’s argument a bit, the research design, if you take it at face value is fundamentally inept. The authors of the spoof claim to be bothillustrating the problems of review by gender studies academics, and the problems of predatory access journals. But you can’t really do two for the price of one – if you demonstrate that a bad piece got published, you have no way of distinguishing between the two causal hypotheses that you are proposing – that gender journals will publish more or less anything as long as it has the right politics, and that predatory journals will publish more or less anything as long as you come up with the money. Indeed, given that there is already compelling evidence that predatory journals in the sciences will publish all sorts of shite for cash, and that the authors report themselves that their article was rejected by the journal they first submitted it to, it’s hard to come up with a convincing rationale for how the ‘gender studies will publish anything’ rationale is doing any explanatory work at all.