The ‘Conceptual Penis’ and Its ‘Pay-To-Publish’ Critics
CORRECTIONS/UPDATES – 28th May 2017
It appears Ketan Joshi is a more common name than I knew, and as a result this blog was originally published with reference to the wrong Ketan Joshi’s papers. I have now corrected this and apologised for the mixup.
Phil Torres has contacted me by email: “I can honestly affirm that I have never paid to publish an article”. He is working on a follow-up article which I shall link to here when it is published.
As many of you would have noticed, Drs. Lindsay and Boghossian’s hoax article about the ‘conceptual penis’ caused a considerable amount of controversy to say the least.
Intended as a hoax in the style of Sokal, some took the paper for a great work of satire, and as if to demonstrate its effectiveness, others managed to find genuine insight within the paper’s word salad. This is especially surprising when you consider the authors of the paper said this:
“After completing the paper, we read it carefully to ensure it didn’t say anything meaningful, and as neither one of us could determine what it is actually about, we deemed it a success.”
A few people (PZ Myers, Ketan Joshi, Phil Torres who writes as Philippe Verdoux, and Amanda Marcotte) were particularly vocal about the pay-to-publish aspect of their hoax. They called Lindsay and Boghossian’s ethics into question, and denounced pay-to-publish model of journals.
The general implication was that Lindsay and Boghossian had simply paid their way into publication rather than exposing the post-modern sensibilities found within this particular field of study. Boghossian and Lindsay claim they did not pay to have their article published, however the response to it made me wonder if any of their critics had – and if so, whether they would consider that detail grounds for dismissal of their own work.
I took a look at the journals where PZ Myers, Ketan Joshi, Phil Torres (Philippe Verdoux), and Amanda Marcotte published to see if their paper had ever appeared in pay-to-publish journals. While we do not know the details of how much they paid to have their articles published, or even if they paid at all, below is a list of the journals and their fees where their articles have appeared.
To be clear: I do not know if they (or someone on their behalf) paid publication fees or not. Here is my direct question to these individuals: “Have you ever paid, or had anyone pay on your behalf, a fee for publishing a paper or papers?”
Journal of Neuroscience
Frontiers in Public Health
Joshi’s article: Fomenting sickness: nocebo priming of residents about expected wind turbine health harms
Phil Torres (Philippe Verdoux)
Verdoux’ article: Emerging Technologies and the Future of Philosophy
Verdoux’ article: Technology and our epistemic situation: what ought our priorities to be?
Journal of School Psychology
I am eagerly awaiting their responses so that it may bring clarity to this issue of pay-to-publish journals and their credibility.