Tag Archives: hoax

The ‘Conceptual Penis’ and Its ‘Pay-To-Publish’ Critics

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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?”

PZ Myers
Journal of Neuroscience

Fee: $1,260 for members and $1,890 for nonmembers

PZ’s articles:

Growth cone dynamics during the migration of an identified commissural growth cone

Development and Axonal Outgrowth of Identified Motoneurons in the Zebrafish

Cell-cell interactions during the migration of an identified commissural growth cone in the embryonic grasshopper

Ketan Joshi
Studies in Family Planning

Fee: $3000

Joshi’s article: Quality of Care Within the Indian Family Welfare Programme: A Review of Recent Evidence

Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology

Fee: $3800

Joshi’s article: The recovery of fructose from inverted sugar beet molasses using continuous chromatography

Phil Torres (Philippe Verdoux)
Metaphilosophy

Fee: $2500

Verdoux’ article: Emerging Technologies and the Future of Philosophy

Foresight

Fee: $2400

Verdoux’ article: Technology and our epistemic situation: what ought our priorities to be?

Amanda Marcotte
Journal of School Psychology

 

Fee: $1800

Marcotte’s article: Incremental and predictive utility of formative assessment methods of reading comprehension

I am eagerly awaiting their responses so that it may bring clarity to this issue of pay-to-publish journals and their credibility.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

Did Glenn Greenwald And The Guardian Just Get Spectacularly Trolled?

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Back in pre-Twitter 1996, a Physics professor from New York named Alan Sokal engaged in a legendary act of trolling. Sokal submitted a hoax article to a postmodern academic journal which was, in Sokal’s own words, ‘salted with nonsense’.

The idea was that the journal’s grip on reality had become so loose that they would publish any old rubbish just so long as it played to their biases. And so it proved. Sokal’s article “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” made the summer issue.

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