Gender Studies Won’t Have Them As A Member: The Attempted “Conceptual Penis” Hoax


…the isomorphism between the conceptual penis and what’s referred to throughout discursive feminist literature as “toxic hypermasculinity,” is one defined upon a vector of male cultural machismo braggadocio, with the conceptual penis playing the roles of subject, object, and verb of action.

That’s a line from the intentionally nonsensical “The Conceptual Penis As A Social Construct,” submitted as a hoax to, and then published by, the “multidisciplinary open access” and, as it turns out, “pay-to-publish” journal Cogent Social Sciences. The essay is by Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University and James Lindsay, who holds a PhD in math and writes about atheism.

They describe their hoax at Skeptic:

This paper should never have been published… our paper “argues” that “The penis vis-à-vis maleness is an incoherent construct. We argue that the conceptual penis is better understood not as an anatomical organ but as a gender-performative, highly fluid social construct.”… [W]e wrote an absurd paper loosely composed in the style of post-structuralist discursive gender theory. The paper was ridiculous by intention, essentially arguing that penises shouldn’t be thought of as male genital organs but as damaging social constructions. We made no attempt to find out what “post-structuralist discursive gender theory” actually means. We assumed that if we were merely clear in our moral implications that maleness is intrinsically bad and that the penis is somehow at the root of it, we could get the paper published in a respectable journal…

We didn’t try to make the paper coherent; instead, we stuffed it full of jargon (like “discursive” and “isomorphism”), nonsense (like arguing that hypermasculine men are both inside and outside of certain discourses at the same time), red-flag phrases (like “pre-post-patriarchal society”), lewd references to slang terms for the penis, insulting phrasing regarding men (including referring to some men who choose not to have children as being “unable to coerce a mate”), and allusions to rape (we stated that “manspreading,” a complaint levied against men for sitting with their legs spread wide, is “akin to raping the empty space around him”). 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.

The authors take themselves to be perpetrating a new version of what’s now known as the Sokal Hoax, in which physicist Alan Sokal successfully published, in the journal Social Text, a nonsense article parodying postmodern writing about science. Here, Boghossian and Lindsay are taking aim at a different target,what they take to be “the moral orthodoxy in gender studies”:

[W]e sought to demonstrate that a desire for a certain moral view of the world to be validated could overcome the critical assessment required for legitimate scholarship. Particularly, we suspected that gender studies is crippled academically by an overriding almost-religious belief that maleness is the root of all evil.

How successful was the hoax? Well, it is notable that NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies, a Taylor & Francis gender studies journal, rejected their submission, after which they sought publication in the iffy Cogent Social Sciences.

Over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians, James Stacy Taylor (College of New Jersey) provides a potent critique of the project:

[I]t turns out that the joke’s on the hoaxers themselves—both for failing to spot some very obvious red flags about this “journal,” and for their rather bizarre leaps of logic…

[The paper] was accepted after what seems to be very cursory peer review, and, from this, they’re claiming that the entire field of Gender Studies “is crippled academically by an overriding almost-religious belief that maleness is the root of all evil.”

It might be. But their hoax gives us absolutely no reason to believe this. First, let’s look at the “journal” that they were accepted at.  Like all the digital, open-access journals run by Cogent (a house most people have never heard of before now) it charges authors fees to publish. No reputable journal in the humanities does this. Worse yet, it allows authors to “pay what they can”. This appears to signal that this journal publishes work from authors who can’t get institutional support to publish in it. (Or, if they could, don’t seek this as they would prefer it not be widely known that they’re paying to publish.) The journal boasts also that it is very “friendly” to authors (a clear sign of a suspect outlet) and notes that it doesn’t necessarily reject things that might not have any impact. (!) It also only uses single blind review. The whole thing just screams vanity journal.

Now, the hoaxers are aware of all of this. But they try to duck the “facile” objection that they submitted to a junk journal by noting that it’s part of the Taylor and Francis group, and that it’s “held out as a high-quality open-access journal by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)”. Yet even a quick perusal of the journal’s website makes it clear that it operates entirely independently of Taylor & Francis, and that its publishing model is utterly different to theirs…

Having managed to pay for a paper to be published in a deeply suspect journal the hoaxers then conclude that the entire field of Gender Studies is suspect. How they made this deductive leap is actually far more puzzling than how the paper got accepted…

You can read the rest of Professor Taylor’s critique of this “big cock-up” here.

Angela Bulloch, “Five Form Stack”

 

 

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Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
4 years ago

More on this from Ketan Joshi.
(Report

Michael Kremer
Michael Kremer
4 years ago

I completely agree with the critique of Boghossian and Linsday’s ridiculous (and pre-established, as the Joshi post makes clear) conclusions about the field of gender studies. (Full disclosure: my wife is the interim director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Chicago.)

Nonetheless, their story raises significant issues about problems with predatory pay-to-publish practices at some open access journals.

In particular, I’m disturbed by this line, from the Taylor post linked to above:

“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.”

The first journal they submitted to is published by Taylor and Francis, and so are the “Cogent” line of journals. This is an incredibly slimy little maneuver by T&F. “Our real journal wouldn’t accept your paper, but here, why don’t you try our pay-to-play vanity publishing journal instead!”

(I note that in Boghossian and Lindsay, in their original post, tell the story a little differently — they say that “In their rejection letter [an auto-generated response or not?], the editors of NORMA wrote, We feel that your manuscript would be well-suited to our Cogent Series…” Is this some sort of boilerplate that T&F has the editors of its journals add to rejection letters? Do they do this voluntarily? Or is it, in fact, just auto-generated? In any case, this is a nasty little game.)Report

Greg Gauthier
Reply to  Michael Kremer
4 years ago

The journal Hypatia has roughly the same rejection rate as Cogent. What do you suppose that means?Report

Pete Mandik
4 years ago

Today’s ear worm: “Conceptual Penis” sung to the tune of King Missile’s “Detachable Penis.”Report

Ryan Lake
Reply to  Pete Mandik
4 years ago

This is going to be stuck in my head forever now Report

Arden
Arden
Reply to  Pete Mandik
4 years ago

Alternatively, to the tune of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”.Report

Michael Kremer
Michael Kremer
4 years ago
Alvin Lim
Alvin Lim
4 years ago

Cogent Social Sciences is published by Taylor & Francis, and the flawed peer review demonstrated by this hoax taints all publications in the Taylor & Francis family.Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
4 years ago

It seems likely that hoax article articles like this are subject to publication bias–we don’t hear about the ones that never got accepted anywhere.

Also, I’d like to hear what the editors and publishers have to say–especially what the editors and publishers of NORMA have to say about their referral to the predatory open access journal. Isn’t it best practice, in an article like this, to seek comment from the people involved? Not that I have done so either.

Finally, I wonder what would happen if someone pretended to have submitted a nonsensical article to an obviously fake journal and then wrote an article about it for Skeptic magazine. If anyone wants to make this happen, e-mail me.Report

xprt
xprt
4 years ago

As thinkers whose scholarly record, and advocacy, on gender and related topics is so well-established and impeccable, it’s no wonder James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian were well-positioned to write such an insightful parody for a scam journal.Report

Eric
Eric
4 years ago

Anyone know whether any of the obviously serious philosophy journals at T&F (BJHP,CJP, Inquiry, etc.) engages in this nonsense of passing you off to “Cogent” if your paper gets rejected? If they do, they need to stop, or people should really start boycotting them. I guess I don’t really think its any of my business what other T&F journals do, but I’m not going to take particular journals in my discipline seriously if they partake of these kinds of shenanigans.Report

Lucena
Lucena
4 years ago

I think it’s clear that the joke is on the failed hoaxers, who are not very important in my view. But it’s worth using this incident as an opportunity to discuss the “deeply suspect” journal, Cogent Social Sciences.

To submit material for a T&F philosophy journal, you have to go through some kind of registration process to the T&F system. You enter your email, pick a user name and password, etc. Soon after I signed up to that system to submit a work for a peer-reviewed philosophy/social science journal (which ended up getting published), I started getting emails from the Cogent Social Sciences journal with their “offers” and “discounts” and everything. It was glaringly obvious to me that they were “deeply suspect” and I ended up filtering their emails for spam.

When I read about this hoax incident, a question popped up in my head: Does Taylor & Francis “pass on” the email addresses of people who go through an academic submission process with any of their journals in a relevant area to Cogent Social Sciences?

The very existence of Cogent Social Sciences in the T&F family is undermining their intellectual integrity, and it’s even worse if there’s indeed an inner circulation of email addresses of the sort. I hope something good comes out of this hoax fail and T&F clears this issue up. Report

Carl
Carl
4 years ago

Based on what Boghossian and Lindsay say, it appears that Cogent Social Science was recommended to them by the editors of Norma — not that T&F automatically recommended it. However, I am skeptical of this claim because of how it is phrased:

“In their rejection letter, the editors of NORMA wrote,

We feel that your manuscript would be well-suited to our Cogent Series, a multidisciplinary, open journal platform for the rapid dissemination of peer-reviewed research across all disciplines.

Transferring your manuscript:

Saves you time because there is no need for you to reformat or resubmit your work manually
Provides faster publication because previous reviews are transferred with your manuscript.

To ensure all work is open to everyone, the Cogent Series invites a “pay what you want” contribution towards the costs of open access publishing if your article is accepted for publication. This can be paid by you as author or by your institution or research funder. Many institutions and funders now provide financial support for open access publishing.”

Here’s my suspicion, then: the “we” and “our” only make sense if refer to T&F, not to Norma, because CSS belongs to T&F, not to Norma.

If that’s right, then either (1) the editors of Norma used boilerplate language given to them by T&F in recommending CSS, or (2) Boghossian and Lindsay are misleading us all by creating the impression that it was the editors of Norma who recommended CSS, and not the *publishers* of Norma — that is, T&F.

If anyone deserves a black eye from this non-event, it’s Taylor and Francis. Report

Lucena
Lucena
Reply to  Carl
4 years ago

Indeed, I’d be very surprised if the editors of any serious journal would recommend anyone to try Cogent Social Sciences. It would make a lot more sense if it were some kind of automated notification email that comes from the T&F’s submission and feedback system (and not from the editors), to authors whose work have been rejected. Report

Mike Otsuka
Reply to  Carl
4 years ago

According to the Taylor and Francis website to which I link below, the “transfer process” works as follows: “journal editors can at the point of rejection simply identify if the manuscript may be suitable for publication elsewhere (i.e. it is not fundamentally unsound) by selecting the Reject – Unsuitable option. The author will then be offered a transfer to a suitable Cogent OA journal, and has the choice whether to transfer their manuscript or not. ”
http://editorresources.taylorandfrancisgroup.com/finding-the-right-home-for-all-submitted-works/Report

Chris
Chris
4 years ago

Whatever one thinks of the practice, I don’t think this holds up:

> it charges authors fees to publish. No reputable journal in the humanities does this.

*Philosophers’ Imprint* is now a top Philosophy journal (e.g. 2% acceptance rate; top 10 in Leiter’s journal poll). Moreover, many philosophy journals in which one can publish restricted-access for free charge authors fees to publish open access, like *Philosophical Studies* or *Biology & Philosophy* both from Springer. So the blanket statement about charges isn’t quite true.Report

Eric
Eric
Reply to  Chris
4 years ago

Philosopher’s imprint charges for submissions and its only $20. Springer journals charge for open access, but not to publish generally. Neither one of those practices provides the journal with the same kind incentive to accept as does the practice that Cogent follows. Report

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Eric
4 years ago

Of course, but the original statement is no less misleading about what’s become accepted and what’s automatically predatory in philosophy publishing.Report

Unimpressed Asst. Prof.
Unimpressed Asst. Prof.
Reply to  Eric
4 years ago

I agree that Philosopher’s Imprint is a better journal, but I’m not sure that their fee structure is any better. For one thing, Cogent does not charge for submissions, which seems preferable. After all, the fee is supposed to help to make the work public access, not to subsidize the review process.

On a different point, while Cogent should have done better, it seems like low-hanging fruit to send a sham but jargon-filled paper to a journal that publishes work in any area at all of the social sciences. Unless the editor happens to be an expert in a closely affiliated field to the paper, it doesn’t seem all that strange or damning that this sort of work might get by, especially given the difficulty of finding reviewers for this sort of journal. For example, when I read work in my area of the history of philosophy in journals from other disciplines, it often seems to me to be quite poor, but I’m not sure that I should hold the editors of, say, medical journals responsible for failing to distinguish between good and bad articles in the history of philosophy. Report

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  Unimpressed Asst. Prof.
4 years ago

“the fee is supposed to help to make the work public access, not to subsidize the review process.”

Actually, the fee is just general funding for the journal. It doesn’t cost anything to make an article open access. It appears on the same paper, and for the online system they just uncheck some box requiring subscriptions to access the pdf. You can do some really detailed accounting of how many subscriptions and pay-to-reads you get for each article and try to come up with a “cost” to open access that way, but it’s just as reasonable to come up with a “cost” to the refereeing process.

At any rate, I take the point of the $20 submission fee at Philosophers’ Imprint to be not one of funding, but instead, like the tolls on certain highways or bridges, where the point is to discourage frivolous submissions and decrease congestion in the system, with the revenue raised being an incidental side benefit that helps defray some of the costs associated with operating the system.Report

Unimpressed Asst. Prof.
Unimpressed Asst. Prof.
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
4 years ago

I was under the impression that when journals such as Cogent ask for a fee they typically do so under the explicit pretense that the fee will defray the costs that would otherwise be covered by subscription fees. True – it doesn’t cost anything to put the paper on the internet, but operating a journal requires some sort of funding source.
On the second paragraph, if that really is the thought underlying the submission fee at the Philosophers’ Imprint, it seems pretty terrible, given the current job market in philosophy and terrible norms of adjunct pay, and far worse than Cogent’s practice, which at least, if I understand it correctly, has the aim of funding the journal. To be sure, no one likes reading terrible papers, but, absent dire financial necessity, it seems like a rather extreme remedy to institute a policy that discourages papers from poorer authors. Report

SG
SG
4 years ago

This hoax is about as impressive as Peter Boghossian’s anti-theistic arguments. Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  SG
4 years ago

The hoax may not demonstrate what the authors take it to demonstrate, but it certainly demonstrates a real problem in philosophical publishing.Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
4 years ago

Peter Boghossian has made a real dick of himself this time. His conclusion about gender studies as a whole is the result of an egregious phallusy. Unfortunately, his action has stimulated a lot of anti-feminist emissions from the manosphere. Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  beauvoir's baby
4 years ago

The inclusion of a pun doesn’t stop this from being name-calling.Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

Further, if you see nothing disrespectful about using the expression “manosphere” to describe the source of bad commentary, try replacing the word “man” in “manosphere” with the names of other groups–“Unfortunately, these actions have stimulated a lot of silly comments from the Xosphere”.Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

Actually, there is a difference between saying “someone has made a dick of themselves” and calling them a dick. To make a dick of oneself is to embarrass oneself. And Boghossion has indeed embarrassed himself.

As for “manosphere”, I guess you don’t really understand what it means. It doesn’t mean “men on the internet”. It refers to MRA groups, etc, many of whom have been labelled hate groups by SPLC. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manosphere Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  beauvoir's baby
4 years ago

If you see nothing disrespectful about using the expression “manosphere” to describe hate groups, try replacing the word “man” in “manosphere” with the names of other groups in order to identify hate groups.Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  beauvoir's baby
4 years ago

Or to put it another way, that the expression “manosphere” is being used as a label for hate groups composed of men does not make it less disrespectful. It makes it more disrespectful.Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

I would be perfectly happy with, say, “femosphere” to refer to the feminist interwebs. Especially as “MRA” (which is self-ascribed and therefore non-pejorative) already has “man” in it, I see no reason to be concerned about using the term “manosphere” to refer to the MRA interwebs. Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

Saying “replace ‘man’ with ‘X’ and it would be offensive” is false equivalence, just like “If there’s feminist philosophy why can’t there be masculinist philosophy?” or “If there’s a women’s rights movement why can’t there be a men’s rights movement?”* or “Why isn’t Black Power exactly as bad as White Power?”

Namely, insofar as feminists want to improve the situation of women relative to men, that’s good, because in general women are treated worse than men so that means moving toward equality. Insofar as masculinists or whatever you want to call them want to improve the situation of men relative to women, that’s bad, because in general women are already treated worse than men so that means moving farther away from equality. So there’s no equivalence.

(This is surely a massive oversimplification of issues like whether “equality” is the end goal or whatever–read actual experts on feminist philosophy for a better treatment–but it doesn’t take advanced feminist philosophy to deal with the straight-up false equivlaence on offer here, I don’t think.)

*Note, I’ve heard that the “men’s rights” umbrella includes some fairly well-intentioned stuff that isn’t about running down feminism. If so, that’s not the stuff I mean, I mean the stuff discussed on We Hunted the Mammoth and the like.Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

I take HNM to mean that referring to any group with the suffix “osphere” is pejorative. I don’t know whether we even need an analysis of power relations. Consider

1) Ladysphere
2) Philososphere
3) Vegosphere (vegetarian online communities)
4) Teenosphere
5) Anarchosphere

None of these strike me as pejorative. I don’t see why “manosphere” should be considered offensive.Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

And a search for “manosphere” reveals that a couple of the blogs we’re talking about use the term themselves, and that there’s a site called manosphere.com that aggregates posts from these blogs, which (when I checked it featured a post on that very thing). You’d think that it’d be fair to say that the attempted hoax had inspired a lot of anti-feminist posts in the manosphere when there’s literally a post about it on manosphere.com.

Bbbut, this seems like it gets into the territory where sometimes it’s OK for a group to use a term to describe itself and not OK for out-group members to use that term, and explaining the difference between “manosphere” and (various terms I’m not going to use) in that respect, and that winds up back at power differentials, maybe.

Anyway, the reason “manosphere” is pejorative isn’t anything to do with “-osphere,” it’s because the manosphere is awful. Any term that got used for them would become a pejorative.Report

Joe
Joe
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

Sometimes I feel like I just might eventually be able to carve out a social space for myself in a discipline populated by the pathologically unfunny and the terminally serious. Then I read ‘conversations’ like this, and I want to go work in a lumber mill for the rest of my life. BB, not all of us are this constitutionally unable to see a series of jokes for what they are, and I would urge you to just drop out of this discussion. Don’t dignify this faux-offense (which is SO much more easily delivered online than in person) with rigorous debate.
Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

You have a point, Joe.Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

HAHAHA! Thanks Joe. I was wondering why I was bothering to write such obvious things. I think I was spurred on by the fact that HNM’s comments seemed more popular than mine. I felt I needed to defend myself from a majority.Report

Professor Plum
Professor Plum
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

Hey Hey Nonny Mouse:

1) Sometimes ad hominem arguments are apt and “name calling ” is non objectionable.

2) I hope you are being compensated for your hard work as the Official Daily Nous Hall Monitor in Charge of Ferreting Out Name-calling. Or perhaps your sense of righteousness is its own reward. Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  Professor Plum
4 years ago

There is no need for personal attacks against me either.Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

BB says “I would be perfectly happy with, say, “femosphere” to refer to the feminist interwebs.” But that isn’t a similar case. Would you be happy with the word “femosphere” being used to mean “the silliest things said by a feminist”? I take it that you would agree that this would be disrespectful and dismissive of feminists. Or how about using “woman talk” to mean “the silliest things said by women?” Surely you would agree that this would be a gender slur an disrespectful to women. And again, if we used “womanosphere” to mean the silliest things said by women (or feminists), this would likewise be a gender slur and disrespectful. Manosphere is a gender slur on just the same grounds.Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

It is worth pointing out again that this has nothing specific to do with gender. For any group X, if you use the expression “Xsphere” to refer to the very worst things said by members of the group, you are committing a slur against that group.Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

“Manosphere” doesn’t refer to “the silliest things said by MRAs”, or even “the silliest things said by men”. It’s a neutral term: it makes no claims about the value of what is said in the manosphere. This is why participants in the manosphere can and do use the term “manosphere” themselves. I implied that “anti-feminist emissions” were “unfortunate” not because they were expressed in the manosphere by men, but because they were anti-feminist. I don’t think the manosphere is necessarily anti-feminist, although it is true that it is characterised by it at present.Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  beauvoir's baby
4 years ago

BB, thanks for your reply but I’m stepping out of this discussion until Justin rules about personal attacks.Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  Justin Weinberg
4 years ago

Firstly, I’d like to thank you for your thanks. Yes, I am trying.

Secondly, I’d like to make clear to people that I did not complain about BB’s posts to you, nor did I expect you to make a ruling on them. My complaint to you was only about Professor Plum and I’d like BB and others to understand that.

Thirdly, I’d like to ask if it appropriate for me to say to Plum what Plum said to me, which is, ” I hope you are being compensated for your hard work as the Official Daily Nous Hall Monitor in Charge of Ferreting [insert here anything Plum objects to]. Or perhaps your sense of righteousness is its own reward.” I wouldn’t have thought that would be the sort of thing I would be allowed to say.

Thank you Justin for your time and consideration.Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

Let me add, if I gave beauvoir’s baby the impression that I had reported her posts as personal attacks, I apologize to her for that impression. I did not do so and do not think that doing so would have been appropriate. The only post I reported was Professor Plum’s.Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

No worries, HNM. I would not have minded had you have reported my comments. You acted within your rights and in accordance with due process. I hope there is no hard feelings between us: I certainly do not harbour any toward you. Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

There are absolutely no hard feeling here, BB and I’m glad to hear that there are none on your side either.Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  Hey Nonny Mouse
4 years ago

I should add, I find it unlikely that Justin has a thicker skin than I do. Imagine that at the end of this conversation, Justin and I remain in disagreement. I take it that it would be inappropriate of me to express my disagreement by concluding with a post of the form, “I hope you are being compensated for your hard work, fairly and unhypocritically bringing us JUSTice. Or perhaps your sense of righteousness is its own reward.”Report

Hey Nonny Mouse
Hey Nonny Mouse
Reply to  Justin Weinberg
4 years ago

Sorry for all the spamming, but I just want to make clear regarding my previous comment that I will not say such a thing of Justin regardless of how he replies, nor do I mean to suggest that it would be fair comment for me to do so. It is just an example of something that looks inappropriate to me.Report

Rebecca Kukla
Rebecca Kukla
4 years ago

Although this verges on too obvious to mention, it does seem worth pointing out: The so-called journal they published in is in no way a Gender Studies journal, nor does it pretend to be one. Which makes their claim that this shows up the field of Gender Studies yet one step less comprehensible.Report

Stephen Berry
Stephen Berry
4 years ago

Of course it was a successful hoax and it’s somewhat unconvincing to suggest otherwise.
Cogent Social Science claims to have rigorous peer review. It has over 150 academics, some at good universities (many not) listed as editors. I note the criticisms of the publisher, but what about the academics who are willing to be involved with the journal? Don’t they have any responsibility for lending the journal respectability?Report

Rebecca Kukla
Rebecca Kukla
Reply to  Stephen Berry
4 years ago

Actually, predatory journals notoriously add academics’ names to their editorial rosters without their permission, or get permission somehow from people who don’t look into what they are agreeing to but then don’t use the editorial board for anything. No reason to think that any legitimate academics actually reviewed this article, especially since it didn’t fit any of the many topics the journal claims to cover at all.Report

Nicky Drake
Nicky Drake
Reply to  Stephen Berry
4 years ago

The aim of the hoax wasn’t to show that Cogent Social Science is not a respectable journal, Stephen Berry. The aim of the hoax was to show that “gender studies is crippled academically by an overriding almost-religious belief that maleness is the root of all evil”, and that is what the authors claim to have demonstrated. That Cogent Social Science claims to have rigorous peer review and has some academics at good universities listed as editors and accepted the paper does not at all make the hoax successful, unless we can conclude from the fact that there exists a crappy journal in gender studies that claims to not be crappy and has some editors listed who are at good universities, that gender studies is crippled academically by an overriding almost-religious belief that maleness is the root of all evil. But that would be an extremely bizarre inference, wouldn’t it?Report

Rebecca Kukla
Rebecca Kukla
Reply to  Nicky Drake
4 years ago

It is not a “crappy journal in gender studies”. Gender studies isn’t even one of the many things they claim to cover. It’s just a crappy journal.Report

Stephen Berry
Stephen Berry
Reply to  Nicky Drake
4 years ago

But an equivalent piece of nonsense would never have been published in the crappiest of physics journals. Report

Nicky Drake
Nicky Drake
Reply to  Stephen Berry
4 years ago

But what does that have to do with gender studies, Stephen, given that the journal wasn’t a gender studies journal? The journal that published the paper is a general social sciences journal, and the hoax wasn’t aimed at the social sciences in general – the authors never mention the social sciences. You can’t call an endeavour a success when none of its aims are realized, even if you think it has some kind of other good consequence.

Do you have any evidence for your claim about physics journals? Surely we’d have to test that. There are certainly at least very good indications that a nonsense paper could , such as this:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/oct/22/nonsense-paper-written-by-ios-autocomplete-accepted-for-conference

And these examples from other non-social sciences:

http://news.mit.edu/2015/how-three-mit-students-fooled-scientific-journals-0414

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/nov/25/journal-accepts-paper-requesting-removal-from-mailing-list

http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7452

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/342/6154/60.fullReport

Terence Blake
4 years ago

The hoax is a real exploit, but an imaginary success. It does not prove what it is said to: https://terenceblake.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/microcosmic-hoax-a-phallic-storm-in-a-conceptual-teapot/Report

DocFE
DocFE
4 years ago

This is just silliness. How about dealing with real philosophical issues? Say, truth. These controversies belong on a blog on Fox News. Sorry, but please concentrate on philosophical issues and not such as this.Report