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Move Over, Alan Sokal

October 3, 2018

A small group of academics went public this week with a project rooting out what members describe as political bias in academic publishing. The academics posed as gender studies scholars and submitted hoax papers to journals to see if they’d get published -- and succeeded in several cases. They only outed themselves after the watchdog Twitter account New Real Peer Review criticized one of their published papers and The Wall Street Journal launched an investigation, according to information from the researchers.

Publishing journals include Gender, Place and Culture, controversy-ridden Hypatia, Sex Roles, Fat Studies, Journal of Poetry Therapy, Affilia, and Sexuality & Culture. Accepted papers include those on an adaptation of Mein Kampf, “fat bodybuilding” and monitoring "rape culture" via "dog-humping incidents" at parks in Oregon. “Every paper combined an effort to better understand the fields’ biases with an attempt to get terrible ideas published as legitimate academic research,” James Lindsay, a mathematics scholar and project participant, said in a statement. Additional information about the project is available here.

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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