Sokal Squared

I recently learned about the Grievance Studies hoax, nicknamed “Sokal Squared”, in which a trio of academics wrote something like 20 ridiculous, bogus papers and submitted them to a bunch of journals in disciplines like gender studies, queer studies, etc. Some of the papers were accepted and even published.

The point was supposed to be that these academic disciplines lack scholarly rigor because even after editorial and peer review these preposterous writings still made it into their journals. Many people have praised the hoaxers for shining a light on these issues, although there’s been some criticism of the hoax as well.

The strongest criticism, as I see it, is that the hoaxers didn’t have a control on their experiment, which they could have by sending equally ludicrious papers to journals in more established disciplines. It turns out journals in some of those disciplines (math, computer science, physics, etc.) have been similarly hoaxed already, bringing into question whether the Sokal Squared hoax was actually revelatory.

On the other hand, many of the hoaxes in the list I just linked to seem to have been perpetrated against open-access journals, which are already known to have little-to-no gatekeeping stringency.

Nevertheless, it’s a funny and entertaining prank at any rate. Here’s Joe Rogan’s 2.5 hour conversation with two of the hoaxers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZZNvT1vaJg

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