Three writers against political correctness (anti-PC writers) revealed that they successfully managed to trick academic journals into publishing hoax papers about topics such as dog rape and fatphobia among others.
The three writers embarked on an experiment through which they aimed to establish whether they could successfully manage to convince the peer-review process in multiple publications that their content was legitimate.
The three writers claim that they are left-leaning, but they are also against the influence of identity politics, political correctness and “grievance studies.”
The anti-PC writers came up with the fake papers which much to their surprise got accepted by seven publishers.
Peter Boghossian, an assistant philosophy professor at Portland State University, Aero Editor Helen Pluckrose, and a mathematician James Lindsay wrote the hoax papers.
Creating content that is believable
The three writers came up with an article titled “Rape Culture and Queer Performativity at Urban Dog Parks,” which was published by the Gender, Place and Culture journal.
Helen Wilson, its fictitious author, presented “highly compelling” research data on canine sexual aggression including dog rape.
A journal called Fat Studies also published one of the hoax papers compiled the three anti-PC writers.
That hoax paper proposed that bodybuilding is “fat-exclusionary” and even suggests the creation of a new classification called fat bodybuilding.
“This author put a lot of work into this topic. It is an interesting topic, looking at weight and bodybuilding. So I am surprised that, of all things, they’d write this as a hoax,” stated editor Esther Rothblum.
Rothblum also pointed out that the paper was suggested to peer review before it was published and that the author even signed copyright to verify the article’s authorship.
The editor also revealed that she would remove the report from the Fat Studies website.
A different journal called the Poetry Therapy also published a hoax paper that talks about feminist spirituality meetings including a “womb room.” Mr. Lindsay wrote the article, and it evaluates six poems which were algorithmically generated and put forward with few edits.
Hoax articles can ruin the reputation of credible journals
Nicholas Mazza, Poetry Therapy’s founding editor, stated that they accepted the article in July after a blind peer review. He also regretted not carrying out a thorough identity check of the author.
Mazza stated that the Poetry Therapy journal took years to build up its credibility, but something like the hoax article destroys all that progress.
The anti-PC writers managed to achieve the goal of the experiment.
They concluded that academic journals publish any information whether real or not as long as it appears highly legitimate and thoroughly researched.