The hoax journal paper genre was started, as Dreier explains, by New York University physicist Alan Sokal in 1996. Sokal aimed to skewer the postmodern dogma that facts, even in mathematics and physics, are merely a social construct. He submitted an article to Social Text, a postmodern cultural studies journal, that, “shorn of its intentionally outrageous jargon, essentially made the claim that gravity was in the mind of the beholder.”
From Jennifer Ruark at Chronicle of Higher Education:
How the physicist Alan Sokal hoodwinked a group of humanists and why, 20 years later, it still matters. (paywall)
But do Sokal hoaxes still matter? Are we not now in the age of post-fact science? (“I’m a factual relativist. I abandoned the idea of facts and “the truth” some time last year. ”)
And what has changed? Does it really come down to: As long as they’ve got the cred and the gear, they’re doing science?
See also: Peer review “unscientific”: Tough words from editor of Nature
The Hoax on Us: Drivel, Fraud & Gibberish in Scientific Papers
Big Sokal hoax at Physics arxiv?
Here’s why Japanese universities are shedding liberal arts departments
Another hoax journal article retracted
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