Serbian researchers troll academia


This deserves the Ignobel prize in Literature.

I read just the title and I knew, it’s an obvious homage to Sokal.

of course:

Not really an interesting story. It’s a truism in academia that for every paper there is at least one journal that will publish it. This is true because there are plenty of vanity journals that only exist to pad out the resumes of third-rate researchers. They only pretend to do peer review.

A story worth reporting on would be someone getting a fake paper into a reputable journal.

Yes, as amusing as this practical joke is, it does not really say anything about the scientific literature at large. The journal (to use the term loosely) targeted has an impact factor of 0.13, which translates to “worse than not publishing at all” for most researchers. It’s akin to sneaking a fake story into the National Enquirer.

But it’s damn funny.

Technically, I’d call this punking.

Thanks to being sued so many times in the 1980’s, the National Enquirer developed extremely high standards of fact checking. I’d consider them as trustworthy as any other newspaper of record.

I agree. These researchers successfully trolled the editors a relatively unknown journal, not academia or the scientific community as a whole. The same goes for Sokal. Forgive the “No True Scotsman” argument, but Social Text did not practice peer review at the time of the publication of his infamous article, and therefore it was not really an academic journal; it was a fashionable left-leaning magazine among some academics during the 1980s and 1990s. I suspect few people cited the Sokal article in their own work until after the hoax was revealed. Just as I suspect few scientists bother to read Metalurgia International. Trolling a third-rate journal is like trolling Edwin Mellon Press (yeah, I said it): where’s the effort?

Source? =)

Among the other luminaries cited: Bernoulli, Huygens, Laplace, F. Jacobi, M. Weber. They also cited a fellow Serbian; S. Milosevic (“On Constructive GroupTheory”. Springer, 1998 yup, they went there.)

The American Physical Society has an interesting approach to junk conference abstracts, which is to accept everything submitted, and then host a “lunatic” parallel session under a catch-all title such as “General Physics” for those who submit dubious text and then turn up. This tradition started in the 50’s after the author of a rejected abstract went postal and murdered the secretary of one of the APS Editors, who had the temerity to reject his paper about how electrons were fake.

Check out for a teeming preprint server of junk science.


Well sure. Now they just say “An inside source close to celebrity X claims” instead of directly claiming anything.

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