As open-access journals search for a review process that preserves diversity and quality, a sting operation exploits the weaknesses of lax quality control.
Before Tom Clancy became an international publishing phenomenon, he was just another insurance salesman, working out of Baltimore and dreaming of a life as an author. With the arrival of his debut novel, The Hunt for Red October, in 1984, that dream suddenly became a reality, establishing the man with the aviator sunglasses and the Navy baseball hats as a perpetual presence on best-seller lists.
The journal Metalurgia International recently published a paper entitled “Evaluation of Transformative Hermeneutic Heuristics for Processing Random Data”. Though submitted by real researchers from the University of Belgrade, the paper was a hoax, an attempt to expose lax publishing standards. How lax, you ask? Take a look at the paper. The obvious trolling starts with the authors donning wigs and fake moustaches, continues into an abstract full of blithely meaningless jargon, and includes references to the work of revered academics such as Ron Jeremy, A.S. Hole, Borat Sagdiyev and, yes, Alan Sokal. Retraction Watch has compiled some of the highlights.
Human rights continue to remain unacknowledged as being at the heart of many social movement struggles. But like any language of power, they are subject to processes of institutionalization. Can they remain a source of empowerment? A response to Stephen Hopgood and Jose-Manuel Barreto.