Academia

Portland State University Says Hoax 'Grievance Studies' Experiment Violated Research Ethics

Firing Peter Boghossian for failing to get permission from the institutional review board would threaten academic freedom.

|

Screenshot via Mike Nayna / Youtube

Peter Boghossian, a professor of philosophy best known for his involvement in the "grievance studies" hoax papers, is now in trouble with Portland State University's Institutional Review Board (IRB), which has accused him of violating its policies regarding the ethical treatment of human test subjects in the course of his experiment.

"Your efforts to conduct human subjects research at PSU without a submitted nor approved protocol is a clear violation of the policies of your employer," wrote PSU Vice President Mike McLellan in an email to Boghossian, according to Areo.

This charge makes Boghossian sound like Dr. Frankenstein. But the "human subjects" in question are the peer reviewers and journal editors who accepted Boghossian's hoax papers for publication. Their reputations may have suffered as a result of being duped—and they were indeed unwitting participants in the experiment—but their physical well-being was not compromised. Moreover, it may not have been obvious to Boghossian and his co-conspirators that research conducted outside his field, bearing no formal connection to Portland State University, was still subject to IRB approval.

Nevertheless, the professor could face sanctions for his conduct, including possible termination.

Let's back up a bit. The "grievance studies" hoax—also known as Sokal Squared, in reference to physicist Alan Sokal's similar stunt from 1996—was masterminded by Boghossian and two friends: Areo editor Helen Pluckrose and mathematician James Lindsay. The trio, who consider themselves left-wing, were concerned about the state of modern discourse on the left; they had come to believe that academic journals would uncritically accept drivel for publication, so long as the underlying research promoted leftist identity politics.

To prove that that this was a problem, they decided to submit a series of fake papers to prominent publications and see how many would gullibly accept dubious research because it comported with an intersectional or postmodern leftist framework.

Their efforts were worryingly successful. The journal Fat Studies, for instance, published a hoax paper that argued the term bodybuilding was exclusionary and should be replaced with "fat bodybuilding, as a fat-inclusive politicized performance." Another fake, "Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism," was accepted by Affilia, a journal for social workers. The paper consisted in part of a rewritten passage from Mein Kampf.

Two other hoax papers were published, including "Rape Culture and Queer Performativity at Urban Dog Parks." This one caught my eye last June. I mistakenly presumed that it was real: Though many of its conclusions were patently absurd, and the subject—dog-on-dog rape—quite curious, it did not strike me as impossible that a weirdly obsessed and determined researcher could in fact visit dog parks and count the number of canine sexual assaults she witnessed. But the dog rape paper eventually forced Boghossian, Pluckrose, and Lindsay to prematurely out themselves, since a Wall Street Journal writer had figured out what they were doing.

Reactions to the experiment were mixed. The Wall Street Journal reporter, Jillian Kay Melchior, headlined her piece, "Fake News Comes to Academia." My own opinion was that Boghossian, Pluckrose, and Lindsay had identified some real issues in the peer review process, but the fakes were so elaborately crafted that they did not quite offer proof that grievance studies papers get a free pass. "Rape Culture and Queer Performatively at Urban Dog Parks" wasn't just crap—it was impressive, (seemingly) thoroughly researched crap!

As the only one of the three authors who holds an actual academic position, Boghossian was the most vulnerable to blowback. In October, Portland State administrators initiated a review of his actions to determine whether he had violated university policy. According to the university, faculty who conduct research on human beings are required to gain permission from the IRB. "Generally, research with human subjects includes any data collection about someone that you then plan to present, publish, disseminate, or otherwise share as a contribution to the field of inquiry," the IRB's website says.

Compliance with institutional review boards is a common facet of academic life; universities require assurances that professors are not conducting unethical experiments that harm their subjects. (Of course, since IRBs are change-averse bureaucracies, they often construct unnecessary hoops for researchers—see this amazing Slate Star Codex post detailing Scott Alexander's futile attempts to gain IRB approval for a perfectly benign study.) But it's possible that Boghossian didn't realize he needed IRB approval for this project, since it had nothing to do with his job. (Portland State, I gather, considers all research conducted by its employees to be subject to IRB oversight, so this probably isn't going to work as an excuse.)

Boghossian has declined to comment; he tells me he's "overwhelmed" at the moment and will answer questions at a later date. Pluckrose tells me that he had received hundreds of emails since going public about Portland State's concerns on Saturday, and "is not talking to anyone at the moment."

"We thought they'd try to get him out on some technicality they could claim to be academic misconduct but did not consider this route," she says.

On Twitter, Lindsay opines that seeking the IRB's approval was impossible—administrators would not have sanctioned the project, and this would have risked blowing their cover.

Musa al-Gharbi, a sociology fellow at Columbia University and director of communications for Heterodox Academy, tells me he thought it "highly plausible that had they followed standard protocol, the IRB board would have rejected their proposal for political/ideological reasons."

Al-Gharbi, I should note, is not a blanket cheerleader for the experiment. In fact, he shares my perspective that Boghossian, Pluckrose, and Lindsay did not manage to prove the extreme version of their hypothesis:

The claim by the authors (and many other critics of these subfields) is that these journals will publish virtually anything that "falls within the moral orthodoxy and demonstrates understanding of the existing literature," almost purely in virtue of meeting these criteria. This does not seem to be borne out in their results: 77% of their submissions were rebuffed, they failed to publish anything in 66% of the journals they submitted to, and 42% of their papers were never granted so much as an R&R, often despite multiple publication attempts.

Nevertheless, al-Gharbi believes that any failure to seek IRB approval was likely an oversight, and unsurprising given the nature of the work they were doing.

"There is a long tradition within the field of philosophy in carrying out hoaxes like these," he says. "They virtually never involve IRB approval."

Jeffrey Sachs, a lecturer at Acadia University with whom I have often sparred on the subjects of free speech and political correctness, tells me Boghossian's situation is very complicated.

"I want to know a lot more before making a judgment either way," he says.

Sachs told me it certainly looked like Boghossian violated protocol, but that this shouldn't necessarily result in his termination.

"IRB violations do happen from time to time," he said. "They're not common, but they occur. Unless a serious injury was the result, a serious punishment is rarely meted out. Often a warning and greater future scrutiny is all that happens. So it seems to me that [Boghossian] should not be punished heavily at all."

The videographer Mike Nayna, who has documented Sokal Squared on YouTube, claims that Boghossian is still under investigation for falsifying data (i.e., submitting made-up papers to journals).

While I'm far from convinced that submitting elaborate hoax papers was the best way to draw attention to the scholarly deficiencies of "grievance studies," it would be troubling on academic freedom grounds if Boghossian lost his job simply because he did not ask his university for permission to conduct this little experiment.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

Please to post comments

116 responses to “Portland State University Says Hoax 'Grievance Studies' Experiment Violated Research Ethics

  1. “Your efforts to conduct human subjects research at PSU without a submitted nor approved protocol is a clear violation of the policies of your employer”

    —-PSU Vice President

    “They were indeed unwitting participants in the experiment?but their physical well-being was not compromised. Moreover, it may not have been obvious to Boghossian and his co-conspirators that research conducted outside his field, bearing no formal connection to Portland State University, was still subject to IRB approval.”

    —-Robby

    Were the test subjects human? Was the professor at PSU? Did he have approval for human test subjects? Was his protocol approved?

    Is Robby seriously arguing that a university’s prohibition against using human test subjects without approval is only about protecting the interests of people who are students at or faculty of PSU? That would be a ridiculous interpretation.

    PSU doesn’t want PSU faculty soiling PSU’s name (or subjecting them to liability) by doing tests on human subjects without their knowledge or approval. The professor who was using human subjects was a professor at PSU–that’s the formal connection to PSU.

    Maybe the university was wrong, and maybe this is an infringement of academic liberty. But if you’re going to argue against something, argue against what it is. Don’t argue against some other thing that it isn’t. If you believe this professor shouldn’t be fired despite having violated the policy, then why not argue that?

    1. I didn’t realize this guy was connected to Portland State until Portland State called attention to itself with this review.

      1. Not only should this scoundrel be sanctioned, banned from the academy, and fired, but he should be rapidly arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for perpetrating such a hoax, so clearly damaging as it was to the reputations of the respected editors of the journals in question. There is hardly any discernible difference between deceiving distinguished members of our community in such a manner and sending out an inappropriately deadpan email “parody” in the “name” of one of our most honorable academic department chairmen. See the documentation of America’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

        https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

        1. He pointed out Falsehoods. The falsehoods he pointed out in his study actually happen. The volume of which they happen is the only thing in doubt. In showing the falsehoods he used the same method to show how it was done. Quixote seems to want to cover up “The “grievance studies hoax” which shows how fake materials are published for academic gain.

          Showing the truth is ALWAYS good. Here showing the truth is what has academic “Purists” (people who welcome fake studies) outraged.

          He showed the public the manner in which academia lies to them both for academic advancement and to push falsehoods into the data stream of America. Once lies are in the nations data stream they can be used to inject still more lies. Truth is always good. Don’t let the people who are outraged at their lies being exposed cover up the truth.

          1. Excuse me, but showing the “truth” is okay, but only when done in an appropriate manner. Here the manner used was inappropriate, because it took the form of a deceitful hoax perpetrated again respected members of the academic community. This is no more acceptable than exposing alleged “plagiarism” through a “satirical” hoax. As the courts in New York and the Second Circuit have made clear, such hoaxes are criminal, even if they truthfully damage reputations. Surely Theomore would not defend the “First Amendment” dissent of a single, isolated judge in our nation’s leading criminal “parody” case?

        2. You do realize that most likely nobody — I mean, nobody at all — remains interested in your “leading criminal ‘satire’ case” link. As my grandson says about a video game he has conquered: “it’s played”. Please feel free to come up with something new. It is, after all, a new year

          1. Curmudgeon is free to believe whatever he likes, and it is true that we live in an age of “information overload” which makes it very difficult for people to focus on anything in a serious manner for longer than a single three-minute read, but clearly he has failed to realize that the precedent set by New York’s leading criminal satire case is a fundamental key to understanding the direction we have embarked upon as a nation, as will eventually become clearer and clearer once additional American courts begin to close the loopholes.

            It is true, of course, that some people like Eugene Volokh would like to “move on” and treat the New York case like a little exception to their “First Amendment” principles (ha-ha-ha), but let me say very clearly again that their defense of the so-called “free speech” baloney no longer makes any sense at all in view of their own views on certain matters, especially as regards criminal libel (and hopefully libel will be criminalized more and more during the coming years). Eugene was quoted in the New York Times the other day as suggesting that “well-drafted” criminal libel statutes can be constitutional. We should be thankful that he’s trying not to call too much attention to opposing arguments about this matter, and it’s a pity the Times has signaled their existence.

    2. I do not think it at all clear that peer reviewers or editors are routinely considered test subjects.

      Is it standard procedure to obtain an informed consent from every reviewer or editor every time prior to them receiving a publication? I doubt that. Which makes me doubt their routine status as test subjects.

      That they were the ‘test subjects’ this time seems rather meaningless given that they were performing the exact same activities they would otherwise be performing for any other submitted paper. Int hat sense their credibility is (at least ostensibly) always on the line.

      For the purposes of hiding the dirty laundry PSU has chosen to approach this from the ‘human experimentation’ angle, when it could just as easily be viewed from an ‘academic integrity’ angle.

      1. “For the purposes of hiding the dirty laundry PSU has chosen to approach this from the ‘human experimentation’ angle, when it could just as easily be viewed from an ‘academic integrity’ angle.”

        Yeah, let’s go with that. That’s basically what I was saying.

        Even IF PSU’s rules were violated, PSU’s rules on this are terrible–and should be changed in the name of academic freedom.

        I suspect PSU was using this as an excuse myself, but there’s no good reason to pretend bans against human testing without approval only applies to humans who are formally connected to the school. That objection is horseshit, and the appropriate objection to a horseshit interpretation is not more horseshit of our own.

        1. “but there’s no good reason to pretend bans against human testing without approval only applies to humans who are formally connected to the school.”

          Agreed, that is a lame argument. But also one that far too conveniently accepts the implication that peer reviewers and editors were being ‘experimented’ upon.

          They were asked to do their jobs, nothing more.

          1. I can agree with that.

            My point was that combatting their horseshit by piling on horseshit of our own is no way to get to the bottom of the pile.

            1. Well, this is a Soave article…

              1. Are you aware that this is a fake article submitted to Reason by a fake author about a REAL study about doggie rape in doggie parks and the glorious job the courageous neoliberal journals do of bringing new truth to the masses!?


          2. They were asked to do their jobs, nothing more.

            And therein lies the rub. Unless Boghossian is publishing a paper about this experiment, there is absolutely no way to consider them test subjects since there is no academic paper that he has written that uses any data whatsoever that was or was not collected from those peer reviewers.

            Worst case scenario he’s guilty of writing and submitting papers without actually doing any real research whatsoever, which is specifically what these reviewers are supposed to catch in the first place.

            Obviously this is the University coming down on Boghossian because, well, they’re embarrassed and don’t want those journals blacklisting them or something. It’s not in the Universities interest to maintain scholastic rigor, they’re in the graduatin’ bid-ness.

            1. Worst case scenario he’s guilty of writing and submitting papers without actually doing any real research whatsoever, which is specifically what these reviewers are supposed to catch in the first place.

              Which is still bad enough to get him fired and effectively blacklist him from ever holding an academic job again.

              1. I doubt that very much given that these journals published them. It’s certainly a strange situation to be in, what with being a published author who’s publications discredited the very journals they were submitted to. On purpose, no less.

                All he needs to do now is publish the paper and that argument goes away, but of course the publishers won’t publish that paper now so…oops! It seems we’ve found the censor after all! It’s the University on one side, and the publisher on the other.

                This is perhaps one of the most spectacularly successful skewering of the gate keepers I’ve seen, even though the publications that bit seem a bit low down the totem. If this university fires him, I have no doubt another will hire him. Maybe one that even has liberal values instead of whatever passes for those in Portland.

      2. That they were the ‘test subjects’ this time seems rather meaningless given that they were performing the exact same activities they would otherwise be performing for any other submitted paper.

        For that reason, I think expedited review by the IRB would’ve been possible, and the protocol not to require informed consent.

      3. FDA and HHS definitions of “human subject” require that the subject participate in a clinical study either as patient or control or that they inform the researchers of their personal information. No editor or reviewer did any such thing. Moreover the Portland definition of human subject is any a living human that provides access to data to researcher(s). This ridiculous definition means that researchers couldn’t speak to a librarian or assistant asking for journals or books without IRB approval, since both assistants and librarians are living human being and by providing journals or books they would be providing access to data for the researchers. Portland University is engaged in a vendetta against those who dare reveal just how shoddy and useless most all of the so-called scholarship produced in the Marxist dominated “studies” departments of today’s universities actually is.

    3. Were the test subjects human?

      Was it an experiment or was it an expose?

    4. There is a profound difference between using human test subjects for medical purposes or potentially damaging psychological studies and asking them whether they approve of a paper.

      The purpose of the review board is about the former, not the latter. It has nothing about protecting the university’s reputation and everything to do about not harming people. No one was harmed or could have been harmed by this study.

      In fact, as many studies have shown, people seriously change their behavior when they know they are being watched. Therefore, seeking approval and authorization in this case would invalidate any findings.

      1. I can agree with you about all of that and still know that the idea that those prohibitions only cover people who are formally connected to the university in some way is horseshit.

        That isn’t the problem.

      2. Institutional review boards (IRBs) are about ensuring informed consent – that study participants understand the potential risks of participation, and about risk benefit – ensuring that the potential benefits from the study outweigh the potential risks.

        Considered in that light this was not remotely an ‘experiment’ requiring any sort of institutional review.

    5. Nice apologist drivel you got there. They were getting back at him for smearing academia. They should have patted him on the back for challenging the gate keepers instead.

  2. I take it the dude didn’t have tenure.

    1. I take it you didn’t read the article. He has tenure. Otherwise they would have pitched him out immediately without any review board. duh.

  3. “Grievance studies” is an offensive term intended to question the validity of fields that are in fact serious, rigorous areas of academic inquiry, such as Women’s Studies and African American Studies. Actually, many of my progressive friends majored in these subjects and I can assure you their college experience was not the nonstop drinking and partying you see portrayed in movies. For example my friend Madison is a Women’s Studies grad and she had to do so much reading in college, she knew what The Handmaid’s Tale was even before it became a TV show.

    1. “…she had to do so much reading in college, she knew what The Handmaid’s Tale was even before it became a TV show.”

      Ok now your sarcasm is showing. No thin veil, no sir.

      1. You don’t have to read the book to know that it’s a prescient tale of Trumpian Amerika.

        1. I know a lot of Republicans and I don’t know any who want America to be anything like in the Handmaid’s Tale. Do you?

            1. They are called perverts.

      2. I agree. OBL is one of our best, but this is not his best effort. Needed a little more disguise. 5/10 on this one.

    2. GIGO, (Garbage in, Garbage out), read a lot of junk science papers which is exposed by this hoax and got a degree. What does a degree in these grievance studies (feminist theory, women’s studies, etc.) prepare a person to actually DO? I suppose Title IX compliance officer or “professor”, but how many of these positions are open compared to the multitude who get the worthless degree? Poor Madison may have to shave her armpits and (gasp) get married to pay off those college loans!

      1. What does a degree in these grievance studies (feminist theory, women’s studies, etc.) prepare a person to actually DO?

        Whine a lot and blame others for their self-created problems.

      2. “What does a degree in these grievance studies (feminist theory, women’s studies, etc.) prepare a person to actually DO?”

        Train you to train democratic party voters – – – – –

      3. Poor Madison may have to shave her armpits and (gasp) get married to pay off those college loans!

        Worked for my husband. Well, not the “shaving [his] armpits” part.

        Mockery aside, seriously? That’s what you’re going with?

        1. I went with it already. I had to look up “a handmaids tale” having not been properly woke and figured a snide stereotyping of “his friend Madison” as a hairy rad-fem was an acceptable attempt at humor at his expense given he used reading a fantasy fiction novel as proof of “serious, rigorous areas of academic inquiry” in women’s studies.

          It got your attention but the liberal-itarian (whatever that is) is ignoring it. You marry a guy with a degree in women’s studies and have to pay his loans off? If so, tell him to shave his pits, it’ll look better when he’s protesting with the pink hat on.

          1. “college loans” != “women’s studies”. He studied psychology and the “what comes next” plans fell through.

            And no, I’m not telling him to shave his pits. What you think looks better is irrelevant.

            That said, you shouldn’t confuse me for a libertarian, liberal-tarian, Libertarian, or anything else.

    3. It looks really bad when you cite fiction to prove that your field of study is academically rigorous. Imagine if an economics major went around bragging that they had to read “Atlas Shrugged” in their undergraduate studies. You’d probably conclude that the department had been taken over by radical ideologies. That’s what happens when you cite The Handmaid’s Tale. That belongs in a literature class, not a social science curriculum.

  4. TOP WOMEN are in charge now!

    1. Are they the ones that wear the strap-ons?

  5. Seems foolish to have believed there wouldn’t be academic retaliation.

    1. “Seems foolish to have believed there wouldn’t be academic retaliation.”

      That’s exactly what they expected.

      Directly from the article: “”We thought they’d try to get him out on some technicality they could claim to be academic misconduct but did not consider this route,” she says.”

  6. He violated the narrative by pillorying “grievance studies;” that is unforgivable and he must be punished, no matter how tenuous the connection with his job at a State university. Had he shown hidden bias against persons on the approved list of victims [and ranked according to intersectionality] he could have done the same and been lauded for it.

    1. When out debated by the critical truth there is no recourse left than to silence the critic and with it the truth.

  7. How does the rejection rate for these papers compare to the rejection rate overall?

    There is a journal called “fat studies”?

    Fat Studies is the first academic journal in the field of scholarship that critically examines theory, research, practices, and programs related to body weight and appearance. Content includes original research and overviews exploring the intersection of gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, age, ability, and socioeconomic status. Articles critically examine representations of fat in health and medical sciences, the Health at Every Size model, the pharmaceutical industry, psychology, sociology, cultural studies, legal issues, literature, pedagogy, art, theater, popular culture, media studies, and activism.

    Fat Studies advocates equality for all people regardless of body size. It explores the way fat people are oppressed, the reasons why, who benefits from that oppression and how to liberate fat people from oppression. Fat Studies seeks to challenge and remove the negative associations that society has about fat and the fat body. It regards weight, like height, as a human characteristic that varies widely across any population. Fat Studies is similar to academic disciplines that focus on race, ethnicity, gender, or age.

    Their use of the term “fat people” seems unwoke.

    1. Are they really trying to categorize people as “oppressed” based on having an unhealthy lifestyle? Nobody would accept a concept so ridiculous.

      1. It’s not necessarily unhealthy lifestyle. A lot of people are physically unable to lose weight. I know one woman who eats 1,000 calories a day, spends 15-20 hours a week at the gym, and can’t drop below 250. She’s an extreme example, but a number of people who are quite fit are naturally “stout” and will never get to an “ideal” body weight or type without tremendously unhealthy eating habits.

        1. She is lying about what she eats. At 1000 calories per day you can’t get out of bed.

    2. They’re taking it back. Or something.

    3. Good point. Instead of “fat”, they should use “horizontally challenged”.

    4. Fat Studies advocates

      Then call it Fat Advocacy.

  8. “Two other hoax papers were published, including “Rape Culture and Queer Performativity at Urban Dog Parks.” This one caught my eye last June. I mistakenly presumed that it was real”

    Robbie is a victim of an unsanctioned human experiment! Sue!

  9. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .

    http://www.Mesalary.com

    1. I was trying to figure out what manner of a real (wage paying) job a degree in Women’s Studies prepares you for, and here it is!

  10. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .

    http://www.Mesalary.com

  11. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .

    http://www.Mesalary.com

  12. I guess there are some potential ethical issues. But it seems to me that you are likely to get better results from research on human subjects if they don’t know they are subjects of research. A lot of psychology and sociological studies are crap because they are unnatural situations and everyone is quite aware of that.

    1. A lot of ethics review boards ground their decisions in the probability of harm and/or degree of intervention. If you can get test participants to take part in your study without them even realizing it or doing any harm, they get the rubber stamp.

      1. In most cases, test participants are still consenting to a test, just not the one that is actually happening. Like the “smoke slowly filling a room while people take a test” one. Folks thought the “test” was the actual experiment, when it was actually how much smoke had to be in the room before the participant reacted.

        Experiments where the participant isn’t consenting to any test at all are a much harder swing (so the sort of experiment where you create a public situation and “experiment” on whatever unlucky sod happens to be in your path).

        That said, assuming the time/money cost of reviewing a fake paper is considering acceptable, the real sticker for this one would probably have been that there was no planned course of action for preventing publication in case of acceptance. That is to say, the professor knowingly let a fake study be published for his “experiment” even after he already got the “data” he was looking for (would it be accepted).

        The danger of a bad study being published, and possibly being used or cited by others, is a far greater danger then that to any individual reviewer.


        1. The danger of a bad study being published, and possibly being used or cited by others, is a far greater danger then that to any individual reviewer.

          Of course, that theory goes out the window once you’ve proven that the gate keepers themselves have no idea if you literally faked the paper or if you actually did your homework. This is actual proof that proof is irrelevant. That should make you happy, given your username.

          Your position, if true, would have meant this situation wouldn’t have happened. As it is, we don’t know the incidence but given the subject matter of the papers…I mean come on. Even Robby, a simple Journalism undergrad, figured something was up and he’s more hair than brains.

  13. Well, they brought that on themselves for creating a climate of censorship in academia! They’re embarrassed because those hoax papers exposed just how loony the Left is and now they’re trying to get back at him!

    1. Bot-o-meter: 6/10

      1. Meaning A Lady of Reason’s comment has 60% of the routine-ness character exhibited by ‘bots that “comment” here.

        Look, we all know you’re not actually a ‘bot, because we see there’s some human thinking going into your comments,. But only very little of it shows up in your posts. You wrote 2 lines here and a pointer to a much greater vol. of your content hosted elsewhere. It doesn’t exactly facilitate discussion.

        Yes, there are times when one of us would like to have others read an article elsewhere & comment on it here?but not routinely pointing to something we wrote ourselves & could’ve discussed here directly.

        1. I concur. I got Goatse’d too many times as a youngun to follow links on forums anymore.

        2. Like I’m going to go read some chuckle heads WordPress. Sorry lady, I only read people’s opinion that paid for a server. If your words aren’t worth anything to you, why should they be worth anything to me?

  14. First Amendment? It’s a state university. All they did was submit a paper for publication. Requiring pre-approval by some board sounds like an unconstitutional prior restraint.

    1. It’s the human experimentation that requires IRB approval. This is a very standard procedure. I had to do it even for an online survey. It’s efficacy is questionable at times, but this is a well known standard across all academics.

    2. Well, there’s a little trap here.

      If they say it was just submitting a paper for publication, then there’s the issue that the data was fake and the experiments/observations weren’t really done. Submitting a “straight” research paper with faked data is firing offense and rightly so.

      On the other hand, if they say it was not a real paper but an experiment to test a hypothesis about review standards in “grievance studies”, then deception is allowed if appropriate for an experiment but an IRB is normally required for any experiment involving human subjects, and there are protocols for if and when test subjects are to be informed that they might be getting fake information.

      It all does seem like a silly concern if one thinks the whole field of study is BS anyway, but if it was medicial paper or a transportation safety paper the ethical problems with carrying the hoax through to publication are fairly obvious. In particular, any intentional hoax to test the system ought to be revealed immediately after the acceptance letter, but before the actual publication.

      1. You’re assuming those are the only two possibilities: straight research or experiment. How about it was a protest and a political statement/criticism that entire departments are bull.

        Also, the argument doesn’t have to win. It is like the Streisand Effect. Let’s say the school fires him, and he sues on 1st Amendment grounds. Even if he loses at trial, he can appeal, and I think this is legitimately an interesting and debatable 1st Amendment question. If the Supreme Court took it, you would have even more eyes on the story. Win or lose, it gets written about and more coverage.

        1. Generally speaking, in order to claim that something was a “protest” or “political statement” it has to be acknowledged. But this guy didn’t go public about what he did until after he was caught. That makes it much harder to convincingly argue it was a “protest”.

          That said, it’s not a 1st Amendment question, it’s an employee/employer rights question: can a university fire a professor for either (A) falsifying research data or (B) circumventing the review board?

          1. The school is claiming that he circumvented the review board. If he were fired for falsifying data, that would be a different fact pattern. Here, the school is not just an employer, it is also a government entity. Moreover, this would not be a challenge against IRB boards generally. It would be an “as applied” challenge to the requirement that he must get the review board to sign off before submitting an article to a journal, even if that article is an “experiment” (which it is probably not under the applicable regs). I don’t think the answer is clear-cut, especially when the board’s complaint is so obviously pre-textual.

            1. The school is claiming that he circumvented the review board.

              Because he is claiming it was an experiment.

              If he wants to drop that claim and say “yeah, I was just trolling them” that’s his call. But until he makes it, it’s not unfair to treat it like an experiment.

              1. The trio’s claim is it was an AUDIT, which is not an experiment. They knew in advance that grievance studies and associated journals are a fraud and not serious science and sought to provide actual numbers to demonstrate just how bad the situation was.

      2. My employer ‘experiments’ on me routinely. They send out fake phishing emails, and if we fail to report them (even if we merely ignore them) then we get signed up for mandatory online security training.

        My point being, just because you are being tested it does not mean it is an actual experiment for IRB type consideration.

        This was an exercise in academic integrity. And PSU continues to fail.

  15. There was a JRE episode with these guys. Too lazy to find the link.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZZNvT1vaJg

      That’s the full episode. There are shorter clips.

  16. > While I’m far from convinced that submitting elaborate hoax papers was the best way to draw attention to the scholarly deficiencies of “grievance studies,”

    I’m curious what Mr. Soave would do instead.

    1. Ignore the issue or bravely champion the perpetrators of these deficient studies. It’s what good journolists do, parrot the lefty narrative of the day.

    2. Here’s one. Test Poe’s Law in the lab. Write a set of parody abstracts. Mix them with a set of real ones from the so-called grievance studies departments. See if subjects can tell the difference. See if people trained in grievance studies can tell the difference.

      1. They can’t. That’s why Boghossian must be destroyed.

  17. Central Committee has spoken !!!

    That is all !!!

  18. Here is the PSU policy on human subject research: https://sites.google.com/a/pdx.edu
    /research/integrity/human-subjects/policy

    It applies to “research” on human subjects. It defines “research” as “any systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” But it defines “systematic investigation” as “one that applies a defined set of questions or steps across a number of individuals or points in time in order to answer a research question.” Does mailing purported research articles journals meet this definition? Do academic journals count as “individuals?”


    1. Does mailing purported research articles journals meet this definition? Do academic journals count as “individuals?”

      One might think they don’t unless Boghossian knew which reviewers specifically would be reading and approving the papers, which seems unlikely.

  19. “But the “human subjects” in question are the peer reviewers and journal editors who accepted Boghossian’s hoax papers for publication.”

    If he’s in trouble, satire will become illegal.

    1. Boghossian was not studying individual peer reviewers and journal editors. He was studying how specific institutions operate.

  20. If I change my teaching methodology and note an improvement in my student’s grades does that count as human testing?

    Or only if I tell my colleagues about it?

  21. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you…..

    http://www.geosalary.com

  22. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you…..

    http://www.geosalary.com

  23. I for one appreciate what they did.

  24. Yeah, no. Dude is a professor, he knows full well that the university is interested in all his published research, within his field or not, and the credibility thereof. It’s the whole “publish or perish” thing in academia. So that excuse is bullshit.

    So is the “if I’d tried to get approval, I would have been denied” line. Those boards exist for the explicit purpose of making sure that any deception or proceeding without consent is actually necessary to the experiment, and that if it is, that the experiment is worthy.

    And while he might be a professor of philosophy rather then sociology or psychology, I’m extremely skeptical that he’s unaware of the very bleak and dark history of non-consensual experiments universities used to run. Put simply, there’s a reason there’s now so much transparency and bureaucracy: because professors proved that they couldn’t be trusted to listen only to their own conscience.

    So yeah. I’ve got no sympathy for the guy. Perform experiments involving deception without approval from the review board, get punished like someone who performs experiments involving deception without approval from the review board.

    1. Thanks for that.

      Particularly the part about the review board and its role.

    2. Agreed. I think we can argue over the necessity of IRB in some cases. But at the very least, it is such a well known process that there is no meaningful way he could claim ignorance of it existing.

      1. Provided, of course, the research he conducted falls within the scope of the IRB policy. See my comment above. It is at least arguable that what he did does not fall within the scope of the policy.

    3. So you’re fully on board with the perpetration of fraud in academia as long as it’s approved fraud. Thanks for the progressive outlook comrade.

      1. Nope.

        I’m fully on-board with having a check on researchers, and am not convinced that this circumvention of that check was necessary.

        1. I can agree it was probably wasn’t necessary unless he wanted anyone to actually hear about it. If he was happy with the status quo he probably should have let it slide and allowed the publishers to continue publishing nonsense and bullshit.

          And, in a way, you’re right. It was only necessary from the standpoint of being heard and becoming a test case which it looks like that could be what happens here. And, if not, then he crucified himself for nothing but at least we all know where the publishers stand.

        2. Informed consent is what a free and honest society requires for human experimentation with the subject being provided with independent medical expertise if they do not have their own. IRB boards and the FDA are what sclerotic bureaucratic over-governed societies have instead, because the elites of such societies consider citizens far too stupid and ignorant to choose whether to participate in research, even if it may potentially save their lives. That choice must be made by the people’s betters in the form of regulatory approval from federal agencies and/or university and hospital IRBs,

    4. Perform experiments involving deception without approval from the review board, get punished like someone who performs experiments involving deception without approval from the review board.

      Except that’s not what happened. He put bullshit before people whose job it is to reject bullshit and EXPECTED them to be summarily rejected.

      And it wasn’t.

      It wasn’t an experiment. It was a system test. And that system failed.

      It failed first when the people doing the testing knew that even asking to do this type of testing would be met with violent denial. And the system failed secondly when things were published, or simply rejected instead of being called out for the fakes that they were.

      And the system showed it’s total failure now, in this attempt to punish the people who pointed out that the Emperor was nude instead of getting the poor man a coat.

      1. If the guy wants to argue it was a “system test” rather then an “experiment”, he’s free to make that claim. He should probably stop calling it an experiment first though.

    5. “Publisb or perish” may have been true in the past, but is a joke in modern humanities departments – which are themselves a joke.
      Your attitude seems to be one contributing to the problem.

  25. You could look at this from another perspective, and consider it a matter of falsifying data for research. It is a “play within a play”. They falsified data and published false research, for the purpose of conducting research on humans who had not consented to their research. This is an attack on VERY powerful interests. Expect retaliation. By undermining the credibility of peer reviewed journals, they are threatening the pharmaceutical industry. There are billions in play and there is not much they won’t do to protect those billions. Just ask the researcher who published research that called the safety of vaccines into question, for instance. They will hound you for the rest of your life.

    Virology blog published an expose of a research study in which psychologists interviewed children and parents at their school about absences. The children and parents were aware they had the right to refuse to participate and the peer reviewed journal did not catch it. My eternal gratitude to David Tuller for his expose “Trial By Error: The Troubling Case of the PACE Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study”, an extremely corrupt multi-million dollar peer-reviewed study. Whistleblowers on the peer review process are all that stand between you and a deadly heart stent procedure, or drug that can kill you. But, don’t worry. “Science” always tells you it is “safe and effective” — because they can withhold research that says otherwise.

    1. 1)Moby Dick is not research on whaling , the white whale is not a real whale and so is not data. Captain Ahab’s behavior isn’t data either. He never existed. It is FICTION. Just like all of the trio’s papers. The papers are parodies of research. There is nothing real in them. No dogs or humans were observed, interviewed or involved at all. Parodies, which consisted of fiction, were submitted to supposedly serious scientific journals to see how many blatantly ridiculous parodies would be accepted for publication.
      2)Not all scientific journals are equally competent. STEM journals for the most part remain actual scientific journals publishing genuine research. Grievance studies departments and journals are a very different matter, they are political propaganda in the guise of science and have already severely damaged American universities. They need to be excised not defended.

  26. Boghossian wasn’t subjecting human beings to any set of procedures to gather data; he submitted articles to reviewers to test their judgement and to determine whether there was a pattern in their judgements.

    1. Seems to me he was subjecting them to their own procedures. Anyone who holds someone to their own standards is a monster that must be stopped.

  27. “treatment of human test subjects” there are no test subjects. By their argument, a journalism prof could not do a critique of Trump. Note that at another school a prof wrote an article unfriendly to pay-to-play journals, many fake, and noted that many profs in his dept published in such journals. Boy is he in trouble and he didn’t even do what was done here. Emperor no clothes? Off with his head!

    1. Let me clarify: a journalism prof who did investigative work and discovered that some gov officials were taking bribes would be guilty by this logic, because he published the names of those investigated without their permission.

  28. “Firing Peter Boghossian for failing to get permission from the institutional review board would threaten academic freedom.”

    You say that like they don’t know it, when that’s the whole point – pour encourager les autres.

  29. If a man is making a submarine sandwich in a sub shop, and I come along and I order a ham and cheese, and carefully examine how he makes the sandwich, I am not “studying” the man, and I am not conducting a “test,” involving him. If I write a scholarly paper and mention what went into the sandwich, I don’t need IRB approval. This is because that man would be making sandwiches – including ham and cheese – whether I ordered one or not. Similarly, if I write a scholarly paper and tell my friends it’s a merry hoax, and it gets published after peer review, the peer reviewers are NOT test subjects. They reviewed papers before they got to mine, and they reviewed others after my paper. I neither required them to accept the paper nor told them the purpose of it. I have to actually DO something to a “test subject” in order for IRB to kick in, such as subject them to certain conditions, or ask them to participate in a game, or at least have them answer questions in a survey. Simply seeing how the process of peer review works at a particular publisher doesn’t raise ethical flags; not unless the subjects would otherwise not be doing something I asked them to do.

  30. There is a massive flaw in the logic here:

    He was not experimenting on human test subjects… He was experimenting on progtard test subjects.

    There is a difference!

  31. Can’t wait for his paper on Climate Change causing Gender Dysphoria.

  32. My own opinion was that Boghossian, Pluckrose, and Lindsay had identified some real issues in the peer review process, but the fakes were so elaborately crafted that they did not quite offer proof that grievance studies papers get a free pass. “Rape Culture and Queer Performatively at Urban Dog Parks” wasn’t just crap?it was impressive, (seemingly) thoroughly researched crap!

    This says more about Robby Soave than it says about the supposed thoroughness of the “research” of the crap.

  33. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you……

    http://www.geosalary.com

  34. The 1955 Solomon Asch experiment “Opinions and Social Pressure” hired students to participate without telling them they were the test subject being pressured by a united front conspiracy of liars. This study revealed how libertarian voters reduce error among those influenced by the looter kleptocracy by a good 25%. No wonder they want to ban everything of the sort. Here’s how it worked: http://tinyurl.com/y8rclxm7

  35. I think there is nothing wrong to buy essay online! This is just a part of our life.

Comments are closed.