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Academic Journal Publishes Hoax Paper Alleging Right-Wing Donor Influence in Universities


The academic journal Higher Education Quarterly published an article in October that appears to be a fake study arguing that conservative donor groups routinely influence academics to promote right-wing professors and concepts.

The article was published online on October 25 in the journal’s “Early View” section, described as the “online version of record before inclusion in an issue,” and was still available for download from Wiley publishing company as of Wednesday.

“Right-wing money strongly appears to induce faculty and administrators . . . to believe that they are pressured to hire and promote people they regard as inferior candidates, to promote ideas they regard as poor, and to suppress people and ideas they regard as superior,” the paper states, apparently inverting the complaint that many conservatives have lodged against universities.

However, the initials of the two purported authors, Sage Owens and Kal Alvers-Lynde III, spell out “Sokal,” in a nod to New York University physics professor Alan Sokal, who published a nonsense study in the journal Social Text in 1996. After it was revealed that his study was fake, Sokal explained that he had submitted it for publication to expose what he called “nonsense and sloppy thinking.” The episode came to be known as the “Sokal hoax.”

“The initials were intentional,” the person writing under Owens’s name told National Review via email. That person did not reveal their identity.

This article was originally published by National Review. Read the original article.

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