Since 2015 Kay Guccione and Matthew Cheeseman have been editing the wonderful Journal of Imaginary Research (tagline “Writing Without Discipline”) that, once a year, publishes fictional research abstracts by fictional researchers. Each issue has a theme, and Volume 9’s is “Deal or Dealing”. I have an abstract in it.
As well as providing some entertaining and often very funny short reads, there is a serious academic intent behind all of this. As Guccione and Cheeseman put it,
“In producing these short, exploratory pieces, we seek to help writers establish a new relationship with writing; less driven by the demands of
productivity. Writing fiction in a familiar format helps us reflect on how we can creatively communicate our research projects, and how we can find the joy of creativity in all our writing. Many of the pieces we receive, whilst fictional, have a basis in a real observation or experience; almost all take a fresh look at a problem, frustration or constraint experienced by the researchers who crafted them.”
My own contribution (well, that of Dr Dorian Faust Jr, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Arbitrary Studies at the University of New Catatonia) is one of two that investigate the economic value of a soul. Mine is less about soul-selling than it is about the misapplication of quantitative research to things that cannot be quantified, as well as offering a broader critique of systems driving academia in general. It’s the work of less than an hour and I suspect that it might not make much of a contribution to my h-index but, self-referentially, that’s not going to stop me from listing it as a journal publication for my annual performance review.