Neil Levy kindly called my attention to the story: "A paper by Marcie Rathke of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople had been provisionally accepted for publication in Advances in Pure Mathematics. ‘Independent, Negative, Canonically Turing Arrows of Equations and Problems in Applied Formal PDE’." As LRB reports, "The paper was created using Mathgen, an online random maths paper generator." Unfortunately, "Neither Marcie Rathke nor the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople is willing to pay the ‘processing charges’ levied by Advances in Pure Mathematics, so we will never know if the work would actually have made it to publication." The exchange between 'author' and journal is priceless.
So, what did this hoax expose? LRB concludes the following:
Academic journals depend on peer review to ensure the rigour and value of submissions. The less prestigious the journal, the harder it is to find competent reviewers and the lower they will have to set the threshold, until at some point we arrive at, essentially, accept-all-comers vanity publishing. The murkier the business model and the lower the standards outside the mainstream, the harder it is for academics to challenge the status of the prestige journals, locking academics into the situation Glen Newey describes.