Is the Synthese Thing Just Business as Usual?

Chris Pincock at “Honest Toil” has a different take on the Synthese disclaimer issue. Pincock makes the argument that since the Editors-in-Chief have responsibility for the reputation of the journal, of course they would have to put a disclaimer on a special issue if they saw a problem. There’s nothing to do because the Editors-in-Chief have a compelling motivation for the action they took.

My response in the comments there was this:

As an author in the special issue in contention, I am less sanguine than you about the events. You see, the broad-brush vagueness of the Editors-in-Chief statement casts aspersions upon my academic integrity. Do the Editors-in-Chief have the right, in your estimation, to tar my reputation without notice or recourse? If I had been informed ahead of time of the intention to run that disclaimer with my paper, I would have retracted it on the spot. I was given *no* prior notice that any such criticism would be part of publishing in the special issue. I was given *no* opportunity to either revise or retract to escape the criticism leveled at the papers of the special issue. Is that also just their unquestioned right as Editors-in-Chief?

In my estimation, it is not simply business as usual for an academic publication to treat its authors as the Synthese Editors-in-Chief have done in this case. I don’t know that a boycott is absolutely the right response, but I disagree with the idea that no response is justified.

Wesley R. Elsberry

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

2 thoughts on “Is the Synthese Thing Just Business as Usual?

  • Pingback:Boycott of Synthese Status Page | Evolving Thoughts

  • 2011/04/21 at 3:16 pm

    I too was puzzled how Chris missed that very point: the issue that Leiter raised (and raised by the letter to the Editors by the special journal editors) centered very much on the lack of notice and the apparent end run around the guest editors. THAT is reason this is an issue and justifies the boycott in my estimation.

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