Since when are professional scientific journals openly and proudly attempting to influence political elections by their decisions about publication? Isn’t there something a tad unprofessional about that? More than a tad? The study’s author, Jeffrey Peipert, tells a news organization unabashedly that he expressly asked the journal, Obstetrics and Gynecology, to hasten the publication of his article in order to influence this fall’s presidential election. Frankly, if I ever tried such a thing on a philosophy journal editor, even an editor who had already accepted an article of mine, I hope (and still believe) I’d receive a sharp rebuke. (Not that my philosophy articles have political implications anyway; the scenario is hypothetical.) Such a request should be taken as an insult to the professionalism of the editor. Regardless of whether the article was accepted independently of political considerations, the timing of its release should be decided on the basis of academic and professional considerations, including time for possible revisions and the courtesy owed to other authors whose articles were submitted and accepted longer ago. The utterly unashamed announcement that author and editor colluded to time the article to influence the U.S. presidential election should leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, especially in the mouths of scientists and scholars, and should even cast a small amount of doubt on the objectivity of the review process itself.
Now, on to content issues.