I’m having a strange morning, due to a delayed getting-to-work time so I can deal with an appointment. The GinjaNinja is under the weather, so I’m sitting at my desk with the house all quiet around me. The First Reader headed off to work early, and we missed our usual morning coffee and chat time. It’s rarely more than 15 minutes long, but it makes an impact on my day. I’ve been trying to decide what to blog about – there are any number of topics swirling in my mind, but nothing concrete and substantial.
I shared this topic with a few friends yesterday – and I’ve been trying to come up with the right word to describe how I feel about it. Chilling. It made a chill run up my spine, to see this and realize what it means for the future if it is not checked abruptly and firmly. If scholarly papers can be ‘flagged’ simply because they were cited by someone the publisher doesn’t like, what comes next? Are we going to see a refusal to publish papers that don’t reach an approved conclusion? Forcible retractions of papers that aren’t politically correct? This isn’t how science is supposed to work. We’ve seen researchers forced to resign, reputations ruined for false accusations. I have to wonder if the author of the paper that was flagged had this move made against his work because he works at a religious institution and is unlikely to be fired – so the only weapon against him is to undermine his work.
But now I have to get ready to go… I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the consequences of this movement, gentle readers. Will we see a chilling effect on research and science if the trend toward control through shaming and accusation continues?