James Taylor – Bleeding Heart Libertarians http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com Free Markets and Social Justice Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:16:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/cropped-site-icon-BHL-32x32.png James Taylor – Bleeding Heart Libertarians http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com 32 32 22756168 A Modest Proposal: Make Academics Who Call for Papers to be Retracted Do Their Jobs! http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/10/modest-proposal-make-academics-call-papers-retracted-jobs/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/10/modest-proposal-make-academics-call-papers-retracted-jobs/#comments Fri, 13 Oct 2017 20:54:28 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=12058 In the light of both the Gilley case (“The case for colonialism”) and the Tuvel case (“In Defense of Transracialism”) I’ve been thinking a lot about what an appropriate response...

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In the light of both the Gilley case (“The case for colonialism”) and the Tuvel case (“In Defense of Transracialism”) I’ve been thinking a lot about what an appropriate response would be to the originators (and signers) of the petitions that called for the retraction of their papers on the grounds that they were defending views that were “offensive”.
If you organize a mob to demand someone else’s work be silenced then you have horribly misunderstood your role as an academic–or else you just don’t care about it. (I think you’ve also misunderstood your moral obligations as a rational person, but I’m willing to accept that “activists” might have different duties in these cases than academics.) As I noted earlier rather than attempting to silence persons you disagree with you should attempt to rebut their views. If you claim that you shouldn’t do this as this would “dignify” the view you disagree with then you have simply abdicated your role as an academic. In any case, refusing to engage with views you disagree with and demanding their retraction is a clear example of professional misconduct.
So, what to do about “academics” who try to silence those they disagree with? I have a suggestion–which despite the Swiftian title of this post is absolutely serious.

Institutions should require that faculty who originate such petitions (and, perhaps, even those who sign them) to publish a peer-reviewed article rebutting the views they disagree with to be eligible for any future additional research support from their home institution. (I’d also suggest that the rebuttal should appear in a journal ranked the same or higher than that in which the “offensive” article appeared, and be at least as long as it was, so that “Response Notes” in low-ranked journals don’t count. The rebuttal should also be published in a journal in the same field as the article that is being criticized, not in a journal in the field of the faculty member doing the criticizing, if this is different. Thus, if an English professor criticizes the work on an economist, published in an economics journal, then the rebuttal must also be published in an economics journal.) This requirement would have several advantages:

First, it would clearly indicate that the institution that imposed this requirement on its “activist” faculty took the free exchange of ideas very seriously.

Second, it would require that the critical faculty member demonstrate that his concerns are legitimate–and that they are recognized as such by the academic peers of the original author.

Third, it would impose some costs on those who demand retractions. The required article would be more time-consuming to write than a petition and would take time to pass through peer-review before acceptance. During this time the faculty member would receive no additional research support–no course release, no conference funding, no technology grants, no research assistants, no sabbaticals.

Fourth, this suggestion would not involve taking anything away from those guilty of misconduct. It would simply withhold (or, in some cases, withdraw) benefits. And the benefits withheld would be those designed to aid in the free exchange of ideas–an enterprise that the faculty member guilty of such misconduct has shown his- or herself unwilling to engage in. This response would this be a fitting one for misconduct of this nature.

Finally, the faculty members thus castigated could not claim that they are being “censored” or “shut down”. They are not. In fact, this approach is the very opposite of silencing–it’s requiring them to express their views in a manner coherent enough to warrant publication.

 

 

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Discussion of Bruce Gilley’s “The case for colonialism” over at Cato Unbound. http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/10/discussion-bruce-gilleys-case-colonialism-cato-unbound/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/10/discussion-bruce-gilleys-case-colonialism-cato-unbound/#comments Fri, 13 Oct 2017 16:20:43 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=12056 My essay “Foreign Rule and Colonial Fictions” is now up at Cato Unbound‘s new issue “Perspectives on Colonialism”. This was written as a response to the absolutely excellent lead paper by...

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My essay “Foreign Rule and Colonial Fictions” is now up at Cato Unbound‘s new issue “Perspectives on Colonialism”. This was written as a response to the absolutely excellent lead paper by Sahar Khan, “Why Libertarians Shouldn’t Accept the Case for Colonialism”. I also highly recommend Berny Sebe’s response essay, “The Case Against Historical Anachronism”.

Enjoy the discussion!

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The Case for Colonialism: Don’t retract, rebut…. and censure those who seek to silence. http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/09/case-colonialism-dont-retract-rebut-censure-seek-silence/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/09/case-colonialism-dont-retract-rebut-censure-seek-silence/#comments Sun, 24 Sep 2017 16:41:13 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=12042 In a recent paper entitled “The case for colonialism” Bruce Gilley argued that “Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the...

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In a recent paper entitled “The case for colonialism” Bruce Gilley argued that “Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found”. Gilley then argued that colonialism should be “recovered” “by reclaiming colonial modes of governance, by recolonizing some areas, and by creating new Western colonies from scratch”. These are highly controversial claims. But it is unlikely that Gilley anticipated the antipathy with which they would be received. Two petitions were initiated—gathering over 15,000 signatures between them—demanding that the journal in which the paper was published (Third World Quarterly) retract it.These petitions were followed by the resignation of several of the members of the journal’s editorial board in protest at the article’s publication.

But the calls for the retraction of this article are inappropriate responses to Gilley’s controversial claims. Gilley’s article does not meet either of the conditions that the publishers of Third World Quarterly (Taylor & Francis) have outlined for the retraction of articles. It should not be retracted for “unsound results” because its conclusions are not “seriously undermined as a result of miscalculation or error”. And it should not be retracted for “misconduct” for Gilley has made no “infringement of publishing ethics” nor has there been any claim that he has breached any “author warranties”.

The claim that this article should not be retracted is not new. But in response to the antipathy that he has been faced Gilley has requested that the article be withdrawn–not because he now believes that his arguments are mistaken, but because it has cased “pain” and generated “anger”. But Third World Quarterly should not accede to this request–the article should remain available. That an article upsets people is no grounds for its withdrawal. Moreover, if the journal did allow the article to be withdrawn it would violate the policy of the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers Guideline for “Preservation of the Objective Record of Science” (to which the journal’s publisher subscribes) that “Articles that have been published should remain extant, exact, and unaltered to the maximum extent possible”.

It might be argued that Gilley’s paper should be retracted because his arguments do not support his conclusion, and so these are undermined “as a result of… [argumentative] error”. But to argue in this way would require that one first demonstrate where Gilley is mistaken–one would have to engage with his work, not simply call for its retraction. And even if one could show that his arguments were flawed this should not be used to support a call for retraction, for this would justify the retraction of any paper whose conclusions have been arrived at through erroneous argumentation. And this is not how academic debates are conducted—and nor should it be. Instead, persons present their conclusions supported by the best arguments and evidence that they can muster. These are then subject to critical scrutiny with the aim of identifying and correcting errors in the arguments. If the arguments are found not to support the conclusion then the original paper should be rebutted—not retracted.

But there’s more to be said in this case. The petitions demanding the retraction of this article secured over 15,000 signatures. I very much doubt that everyone who signed these petitions actually read the paper. Demanding that a paper be retracted because you don’t like its arguments is bad enough. Demanding that it be retracted because you don’t like what you think its conclusion is without having even read it is despicable. Moreover, if you’re an academic, a demand for retraction on either of these grounds would be a clear abdication of your professional responsibility. It is thus not Gilley who should be censured. It is the academics (such as Jenny Heijun Wills, Rebecca Salazar, and Carrianne Leung) who initiated and signed these deplorable petitions.

As a brief aside: If you object to the mocking of work in English, Gender Studies, and Geography that’s based not on reading the papers but simply on their titles and abstracts (e.g., those offered up for ridicule by places such as Real Peer Review) then you should be even more concerned with the demand that a paper be retracted on the basis of a similarly cursory examination.

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Student Seminar on “Markets and Morality” http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/09/student-seminar-markets-morality/ Tue, 19 Sep 2017 20:47:41 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=12033 I’ll be hosting a student conference on “Markets and Morality” at The College of New Jersey in conjunction with the wonderful Institute for Humane Studies on Sept. 29th and 30th....

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I’ll be hosting a student conference on “Markets and Morality” at The College of New Jersey in conjunction with the wonderful Institute for Humane Studies on Sept. 29th and 30th. More information here! Please do consider attending if you’re in the Ewing/Princeton area!
 

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Can you be a libertarian racist or anti-Semite? http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/09/can-libertarian-racist-anti-semite/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/09/can-libertarian-racist-anti-semite/#comments Tue, 05 Sep 2017 22:19:38 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=12019 No. OK, now we’ve got that out of the way, here’s why: As a political philosophy libertarianism is based on the view that all individual humans are worthy of respect,...

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No.

OK, now we’ve got that out of the way, here’s why:

As a political philosophy libertarianism is based on the view that all individual humans are worthy of respect, and that their actions should not be subject to the coercive interference of another without just cause. Now, what counts as “just cause” is open for debate. But it’s clear that if we truly believe that all individuals are worthy of respect then the mere fact that someone has a particular ancestry wouldn’t justify treating her differently from anyone else. (Nor, incidentally, would the mere fact that someone is a different sex justify her differential treatment.) If you believe that it does then you’re treating persons primarily as tokens of types of people, and not primarily as individuals. And that’s just not an individualist–or libertarian–view.

This doesn’t mean that you or your business are required to deal with types of people you don’t like. You can refuse service to anyone, on any grounds. But, if you do it solely on the grounds that they’re (e.g.) a Jew, or Irish, or a woman, then you’re not committed to treating people as individuals. And it’s that commitment–and not the view that you should not aggress against others–that is the fundamental basis of libertarianism. This is because the commitment not to aggress stems from the recognition that other persons are individuals with their own projects that you should not interfere with without just cause. The respect for individuals comes first; the duty not to aggress comes second. This means that the argument that a desire to refuse service to persons on the basis of their ancestry (or sex) is compatible with being a libertarian as such a refusal is simply the refusal to confer a benefit and not the infliction of a harm cuts no ice. It’s correct that a refusal to truck, barter, or trade is the refusal to confer a benefit and not the initiation of aggression. But if this refusal stems from treating one’s prospective trading partner as a token of a type of people rather than as an individual in her own right then it will be incompatible with libertarianism. Again, this doesn’t mean that it would be disallowed in a libertarian society. But the person so refusing would not herself be a libertarian–no matter how much she might agree with free markets, the non-aggression principle,  or other doctrines associated with libertarianism.

So, no, you can’t be a racist or an anti-Semite and a libertarian. But libertarianism can (reluctantly) allow you to practice your racist or anti-Semitic views, provided that these are limited to withholding benefits and not inflicting harm.

 

 

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Chuck ’em out! The politicians who proposed the RAISE Act are INELIGIBLE to live in the United States! http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/08/chuck-em-politicians-proposed-raise-act-ineligible-live-united-states/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/08/chuck-em-politicians-proposed-raise-act-ineligible-live-united-states/#comments Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:03:02 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=11999 I wonder if the politicians who proposed the RAISE (Really Asinine Idea to Stimulate Emigration) Act would be allowed into the United States? Let’s see….   Tom Cotton: Age 40,...

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I wonder if the politicians who proposed the RAISE (Really Asinine Idea to Stimulate Emigration) Act would be allowed into the United States?
Let’s see….

 
Tom Cotton: Age 40, US JD law degree, salary $39,400, good English (given how the Act is written he is disbarred from being “excellent” or “fluent”), no Nobel Prize, no Olympic medal, no foreign currency to invest.
Points: 6+0+0+10+0+0+0=16
(NB: Given how the Act is written an applicant who answers the education questions truthfully receives zero points for education if they have a degree higher than a BA outside a STEM field.)
INELIGIBLE FOR IMMIGRATION VISA.
David Perdue: Age 67, US MA degree in management field, salary in business unknown (likely high), good English (see above), no Nobel Prize, no Olympic medal, no foreign currency to invest.
Points: 0+0+10+13+0+0+0=23
INELIGIBLE FOR IMMIGRATION VISA
These bad hombres shouldn’t be allowed to stay. Chuck ’em out and Make America Great Again!

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“Afraid to be Free” and Nancy MacLean Revisited. http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/07/afraid-free-nancy-maclean-revisited/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/07/afraid-free-nancy-maclean-revisited/#comments Thu, 27 Jul 2017 21:38:31 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=11944 A few people have noted (correctly) that Nancy MacLean stated that she was quoting from a draft of “Afraid to be Free”. Since this was so, some (well, one person!)...

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A few people have noted (correctly) that Nancy MacLean stated that she was quoting from a draft of “Afraid to be Free”. Since this was so, some (well, one person!) have claimed that my response to her was unfair.

Now, it’s true that MacLean said that she was quoting from the first draft of this paper. But she immediately afterwards stated that this draft was “later published as in Public Choice 120, no. 3 (September 2004).”

Three points are worth noting here:

1) If one refers to a draft, and if this draft changes before the published version, it is standard practice both to note this, and (preferably) include in the bibliography separate references to both drafts. MacLean doesn’t do either of these. This is why I took her to mean that he first draft was the published draft–which is what she herself writes. I thus didn’t misread her endnote. I merely took her at her word–that the draft she referred to as “later published in Public Choice” under the same title.

2) It is standard practice to refer to a person’s published views, as these are understood to be the views that he or she stands by. Even if MacLean’s quotation of Buchanan’s first draft is correct, and if he did not mention other persons besides the former slaves, this tells us nothing about his considered opinion.

3) MacLean’s reference to “Afraid to be Free” is wrong. It appeared in Public Choice 124, 1-2 (July 2005) . She does, however, get the citation right (if not quite complete) in the bibliography.

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Did Buchanan Really Think That African-Americans Had No Desire For Freedom? Another Major Distortion from Nancy MacLean. http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/07/buchanan-really-think-african-americans-no-desire-freedom-another-major-distortion-nancy-maclean/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/07/buchanan-really-think-african-americans-no-desire-freedom-another-major-distortion-nancy-maclean/#comments Sat, 22 Jul 2017 14:50:15 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=11933 On July 19th The Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece giving Nancy MacLean the opportunity to respond to her critics. (Unfortunately, she didn’t take the opportunity to respond to...

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On July 19th The Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece giving Nancy MacLean the opportunity to respond to her critics. (Unfortunately, she didn’t take the opportunity to respond to any of the substantive criticisms that Democracy in Chains has been subject to, here, here, here, here, here, here, and in many, many, many, more places, but let that pass.) One of MacLean’s defenders, John Jackson, in the comments section claimed that James Buchanan “questioned that African Americans were even fit for self-governance”.  In support of this he quoted MacLean: “The thirst for freedom, and responsibility, is perhaps not nearly so universal as so many post-Enlightenment philosophers have assumed” (Democracy in Chains, p. 35).

Jackson’s understanding of MacLean’s view here is correct: She offers this (mis)quotation from Buchanan to support her implication that Buchanan believed that  “the black community” after emancipation lacked any real desire for “freedom, and responsibility” and that this resulted in their being unable successfully to govern themselves.  If that was Buchanan’s view, MacLean would be right to say that on his issue he was “breathtakingly ignorant,” “blind,” and “insulting” (Democracy in Chains, p.35).

But this isn’t Buchanan’s view at all–and MacLean surely knows this.

Before moving to Buchanan, here’s MacLean in full:

“Indeed, rather than sympathize with the plight of black Americans, Buchanan later argued that the failure of the black community to thrive after emancipation was not the result of the barriers put in their way, but rather proof that “the thirst for freedom, and responsibility, is perhaps not nearly so universal as so many post-Enlightenment philosophers have assumed”. It was a breathtakingly ignorant claim, a sign of a willful failure to see what his paradigm would not allow him to. Both Koch and Buchanan would make similarly blind and insulting claims about others who did not do well in the labor market these men chose to believe was free and fair” (Democracy in Chains).

I’m focus here on Buchanan, since MacLean provides no support for her claims about Charles Koch’s views.

So what did Buchanan really say? Well, to begin, MacLean misquotes him; he actually wrote “The thirst or desire for freedom, and responsibility, is perhaps not nearly so universal as so many post-Enlightenment philosophers have assumed.” (“Afraid to be Free: Dependency as Desideratum,” Public Choice 124 (2005), 24.) But that’s a minor point. What’s really worrying is that MacLean takes this quotation grotesquely out of context.

Here’s Buchanan in full:

“Persons who are afraid to take on independent responsibility that necessarily goes with liberty demand that the state fill the parental role in their lives. They want to be told what to do and when to do it; they seek order rather than uncertainty, and order comes at an opportunity cost they seem willing to bear. The thirst or desire for freedom, and responsibility, is perhaps not nearly so universal as so many post-Enlightenment philosophers have assumed. What share of persons in varying degrees of bondage, from slavery to ordinary wage salary contracts, really want to be free, with the accompanying responsibility for their own choices? The disastrous failure of “forty acres and a mule” was followed by the lapse into renewed dependency status for emancipated former slaves in the American south. And the surprising strength of Communist parties in the politics of post-Cold War central and eastern Europe attests to the thirst on the part of many persons ‘to be controlled’.”

Read in context it’s clear that Buchanan is not questioning (as Jackson has been led to believe by MacLean) whether African Americans as a group are especially unfit for self-governance. Instead, he’s claiming that most people simply in virtue of being human would prefer not to be fully free, but to have some person or entity (e.g., the state) exercise control over them. The historical accuracy of the claims that he makes about emancipated slaves are, of course, open to challenge. (Although note that these claims are compatible with Buchanan’s accepting that former slaves faced widespread and significant oppression and that this led to their “renewed dependency”.) But to wrest this sentence from its context and use it to imply that Buchanan believed that African Americans were especially unfit to govern themselves is a complete distortion of his view.

I’ll conclude by noting that MacLean isn’t just doing a disservice to Buchanan here. She’s doing a serious disservice both to her readers who (like John Jackson) will be misled by her and also–and most importantly–to African-Americans in general. It’s no secret that the more sophisticated racists often justify their views by appealing to intellectual authorities. To imply falsely that Buchanan (an immensely distinguished Nobel Prizewinner) believed that African-Americans were unfit for self-governance not only does a disservice to Buchanan, but plays directly into the hands of those racists. And that’s appalling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Think “Real Peer Review” shows that Gender Studies is Junk? Think Again! http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/05/think-real-peer-review-shows-gender-studies-junk-think/ http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/05/think-real-peer-review-shows-gender-studies-junk-think/#comments Mon, 29 May 2017 17:18:43 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=11838 A lot of commentators on my recent posts on “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” have claimed that the hoax was simply drawing attention to how worthless Gender Studies...

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A lot of commentators on my recent posts on “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” have claimed that the hoax was simply drawing attention to how worthless Gender Studies is, citing as their “source” the Twitter feed  “Real Peer Review”.

Here’s a very nice (informal, and slightly sweary) podcast by Serious Podcast that actually looks at the papers cited by “Real Peer Review” as nonsense. As background, Serious Podcast had interviewed James Lindsay on the hoax, and he’d made the same claim as the commentators: That his hoax was drawing attention to a systematic problem in Gender Studies. So, Serious Podcast asked him to back up his claims, and Lindsay sent them an email with his evidence. Serious Podcast then actually read the abstracts of the papers in the links Lindsay sent (not just the titles), read the papers if they were available, looked at their citation counts, and draw some interesting conclusions. This is well worth listening to.

The relevant section of the Podcast occurs just before 49.00, after the interview with Lindsay:

SIO45: James Lindsay, Co-Author of the ‘Conceptual Penis’ Hoax Paper

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A robust response from the editorial team of NORMA on the failed “Conceptual Penis” Hoax! http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2017/05/nicely-robust-response-editorial-team-norma-conceptual-penis-hoax/ Fri, 26 May 2017 12:02:35 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=11828 The editorial team of NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies have published their official response to Lindsay and Boghossian’s attempted hoax on their Facebook page.  It’s rather robust, and well worth a...

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The editorial team of NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies have published their official response to Lindsay and Boghossian’s attempted hoax on their Facebook page.  It’s rather robust, and well worth a read!

Statement:

On February 17 NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies received a submission entitled ’The conceptual penis as a social construct’ in the manuscript system of our journal. After the routine technical check of the manuscript, the article was assigned to us, the editors. After having reviewed the text we rejected the article as unsuitable on the grounds that the content was incomprehensible. In short, it was nonsense. The reject message was sent to the authors on April 7. All submissions rejected in the editorial manager of Taylor & Francis are part of an auto-generated transfer system which suggests alternative venues for publication. In this case, Cogent Social Sciences was suggested. This is described as a multidisciplinary, open journal platform for the rapid dissemination of peer-reviewed research across all disciplines. It is an open access platform where you pay ’what you want’ for publishing your article. The article was published in Cogent Social Sciences on May 19. We were shocked to see the article online since we, without any doubt whatsoever, had rejected the article.

Beyond the immoral bogus behaviour of the two authors, Lindsay and Boghossian, we are also seriously concerned about this orchestrated attack on Gender Studies in particular, and Social Sciences and Humanities in general. On investigating the activity of the authors, we note that they appear to regularly retweet quotations from authors and studies taken out of context, as if to discredit them. This behaviour says a lot about the authors but nothing about Gender Studies. We naturally condemn this behaviour, but we are also concerned about the quality control of ‘pay for publish’ platforms. This is probably the core issue which has been highlighted in this hoax scandal.

The editorial team of Norma – Lucas Gottzén, Ulf Mellström, Marinette Grimbeek, Jeff Hearn, Raewyn Connell, and Ann-Dorte Christensen

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