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This looks like whining, seriously. Rejections is such a common thing. If your six papers say the same thing they couldn't possibly be all accepted and it's even more likely there were other papers with similar topics!


Reply to Anna above: is it whining if they've published the manuscripts here, making their work vulnerable? I would think whining is done for a purpose - in this instance, to get these papers published in Perspectives. The call here isn't for that, it's for editors to be more aware of the contexts under which papers are reviewed and for a public audience to comment on the work itself, to help make this scholarship better. I'm excited to dive in to offer any questions/comments for the authors.

Nick Brown

Anna: If the journal had replied with "Unfortunately, six people all sent basically the same ideas, so we can only publish one" then this might have some merit. But when six people, presumably independently, submit similar arguments, doesn't that suggest that they might, collectively, have a point?

Fernanda Ferreira

Anna: As one of the six, let me suggest another reason why your analysis is inadequate: although our papers were rejected, we were also informed that if we changed our pieces to reflect the editor's own views and biases, then we'd likely be in. Therefore, if we'd simply wanted to publish in Perspectives, we could have done so. Instead, we chose to do something more ambitious and challenging--expose what we see as a major problem in our field and in science more generally.


By the way what is the merit in publishing not one but two symposia on "Scientific eminence"? Collective navel-gazing?

Brent Roberts

For the sake of the journal, the editor, and the authors, I really hope the papers that are eventually published in the special issue are really, really good. They would have to be to exceed the quality of these essays.


Unfortunately, I have to agree with Anna, the first commenter. These types of "woe is me" complaints are tired and reaching a boil rapidly. This post is rife with extremely biased, self-serving complaints and does nothing to get your opinions across.

1. You're not *entitled* to get your pieces published anywhere, even in a special issue, despite how good or relevant you, personally, feel they are.

2. Quote: "Technically, some of the six of us got R&Rs"

So, you're not being upfront and truthful. Some of you received R&Rs and chose to *not* resubmit or address the concerns of the reviewers/editor, instead opting to make a rallying cry by claiming that your views are being suppressed. As anyone who publishes regularly knows, you are not *required* to jump through every hoop that a reviewer provides as a suggestion. You are well within your rights in a response letter to defend your position and provide sound explanations for why you feel that you should *not* make certain changes. Opting to bypass this process, then outright state that your submissions were rejected, is dishonest at best.

3. Quote Part 1: "For instance, we were told to provide evidence for claims like 'women in psychological science may face discrimination.' One reviewer even claimed that white men are actually at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving awards in our field."

Quote Part 2: "Color us surprised that as members of a group stereotyped as less competent, and as outsiders to the eminence club, we had to work impossibly hard to be seen as competent"

You are literally saying that providing a citation for women being discriminated against is "impossibly hard". I don't believe that you believe that. This would be a fair critique/request for an undergraduate's term paper, let alone a publication in a widely-read scientific journal. This is a hand-waving and preposterous complaint to make.

4. Quote: "we were also informed that if we changed our pieces to reflect the editor's own views and biases, then we'd likely be in"

This is the worst part thus far. This is an egregiously serious accusation against the editor, and if this is true, you need to provide proof. Did the editor explicitly request that you change your pieces to reflect their own personal views and biases? Or are you just assuming what their biases are? Or something else entirely? If this accusation is true, the burden is on you to provide proof, and the editor should be removed from any position at any journal. If this is not true, then this claim is unethical to the point that you should feel ashamed of yourself for making this comment using this wording, touting it as objective fact.


Geez, these comments are so demoralizing. I guess this is the new normal, politicized science. I just do understand all this hate. Your post makes a cogent - and more importantly true - argument. I am sorry if the author actually reads these comments, and I hope the author feels less demoralized than I did. Very sad to think that some of these are (or can be) my professional colleagues.


I think this is an APS thing, as in usual APS mismanagement. They are ultra-protective of their image, to the point that it sacrifices reasonable discussion and disagreement. I read the papers and they seem totally fine, albeit a bit rabble-rousing -- so no surprise APS didn't like it.

Andrew Gelman wrote a bit about how they aren't serving their membership here:

What's interesting is one of the authors of the six papers mentioned here (also owner of this blog) is on the APS board. Hopefully that will be a good step towards change.

I predict we'll see some other organization step in to fill in where APS is deficient, or maybe a faction will split off from APS and form their own group (just how APS was originally formed.. split off from APA).

I didn't renew my APS membership this year, and in addition to receiving many emails asking me to renew, they also emailed me to say they'll be calling me to get me to renew. Are they that desperate?

simine vazire

Hi Sandrina,
I see where you and Anna are coming from and I think if I was in your position, part of me would have the same reaction.
I don't expect this to change your mind, but I had some correspondence with the editor early on (before submitting my paper) that made me worry that the editor was not open to manuscripts that questioned the value of measuring fame/eminence. It's one of the reasons I decided to submit something - I wanted to make sure that perspective was represented in the submissions, so that if he was open to it, there was a better chance it would be included in the published papers. The fact that the decision for all six of these papers was either a rejection or asked the author to change their main point made me even more concerned that this point of view may end up being systematically excluded from the special issue. Of course I could be wrong about that - I would be very happy to see articles making similar points published in the special issue. (I also recognize that you can't simply take my word about private correspondence. I would make that correspondence public if I could, but the editor explicitly asked me not to share the email exchange we had.)
I know that there's pretty much no way to complain about a rejection without sounding like you're whining. That's something I weighed when deciding whether to do this, and decided to do it anyway, but I can see how others would have made a different call.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



I'm not saying that this "sounds like whining" in my comment, despite my agreeing with Anna. I'm saying that this post is a visible combination of perspective-skewing (by misrepresenting the situation) and very, very serious accusations. The points raised in my previous comment are quite direct, explicit, and able to be responded to. Making claims about academic suppression is very serious and, as scientists, it is fair for us to demand qualification of these claims.

This is an uncommonly binary situation. This post and subsequent comments by the authors are claiming discriminatory practices and systematic suppression, implying that the editor and possibly the majority of, if not all reviewers, were in on it.

Either something seriously unethical happened on the journal's end, or it did not. If it did, then there is an obligation to take appropriate action against the journal/publisher. If it did not, then claiming otherwise is itself seriously unethical and should be corrected with great haste.

simine vazire

Hi Sandrina,
There are two kinds of accusations one could make. One is that a certain intellectual perspective is being excluded. This is the main thrust of our argument, to me. This is not a serious allegation of ethical misconduct - an editor is allowed to exclude a viewpoint that she thinks has no merit. But when that happens, I think there is value in sharing that viewpoint (and the fact that it may be excluded from a special issue that is meant to reflect different viewpoints on the issue).

The other kind of accusation, about discriminatory behavior, is more serious. Speaking only for myself, I think there are reasons to be worried about that here, but I think it's an open question. I also think it's ok to discuss these issues openly, but I agree that we should be careful about making strong claims about this. In my view, we tried to walk that line (raising it as something that crossed our minds). I think you have a different view. I don't think it's black and white - is a person allowed to express concern about bias even if they can't absolutely prove that it was at play? These questions are super complicated, and probably won't get resolved in a blog comments section.



Quote: "I also think it's ok to discuss these issues openly"

I agree, but that's not what's happening here. You are all explicitly calling out this editor, a single, identifiable person. Readers of this post can look this individual up if they so choose. You literally just stated that "Speaking only for myself, I think there are reasons to be worried about [discriminatory behavior] here...", implying that you believe this *specific individual* has just engaged in discriminatory behavior.

This is absolutely a "black and white" issue here because of the nature of this post. This blog post isn't some heady think-piece about discrimination and systematic suppression, in which case it would be more of a "well, what *does* constitute discriminatory practice" kind of entreatment. Instead, it is accusing a specific, identifiable colleague of these actions. In the real world, this is a textbook case of slander if no evidence is presented to support these rather serious accusations.

The post itself implicitly calls for responsibility to be taken; some account must be provided for why things happened this way. Either responsibility should be taken for discriminatory / suppressive practices that were allegedly engaged in by the editor (explicitly alleged by the authors of this post), or the authors of this blog post need to take responsibility for their flippant and casual lobbing of accusations against a colleague in a way that could be professionally damaging (and perhaps be more thoughtful about pointing fingers in the future).

I don't have any horses in this race. I don't know the editor, I don't know any of the authors here personally, and I've not published in this journal. But someone is being highly irresponsible and, as someone invested in the future directions of our field, I believe it to be completely justified to ask for *someone* to be held accountable when such serious professional accusations are lodged in a public way against a specific person. This either did or did not happen, and responsibility should be taken on one side or the other.

If you do not feel that making such serious accusations in a public forum is this big of a deal, I'd ask you to do a serious re-evaluation of your tact and consider the responsibilities that come with the use of such a public forum given the size of your readership and sway of your opinions.


First of all, I would like to applaud Simine for having engaged and trying to argue. Well done! I guess what sets academics with blogs from other 'non-blogger' academics is the unmeasurable patience one has to have to engage with people who so clearly do not intend to have a conversation but shout its opinions. To me, honestly, that is just a loss of time. It is, however, telling from the many comments that the few interesting points raised by another take on your text just fall apart with some scrutiny and thinking. Thank you for it, for showing that you hold the higher moral ground, that you are willing to talk openly about this issue, that you stand by your text and what it represents. To me you are a 'new' someone that I admire. I will be following your posts more often. Thank you!

simine vazire

Hi Sandrina,
I don't think we'll resolve our disagreement, so this will be my last response on this point. I'll just add that in my view, bias can be unconscious, unintentional, etc., and is not always the fault of an individual. Partly for this reason, raising the possibility that bias is at play is not a particularly extreme claim, to me. But I'm sure I would feel differently if I were on the receiving end of such speculation, and I think you raise some important points.
Thanks for this interesting discussion. You've given me some food for thought, and I'll definitely keep thinking about this.

EJ Wagenmakers

Hi Sandrina,

There appear to be two options:
1. You are in fact an old white male troll, posting under a female name. That would be bad, and you'd have some explaining to do to Saint Pete.
2. You are a young woman in academia. Well, kudos for expressing such strong albeit uninformed opinions. This definitely goes against my gender stereotype.

E.J. Wagenmakers


E.J. The fact that Simine er al. and supporters feel free to publicly sully old white men while critics remain anonymous should tell you where the real power dynamics and bias lie.


Wow EJ, so if the commenter that your responding to is a male then its obviously a white man and they have to explain themselves. But if its a woman, then we get a "I know better than you, your just misinformed" statement and a condescending pat on the head for being a good girl?

Nice double standard that your setting for us. Maybe its YOU who will need to do some explaining to st pete.

EJ Wagenmakers

Hi Mikla,

What I was implying is that it seems to me, from the tone and the content, that "Sandrina" is really an old white a man posing as a women. And yes, I believe this would be deeply immoral.

As for option 2, I was indicating, ironically, that men usually don't mind making strong claims based on little evidence. So you misread my statement entirely. I await your apology.



EJ your literally bashing someone for what you are guessing might be their age, gender, and race based only on them sharing their perspective. Thats like a perfect trifecta of prejudice. keep your condescending hate to yourself and have a beautiful day.

simine vazire

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