“I firmly believe, and this belief will not waver, that it is utterly inappropriate for editors to repudiate an article they have accepted for publication… Editors must stand behind the authors of accepted papers. This is where I stand. Professor Tuvel’s paper went through the peer review process and was accepted by the reviewers and me.”
Those are the words of Sally Scholz (Villanova University), Editor of Hypatia, in regards to “In Defense of Transracialism,” the article by Rebecca Tuvel (Rhodes College) that the journal recently published, to great controversy. They are part of a statement which Professor Scholz sent to The Chronicle of Higher Education, which reads in full:
As Editor of an academic journal that espouses pluralism and diversity, I believe that Hypatia should publish on a wide array of topics employing a wide array of methodologies. I believe that a community of scholars should contest concepts and engage in dialogue within the pages of the journal to advance our collective project of educating—students and ourselves. I believe that an academic journal is not a blog or a discussion board.
I firmly believe, and this belief will not waver, that it is utterly inappropriate for editors to repudiate an article they have accepted for publication (barring issues of plagiarism or falsification of data). In this respect, editors must stand behind the authors of accepted papers. That is where I stand. Professor Tuvel’s paper went through the peer review process and was accepted by the reviewers and by me.
The Associate Editorial board acted independently in drafting and posting their statement. That board is a policy board and plays no role in the day to day management of the Journal.
Since April 30, I have been working with the publisher, Wiley, to respond responsibly and appropriately. We have consulted with the corporation which owns Hypatia and, together, we are proceeding to refer the situation to Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) for guidance.
The Chronicle reports that Miriam Solomon (Temple University), president of the board of directors of Hypatia Inc.,
echoed Ms. Scholz’s disavowal. The apology did not represent the views of Hypatia’s editor, its local editorial advisers, or its editorial board, she said. “The associate editors are speaking for themselves. She cited several concerns about how the statement arose. She was worried that it had not been clear to readers that the statement did not represent the views of the entire Hypatia editorial system. (Indeed, many observers either congratulated or condemned the journal after the Facebook statement appeared.) She also said she was aware that the post “was produced in a rush, in response to outcry on social media,” which she described as a “new challenge for the community… Everything seems terribly urgent, and people feel like they have to make a response right away,” she said…
“I imagine that we’ll settle this very collaboratively, but a lot of careers are at stake,” said Ms. Solomon. “I’m very concerned about doing the right thing.” She said she was concerned not only about the careers of those embroiled in the controversy but also about the reputation of Hypatia, which is widely regarded as the pre-eminent publication in its field. “I’d like to minimize the damage, and I would not like the message to go out there that only certain kinds of feminist work are welcome,” she said. “Hypatia has always been as pluralist as possible,” she said.
Asked what message she would like to send to academics upset at the publication of Ms. Tuvel’s article, Ms. Solomon said she wanted to assure people that the issue “would not be swept under the carpet.”
“I hope we can learn a lot from it,” she said. “I see a lot of passion in the people who found the article offensive, and I want to take the time to understand it and see what might help.”
As Professor Tuvel had announced, the reference to Caitlyn Jenner’s former name will be removed from her article. There is no plan in place to retract the article.