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Forced to comply or shut down, Cambridge University Press’s China Quarterly removes 300 articles in China – Quartz (Echo Huang and Isabella Steger | August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on September 2, 2017

China’s crackdown on academic freedom has reached the world’s oldest publishing house.

Cambridge University Press (CUP) said it has pulled over 300 articles and book reviews on its China site from the China Quarterly (CQ), one of the most prestigious journals in the China studies field, at the request of the government’s General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP). The news came to light after an undated screenshot of an email to CQ’s editorial board from the journal’s editor, Tim Pringle, went viral on social media today (Aug. 18).

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Revoking a Doctorate – Inside Higher Ed (Colleen Flaherty | September 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on September 1, 2017

U of Arizona professor’s Ph.D. is withdrawn after her findings on violent video games are questioned. Some wonder why her mentor and co-author, a senior scholar, has not shared the blame.

Two matters for institutions and HDR candidates to note from this US case: a professor had a PhD revoked because of a problem with a paper she coauthored with a supervisor while a candidate at a different institution (creating uncertainty about her current appointment); and would your institution’s arrangements have taken commensurate action against the supervisor (who was the senior collaborator and coauthor of the retracted paper)?

Ohio State University took the extraordinary step of revoking a graduate’s doctorate last week. Now her future at the University of Arizona, where she is an assistant professor of communication, is unclear.
Jodi Whitaker’s problems started in 2015, after scholars in two countries noticed irregularities in the data in her 2012 paper on video games. The study in Communication Research, called “‘Boom, Headshot!’ Effect of Video Game Play and Controller Type on Firing Aim and Accuracy,” found that playing a violent video game improved real-life shooting skills. Initially, it was something of a boon for both Whitaker, then still a graduate student at Ohio State, and her co-author and dissertation committee chair, Brad J. Bushman, the Margaret Hall and Robert Randal Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication there. That’s because Bushman served on President Obama’s committee on gun violence and his research challenges what he calls myths about violence, including that violent media have a trivial effect on aggression.

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The Walls Around Us — Why Cambridge University Press’ Predicament Demands Attention – Scholarly Kitchen (Kent Anderson | August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on August 27, 2017

Cambridge University Press (CUP) recently removed some 300 articles from a Chinese website after being extorted into an untenable situation by the Chinese government. In short succession, CUP was threatened with a boycott by some proactive academics. The boycott and general condemnation of what some interpreted as “capitulation” ultimately led to Cambridge University overruling the publisher’s decision and reinstating the articles in defiance of the Chinese demands.

This situation touches on matters such as academic freedom, censorship and significance of such matters when access to a huge audience/market is on the line.

At issue were articles in a CUP journal, China Quarterly. These articles cover subjects like the Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the Cultural Revolution. CUP risked having all its content blocked inside China if it did not comply with the demands to block these articles from reaching China.
While the boycott generated results, boycotting CUP is what some might call “small beer.” Condemning the actions of the Chinese government is the more important reaction, and one we need to think about more generally. Blaming the publisher is like blaming the victim in cases like this.


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Publisher flags paper on same-sex parenting after neo-Nazi group cites it – Retraction Watch (Andrew P. Han | August 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on August 26, 2017

A publisher has issued an expression of concern (EoC) about a study that claimed children with same-sex parents were at greater risk of depression and abuse, after posters using statistics from the paper to support a homophobic message appeared in Australia and the US.

We note that the author claims he has no responsibility for subsequent use. The Australian guidelines obviously disagree.

On Aug. 21, several news websites reported that these posters were appearing in Melbourne, Australia, citing claims from a 2016 paper published in Depression Research and Treatment, which said that children with same-sex parents are more at risk for depression, abuse, and obesity than children with opposite-sex parents. The poster had also appeared previously in Minneapolis and has been traced to a neo-Nazi group, as reported by HuffPost Australia. Australia is preparing for a national, non-binding, mail-in vote on whether to provide marriage equality for same-sex couples.
The EoC mechanism, which was chosen by the journal’s publisher, Hindawi, is an unusual choice here. The paper’s author, D. Paul Sullins, a sociology professor at The Catholic University of America and the paper’s author, told Retraction Watch that Hindawi contacted him Aug. 21 about the decision. Initially, he told us he didn’t have any “particular objection to it,” but later told us he changed his mind after he read more about COPE’s guidelines for EoCs:

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