Blind Peer Review

If it works, it's really blind. That can lead to stories like this.
This week, the prestigious Journal of Political Philosophy published a series of articles under the heading “Black Lives Matter.” One problem: All the authors published in the series are white.... The editors of the Journal of Political Philosophy have also not deigned to feature a single black philosopher in its pages. As Lebron (who is moving to John Hopkins this summer) wrote: “So far as I can tell, not one black philosopher has seen her or his work appear in the pages of your respected journal, on race or any other topic.”
Naturally, they apologized and are taking steps to make sure that blind peer review ceases to be the standard at their journal.


james said...

The cynic in me says this translates to Christopher Lebron saying: "Hire me!"

Grim said...

At some point we would have called this a "teachable moment" on the subject of blind peer review, why it's valuable, and what its unintended effects could be. That could have been coupled with a note that such reviews are more likely to produce black scholars' being published if and only if black scholars submit work, and thus encouraging such work to be submitted.

They might even have, graciously, set aside a single issue to publish nothing but black scholars -- and setting aside the blind review process for that one issue. The purpose would be to encourage black scholars to take note of the journal, become familiar with its editorial standards and means of submission, and build relationships with the journal's staff that would encourage future submissions.

But no, let's go the other way.

jaed said...

As with our discussion last week about physical standards for female infantry, I hold that this is not about elevating black scholars, or even about cutting down white scholars, but rather about destroying standards in favor of one's own aesthetic preferences disguised as ethical ones.

Grim said...

I have sometimes argued that aesthetics is a division of ethics, as the True and the Beautiful are a first division of the Good. That depends on a Platonic/Neoplatonic metaphysics, though. (A further consequence is that many other forms of knowledge become divisions of ethics; I don't think that consequence would have bothered Plato, but it is a significant outcome.)