The University of Texas has found that Mark Regnerus is not guilty of academic misconduct. I know that my friend Scott Rose (who lodged the complaint) would disagree with me but I think that the university did the right thing. Academic malfeasance occurs with things like plagiarism or fabricated test results. Ultimately, Regnerus had every right to put out a sloppy, poorly reasoned and incoherent study. Oh, and, by the way, Regnerus is not an innocent victim in all of this.
The referees should have applied the brakes to this nonsense!
In the final analysis, it was up to the referees (peer reviewers) to stop what I would call intellectual misconduct. They did not do their job. As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education (emphasis added):
This week, Social Science Research gave a draft to The Chronicle
of the results of its audit [“Controversial Gay-Parenting Study Is Severely Flawed, Journal’s Audit Finds“]. Although the audit did not fault the
journal’s editor, James D. Wright, nor the review process, it did fault
the reviewers and cite serious flaws in the paper, particularly in its
misidentification of parents as “lesbian” and “gay” when in fact only
two of the people in that category were in long-term, same-sex
relationships. As the journal’s auditor, Darren Sherkat, wrote: This
misidentification should have “disqualified it immediately” but did not
because of “ideology and inattention.”
This is a serious rebuke to Regnerus because, in academia, publishing is everything. The fact that this should never have been published in the first place will forever damage this guy’s reputation.
A further flaw, not pointed out in the audit or the Chronicle’s coverage of this matter, is that Social Science Research deviates from more prestigious journals in that it is only single-blind. Reviewers know who the author is and, in this case, that created further conflicts and confusion.
More importantly, none of this has anything to do with marriage equality.
In fact, if you actually read the Regnerus results, it really has little to do with gay parenting. This “study” was paid for by a right wing Catholic organization, an Opus Dei affiliate that is closely connected to National Organization for Marriage. NOM got what it paid for; An intellectually dishonest study that they can use