You might recall last month we reported on a new study that claimed that kids were worse off with gay parents.
At the time, a number of us noted that the study didn’t appear to have anything to do with gay parenting at all – in fact, it’s not entirely clear if the study looked at more than two gay parents in toto.
Well, the scientifically journal that published the study launched an internal audit to review whether the study was approved in the appropriate manner. They found, in their own words, that the study itself is “bullsh-t.”
The peer-review process failed to identify significant, disqualifying problems with a controversial and widely publicized study that seemed to raise doubts about the parenting abilities of gay couples, according to an internal audit scheduled to appear in the November issue of the journal, Social Science Research, that published the study.
The highly critical audit, a draft of which was provided to The Chronicle by the journal’s editor, also cites conflicts of interest among the reviewers, and states that “scholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from the review process.”
Like Regnerus, the editor of Social Science Research, James D. Wright, has been at the receiving end of an outpouring of anger over the paper. At the suggestion of another scholar, Wright, a professor of sociology at the University of Central Florida, assigned a member of the journal’s editorial board—Darren E. Sherkat, a professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale—to examine how the paper was handled.
Sherkat was given access to all the reviews and correspondence connected with the paper, and was told the identities of the reviewers. According to Sherkat, Regnerus’s paper should never have been published. His assessment of it, in an interview, was concise: “It’s bullshit,” he said.
Sherkat goes on to explain that the peer reviewers had conflicts of interest and that he believes the study’s author, Mark Regnerus, is pushing a political agenda:
Sherkat considers Regnerus to be “a bright young scholar,” and, years ago, he wrote a letter of recommendation for him. Sherkat believes that Regnerus, whom he has known for two decades, made a decision to push a conservative political agenda in his academic work a number of years ago, and that this paper is evidence of it.