Inside Higher Ed, ‘Colonialism’ Article Flap Highlights Push for Transparency in Publishing:
“The [article] is a travesty, the academic equivalent of a Trump tweet, clickbait with footnotes.”
Third World Quarterly is in no hurry to pull The Case for Colonialism, despite author Bruce Gilley’s request last weekthat the journal withdraw his contentious essay.
Many see transparency in scholarly publishing as lacking across journals, but it’s particularly germane to the Third World Quarterly debate. That's because critics of the journal have charged that it published Gilley’s article, against the advice of expert reviewers, as “clickbait.” ...
In a post for the London School of Economics and Political Science’s blog “Impact of Social Sciences,” for example, Portia Roelofs, a fellow in international development, and Max Gallien, a Ph.D. candidate in international development, wrote that academe has been “hacked” by scholars and journals looking to up their citation and impact figures, respectively. They note that Gilley’s essay, of which they are highly critical, is already on its way to becoming Third World Quarterly’s most popular article ever.
“The paper has, in a few days, already achieved a higher Altmetric Attention Score than any other [Third World Quarterly] paper. By the rules of modern academia, this is a triumph. The problem is, the paper is not,” Roelofs and Gallien wrote. “The [article] is a travesty, the academic equivalent of a Trump tweet, clickbait with footnotes.” ...
Gilley did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement Thursday, Gilley said he'd asked Third World Quarterly to withdraw his essay and that he regretted the "pain and anger" it had caused. He said he hoped that his action would "allow a more civil and caring discussion on this important issue to take place.” A spokesperson for Portland State said the university did not encourage or ask him to withdraw the paper.
Farhana Sultana, an associate professor of geography at Syracuse University who helped organize the petition against Gilley’s essay, said via email that Third World Quarterly “should never have published a thrice-rejected piece that failed on basic scholarly standards of intellectual rigor, accuracy or integrity.”
Many members of the editorial board resigned last week due to the journal’s failure to uphold academic publication standards and processes, she added. So the “responsibility to maintain scholarly rigor in academic publishing or to retract rests with the journal's editor and not with the author.”