A controversy erupted among academics on Twitter last week when the peer-reviewed journal Alternatives tweeted a link to an article it had just published titled “9/11 Truth and the Silence of the IR Discipline” by Dr. David Hughes, a senior lecturer in international relations at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom.
In the preamble of his article, Hughes highlights the University of Alaska Fairbanks computer modeling study on World Trade Center Building 7, the federal grand jury investigation in Manhattan, and the work of the 9/11 Consensus Panel as signs of the movement’s recent progress and as reasons why scholars in the field of international relations should take 9/11 Truth research more seriously.
Shortly after the article was posted, Dr. Nicholas Kitchen, a lecturer at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, tweeted that he had been invited to review the article and had declined to do so — but that if he had reviewed it, he “would certainly have rejected it.”
And thus, the very behavior that Hughes was attempting to examine manifested in a torrent of hostility, as if Kitchen and his colleagues were vying for who could deliver the nastiest insult and harshest condemnation against everyone involved in the article’s publication.
Before the day was over, the journal’s editor, Lacin Idil Oztig, tweeted a screenshot of her statement defending the journal’s handling of the article. She bravely asked readers to stop attacking the editorial board members and insisted that full responsibility for the article belonged to her and the author.
But that did nothing to stop the Twitter mob. Associate Professor Emmett McFarlane announced his surprise that no one from the journal had repudiated the article or resigned. Assistant Professor Jennifer Mustapha called it a “steaming pile of hot garbage” and posted a picture of a woman holding a pair of scissors as a weapon. Dr. Nour Halabi declared that she would never publish with Sage Publications again unless it retracted the article. She called upon other academics to follow suit.
A full account of the very un-academic Twitter frenzy is provided by blogger Tim Hayward in his article “Peer Review Vs Trial By Twitter.”
But enough about all the vitriol on Twitter.