Should we cite the scientific work of colleagues who were sexual harassers?

June 25, 2023 • 12:00 pm

There’s a new movement afoot for “citation justice” a form of affirmative action in which we should cite scientists who are marginalized as a way of boosting their careers.  I’m referring to citations in scientific papers, and here’s one example: “maps of chromosomes can be constructed by the pattern of recombination shown by alleles producing visible mutations (Morgan and Bridges, 1919)”.

While I still think affirmative action should be practiced in some realms, like college admissions and hiring, I don’t favor practicing it in scientific papers as a form of reparations.  My philosophy (which I may not always have acted on!) is that when presenting other people’s ideas, facts, or results, you should give the most relevant citations: those that best demonstrate the phenomenon discussed. And you should be parsimonious: avoid overcitation and don’t put in too many different citations that show the same thing. In other words, I use citations based on their value to their paper—their merit, as you will.

Others feel differently, and I’m not going to argue with them except to say that if you leave out citations that are more relevant or important in favor of citations by marginalized scientists, you’re lowering the bar for citation, which could result in a poorer paper.  (This of course implies that I think that science papers should function to build up the edifice of science, not effect social justice, which is better done other ways.)

However, the authors of this paper from the American Astronomical Society note that some groups are undercited:

. . . . it has also been found that when researchers cite others, they are less likely to cite women and scholars of color at rates that match their respective contributions to the field. Many reasons for these unequal citation practices have been suggested, ranging from implicit or unconscious bias to careless citation practices (such as not seeking out the original reference) to consciously choosing to exclude certain researchers and/or groups when citing others.

If it is indeed the case that women and scholars of color aren’t cited as frequently as they should be given the relevance of their work to the paper, then that should be rectified.  Remember, a citation is there to document a statement or fact, not to laud somebody’s accomplishments, so what’s important here is not “respective contributions to the field” but “relevance of their work to the statement requiring documentation.”  If there is under-citation in this sense, then scientists should indeed do something about it when they write papers.

But the topic of the article below is this question:

 This leads to the crux of many recent discussions: is it ever acceptable to intentionally choose not to cite someone(s)?

Their answer seems to be “yes, it could be acceptable to deliberately omit a relevant citation, though there’s no cut-and-dried rule”.

Click screenshot to read:

The authors first lay out, in a good summary, why scientists use citations:

Currently, the relevant portion of the AAS Code of Ethics is found in the Publications and Authorship section of the Ethics Statement:

Proper acknowledgment of the work of others should always be given. Deliberate, wanton omission of a pertinent author or reference is unacceptable. Authors have an obligation to their colleagues and the scientific community to include a set of references that communicates the precedents, sources, and context of the reported work. Data provided by others must be cited appropriately, even if obtained from a public database.

The statement reminds us that there are several reasons why we are expected to cite others in our publications.  These include citations as an acknowledgment of the contributions of others to the ideas in our work, as well as to avoid plagiarism, and we cite others to justify our methods, assumptions, and research practices. Citations are also important for maintaining the integrity of the academic record and tracing the development of ideas over time, both for the historical record as well as for a proper understanding of how a research field has evolved.

To me, this alone implies that you cite based on relevance, not as a way to effect social justice. And even if authors have done some bad things, if their research is solid and relevant to the point being made, you should cite them. Not doing so violates all the reasons given above.

But moral considerations then creep into the article of Hughes et al.:

In the case of unethical research practices, we can look to other fields outside of astronomy for some guidance. The AMA (American Medical Association) Code of Medical Ethics suggests that when researchers engage with results that were obtained in a clearly unethical way, such as Nazi experimentation on humans during WWII or the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, they should first seek to cite studies that used ethical methods and obtained the same results. If that is not possible, then the harm involved in obtaining the results should be disclosed and acknowledged, the reason for needing to cite the study justified, and the authors should pay respect to the victims of the behavior.

I’m not sure that there are any results of Nazi medical experiments that are even worth citing; I remember reading one scholar’s conclusion that these experiments were so slipshod that they never produced anything of value, even given their aims—to save German soldiers (or, in Mengele’s case, to satisfy a sadistic curiosity). And nearly everyone now knows of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and about its unethicality. I don’t know if it generated any useful data, but to have to stop in the middle of the paper and recite a screed in honor of the victims seems to me a bit much. I’d rather just say “see X”, where “X” is a discussion of the harms produced by that study. Moral genuflection (“I will now show that I realize this work was unethical”) is somewhat demeaning in a case like the Nazis and Tuskeegee. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of having to cite any study that requires that kind of qualification and explanation.

But the authors do find one case where citations may be properly left out without any qualification: when the scientist cited is a sexual harasser. As they say:

But the guidance becomes less clear when it comes to dealing with citations of documented sexual and serial harassers. While there have been several recent high-profile cases in astronomy, many other fields are currently struggling with this same issue. The arguments of whether we should cite these individuals boil down to two main positions:

Note that the links go to two sides of the argument, the “Yes” from my law-school colleague Brian Leiter.

This is the starting point from which the AAS Code of Ethics Committee, the AAS Publications Committee, and the Ethics Working Group are confronting the issue. There are several related questions to grapple with:

Here are the questions that, according to Hughes et al. must be answered before you can decide whether or not to cite a harasser:

  1. Is the research unethical, or is the person’s behavior unethical, and does it matter?
  2. Is sexual harassment a form of research misconduct? The American Geophysical Union says yes, and the NSF has instituted policies that require institutions to report sexual harassment findings which can lead to the revocation of grant funding. While the AAS code of ethics does not currently address this issue directly, the Astro2020 Decadal Report recommends that identity-based discrimination and harassment be recognized as causing the same level of harm to the integrity of research as is caused by research misconduct.
  3. How do we identify bad actors in our community? What is the threshold? By which temporal and cultural standards do we judge? Who ensures that the punishment fits the crime, and can there be a path to restoration?
  4. Who is harmed? What is the collateral damage? How do we limit future harm to the survivors of sexual harassment? Should we protect the junior colleagues and collaborators of bad actors from secondhand punishment, and if so, how? And when does the integrity of the scientific record take precedence?

The authors do admit that making a decision not to cite someone who’s a sexual harasser (and yes, the conclusion is that it may well be justified) is an “ethical gray area.”

But none of this stuff, to me, justifies not citing someone as a form of punishment because they engaged in documented sexual harassment.

Of course I abhor sexual harassment, and it should be dealt with promptly and properly.  But why is sexual harassment the only bad act that can be punished by canceling a citation? (And yes, canceling a citation means canceling the scientific community’s knowledge of relevant science.)  What about any felony: robbery, murder, or other bad acts like simple non-sexual harassment or bullying of students or colleagues? (It may be because the three authors, all women referred to as “she” or “her” on their professional webpages are more attuned to this form of bad behavior than are men.)

By all means punish those who engaged in misconduct—and apparently it doesn’t have to be “research misconduct” to make someone a “bad actor”. But remove their contributions from science? That’s a no-no to me.

I may be an outlier, but in my view there’s no good reason to not cite the scientific work of “bad actors” or harassers if the work itself is sound and relevant.  Even murderers should be cited if their work is relevant. There’s no “research misconduct” worse than killing one of your students, but to me even that’s not bad enough to expunge someone’s relevant work from science.

Punishment and ostracism  should be inflicted on people, not on science itself, for leaving out relevant citations because the person who did the work was bad is indeed hurting science, and scholarship in general.  Being fired or punished is enough; it’s not necessary (and is indeed harmful to science) to “punish” someone further by simply refusing to cite their work. If we did that, we wouldn’t cite great literature, for many famous authors were pretty bad people, including being sexual harassers.

In the end, I agree with Brian Leiter, whose “Yes” vote for not removing citations is explained in the 2018 Chronicle of Higher Education article linked to above: “Academic ethics: should scholars avoid citing the work of awful people?” (the three people cited in his first paragraph below were accused of sexual misconduct):

Certainly, scholars should condemn Frege, Searle, Ronell, and the like. But to excise from the canon of relevant knowledge those who are appalling people is simply a further betrayal of what justifies the existence of institutions devoted to scholarship.

. . . You should not — under any circumstances — adjust your citation practices to punish scholars for bad behavior. You betray both your discipline and the justification for your academic freedom by excising from your teaching and research the work of authors who have behaved unethically. Universities would, in principle, be justified in disciplining you for scholarly malfeasance, subject to appropriate peer assessment.

Such academic misconduct is unlikely to constitute a firing offense — unlike, say, serious plagiarism or fabrication of data. But researchers or teachers who let moral indignation interfere with scholarly judgment do betray the core purposes of the university and so open themselves to professional repercussions. The foundations of academic freedom demand nothing less.

h/t: Thanks to a scientist who does astronomy for alerting me to this piece.

43 thoughts on “Should we cite the scientific work of colleagues who were sexual harassers?

  1. Well, I don’t know if I’m an outlier. My sample size is seven: three on my side (you, Brian Leiter, and me) and four on the other (the three authors plus the one article they cite. In fact, perhaps most people will agree with what I (and Leiter) said.

    1. I agree also, but I’m not a scientist so it may not count, or count for much.

      Closest I ever came to the dilemma was finding an interesting atheist argument written by the Marquis de Sade and wondering if I dared give credit if I used it.

  2. I guess the same approach would be made of philosophers. Awkward for those in academia who continue to promote the Marxist ideas of Louis Althusser.

    Then of course, religious studies could be even worse. Imagine citing the Sunnah with these new rules!

  3. AAS: “it has also been found that when researchers cite others, they are less likely to cite women and scholars of color at rates that match their respective contributions to the field. Many reasons for these unequal citation practices have been suggested, ranging from implicit or unconscious bias to careless citation practices (such as not seeking out the original reference) to consciously choosing to exclude certain researchers and/or groups when citing others.”

    Note that they don’t even consider the possibility that the work could be (on average) less worthy of citation. The studies they cite just compare citation rates with authorship rates, which then presumes that the average quality of the work is the same.

    But you wouldn’t expect that the average importance of a paper in astronomy from (say) Germany would be equal to one from (say) Egypt or Mozambique, owing to the different access to funding, first-rate facilities, mentoring, knowlegable colleagues, etc.

    PS to Jerry:

    …if you leave out citations that are more relevant or important in favor of citations by marginalized scientists, you’re lowering the bar for citation, …

    Since you recently expressed a desire to avoid woke language, “marginalized” is a woke term, a done-to word implying active pushing to the margins by “oppressors” (presumably cis, white males). Hence “… scientists from under-represented groups” would be more neutral here. (Though I’m happy not to make such suggestions if it’s impertinent!)

  4. The purpose of a paper is to communicate science. The paper should be written with that goal in mind only, otherwise the science is distorted. Non-scientific matters should be dealt with elsewhere.

    I have seen this behaviour towards astronomers accused of sexual harassment first hand i.e. punishing them by either not citing them or withdrawing data or some other sanction. In each case (I can immediately think of four) the accused had already been through confidential disciplinary procedures. Because the processes were confidential the full facts were not known to the community, and in some cases neither were the sanctions. Nevertheless members of the community still took it upon themselves to apply their own additional sanctions. This is vigilantism, and goes against the principles of justice.

  5. Is that the two groups whose work is to be banned, sexual harassers and Nazi scientists? It seems suspicious that sexual harassment is being singled out here. What about child abuse, domestic abuse, rape (which I would think is separate from sexual harassment), murder, etc? Surely, there should be a general rule about what is unethical and would warrant exclusion from citation. And what constitutes a “documented” harasser? Is that someone who has been formally sanctioned by an institution, or is that a documented claim? Exactly how low is the bar, and why is it only set for this group?

    1. The problem with sexual harassment is that it is whatever the victim perceives it is. When we had to go through the endless training about harassment, they made it clear to us that is is an unwinnable situation. Holding a door open for a woman, or not doing so, can both be considered harassment, depending on how the woman perceives your reasons for doing so.
      the DOJ has expanded harassment to include “girl watching”, and explains that “The gaze demonstrates the right of men to sexually evaluate women. The targeted woman is reduced to a sexual object, contradicting her other identities, such as that of worker or leader.”
      The crime in this is what you are thinking when you look at a woman. Or really, what she decides you are thinking.
      One can become a documented sexual harasser if someone gets angry at you and calls the anonymous hotline provided, or fills out an online form.

    1. I read with increasing dismay the vilification of Geoff Marcy, instigated it appears almost totally by the “on line mob” It is beyond disgraceful his punishment and ultimately ruin.
      All have to realise that giving in is worse than the offence and regardless must stand up and refuse to be hounded like this. Easy for me to say I know but we are all increasingly vulnerable to this behaviour.
      What has society descended to?

  6. I haven’t practised science for over 40 years, so my view is pretty peripheral, but for what it’s worth I completely agree with you and Brian (and Barry).

    And, for me, the same goes for artists. It is possible, and I would say necessary, to separate the artistic creations of, say, Woody Allen, Polanski or Carl Orff from their deeds or political affiliations. As George Orwell wrote in his long essay about Salvador Dali’s autobiography, “One ought to be able to hold in one’s head simultaneously the two facts that Dali is a good draughtsman and a disgusting human being”. Orwell in the end comes down against Dali. But the point he raises is valid for all sorts of people in this imperfect world.

    1. I’m glad you mentioned Carl Orff as it led me to inform myself on his history, and in doing so I learnt that he is buried in Kloster Andechs This is a monastery with a brewery, and just about the best beer experience in Bavaria, especially after a long hike in the foothills of the Alps. I recommend it to all WEIT readers. The Dunkel is particularly good for stimulating wisdom, and on my next visit I will contemplate the good and bad in Orff, and you wise words above, once I have settled into my second Dunkel.

    2. “It is possible, and I would say necessary, to separate the artistic creations of, say, Woody Allen, Polanski or Carl Orff from their deeds.”

      My first inclination is to agree with you. On the other hand, most of these cases are examples of abusing power, and the power in question comes from the fame that the abusers attained by means of their artistic creations. Hence, the art and the heinous deeds are not entirely separable.

  7. Most papers these days have a lot of coauthors. Some of a harasser’s coauthors may have been either unaware of the harassment or unable to stop it. Maybe they were even victims. So by no longer citing a harasser’s work, a number of innocent people would get punished too.

    1. I was looking to see if anyone had shared this perspective yet; this is my concern as well.

  8. My rule-of-thumb is that citations should include all reputable references in a science paper that support an assertion in the main paper. I think this is important because we live in age of the replication problem. Thus, the more references that support an assertion means that the assertion is less likely to confront the replication problem.

    As to the question of whether harassers or other bad actors should be cited, I say yes if the science is good. Moreover, the contention of the authors that they should not raises a very practical question, even if you agree with their thesis. How the hell do you know if the author or authors of an article that is being considered potentially for citation are bad actors? Do they expect an author in the process of writing an article to run a background check on the authors of every possible citation? The authors of the article cited in the post acknowledge this problem, but provide no solution to it. This problem is compounded by the fact that many articles have multiple authors. For example, will the discovery that one of five authors has done something bad mean that the article should not be cited?

    The article cited in the post is absurd. The only test for citing in a science paper or book (or any area of knowledge) is whether the cited source provides reputable support to the thesis of the article or book.

  9. In Mary Midgley’s memoir covering her years as an undergraduate studying Greek texts, she mentions the warning the women were given that the scholar Eduard Fraenkel would “paw” them. Talking about this later, Mary Warnock and Iris Murdoch said that the impropriety of his sexual behavior seemed trivial compared with the scholarly riches he offered them. So it was OK because he was such a great scholar. If he had been a worse scholar the harassment would have counted as worse! Hopefully thinking about this is a little better now.

  10. When I was an underpaid referee of papers, the names of the authors were blacked out. On occasion I could suspect who the authors were, because I knew their kind of work (but sometimes I was mistaken there). So no, science is science , be it white , black or asian -or purple or green- a study should b judged on its merits, whether the researcher is a harasser or even a rapist should not be relevant.
    To put it more strongly: If Joseph Mengele’s ‘studies’ would have added to scientific knowledge it still would be scientific knowledge, despite him still being a despicable criminal doing these ‘studies’. Note, I don’t think the scientist community is impressed with his trivial findings. But then again, I might be wrong there.

    1. Mengele’s actual research may have been worthless, but suppose he had developed a cure for lung cancer. Would you deny it to terminal patients, even though it would save their lives because using “Mengele’s treatment” would give credit to a Nazi?

    2. I agree with you, but what caught my attention is that you said that you got paid for reviewing papers? Did I understand that correctly? I’d be curious to know in which field and which publisher (or specific journal) this is possible.

  11. I cite papers regularly in publications. I have no notion of authors’ racial identity. I suppose I could create bias by searching for papers by (apparently) female authors based on name, or by omitting them. That has never crossed my mind. It seems silly to think citation bias could arise this way. It’s too much work, even in the highly unlikely event someone would wanted to skew things this way. Seems farfetched.
    I’ll bet the under-citation might be correlated with papers being concentrated in less-populous topics or less widely-read journals. Reminds me of the NIH grants getting lower success rates for people of color because they were concentrated in a less-funded branch, no bias to be found (but a “pipeline” problem to be addressed in the long term).

  12. When I completed my PhD dissertation with a few hundred references, I am pretty sure I didn’t know the gender of a third of the authors I cited (just initials…) and had no idea of the race of 95% if them. I mean, even if I was racially biased (unconsciously or otherwise) I couldn’t have acted on it. I find it a stretch to postulate that a significant number of scientists go check races before quoting anyone…

  13. “Should we cite the scientific work of colleagues who were sexual harassers?”

    If I follow, then the proposal is using the results reported in the literature, but omitting any reference to those results.

    That proposal would be consistent with the general formula of Marx and Friere in praxis of raising critical conscience to dehumanization. The end-goal of all praxis is Utopia (both authors use this word).

    If we look at the extreme limit of that praxis : not a single paper will be cited – because by Marxist/Friereian lights we are either oppressors or oppressed in society – and in Utopia, when the controlling or dehumanizing structures are gone, science will simply materialize in a humanizing way, no longer dependent on any flawed individual.

  14. Yes, “Citations are also important for maintaining the integrity of the academic record and tracing the development of ideas over time, both for the historical record as well as for a proper understanding of how a research field has evolved.” And, yes “there’s no good reason to not cite the scientific work of “bad actors” or harassers if the work itself is sound and relevant.” An obvious example (to some) is Erwin Schrodinger, who was something of a Jeffrey Epstein with young females and acted as “messenger” in the 1940s for ideas on DNA that can be historically traced (through his and other earlier publications) back to Ewald Hering (Prague) and Samuel Butler (London).

  15. Here is a relevant paper from the Journal of Controversial Ideas, which is rapidly becoming indispensable:

    This separation of the social from the scientific sphere of action is also found in the mission of all science-funding agencies which, over the past half-century, have essentially focused their work on deciding who should get government money for research, a decision reached by evaluating, usually through peer-review, the quality of the researcher and the originality of the research program. Similarly, journal editors aim at accepting or rejecting papers on the sole basis of internal criteria (originality, coherence, validity, etc.), even using double-blind methods—that is, erasing the names of the authors and their institutions—to diminish the possibility of personal bias in this process of evaluation. They thus make no moral inquiry to check whether the person, qua scientist, was, for example, considered racist (like the Physics Nobel Prize laureate, William Shockley), anti-Semitic (like the other Physics Nobel Prize laureates, Johannes Stark and Philip Lenard), misogynous or what have you. Thus, it has long been implicit and generally accepted that the “republic of science” has been a relatively autonomous subset of society with its own rules based on expertise.

  16. This is a tricky one. But I prefer science to be permeated with as much academic freedom as is morally and legally possible. When I was in the business of writing scientific papers (and I have not done that for many years), I held to citing the most relevant papers and that included a couple people who I personally did not like or considered immoral in some way.
    But as for others, if they choose to pad out their citations for under-represented groups, or to not cite people as a way to passively aggressively punish them, then that is their business. I don’t agree with them and I think it’s childish, but to me they have the freedom to do what they choose.

  17. Gottob Frege, the first of the three names in the Brian Leiter quote, was not, as far as I know, a sexual abuser, and not so relevant to the topic of the post. However, at least late in life, held authoritarian and anti-semitic views. As he basically founded modern logic and had a huge influence on Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein amongst others, it would be impossible to excise him completely. Michael Dummett, who wrote extensively on Frege, and was knighted partly for services to racial equality, says this in the preface to his first book:

    “There is some irony for me in the fact that the man about whose philosophical views I have devoted, over years, a great deal of time to thinking about, was, at least at the end of his life, a virulent racist, specifically, an anti-Semite.”

    But he goes on to say “I regret that the editors of Frege’s Nachlass chose to suppress that particular item.”

    An interesting article on the topic here:

    and another, on the correspondence between Dummett and Russell concerning Frege here:

    Perhaps oddly, Russell, replying to Dummett,ll said “I am pained by his political opinions but still more by his wishing to base mathematics upon geometry”

  18. Unless the infraction is relevant to the science itself (fabricated data, for example) the work should be cited. There are other mechanisms to punish bad behavior—such as sanctions from employers, professional societies, granting agencies, etc. (including fines and even jail time for actual crimes)—and these mechanisms should be used when necessary.

    In case of past infractions by scientists who are dead or no longer practicing—where punishments are no longer possible—it becomes the historian’s job to write articles documenting the infraction so that the behavior is not completely forgotten. But science relevant to the topic at hand should be cited.

    Regarding under-citing the work of those who deserve to be cited, this doesn’t only apply to under-citation of minorities and women. Plenty of deserving work has been neglected. I like to think that this problem will take care of itself as the practitioners of science become more diverse and as social norms continue to evolve.

    Interesting topic that I’d like to read more about.

  19. It’s hard enough to keep up to date with the literature in our respective fields in a time of (unnecessarily) massive publishing. Now I should also stay tuned for the criminal records of the authors I cite? Beyond absurd.

    1. AND someone that female grad students and postdocs warned each other about. Justifiably, in my personal experience.

  20. > And even if authors have done some bad things, if their research is solid and relevant to the point being made, you should cite them. Not doing so violates all the reasons given above.

    Definitely this! Not doing so would be, in my humble opinion, against the foundation of science as a discipline. It would no longer be objective, but subject to the subjectivity of the “judges” of bad character.

    I’m no longer involved directly in academic science, but if I was I too would continue to cite the best works of thought and/or experiment, not the best persons. First, it is very unlikely that I should know the character of every scientist the work of which I admire, and then I don’t plan to be friends with everyone.

  21. Jeebus. Over my career, I had two reasons or criteria for choosing citations in my papers: 1. They justified/supported a statement I made with published research results; 2. They were well written and would help the reader understand the issue or my point. Justification and reader’s understanding…i think that that was it. And as an aside, i find precious little if any of that referencing in the current post modern and woke so-called scholarship that I try to read and understand.

    You kids get off my lawn!

  22. Intersectionality strikes again. For many women, sexual harassment is an unforgivable sin that justifies erasing harassers and their accomplishments from history. That’ll show ‘um. Our reaction is based purely on emotion and on a deep river of rage at family and societal sexual power imbalances that span most of recorded history. And since, in this country, women are accumulating institutional power at eye popping rates, expect to see more erasures of males and problematic male behavior, especially as perceived by college educated and indoctrinated females.

  23. “By all means punish those who engaged in misconduct—and apparently it doesn’t have to be “research misconduct” to make someone a “bad actor”. But remove their contributions from science? That’s a no-no to me.”

    If you give these people an inch, before too long simply being white and male will be constructed as being a “bad actor”. Probably being Jewish might make it even worse because of course that makes you complicit in the oppression of Palestinians (it doesn’t matter where you personally stand on this issue, your racial, sexual and ethnic identity is what matters and it is what you will be judged on).
    Being white and male and practicing science will, in itself, be “research misconduct”, because by your mere presence and actions you are denying opportunities to female and POC scientists who are, of course, more deserving because of their identity.

    There is no middle ground here. They will not stop if you keep saying things like “well affirmative action is OK in some places”. The same reasons why affirmative action is bad in science, apply to college admissions.

    You will never be able to prove that some scientists specifically cite female or POC colleagues less because of their race or sex, but let’s all just destroy science because we assume it to be true (because we’ve somehow determined how often female and POC scientists SHOULD be cited and it doesn’t match reality) and therefore white males must be punished as a group. OK good luck with that.

  24. I am long past the point where I expect great scientists, or great artists, or great politicians (or anyone, really) to be saints, and I don’t want to have to weigh and judge every aspect of someone’s life to appreciate the work they did.
    Cite the most clearly written, convincing, pertinent papers and go on with your work, I would say.

  25. If people have been found guilty of unethical behaviour towards colleagues, employees or their students then they should expect to face consequences but not citing their publications seems to me to be punishing the rest of the scientific community by depriving it of relevant information. Citation, after all, is not simply giving acknowledgement to the person cited but it is providing readers with direction to other relevant research and, importantly, is showing that information given in the text is not simply pulled out of thin air but based on published research that readers can go and check for themselves. For this reason I’d argue that if a paper is the appropriate one to cite in terms of its scientific content then it should be cited. Opprobrium for the poor behaviour of its author should be expressed in other ways.

  26. If some are deeply concerned that scientific papers contain fewer citations of papers by female authors than the requisite 51.5% (the US population statistic), corrective measures are already being recommended. We can compute the Gender Balance Citation Index in our manuscripts, and make the appropriate adjustments. For this tool, see:

  27. I was ruminating on this issue, not particularly the citation part, but the general hysteria about harassment.
    I do not understand why grown, adult women can be so traumatized by the male gaze or inadvertent yet poorly chosen remarks, while at the same time insisting that adolescents and teenagers must sacrifice their dignity and live with the discomfort of having young men with visible erections watch them shower and change.

    I don’t have any desire at all to talk about kink and bondage at work, or try to engage my coworkers in conversations about the best lubes for anal sex. It would get me fired or at least sent to a struggle session. But a teacher of elementary or middle school apparently can do this with little kids, and many believe that it is a moral imperative to do so.

    It would be better if the woke would at least try to reach a consensus on open displays of sexuality. It seems crazy to profess puritanism for adults, yet advocate Weimar-like hedonism for children.

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