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Journal of Information Ethics, April 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

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"Forensic Pseudoscience"

Michael Shermer, Scientific American (September 2015), p. 95

Shermer castigates forensic applications (DNA, fingerprints, serology, and many others), especially in criminal investigations, for their inaccurate conclusions. We must be wary of junk forensic science, since it often convicts people of crimes. Some of these victims are innocent. (Courts of law should not accept DNA evidence, for example, as unequivocal proof any more than they accept the results of lie detector tests.)

"Dispute Over Sociologist's Book Exposes Tensions in Studying Crime"

Marc Parry, The Chronicle of Higher Education (June 26, 2015), p. A11

Alice Goffman's ethnographic study, On the Run, was initially praised but then criticized for, among other things, possibly harming its subjects, black youth in the criminal-justice system. The controversy has spread to encompass the viability of ethnographic research generally. (The scholar is Erving Goffman's daughter.) A telling article.

"Which Countries Censor the Internet?"

Emily Barone, Time (November 23, 2015), p. 36

This is a single page, colorful chart listing the major countries of the world. Fourteen, including Estonia, Iceland, South Africa, and the U.S., do not censor. But all of the 51 others do in one way or another. Even France and the UK do but not as effaciously as say Ethiopia, Iran, or China. North Korea is not listed here perhaps because the Internet has not yet arrived in the People's Republic. Reasons to censor include authorial criticism, satire, blasphemy, and LGBT issues.

"Alice Goffman's Implausible Ethnography"

Paul Campos, The Chronicle of Higher Education (September 4, 2015), pp. B7-B16

When Alice Goffman (daughter of Erving Goffman, the distinguished sociologist) published her study, On the Run, the reviewers were ecstatic. When some problems surfaced, critics pointed out what appear to be irreconcilable anomalies. Neither the publisher nor its peer reviewers nor Goffman's defenders nor Goffman have offered any tangible counter-evidence. The Chronicle here does something it has never done before: it allocates what amounts to the entire articles section of this issue of "The Chronicle Review" to Paul Campos's critique of the book and Goffman's actions (which apparently include attempted murder). (It is difficult to ascertain the truth. She may be guilty of embellishing or fabricating, but it is also possible that she is innocent, like Margaret Mead, who was falsely accused by Derek Freeman.)

"Language of Protest"

Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed (November 2, 2015) https://www.inside highered. com/ news/ 2015/11/02/editors-and-editorial-board-quit-top-linguistics-journal-protest-sub scrip tion-fees#.VjdmyAcLR5o.gmail

"All six editors and all 3¡ editorial board members of Lingua, one of the top journals in linguistics, last week resigned to protest Elsevier's policies on pricing and its refusal to convert the journal to an open-access publication that would be free online. As soon as January, when the departing editors' noncompete contracts expire, they plan to start a new open-access journal to be called Glossa" (first paragraph of article). This long piece contains much additional material and is followed by many salient comments.

"Psychology's Fears Confirmed: Rechecked Studies Don't Hold Up"

Benedict Carey. The New York Times (August 28, 2015), pp. A1, A13

More than 50 percent of ¡00 replicated studies, all of which appeared in prestigious psychology journals, did not produce the original findings. The evidence originally cited was weaker than indicated. (A subsequent Times op-ed piece defended the inability to replicate.)

"Information Ethics in the Twenty-First Century"

Paul Sturges, Australian Academic and Research Libraries (40.4, 2009), pp. 241-251; http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/faife/publications/sturges/information-ethics.pdf

Sturgis holds that practitioner discourse has shifted from technique to ethical concerns. …

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