The Sternberg peer review controversy concerns the conflict arising from the publication of an article supporting the controversial concept of intelligent design in a scientific journal, and the subsequent questions of whether proper editorial procedures had been followed and whether it was properly peer reviewed.
One of the primary criticisms of the intelligent design movement is that there are no research papers supporting their positions in peer reviewed scientific journals. On 4 August 2004, an article by Stephen C. Meyer (Director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture) titled "The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories", appeared in the peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. Meyer's article was a literature review article, and contained no new primary scholarship itself on the topic of intelligent design. The following month, the publisher of the journal, the Council of the Biological Society of Washington, released a statement repudiating the article and stating that Richard M. Sternberg (whom they described as a "former editor") had, in an unusual manner, handled the entire review process without consultation or review from an associate editor. Sternberg disputes the Council's statement and asserts that the paper was appropriately peer reviewed by three biologists who "concluded that warranted publication".
The same statement from the Council vowed that proper review procedures would be followed in the future and endorsed a resolution published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which states that there is no credible scientific evidence supporting intelligent design. On September 18, the Discovery Institute issued a statement exulting over the publication of Meyer's paper in a peer-reviewed journal and chastising the National Center for Science Education for stating that the paper should not have been published. The Biological Society of Washington's president, Roy McDiarmid called Sternberg's decision to publish Meyer's article "a really bad judgment call on the editor's part" and it was doubtful whether the three scientists who peer reviewed the article and recommended it for publication were evolutionary biologists.
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