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From ScienceInsider comes this report that the Canadian science minister has taken an extraordinary step of asking the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to conduct a second peer review of an awarded workshop grant. The topic of the workshop is “Israel/Palestine: Mapping models of statehood and prospects for peace.” This is a topic that can attract controversy, and the issue has been the source of protest when combined with scientific events. The minister’s stated objections are that:
“several individuals and organizations have expressed their grave concerns that some of the speakers have, in the past, made comments that have been seen to be anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic.”
Independent of the accuracy of these claims (the ScienceInsider article notes only two speakers have withdrawn over the issue, and neither are Israeli), there’s plenty wrong with why this would be a valid reason to re-do the peer review. There doesn’t appear to be a claim that the possible bias of these speakers has influenced the work that would be presented (and supported). In other words, no clear indication or suggestion of bad research that was missed by the review process. This was a political request to change scientific procedures for non-scientific reasons.