Dear Areo readers.
As many of you will now know, Areo was one of several outlets to have recently published pieces by a person calling himself “John Glynn.” It seems that Mr Glynn had claimed to have a PhD and a professorship in psychology to other outlets, and that these qualifications when followed up on, were found not to exist. To us, Mr Glynn just said he was a psychologist without further elaboration when asked for a biography. On learning that even this might not be true, we altered Mr Glynn’s biography to include a disclosure that his former claim to be a psychologist seemed to be false.
At that point, we seriously discussed the option of removing John Glynn’s work from our magazine but decided against it. Although we cannot condone the dishonesty of misrepresenting his qualifications for reasons (presumably) of personal gain, none of Mr Glynn’s essays, which were social commentary, relied upon his being a psychologist. At Areo, we believe very strongly that our job is to publish good arguments, which do not rely on personal or professional identity. If the submission contains factual claims that fall outside our expertise, we send them to expert reviewers and do so whether the writer is a professor of her subject or a high-schooler. Our editorial stance is to check the facts of a submission and the strength of an argument, not the identity, moral character, or pre-existing work of any of our writers before deciding whether to publish. Each argument must stand or fall on its own merits.
Had Mr Glynn still been writing for us, we would have asked him to stop sending submissions because of the breach of trust. However, we had asked him to stop and blocked his emails and social media accounts in April because his behaviour had become erratic and insistent. Consequently our tweets acknowledging his fraudulent claims about his identity aimed to combine transparency with compassion.
Today, it was brought to our attention that a comment on one of Glynn’s pieces from several months ago pointed out that he had so closely paraphrased Michael Gurian that Gurian’s words should really have been indented as a quote rather than a simple “As Michael Gurian points out….” If we had seen this comment at the time, we would have made that change to it, thanked the commenter, and impressed the importance of this on Mr Glynn. However, due to his fraudulent behaviour and being unable to be sure that none of his pieces contain genuine plagiarism, we have now decided to remove all of them from Areo and have done so.
We extend our apologies to Areo readers, who should be able to trust our biographies. While nobody needs any kind of qualification to be published on Areo, and we want to avoid being biased by checking the backgrounds of our writers, we do need a way to minimise the risk of publishing false biographical information. We will continue to discuss various options to mitigate this problem in future while aiming to continue accepting articles on their merits, not according to the identities of their authors. We certainly need to read all the comments as they come in so that we can pick up comments about errors or, as in this case, potential plagiarism and will do so immediately.
Thanks again to all of you who continue to support Areo and share our arguments. For our part, we will continue to do all we can to get good, balanced, and thoughtful arguments out there from all over the political spectrum.
Helen and Iona