Frequent Back2Stonewall.com contributor and investigative journalist John Becker of John M Becker.com has filed a lawsuit against the University of Central Florida (UCF) seeking access to public records relating to the controversial anti-gay research paper by Mark Regnerus, New Family Structures Study which was funded by anti-gay organizations.
Beckers original request for records from UCF in early March 2013 in an effort to dig deeper into the highly unusual circumstances surrounding the publication of NFSS by the journal Social Science Research, which is housed at UCF. was denied by UCF in early April.
Social Science Research, the publishers of Regenerus’ study which is housed at UCF has an unusual “single blind” peer review process and it allows authors to suggest their own peer reviewers. In other words, the person or persons who checked Regnerus’ work knew whose work they were reviewing and may have been chosen by him. At the very least, it seems unlikely that there were any critics reviewing his article given the speed with which it was published. The point of peer review is that scientists are checking each other’s work before it goes out to the public. In this case, it seems that the system was subverted
Documents exposed by Becker in early March proved that Regenerus’ NFSS which was financially backed by the Witherspoon Institute — an anti-gay, anti-marriage equality conservative think tank that spent $695,000 funding the NFSS — and the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation — one of the nation’s top right-wing funders, which contributed $90,000 to Regnerus’ study was purposely printed as anti-gay propaganda and was rushed to publication to coincide with the 2012 presidential election.
Indeed Philip Cohen, a well-respected sociologist and expert on families, looked at the dates on the study and found that Regnerus had written the results and sent it to his publisher before the survey was even finished. Casting even more doubt to the validity and review of study.
Said Becker about the lawsuit.
“My interest in filing this Sunshine Law Request is to discover the truth about the peer review and publishing of the Regnerus paper, which is unknown at this point. Finding the truth is additionally important because the paper was prominently cited last month by opponents of same-sex marriage in briefs and arguments before the Supreme Court.”
A copy of the lawsuit is available here: