We recently reported on an academic article that criticised one of the most popular methods for diagnosing psychopaths and which had remained unpublished for four years due to legal threats by the designers of the interview.
The article was by researchers Jennifer Skeem and David Cooke who had criticised the PCL-R, a diagnostic scale by renowned forensic psychologist Robert Hare, for its supposed over-focus on criminality.
Their piece was peer reviewed and accepted for publication in 2006 by the journal Psychological Assessment but Hare got wind of the piece which he felt unjustly criticised him and his work and threatened both the journal and the authors with a law suit for defamation.
I’m wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that the case is being covered in tomorrow’s edition of Science, although the pay-walled article is already available online. The journalist who covered the story has also covered the case in a blog post.
Interestingly, those reports note that the issue was apparently resolved in 2008 but the journal has sat on the articles ever since and the spat only came to public attention a few weeks ago due to it featuring in a journal article about academic freedom.
Seemingly the first to pick up on this was the excellent forensic psychology blog In the News which has also just posted coverage of the days happenings as well as discussing the original article and its responses.