Connect with us

World

Top academic accuses the British Medical Journal of ‘abandoning science’ after rejecting research ‘because of their views on the trans debate’

Published

on

The British Medical Journal has been accused of ‘abandoning science’ after it rejected research from top academics over their views on the trans debate.

One researcher had his paper rejected because he was ‘opinionated’ and had tweeted in support of author JK Rowling‘s gender-critical views.

The other’s research was taken offline by BMJ staff who accused him of being ‘transphobic’ based on a student paper article about him. Both academics saw the discussions in BMJ staff emails after making Freedom of Information requests.

Dr Michael Biggs, an Oxford University sociologist, was blacklisted over a paper saying the official number of transgender people in the UK – 262,000 – is unreliable because of a confusingly-worded census question. 

Dr Michael Biggs (pictured), an Oxford University sociologist, was blacklisted over a paper saying the official number of transgender people in the UK – 262,000 – is unreliable

Dr John Armstrong (pictured), a mathematician at King's College London, submitted a paper to BMJ Open on findings that institutions with higher 'Athena Swan' ratings ¿ an award given for promoting gender equality ¿ had fewer women in senior roles

Dr John Armstrong (pictured), a mathematician at King’s College London, submitted a paper to BMJ Open on findings that institutions with higher ‘Athena Swan’ ratings – an award given for promoting gender equality – had fewer women in senior roles

He said a number of people who don’t speak English as a first language had answered ‘no’ to: ‘Is the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth?’

BMJ staff emails claimed Dr Biggs’ piece ‘portrays trans individuals as uneducated and implies they weren’t able to understand the question on the census’.

The emails also revealed concerns about him ‘being known for being transphobic’ after a student paper in 2018 claimed he had tweeted critical views of trans people.

Dr Biggs said ‘some journal editors… don’t care if an article is true, but whether it helps disadvantaged or oppressed minorities’. 

Dr John Armstrong, a mathematician at King’s College London, submitted a paper to BMJ Open on findings that institutions with higher ‘Athena Swan’ ratings – an award given for promoting gender equality – had fewer women in senior roles.

After it was rejected, he found a member of staff had told a colleague his social media account had ‘coloured our impression of the manuscript’. 

One email said ‘he’s quite argumentative and opinionated’, and highlighted how he retweeted a JK Rowling post supporting campaigner Maya Forstater, who lost her job after saying people could not change their biological sex.

Dr Armstrong said: ‘If a journal censors findings because they don’t like the results or the author, it has abandoned science.’

The BMJ denied it would reject a paper for ‘political or ideological reasons’.

Continue Reading