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Op-eds, Opinions

Paxson P’19, Locke P’18: University committed to academic freedom, faculty support

By and
Op-Ed Contributors
Sunday, September 9, 2018

The University sets a very high bar for the research it publicizes. Among the literally hundreds of research studies published in peer-reviewed journals by University researchers over the course of a year, a small number are chosen to be highlighted on the University’s website and featured in our communications materials. We feel strongly that the research that is featured should reflect Brown’s dedication to the highest standards of academic excellence.

Not only does this align with our values as a research institution, it conveys to our research community the deep respect we have for the intellectual, professional and personal investment its members make in the meticulous practice of inquiry and discovery to advance knowledge.

This commitment to upholding academic standards sets the backdrop for a story that has been widely reported — and misreported — in the media, regarding a research article published by a Brown faculty member. We are writing to set the facts straight and restate our strong commitment to academic freedom for this faculty member and all researchers at Brown.

On Aug. 16, the scientific peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE published an article on “rapid onset gender dysphoria” by Assistant Professor of the Practice of Behavioral and Social Sciences Lisa Littman. Though Brown’s Office of University Communications knew the subject matter of the research could generate controversy, it decided to feature the research in a press release posted on the University’s website Aug. 22. The University does not shy away from controversy in publicizing research that seeks to advance knowledge or debate in a research field.

After the paper was published, the University started to hear serious concerns from leading academics in the field about the paper’s research design and methodology. Apparently, these concerns were also communicated separately to PLOS ONE because the journal announced Aug. 27 that it would take the unusual step of conducting a post-publication re-review of the article. The University has had no contact with the journal and played no part in its decision.

It was in light of the journal’s determination — and consistent with our commitment to only publicize research that unassailably meets the highest standards of excellence — the University chose to remove a news release about the research from Brown’s website Aug. 27, after the journal’s announcement. This decision would have been made regardless of the subject matter of the research.

Any accusation that Brown does not support and defend academic freedom is false. We have seen this accusation articulated in various news media, including in a Sept. 6 Herald op-ed, “University should safeguard researchers’ independence.”

In this age of “tweet first, ask questions later,” it has been assumed (without evidence) that the University “succumbed to political pressure.” In truth, the decision to cease publicity for the article instead reflects the value the University places on research standards and was not a response to any pressure from people unhappy with the content of the study. Neither has the University in any way censored the research, as some in the media have claimed. The article is still available on the PLOS ONE website and on the author’s Researchers@Brown page, which is maintained by the University.

Finally, the University has in no way condemned Professor Littman’s research. In ceasing publicity for the article, the University has not drawn a judgement about whether or not the research meets the standards for research publication. As always, this determination is left to experts in the field through the peer review process.

Given the profound confusion on this matter, it’s important not only to state the facts but also to emphasize the University’s strong commitment to academic freedom. We wholeheartedly share with our faculty and the broader research community deep convictions with regard to academic freedom, intellectual independence and the fundamental role of universities in championing and defending researchers’ right to pursue inquiry on any issues of their choosing. We are committed to vigorously upholding these values along with adhering to the highest standards of academic excellence.

We fully support Professor Littman and others in the School of Public Health and other disciplines in conducting research and seeking publication in the growing field of transgender health, as well as organizing seminars, panels or other forums to discuss scholarship on this topic. We have been steadfast in explaining to people who object to the content of this research that we stand by academic freedom and will not do anything to hinder this (or any) faculty member’s research. We believe deeply that upholding academic standards is not at odds with supporting our faculty and their freedom to pursue their research interests, even if that takes them into areas of inquiry that are controversial.

We believe just as strongly that we can devote ourselves to academic freedom while also confirming our long-standing support for members of the transgender community. We feel it’s critical that members of our community and the public not misinterpret expressions of support for transgender individuals as the motivation for discontinuing promotion of the gender dysphoria research. Brown is deeply committed to both supporting high-quality science and research that informs policy and  practice, and sustaining an inclusive environment that respects the dignity of all members of our community.

In short, academic freedom and inclusion are not mutually exclusive. We’re proud that Brown was among the first universities to include medical care for gender reassignment in its student health plan and that our medical school is a leader in education on care for transgender individuals.

Academic freedom and support for the trans community — or any other group — are values that can and, indeed, must co-exist. They do at Brown.

President Christina Paxson P’19 and Provost Richard Locke P’18 can be reached at and Please send responses to this op-ed to and op-eds to

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  1. Yes- you took that article down because you didn’t want people to find out about what’s in it. Because you wanted to hold that perfectly good paper up to a way higher standard to protect the trans community who do deserve protection. What you aren’t interested in protecting are the same-sex attracted (lesbian and bi), autistic, mentally ill, and child sexual assualt victims who are IDing as trans in shocking numbers and immediately affirmed by the therapy community, who send them immediately to get on drugs or even double mastectomy at ages as young as 14. Even ones with no childhood history of GD. Did you see how many of these youths actually desisted in this study? You know the ones whose therapists told the parents to get them on T on their first visit. These types of teens are losing the right to grow up without being medically defaced. You will not be able to tell the desisters from the “true trans” young people. And at least anecdotally regret rates appear to be going up, particulary among young lesbians, now raised in a world cheerleading them to hate themselves. Do they matter Christina and Richard????? Huh? Do they matter you? No. You are going to pull down links so people don’t find out about THEM because they are morally acceptable collateral damage and every single affirmative model psychologist thinks this from my extensive research. That’s you. No skeptics worried about this pull that. We just want open debate on real world risk and harms already occuring. Not impressed by this letter and your weak damage control. -J. Kreher

  2. Did you actually read the research before you suppressed it? Didn’t the gravity of the situation hit you right between the eyes? How can anyone with a heart do anything but demand we research this more? That is the primary conclusion of the research – that it needs to be studied more. And you tried to turn down the volume, to sweep it under a rug. If this is a social contagion, that is the most horrible thing imaginable. Young men and women, many with pre-existing mental health conditions, being led to believe they are trans, being put on hormones that are not FDA approved that are known to have dangerous side effects and permanent main effects, and being lined up for surgeries. Families are being blown apart. Even before Lisa Littman’s research, the numbers alone suggest that there is something going on that needs to be studied. Do you really expect us to accept that this research stands out for its methods? It doesn’t. If anything, it stands out for the dire outcomes of the subjects of the study – our adolescents – making it even more important that it get lots of sunlight. What got it suppressed is its conclusions – and you know it. It didn’t sit well with some powerful people who do not like their ideology questioned. And that is why you suppressed it. We are not fools.

    • socratic gadfly says:

      Indeed I did, and so did PLOSone and so did retraction watch. Littman claims to have discovered a new medical condition but didn’t assess so much as a single alleged rogd case. Instead her only evidence came from polling right wing political sites that tag all of their stories with some kind of hateful slur like calling lgbt cults

      That is not the standards we use for discovering new phenomenons, Littman replaced observation and evidence for political polls. As a result PLOSone is investigating Littman’s study for methodology and ethical lapses. Brown did what any other university has done under the same circumstances.

      The fact that 4thwave now instructed you to harass Brown’s faculty and to post unproven rumors and innuendo against lgbt people doesn’t change that. I urge Brown to examine the hateful content and slurs used by the sites Littman is collaborating along with their coordination for a harassment campaign against Brown on twitter Lobbying is not science

      • 4thwavenow is not a right-wing site. And I discuss this issue differently on some things and disgree with some framing of things (I have a blog). 4thwavenow does not call “LGBT” people cults. Trans activism is becoming cult-like in it’s censorship. That’s a morally defensible argument. Threats, firings, harassment of people who have disagreements. They are a liberal, staunchly pro gay/lesbian website that is worried about the effects of early social transitions, Lupron use at young ages, because desistance rates used to be over 50% for youths with A DSM DIAGNOSIS (not boys who liked pink as activists try to make people believe) and many of those kids grew up LGB, not trans. And they are worried about the skyrocking numbers of females who don’t want to be girls because a bunch of them had daughters who met full diagnostic criteria for Lupron, cross-sex hormones, and even surgeries (for several years even) which are happening on minors. Yes, those evil mothers who protected their daughters from unnecessary double mastectomy. That website doesn’t have the happy transition stories others do. Those exist. Great. But the stories on there are real. Please don’t paint pro gay people as “anti LGBT bigots” because it serves YOUR interests. LGBT is not a monolith and all the letters actually have different needs and priorites often. It’s LGB and actually even some trans people who are most worried about what is going on. Nice try though. People are starting to see through this. Your constant smear campaigns are starting to not be taken seriously. It’s been extremely effective. It won’t last.

        • socratic gadfly says:

          You say 4thwavenow is not a right wing site and you say it doesn’t call lgbt people cults. The website 4thwavenow itself would disagree more than half of it’s articles are tagged with “trans cult” the remainder are plastered with a variety of slurs. I encourage Paxson and Locke to examine this website which Littman chose to poll as evidence, and observe the hateful content and gleeful use of slurs by the writers in nearly every page.

          It’s telling that you came here at their behest to harass Brown Faculty and students, not only is 4thwavenow full of hateful slurs, it’s members are aggressive political lobbyists, tell me Brown, are they reliable evidence of a medical disease?

          That said, it’s odd your rebuttal is just again personal attacks
          against a demographic and in no way justifies Littman’s methodological flaws, in fact, you have no scholarly sources to back your claims. The most commonly cited study for that “desistance” rate was authored by Thomas Steensma who is emphatic that his studies were never designed to measure desistance and misused in claiming a rate.

          The few remaining are either unpublished studies by Zucker’s students, or by Zucker who fell into disrepute after it was found he engaged in data manipulation and avoided IRB’s while carrying out his studies. Your argument falls flat, it isn’t a justification for Littman’s lack of evidence, and your own arguments lack credibility.

          • I put up a perfectly reasonable post with valid desistance stats and my own observations of gender conferences I have attended myself with links supporting my arguments that has appearently been deleted. I wasn’t abusive in anyway and my statements were factual.

          • Looks like links get deleted. Makes providing supporting evidence hard.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            Not only has nothing been deleted but you didn’t provide any sources and in fact, I linked you to an interview by the author of the most heavily cited study, Steensma, where he asserts his study was never designed to measure desistance and people have misused it to make false claims about a high rate.

            As you admitted, you came from 4thwavenow after they instructed you to come here and harass anyone who directs the normal scientific scrutiny towards the paper. I think that’s unethical behavior from a collaborator from paper, you can’t silence skeptics of the study you took part in.

          • cited a review of the last 4 studies. The desistance rate was 67% of DSM postive youth. It was presented at USPATH 2017 and no-platformed like my comments apperently.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            I’ve presented abstracts in conferences, they hardly ask you for any evidence. Abstract isn’t proof of anything. Especially given this abstract you speak of was so flawed it couldn’t gain aproval.

          • I read all the studies. Not abstracts. You are reaching. I get that trans activists do not care about the risks of youth medical transitions mostly to gay, lesbian, bisexual, autistic, and mentally ill youth and want to bury this information. Acitivists are going to activist. But researchers shouldn’t cave. Looks like links get deleted. Makes providing supporting evidence hard.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            You are fundamentally misunderstanding terminology. It was a Conference Abstract: a poster or presentation presented at a conference, not a paper abstract. You don’t need much if any evidence for a conference abstract. In this case it was too poorly written to be accepted for a conference.

            I would take more time to understand the terms and things you speak of than engage in your political lobbying if I were you.

          • No. I’ve read the studies themselves the review was based on. Are you a mod for this paper? Because I put up a good blog post from a PhD sex researcher and it keeps getting deleted. Who is modding and deleting my links? Is there a no link policy?

          • socratic gadfly says:

            No I’m not. And I know the link you speak of, it cites Thomas Steensma as it’s main source since he had the only study with IRB approval and the usual biomedical research methods. Steensma has told KQED that his work wasn’t designed to measure desistance and people are misusing it for such.

            Obviously when someone is citing Steensma to make what Steensma said are untrue claims, you have to question credibility. The remaining are either unpublished, which is Singh, a red flag when no journal would take it. Or by Zucker who got in hot water for avoiding IRBs and changing his criteria nonstop till he settled on one that lacked any Dysphoria requirement and isn’t considered valid by DSM. I’m not convinced.

          • There are growing numbers of hirsuted, scarred, and traumatized lesbian young adults who trasitioned as teens who have regrets. Don’t tell me they wouldn’t have desisted before the gender clinic. Now they are missing body parts. I know you want to carpet Lupron dysphoric kids. You figure most won’t regret it. For the others, too bad. The therapy and medical community are hostile to the interests of the gay and lesbian community right now. Polly Charmicheal Tavistock “The available evidence suggests that most prepubescent children with gender dysphoria will have a different outcome in adulthood. The most common would be one around sexuality, rather than gender identity.” Your intense emotional attachment to denying desistance makes you an anti-gay/lesbian activist because that is who the collateral damage you seek to supress is.

          • Zucker’s review was taken from these studies (Drummond et al (2008), Wallien and Cohen-Kettenis (2008), Singh (2012), Steensma et al (2013). Do not come back to me and say none of these kids would be diagnosed under DSM 5. I will not be able to take you seriously.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            Steensma is explicit that his study was never designed to measure desistance, he says that anyone who uses it to claim a desistance rate came to the wrong conclusion. Zucker using someone else’s study to make false claims is not a good sign.

            Just as much of a bad sign is that none of the other studies have IRB approval, Singh itself is actually unpublished, both are red flags, makes it seem like something iffy happened. Never mind that Zucker himself is accused of data manipulation, which might be why Singh, student who was fed his data went unpublished.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            Notice how this is coming from the National Post, not a scholarly source? They had a big reputation for helping Harper push fear and hysteria during his Burka ban push.

            NPR actually answered the question and found the postion held by the vast majority of clinicians, not only do they think the statistics regarding deistance are rubbish, but Steensma: the author of the largest and only IRB approved study to ever be used to claim a desistance rate is emphatic that his study was never designed to measure such, and the National Post and others who have misused it for those false claims “came to the wrong conclusion”.

            Who should we trust? The Breitbart of Canada, or the study author himself?

          • socratic gadfly says:

            This is from Cantor, and he cites Steensma as the most credible study. And also the only IRB approved one (big red flag for others) regarding deistance. However, Steesma himself says his study was never designed to measure desistance and that people who use it to claim a rate came to the “wrong conclusion”.

            It genuinely makes me question his credibility when he so misread a scientific paper.

          • links must be a problem on this site. Screen caps are from James Cantor on
            “Statistics faulty on how many trans- kids grow up to stay trans-“

          • You have a very very immature view of harrassment. I never seek to censor trans postive research anywhere. And some of what you have said about desistance research is incorrect. When I reply it gets deleted.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            It is not, the most cited Study and only one done with an IRB and the usual biomedical controls was Thomas Steensma, who told KQED that his study was never designed to measure desistance and has wrongly been used for such.

            The remaining is an unpublished study by Singh, Zucker’s student, the fact journals wouldn’t accept it is a red flag. As for Zucker, he deliberately excluded Dysphoria as a diagnostic criteria and near all of his patients would have failed to meet DSM III and V criteria. There was universal agreement that you can’t measure desistance from such.

          • You just want borderline dysphoirc gay kids thrown under the bus for trans postive healthcare. I get you. You could make a rational argument sterilizing a few borderline femme males and mentally ill teenage girls is worth all the postives. I want to see the cost-benie analysis. Gender clinicians themselves acknowlege desistance is real and even happens with serious GD and homosexuality is a likely outcome.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            It is odd how you went of in this tangent once we confirmed the most cited and supposedly largest, best controlled and only IRB study on desistance was in fact never meant to measure or support any claims about a rate?

          • Desistance stats are over 50% even with kids with a DSM- I keep having my comments deleted and I’m being perfectly factual and respectful. Is there a no link policy. I have to support my claims.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            There are no DSM-I studies concerning dysphoria or transsexualism as they called it. In fact, as the link showed, there are no studies with subjects diagnosed with dysphoria and the one most cited, Steensma’s is not at all meant to measure desistance in his own words. Largely because nearly all the desisters were subclinical and could never have met the criteria for dysphoria. You can’t count someone as a “cure” when they never had the condition.

          • “It clarifies things greatly to realize so many of us done goofed on this. It paints a very different picture of this study. Particularly the “responders” column, which accounts for more than half of the 80 didn’t-come-back kids: about half of the boys and two-thirds of the girls were dysphoric enough to meet GID criteria at intake, and either none or one of them had clinically significant gender dysphoria at followup.” from Medium, but I have read all of Steensa myself. That’s still a lot of desistance. And no all “GID” diagnoses were not just gnc kids. That’s a lie.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            You post a link to Medium, but Steensma is on record in KQED that his study was never designed to measure desistance. He explicitly complains about people such as the medium poster misusing his work to make “wrongheaded” desistance claims. See Steensma in KQED “”The Controversial Research on ‘Desistance’ in Transgender Youth”, take it from the doctor himself, not the people who misuse his work.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            Quote from Dr. Steensma, trust his take over a game of telephone on Medium

          • Most studies on trans topics are flawed. Huge lost to follow ups, selective sampling. But I am 100% certain you cite them when it tells you what you want to hear.

          • And bottom line. They had gender dysphoirc kids who outgrew it period. However you want to spin this you can’t deny that and not be a liar.

      • PLoS One did indeed do the research: they peer-reviewed the paper AND PUBLISHED IT. Duh.

        You, on the other hand, are not a published academic — you’re not an academic at all: a professional journalist has described you as “an absolutely OBSESSIVE troll who has been following me for what feels like years now. No matter how many times I block, they respond to my threads with trollish questions/accusations.” i.e. you’re a weird rando in need of psychiatric assistance.

        For everyone watching, these are the kinds of voices Christina Paxson and Richard Locke are putting above the voices of concerned clinicians and parents of vulnerable children. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

        • socratic gadfly says:

          PLOSone in their own words has a relaxed peer review process and much of the peer review takes place after publication. Sometimes they retract after errors are uncovered by post publication review. In fact, in their own words they are currently carrying out such a review given the methodological and ethical issues brought to their attention

          As for my qualifications, I happen to be a PhD candidate, I have an authorship in Cell and my abstracts have been presented in research conferences from national groups like the ASM. I know what I was taught about scientific rigor and evidence, and like others it’s pretty easy to see the red flags here.

          And yes I encourage Paxson and Locke to note that you and the angry commenters attacking Brown faculty are members of of the 4thwavenow site Littman polled, who were now directed to lobby and harass anyone who directs scientific scrutiny towards the Littman paper
          Isn’t this behavior from a study collaborator unethical?

        • socratic gadfly says:

          PLOSone in their own words has a relaxed peer review process and much of the peer review takes place after publication. Sometimes they retract after errors are uncovered by post publication review. In fact, in their own words they are currently carrying out such a review given the methodological and ethical issues brought to their attention, Retraction Watch documents this.

          As for my qualifications, I happen to be a PhD candidate, I have an
          authorship in Cell and my abstracts have been presented in research conferences from national groups like the ASM. I know what I was taught about scientific rigor and evidence, and like others it’s pretty easy to see red flags here.

          And yes I encourage Paxson and Locke to note that you and the angry commenters attacking Brown faculty are members of of the 4thwavenow site Littman polled, who were now directed to lobby and harass anyone who directs scientific scrutiny towards the Littman paper, as can be seen by the link to their twitter directing their followers to go and yell at the Brown faculty.

          • For the record, I did not need 4thwavenow to direct me to “yell” at Brown University. I follow this topic because I have a daughter that follows the exact same pattern as described in Lisa Littman’s research. I was not interviewed for the research but if I had been, it would have looked just like the rest of the stories. I did not need this research to tell me something was wrong, I already did my own research and came to the same conclusions based on other evidence. I am not trans phobic by any reasonable definition but I’m sure I meet your definition simply by suggesting that the current massive spike in young women identifying as trans has a social element to it. It needs to be researched and understood. Brown University’s response that they did not cave to trans activists is laughable. Of course they did. They pretty much said so in their first statement. THis is a lame attempt to walk it back. You have adequately proven how aggressive the tactics of trans activists are. 4thwavenow is a place where parents have found a support network and we share our stories. There is no common ideology amongst us. Parents are conservative, liberal, religious, non-religious, gay, straight, blue collar, white collar, etc. The only thing we have in common is our concern for our kids. The suggestion that we are some likeminded army of robots that can be directed at Brown University is silly. The anger is authentic because people like you have suppressed opinion and dissent and now you are doing it again to Lisa Littman’s research. Brown isn’t fooling anyone. Neither are you.

          • socratic gadfly says:

   What is the evidence? Did we get any case studies of these supposed ROGD cases? That would be the descriptive data claimed, right?

            No, unfortunately, this study despite claiming to have discovered a completely new study did not carry out so much as a single case study on any of the ROGD patients they claimed to have found. The only evidence came from polling people without the condition, on political sites that tagged more than 1/2 of all their stories “trans cult”. This does not meet the usual standard of evidence, there would be criticism from anyone who values the usual scientific methods.

            And I did some looking, the only other websites to use the “trans cult” slur asides from the ones Littman polled are Infowars, The American Conservative, and The Daily Stormer. So by observation it certainly sounds like a slur from the far right.

          • By your logic:
            Hitler was a vegetarian.
            Therefore, vegetarians are Nazis.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            If you use Nazi era slurs about Jews , then there’s a fair bet you might have Nazi ideology, even if you are a vegetarian. In your case, the Daily Stormer, American Conservative, and Infowars are your compatriots in using the slur. What does that imply?

          • Who used any Nazi era slurs about Jews, or anyone? I illustrated the error in your logic. You’re dissociating now, and going on tangents.

          • socratic gadfly says:


            This is the slur you and 4thwavenow regularly use. The only other “news” websites that also use it are, Infowars, the Daily Stormer, and “The American Conservative”. You really don’t seem to be in good company. If we can’t call those Nazi influenced, what can we?

          • Yes. Many formerly hard core trans rights supporters, women, feminists, moderates, liberals, gays and lesbians and a bunch of trans women (mostly trans medicalists who decry what they see as a dangerous fad) feel that trans activism is a McCarthyist, harrassing, censorist movement and there is a list a mile long of examples of this behavior and say that it has become a cult (the activism not all the people who are trans, they make that distiction). The tactics are very similar to Scientology and sometimes DARVO. I support the cult-like accusation and I could morally and intellectually defend that viewpoint to anyone who cares about rationality and free speech with many many many examples of threats, doxxing, lies, smear campaigns, harrassment, and censorship. The cult acusation has been provoked. If your activists are actually acting like they are in a cult, expect that accusation. Peak trans is another term commonly used by women and gay people who are horrified by what has been happening in trans activism and were previously extremely sympathetic and supportive of it. These are all former hard-core allies. Trans actvism is bleeeeeding allies because of this behavior. Many LGB people want disassociation from this often actually abusive dynamic that has included a women getting punched, tweets of pics of baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire that say women with disagreements deserve to have it shoved up them, vandelism, and a called in bomb threat. Instead of screaming “bigot bigot” at people using these terms why don’t you turn your energy towards trans activists who send rape and death threats online to people they disagree with and tell outright lies about any acedemic, scientist, parent, gay person, or other trans women (who I consider allies) who question current trans dogma.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            Not really, we just happen to be looking at people who use slurs like calling lgbt a cult. And by the way “trans cult”, the most common slur on that site only shows up on other sites like the Daily Stormer and American Conservative. That isn’t liberal or feminist for sure.

            Why doesn’t Brown take a look: Is a website that tags so many of their pages with hateful slurs like this really not just full of political extremists? Should Littman have taken their words as facts?

          • Looked into this. I research a lot. Don’t see a promotion of the term “transcult” on 4thwave. I don’t think 4thwave uses that term at all and this is a lie. Twitter feed comments from outside people don’t count. Looks like 4thwave now does not in fact use that term.

          • That is a total LIE. 4th Wave Now does no such thing, nor do the other sites. No articles are tagged as “trans cult,” nor anything like it.

            Why are you so wilfully dishonest? Go on, try to find an article on 4th Wave tagged with “trans cult.” I’ll wait.

          • Complete nonsense! You say that “much of the peer review takes place after publication.” What a stupid thing to say! No journal does that! Do you know how things work? I have published five papers in PLoS One and I can assure you, all peer review was finished well before my articles appeared online.

            Your ignorance about this extremely basic point makes me think that in reality, you are not a PhD candidate at all, but are likely high school drop-out and obsessed trans activist “Zinnia” Jones.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            That is PLOSone’s own statement, I’d direct you to the Retraction Watch article from 2018/08/29 quoting PLOSone about the Littman study. Post publication review is standard with them, and in this case they found red flags. Now, retraction watch is a great take on controversial studies so forgive me if I trust them more than you.

            Why are you waving around publications? It’s well known among biomedical researchers that PLOSone has loose standards and you can publish stuff there easily, too easily in fact given the large spate of retractions and corrections as of late.

            It isn’t me who thinks this: PLOSone’s impact factor is also dropping rather quick and under 3 now which is very poor for a multidisciplinary journal. For not much more effort you can get work into competitors with double the impact factor. Yes, it’s pretty clearly seen as shady given lack of cites and how it’s increasingly treated as the last choice in submission.

          • Post-publication review is a totally separate thing. Peer review only occurs before publication. The editors send manuscripts to experts for their critical review, after which the authors revise and re-submit. Post-publication review only occurs if a reader happens to make a critical comment. Readers may or may not pipe up. I was an editor with the Cochrane Collaboration for many years. We also had post-publication review. BMJ has post-publication review. All of this is totally different from peer review.

            Impact factor = tedious number-crunching that nobody cares about. Obsolete metric.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            In their own words, post publication review IS part of what PLOSone calls their peer review process. It makes sense, they in their own words have a relaxed review process. If mistakes make it through, like their god paper, or the many photoshoped figures, they count on their readers to find it. You shouldn’t try to project another journal on this, by their own admission, BMJ and PLOSone have a different kind of peer review.

            And I’d say impact factor is pretty important, not just from the getting funded part. How much scientists trust a journal, especially multidisciplinary, or one from a subject with high activity is represented by how wiling they are to cite and work with its data. PLOSone’s impact factor has fallen dramatically, correlating with some of those high profile mistakes, its not a stretch to say that when my PI and others look through what we can trust, they might be more skeptical about how reproducible things on PLOSone are. You want to base your assumptions on the most solid ground possible.

  3. bothandneithernor says:

    Who are the “leading academics in the field” that raised concerns?

    • probably just a misguided undergrad or two, Julia Serano, and a few of her sockpuppets.

      • Oh yes, “Julia Serano” — such an intellectual! No wonder if that’s one of their “leading researchers” they didn’t mention the name, because they know what a joke that would be.

    • socratic gadfly says:

      Retraction Watch says they have “serious concerns about the methodology” behind the study, PLOSone agrees and is in the process of investigating. This is in fact the first study in modern history to claim to have discovered a new disease without having observed so much as a single case.

      Many see that as cutting corners and dodging the basic standards of biomedical research. Making claims and putting forth theories before you have the observations and evidence to form them.

    • Two self-made pornographers who specialize in fetishizing women’s oppression, “Zinnia Jones” and “Hailey Heartless.”

    • My question exactly. Who are these “leading academics” and why don’t they speak up and more importantly, explain Littman’s findings using some reasonable alternative hypothesis? Oh, because they don’t exist? And Littman is describing a real but politically inconvenient thing that Brown is sweeping under the rug.

  4. Wait. Let me get this straight: you’re faced with evidence that large numbers of vulnerable children and young people—mostly queer, neurodivergent and/or trauma survivors—may be getting medically negligent treatment leading to severe lifelong injury, and your first reaction is to wonder how this *might* affect the *feelings* of *some* trans people? And your SECOND reaction is to bury the paper, just in case?

    Make no mistake: if anyone is on the wrong side of history here, it’s you, Christina and Richard.

    Shame on you. Such deep, deep shame.

    • socratic gadfly says:

      Your “evidence” would be that a poll was taken in a far right political site that tags everything “trans cult” or uses some other kind of slur, No case studies or any assessment of the supposed people with ROGD ever took place. There is zero observations or evidence.

      Just as concerning, the same website Littman polled is now coordinating an AstroTurf campaign to harass anyone who directs a skeptical eye at the methods, their targets now include Brown faculty. In fact, the large number of posters are not academics or Brown students. They all arrived after the same 4thwavenow website directed its members to this particular page to harass Brown faculty and lobby for the study

      Can these political activists really serve as reliable evidence for a new disease Littman claims to have found? Is their aggressive lobbying against any scrutiny of the study unethical given their part as a collaborator in the publication? Brown should weigh in.

  5. socratic gadfly says:

    Fair warning Brown University, the reason for the flood of angry commenters is due to a AstroTurfing campaign by 4thwave now, One of Littman’s sources for her study.

    As you can see, they have directed their followers to harass Brown Faculty and attack critics of Littman’s study. I don’t understand why Littman works with people who engage in this behavior, let alone treat them as proof of a new medical condition.

    Also, very concerning is that 4thwave now’s website and twitter are full of slurs like “Trans cult” almost all of their articles are tagged under a system of slurs does Littman truly believe that we could get objective information this way?

    • Shocker. People excercising free-speech. An anathma to affirmation model advocates. Horrible. Your comment is a personal attack and thus a logical fallacy as to the content of their arguments. Please tell us what the effects of socially transitioning 5-year-olds and giving them hormone blockers at age 10 will have on desistance with peer reviewed data and a control group. You can’t.

    • When your activist movement stops calling for everyone to be fired and harrassed who disagrees with you, people will cease to make cult references. That’s actually in your control and it’s in your best interest to start policing some of the terrible behavior that has been directed at reasonable people saying reasonable things.

      • socratic gadfly says:

        So again, I ask Brown and Littman to look at this. Not only do the political sites Littman polled admit to throwing around these slurs everywhere, but they take glee and pride in doing so.

        They also seem to take pride in aggressively lobbying against any scientific review of the Littman study and harassing critics and say they will do so until they get what they want. Does polling these extremists really tell you any information about a medical condition when they will do anything to win in their political crusade?

        • Receipts? “Admit” to throwing around which “slurs”?

          Or do you mean, “disagree with you”? Oh how terrible! Someone disagrees with you! I think they must be horrible evil-minded bigots! Let’s shut them down!

          • socratic gadfly says:

            Again, 4thwavenow tags all of its stories with a filing system composed of slurs. “Trans Cult” is their most used slur, occurring in over 1/2 of all 4th wave now articles. I looked, the only other sites to use that are the “Daily Stormer”, Infowars, and “The American Conservative”. Not good company you’re in.

            Brown, what do you think of this? Is a site that uses hateful slurs with all, and then astroturfs to attack critics of the Littman study really going to be reliable? What if you’re just getting diehard political types who will say anything to win their cause?

          • This is a dirty lie. You searched trans cult, which brought up a ton of references to “culture,” and “difficult,” with – yes – the occasional reference to cult-like behavior, with most of those being made by commenters not by the 4th Wave Now authors. They have NO “trans cult” tag.

            Lying liars who lie.

          • socratic gadfly says:

            That’s a rather obvious lie, not only is it the most frequently returned tag on your website but the 4thwavenow twitter and it’s followers even went as far as to create a #transcult hashtag.

          • MY website? You’re ridiculous. I’m merely a reader and supporter of their excellent work. And you’re moving the goalposts. Do you even know what a tag is? And now we’re talking about random “followers”? You have zero intellectual integrity or credibility.

          • As I’ve stated above. Looked into this. Don’t see a promotion of the term “transcult” on 4thwave. I don’t think 4thwave uses that term at all. Twitter feed comments from outside people don’t count. Looks like 4thwavenow does not in fact use that term.

    • Oh yes, how do you describe “Astroturfing”? That would be, like, false paid people to create an illusion of dissent? Receipts please that anyone posting here is anything other than completely sincere? Receipts? Oh you haven’t got any.

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