Guest post by Robert Kernodle
A Website that Makes Research Open to All?
My title has a question mark in it, and my first heading has a question mark in it. The question mark in the title means that there might be a question about whether censorship is actually taking place, while the second question mark means that there is definitely a question about the legitimacy of a mission-statement claim. A resolution of the second question mark would get rid of the first question mark, but I’ll leave that resolution up to readers.
For readers who might not know, ResearchGate is a website that has established a professional network for scientists and researchers (with over 17 million members from all over the world) to share their publications, publish their data, and discuss their research. According to its terms of service, ResearchGate’s mission is to connect the world of science and make research open to all.
You can check out the full terms of service here: https://www.researchgate.net/terms-of-service
The First Question
Has unreasonable censorship taken place?
On June 3, 2020, ResearchGate removed an article by Physicist, Denis Rancourt, titled Masks Don’t Work: A Review of Science Relevant to COVID-19 Social Policy
Denis Rancourt has a PhD in Physics (1984, University of Toronto), is a former tenured Full Professor (University of Ottawa), and has published over one hundred articles in leading science journals (You can easily look up his credentials for yourself, if you don’t trust me).
ResearchGate’s notice of content removal to Rancourt stated, … our terms of service prohibit the posting of non-scientific content on the platform.
Rancourt’s own full expose’ of this editorial action is here:
Since Rancourt’s article in question was banished from its original place of publication, I had to dig a bit to find a copy, since all links to that location now land on a generic page endorsing ResearchGate as a place to … make research open to all. [implied eye roll]
To save you the trouble of searching for it, I have loaded a copy to my DropBox here:
I have read Rancourt’s expose’, I have read his original article that was removed, and I have read the terms of service referenced by those who did the removing. Based on all this, I have made my judgment about the actions taken in this case, which leads to …
The Second Question
Does an organization that claims to … make research open to all … adhere to this mission statement, when it removes content by a well-credentialed scientist, who carefully backs his words with known scientific facts linked to clearly displayed and linked citations?– an organization whose terms of service make no requirement of formal peer review? — an organization that seemingly exercises editorial power based soley on the way things are being done, rather than on the scientific basis of this way, which is the very foundation of its mission statement?
Again, I’ll let readers judge and answer this question for themselves.