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Case 31. Attempting to Assure Accuracy


Professor Dale Goodman has been asked by a journal he is unfamiliar with to review a book. He goes to the library and looks at an issue of the journal which appears to try to interpret social scientific research for a mostly lay readership. The journal looks to him to be a serious effort to do something he has long supported, bridge the gap between the layperson and the academic. He will be paid $100 for his review and the book appears to be within the scope of his expertise which is gender and crime. It is about prostitution. Although he doesn't think that the book is very scholarly, he does find some merit in it and writes what he thinks is an evenhanded and dispassionate review. He does not receive page proofs. When he receives his copy of the published article and his check, he is outraged to discover that the title he has submitted for the review, "Misdiagnosing the Criminality of Women," has been changed to "Prison Babes." He feels that not only is this title inaccurate and unfair, but that it casts both the book's author and himself in a bad light. Finally, he feels that it does great damage to the public understanding of the women who were studied in order for the author to write the book and to those that he has spent a career studying.


Does the author have an ethical obligation to act in this case? If so, what form should this action take?

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