Referee lockout enters week six
The APA referee lockout entered its sixth week today with no end in sight. Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley-Blackwell refuse to return to the bargaining table, claiming in a joint statement issued Saturday that the demands of the APA Referees Association are “simply not feasible.” The Referees Association responded by reiterating their demand for an improvement on their current contract, under which referees collectively work thousands of hours per year, enabling publishers’ profit margins of 30 percent or greater, in exchange for no pay or benefits. The association is asking for a 5% raise over three years.
Tensions reached a high point last week after replacement referee Dietrich Zimmerman rejected a paper by Almeda University’s Peter Daniels. “Hedonistic utilitarianism claims that the right action will result in the greatest happiness for the greatest number,” wrote Zimmerman in his referee report. “But there is no greatest number, for adding one to any number results in a greater number. Hence utilitarianism is incoherent. Daniels’s paper does not address this fatal flaw.” Just six weeks ago Zimmerman was a foreign-exchange student with a questionable grasp of the English language reviewing papers for the Southern Journal of Undergraduate Research.
Zimmerman’s decision quickly drew criticism from philosophers and fans alike. “These college refs just aren’t prepared for the fast-paced, high-stakes game of professional philosophy,” said blogger Hannah Ward, writing about the incident the next day. For his part, Daniels was fined $5,000 for verbally abusing a referee after he asked Ratio‘s editor to forward a profanity-laced tirade to “Referee 1.”
The referee lockout is only the latest challenge facing professional philosophy, which is still reeling from last year’s disclosure that several high-profile philosophers tested positive for Humean Growth Hormone. Whether their image problems will force publishers to resume talks with the Referees Association, however, remains to be seen.
[Special thanks to Noel Dominguez for the refutation of utilitarianism.]