I will comment more soon on Mark Regnerus’s paper, “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.” (Short: I think it’s a bad-quality piece of research that should not have been published; and that Regnerus cynically manipulated promotion by the conservative press and anti-equality advocates eager to declare, “this new research tends to affirm that the ideal for a child is a married mom and dad.”)
But here’s a quick note:
In the controversy over the publication, several people have remarked on the extremely fast timeline by which the journal Social Science Research operated. According to the data listed at the top of the article, it was submitted, revised, and accepted within 6 weeks. That’s fast, but that doesn’t make it wrong, necessarily.
On the other hand, time travel is definitely cheating. Neal Caren pointed out to me this pattern: according to the study design document online at the University of Texas (here), and the article history dates listed by the journal Social Science Research (here), this is the timeline for the study:
- Data collection start date: August 19, 2011
- Email and postcard reminders sent to non-responders: December 15, 2011
- Telephone reminder campaign: December 20, 2011-January 17, 2012
- Paper received by Social Science Research: February 1, 2012
- Data collection end date: February 21, 2012
- Data file delivered to University of Texas “containing the collected data”: February 24, 2012
- Revised paper received by Social Science Research: February 29, 2012
- Paper accepted by Social Science Research: March 12, 2012
- Paper published online: June 10, 2012
According to these documents, the paper was submitted for publication 20 days before the end of the data collection, and 23 days before the data were delivered to the University of Texas! That’s fast.
There must be some post-hoc excuse Regnerus or the journal could give to clear this up.
Commentary on the study includes:
“Why Mark Regnerus’ study shouldn’t matter, even if it were the most scientifically robust study in the world,” by Ilana Yurkiewicz at Scientific American
Study questioning same-sex parenting draws fire, by Stephanie Pappas at Live Science
Do children of same-sex parents really fare worse? by Belinda Luscombe at Time Healthland