By Warren D. Smith (PhD, Applied Math)
I am rather distressed to report this, but I am afraid, as of Sept. 2006, that this "journal" is not what it claims to be. Its editor Brian Wichmann struck me as (and portrayed himself as) an intelligent and concerned British voting activist trying to create an unbiased quality academic journal under the auspices of the biased pro-STV voting reform group ERS (Britain's Electoral Reform Society).
Unfortunately, that creates a conflict of interest. What happens if some scientific investigation comes to the conclusion that, in some way, STV (single transferable vote) methods are not the greatest thing since sliced bread?
Well, I now am familiar with several instances. In every instance, Voting Matters found "reasons" to reject the anti-STV scientific contribution, and to accept the pro-STV one. This includes a case where the pro-STV conclusion (by Crispin Allard) was simply incorrect (his calculation was off by a factor exceeding 100 and that would have been revealed by even the crudest numerical checks), includes a case of rejecting an attempt (by me) to correct that incorrect calculation – and then, after that, rejecting even a mere 1-sentence attempt to point out that I (or, for example, Michael Dummett also in his book published by Oxford University Press) claimed the calculation was wrong (just so that this wrong calculation would not rest unchallenged in the pages of VM for all eternity) – and also includes a case where the referees and editors forced revisions which vastly distorted the author's original intent to make his conclusions appear almost 180 degrees away from his actual ones (which as a side effect made that author appear to be almost ludicrously incompetent, which is not at all the reality), and also includes rejecting, without any refereeing at all – purely because the editor proclaimed himself to be "insulted" by it – my letter to the editor trying to point out what was wrong with that paper. (Legitimate journals bend over backwards to try to publish such criticisms because they do not want any trace of a stain on their reputation for integrity...) I later was able to examine that author's original submissions and the referee reports he got from VM. I found that the latter exhibited massive bias in addition to being utterly incompetent anyhow. (They consisted, essentially, 100% of unsupported expressions of opinion against the author's anti-STV conclusions, facts, and cites to previous literature – all of which got 100% obliterated without a trace in the final published version, which consequently appeared to be about a new scientific finding proving in yet another new way, the wonderfulness of STV voting.) I also have further evidence, beyond the above.
There are now just too many instances, and the probabilities are just too overwhelming for me. I am forced to conclude that Voting Matters cannot be regarded as a legitimate journal. It is a propaganda and misinformation organ, and everything in it has to be viewed with great suspicion.
Probably will be added later...
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