Dear readers, advisors, authors, editors, and peer reviewers,
As we welcome the new year, we look forward to the opportunity to publish new arguments and pose challenging questions about ethical dilemmas in the realm of medicine, science, and technology. Reflecting on the peer review process at this juncture seems especially important considering the bioethics climate and the challenges in doing justice to ethical dilemmas.
Unlike scientific peer review, replicability, reliability, and evaluation of methods are largely irrelevant to much of the bioethics literature, except for empirical research. Much like papers published in law, the humanities, and social sciences, peer reviewing contextual arguments in bioethics requires us to evaluate argument validity and ensure that arguments are based on facts or appropriate hypotheticals. The risk that voices are quieted merely because the editorial staff or peer reviewers would choose the other side of an argument is high and requires mitigation steeped in serious processes built into the peer review system. It is especially important to hear diverse views that represent many points along a continuum during polarized times. The papers that offer conceptual arguments that we tend to publish at Voices in Bioethics call for an examination of logic and argument foremost, with a special emphasis on which conclusions are drawn from the premises supplied.
At Voices in Bioethics, the peer review process aims to be inclusive, so we balance our instincts to criticize with our goal to accept as many papers that meet our guidelines as possible. We welcome new arguments, especially ones that highlight overlooked viewpoints, considerations, or stakeholders.
We acknowledge how many great ideas result from people who speak English as a second or third language, or who do not use English at all. All of those affected by or who observe an ethical dilemma are welcome to submit their ethics arguments surrounding health care, technology, the environment, and the broader sciences. We are happy to read papers by those outside of bioethics and those with any level of education. We use the peer review questions about mechanics only to inform editors of what the process might entail. We do not accept or reject based on mechanics or style alone.
The nature of many bioethics journals is to publish papers that may reflect the bioethics status quo or apply common bioethical frameworks to new problems. In addition to that, we try to showcase new ways of thinking and additional considerations. After all, publishing is not about publishing papers that mimic older well-cited articles or that apply only those frameworks learned in the classroom. It is about giving voice and contributing to an open access ecosystem where new and old ideas coexist, their worth measured not in hits or likes, but in their contribution to ethical analysis.
Wishing a happy new year to our advisors, editors, peer reviewers, authors, and readers.