Recently, CARR published a blog that many CARR fellows believe contradicted values that we hold as a research community. Amid the controversy following the blog’s publication, it was pointed out that CARR’s mission and ethos did not specify the position, widely held among CARR’s fellows, that we not only analyse the radical right but also oppose it. Furthermore, the controversy highlighted issues with CARR’s structures, editorial processes, and fellowship onboarding procedures. We unreservedly apologise for the blog publication and to those affected in the subsequent backlash.
Proposals for Change
Actions we have taken since to address this incident include: 1) the removal of the pinned thread responding to critique because it does not reflect our values; 2) the removal of the blog post “Beware the Antifascists…” which does not meet the editorial standards nor ethos that we wish to hold ourselves to; 3) the termination of the fellowship status of the blog’s author; 4) and the initiation of a process of collective change through meetings with fellows and democratic processes in order to determine our path forward.
Moreover, and in recognition of the issues raised by the aforementioned blog publication, current and former fellows are working together to revise the editorial review process, establish media protocols, institute research ethics policies, implement practices to protect and support researchers, and transform our governance structures. The central elements of this reform process are ensuring transparency and accountability. And through this process we hope to demonstrate our dedication to responsible research and to supporting our fellows and colleagues.
● We commit to ensuring that our publications as well as subsequent communications meet high standards of professionalism and that we remain open and responsive to criticism.
● We commit to supporting our fellows so that they can conduct their research safely.
● We commit to instituting collective, democratic approaches to decision-making, and to centring underrepresented voices.
We state these commitments as the central elements of the reform process to reinforce our work of resisting fascism and the far right.
Action Going Forward
In the coming weeks and months, interim committees on Mission and Ethos, Editorial Review Process, fellowship Application Process and Funding and Ethics will be set up to develop these commitments into new procedures and protocols that will make CARR a more democratic organisation and enact specific standards of transparency and accountability. A vote on all developed proposals among the fellowship will happen at CARR’s second annual conference in June 2022 at which point a new executive committee will be elected and changes will be enacted. This will involve the creation of a new editorial board, the creation of a new fellowship review board, the creation of a new ethical review committee, the creation of a new media committee, and the creation of a new partnership and funding committee.
As an organisation that aims to present expert research to the public, usually distributed online, we embrace a responsibility to have policies and procedures in place to ensure that our publications accord with our ethics and principles, and that our fellows are supported in their individual and collaborative work. As part of our efforts to make systemic changes, CARR will work to develop and implement policies that affirmatively support fellows’ and researchers’ safety, including protocols to support individuals at risk of harm or experiencing harm, as well as training on managing potential harm.
By making these changes, CARR affirms its commitment to support a network of researchers and a broader research community occupied with examining and combatting fascism and the far right.