After some additional review, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology will publish a controversial study about training a computer to predict someone’s sexual orientation based on a photo. An editor for the American Psychological Association-owned journal last week informed co-author Michal Kosinski, an assistant professor of business at Stanford University, that it would proceed with publishing the already accepted paper. That seemed somewhat up in the air earlier in the week, when the journal said it needed to address the “ethical status” of the project -- namely issues related to copyright of publicly available photos and how Stanford’s Institutional Review Board had assessed the project.
Some viewed the journal’s additional review as a threat to academic freedom because it followed intense backlash against the paper, including by gay rights groups GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign. Kosinski said via email that he and his co-author, Yilun Wang, a computer scientist who studied at Stanford, "are glad that APA reconfirmed that the study was conducted with due ethical cautions set in place. We hope that that scientists, policy makers and LGBTQ advocacy groups can now focus on working together toward the urgent, common goal of protecting the civil and human rights of LGBTQ people." The paper is expected to be in print by sometime early next year.