Why Did This Top Science Journal Editor Expose A Blogger’s Pen Name?

The pseudonymous Isis the Scientist had her name revealed after a confrontation on Twitter.

Henry Gee

If you’re in the scientific field, or even if you’re just a regular reader of, say, this site, you’re probably familiar with Nature, one of the top scientific journals in the world. They’re the publishers of Watson and Crick, for God’s sake, which makes what happened last week a little troubling.

A senior editor at the journal, Henry Gee, revealed the real name of a science blogger who usually goes by the pseudonym Isis the Scientist. On Twitter, he wrote (and I’m redacting the name for Isis’s privacy):

People have since taken issue with 1) the fact that he didn’t respect the privacy of a blogger, and 2) took a belittling, arguably sexist tone toward her. Isis has been critical of Nature _in the past, and Gee has since been defending the outing based on how she has used the _nom de plumeto spread hurtful untruths.” (She’s been critical of perceived sexism in the journal, something the publication again took heat for again recently after publishing a controversial letter on women in science.)

Isis took to her blog yesterday to talk about the issues:

The tweet certainly comes off as personal, especially when Gee–also an occassional writer for _The Guardian_–must be used to at least some criticism. (In fact, some of those columns have definitely been criticized.) Regardless of intent, though, it doesn’t make _Nature _look good to be doxxing people with (completely rational) criticisms about sexism. It makes them–or at least Gee–look like bullies.