The current case became more widely known after a commentary on it appeared in the International Journal of Forensic Mental Health (IJFMH), written by two researchers at the University of South Florida in Tampa—Norman Poythress, who frequently collaborates with Skeem, and John Petrila. They argue that threats such as Hare's "strike at the heart of the peer review process" and "may have a chilling effect on the values at the core of academic freedom."
In an academic disagreement, "filing a defamation suit…may be the last response in extreme cases," Petrila says, "but you have to search for a long time before finding a case in which a threat to sue is the first or an early response."
Hart, who edits IJFMH, says Hare has a vested interest in the PCL-R because he receives significant royalties from it. Hare counters that if money was his goal, he could have made much more by testifying in high-profile criminal cases as some of his colleagues do. He says he receives less than $35,000 annually for royalties associated with the PCL-R and its derivatives.
Hare says his side of the matter has not been heard. "The APA would not have done anything had my complaint not been valid," he says. "Obviously there was something wrong to start with." In the document he has circulated he questions why Poythress and Petrila did not seek his version of events before writing their commentary and why Hart did not offer Hare a chance to respond in the same issue of IJFMH.
Other researchers are more concerned with the effects of Hare's actions on the field, although not all of them are convinced those effects will be enduring. "The reaction to this, and the way this has sort of unfolded, I don't think [it] leaves anyone thinking litigation is helpful," says forensic psychologist Daniel Murrie of the University of Virginia, who was not involved in the dispute.
Hart says he would like to see everyone put the "disturbing and embarrassing" matter behind them. "We need to get over this part of it as quickly as possible and get back to science."