Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Paul Stevens and the European Journal of Parapsychology

The European Journal of Parapsychology (EJP) has been well respected within parapsychology for decades. For instance, Radin, May, and Thompson (1985, p. 223) judged its quality to be well above that of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. EJP articles are consistently at a professional level, and the journal has no need to cater to a nonprofessional membership society.

The EJP was founded in 1975 at the University of Utrecht. Its editors included Martin Johnson and Sybo Schouten. From 1990 to 1999 it was edited by the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh. The journal then moved to the University of Gothenburg in Sweden where it was edited by Adrian Parker and Jan Dalkvist. It is now edited at Bournemouth University in England by Paul Stevens.

Stevens earned a Ph.D. in 1997 at the University of Edinburgh under the supervision of Professor Robert Morris. He was a research fellow at the University from 1997 to 2007, producing a substantial number of papers. He also supervised Ph.D. students. Stevens is now Senior Lecturer in the School of Design, Engineering and Computing at Bournemouth University. He is a council member for the Society for Psychical Research and serves on the editorial board of its journal.

As editor of the EJP in 2005, he published his own paper on a test of the effect of magnetic fields on an electronic number generator (Stevens, 2005). In March 2006 I contacted him, pointing out that the description of Table 1 in the text (page 143) did not match the Table itself. He responded promptly and graciously. I then emailed him, reporting that a number of values in that table seemed suspiciously small to me, and I asked him how the values were computed.

I received no reply. After additional attempts to contact him, I sent a letter by post. Again, I received no response. I emailed the Associate Editor of the EJP, Ian Baker, who simply informed me that I needed to contact the author of the article (i.e., Stevens).

After several months I submitted a letter to the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, which to its credit, published it promptly (Hansen, 2006). I was informed that Stevens was offered a chance to reply, but he declined.

It is unprofessional for a scientist not to respond to questions about his own work. But it is very troubling when a journal editor fails to do so. It reflects badly not only on himself, but also on the journal. It calls into question the scientific reliability and integrity of that professional forum.

Over the years the EJP made a substantial contribution to parapsychology. Will its reputation continue?


Radin, Dean I.; May, Edwin C.; & Thompson, Martha J. (1985). Psi Experiments With Random Number Generators: Meta-Analysis Part I. The Parapsychological Association 28th Annual Convention, Proceedings of Presented Papers, Vol. 1. (Tufts University, Medford, MA, August 12-16, 1985). pp. 199-233.

Hansen, George P. (2006). Letter. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. Vol. 70.4, October, p. 254. Copy available at:

Paul Stevens B.Sc, PhD [staff profile]. Bournemouth University website. Available at: Accessed January 29, 2008.

Stevens, Paul. (2005). The Effect of Weak Magnetic Fields on a Random Event Generator: Reconsidering the Role of Geomagnetic Fluctuations in MicroPK Studies. European Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 135–149.

Stevens, Paul. (2006). My Career in Parapsychology. Posted at: Lives in Parapsychology, PF Lyceum Blog #11. Available at: Accessed January 28, 2008.

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