CSI's mission statement is to "encourage the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminate factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community and the public." The Skeptical Inquirer is an international magazine, but is not a formal scientific journal.
The content consists of articles, columns and book reviews that critically examine a variety of topics, such as ESP, homeopathy, astrology, SETI, the creation-evolution controversy, global warming, AIDS Denialism, the historical basis of legendary persons such as King Arthur, and controversial medical diagnoses like Attention Deficit Disorder. In addition to topics that concern scientists and academics, the magazine also has a stated mission of examining subjects that interest the general public.
- to criticize claims of the paranormal and pseudoscience
- to replicate the methods of scientific inquiry and the nature of the scientific outlook
- to seek a balanced view of science in the mass media
- to teach critical thinking in the schools.
If an article criticizes a proponent of a paranormal claim, he is always given an opportunity to respond. Some have taken advantage of that opportunity (Suitbert Ertel and Michel Gauquelin, for example).
The magazine was originally titled The Zetetic and was founded and originally edited by Marcello Truzzi. The first issue was in the Fall of 1976. About a year later there was a dispute regarding the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP): Truzzi wanted to include proponents of paranormal ideas in the group and the magazine. Following a no-confidence vote against Truzzi, he resigned, and the magazine was (starting with volume 2, issue 2) retitled Skeptical Inquirer and Kendrick Frazier (former editor of Science News) became the new editor.
It retained The Zetetic as a subtitle through volume four. The magazine was initially a bi-annual publication in digest size (15 cm by 23 cm). In about two years it changed to being a quarterly publication; then in 1994 it started being published bimonthly. In 1995 it became a full-sized publication (21 cm by 27 cm). Since January 1996, its subtitle has been: The magazine for science and reason. In 1998 the publication began printing on a glossy paper stock. As of 2010 Frazier is still the editor and Benjamin Radford is the managing editor. The magazine is headquartered in Amherst, New York.
On October 9, 2010 CSI met at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles to discuss future plans and to expand the Executive Council which is CSI's "official policy-making body". Organized by Executive Director Barry Karr the board announced the following members who also serve on the magazine's board. James Alcock, Kendrick Frazier, Ray Hyman, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Amardeo Sarma, Eugenie C. Scott, David E. Thomas, Leonard Tramiel and Benjamin Wolozin. (This list was expanded over subsequent months, adding Elizabeth Loftus and Karen Stollznow). It was also decided to resume CSI conferences, the next scheduled for Oct 27-30, 2011.
There have been several collections of articles from the Skeptical Inquirer, most edited by Frazier. A DVD and CD-ROM of all articles of the first twenty-nine years has been released. Books of collections of articles are:
- Paranormal Borderlands of Science (1981). edited by Kendrick Frazier, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-148-7.
- Science Confronts the Paranormal (1986). edited by Kendrick Frazier, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-314-5.
- The Hundredth Monkey: And Other Paradigms of the Paranormal (1991). edited by Kendrick Frazier, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-655-1
- The Outer Edge: Classic Investigations of the Paranormal (1996). edited by Joe Nickell, Barry Karr, and Tom Genoni, CSICOP. OCLC 37626835
- The UFO Invasion: The Roswell Incident, Alien Abductions, and Government Coverups (1997). edited by Kendrick Frazier, Prometheus Books; ISBN 1-57392-131-9
- Encounters With the Paranormal: Science, Knowledge, and Belief (1998). edited by Kendrick Frazier, Prometheus Books; ISBN 1-57392-203-X.
- Bizarre Cases: From the Files of The Skeptical Inquirer (2000). edited by Benjamin Radford, CSICOP. OCLC 45054771
- Paranormal Claims: A Critical Analysis, 2007, edited by Bryan Farha, University Press of America, ISBN 978-0-7618-3772-5. Five of the eighteen chapters are reprints of Skeptical Inquirer articles.
- Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal)
- Skeptic (U.S. magazine)
- The Skeptic (UK_magazine)
- The Freethinker (journal)
- Scientific skepticism
- Critical thinking
- Reason (magazine)
- The Skeptic's Dictionary
- The Straight Dope