Like many words that relate to political or social points of view, the bias of "radical" depends on where you stand. Yes, it is frequently used by the more conservative to belittle those who want what they see as excessive (or excessively rapid) change, but those who want this change may be proud of their "radical" views and see it as a positive. In hindsight what seems like a "radical" view at the time resulted in important and necessary social change. Example:
Indeed, it was "radicals" who were responsible for sowing the seeds of two of America's most important social movements: worker rights and racial justice. The labor movement, in its nascent days, was a radical movement. A confrontational approach to management was necessary to win many of the concessions now sorely taken for granted: the minimum wage, the eight-hour day, even the very possibility of forming a union. (source)
In the same way, the author of your quote may feel that scholarly journals are too stuck in their ways, and exposure to more extreme views is needed to improve the situation.