Re: Suber/Harnad Statement in support of the investigative work of Richard Poynder

From: Leslie Chan <>
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2008 10:42:48 -0400

I like to endorse, in the strongest terms possible, Stevan and Peter's
statement in support of Richard Poynder's professionalism.

Investigative journalism is the cornerstone of an open society and Mr.
Poynder is one of the finest practitioners of his craft and of his
profession. I can speak from personal experience that Richard not only
conducts his investigation with rigour and with integrity, he always
involves the community of concern in an open and transparent manner during
his research, regardless of his subject of investigation. He asks tough
questions that make people uncomfortable, and that is his job.

We in the academies have the good fortune of being protected by tenure and
academic freedom. A freelance journalist like Richard is vulnerable to
threats and intimidation because he doesn't have recourse to resources and
institutional backing. So I applaud Richard not only for his integrity,
but above all for his courage.

Thank you to Stevan and to Peter for issuing this public statement.
Richard Poynder deserves our full and diligent support, not only because
he covers topics of importance to this community, but because of what he
stands for. I wish Richard continuing success with his writing and

Leslie Chan
Senior Lecturer, Program Supervisor in the Joint Program in New Media Studies
University of Toronto Scarborough

> Statement in support of the investigative work of Richard Poynder
> Richard Poynder, a distinguished scientific journalist specializing in
> online-era scientific/scholarly communication and publication, has
> been the ablest, most prolific and most probing chronicler of the open
> access movement from its very beginning. He is widely respected for
> his independence, even-handedness, analysis, careful interviews, and
> detailed research.
> Richard is currently conducting a series of investigations on the peer
> review practices of some newly formed open access journals and their
> publishers. In one case, when a publisher would not talk to him
> privately, Richard made his questions public in this Forum:
> "Help sought on OA publisher Scientific Journals International"
> That posting elicited public and private threats of a libel suit and
> accusations of racism. Those groundless threats and accusations
> appear to us to be attempts to intimidate.
> "Lies, fear and smear campaigns against SJI and other OA journals"
> Moreover, Richard is being portrayed as an opponent of open access,
> which he is not. He is an even-handed, critically minded analyst of
> the open access movement (among other things), and his critical
> investigations are healthy for open access.
> He has interviewed us both, at length. While the resulting pictures
> were largely favorable, he didn't hesitate to probe our weaknesses and
> the objections others have raised to our respective methods or styles
> of work. This kind of critical scrutiny is essential to a new and
> fast-growing movement and does not imply hostility to the subjects of
> his investigation or opposition to open access.
> Trying to suppress Richard Poynder's investigations through threats of
> legal action is contemptible. We hope that the friends of open access
> in the legal community will attest to the lawfulness of his inquiries
> and that all friends of open access will attest to the value and
> legitimacy of his investigative journalism.
> Peter Suber and Stevan Harnad
Received on Mon Oct 06 2008 - 16:14:26 BST

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