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

From: Heather Morrison <heatherm_at_ELN.BC.CA>
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2008 09:08:51 -0700

I support this statement.

As a long-time open access advocate who writes, presents, and teaches
on open access and scholarly communications, I have followed Richard
Poynder's works on open access over a period of years, and have found
that he brings both a strong understanding of the issues and
excellent investigative journalistic skills. HIs work has added to
our understanding in this area. He is pro-open-access, although he
approaches open access with the critical eye of a professional
investigative journalist. Critique of open access, whether
journalistic or scholarly in nature, is welcome. Critique is an
essential part of scholarship; listening to and learning from
criticism is essential to advancing knowledge.

Journalists (like scholars) must be free to question and to critique.

Thanks to Richard Poynder for his excellent journalism on open
access, and to Suber/Harnad for this statement of support.

Any opinion expressed in this e-mail is that of the author alone, and
does not represent the opinion or policy of BC Electronic Library
Network or Simon Fraser University Library.

Heather Morrison, MLIS
The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics

On 5-Oct-08, at 3:58 PM, Stevan Harnad wrote:

> 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"
> scientist-open-access-forum&D=1&O=D&F=l&S=&P=51625
> 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 - 17:39:13 BST

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