I sometimes get a case of schadenfreude reading about bad things that happen to big companies that have a hand in library businesses. This latest mess involves Elsevier publishing what can charitably called a “sponsored journal” and what can uncharitably be called a fake scam journal, sponsored by Merck and internded solely to be cited in support of their drug Fosamax. If anyone has ongoing dealings with Elsevier and would like to get across to them how uncool this is, I’d appreciate it. Original article published at TheScientist.com available here with free registration. [nowthis]
Elsevier acknowledged that Merck had sponsored the publication, but did not disclose the amount the drug company paid. In a statement emailed to The Scientist, Elsevier said that the company “does not today consider a compilation of reprinted articles a ‘Journal’.”
“Elsevier acknowledges the concern that the journals in question didn’t have the appropriate disclosures,” the statement continued. “It is worth noting that project in question was produced 6 years ago and disclosure protocols have evolved since 2003. Elsevier’s current disclosure policies meet the rigor and requirements of the current publishing environment.”
The Elsevier spokesperson said the company wasn’t aware of how many copies of the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine were produced or how the publication was distributed in Australia, but noted that “the common practice for sponsored journals is that doctors receive them complimentary.” The spokesperson added that Elsevier had no plans to look further into the matter.
The American Library Association has launched an email newsletter and they have sent it to every ALA member with an email address on file. The AL Direct FAQ states “AL Direct (American Libraries Direct) is an electronic newsletter sent to ALA personal members by e-mail as a perquisite of membership.” Here is what I noticed in the first 15 minutes of getting my first newsletter.
- The links in the newsletter go to a combination of online content (already available) and giant PDFs that seems to come directly from the pages of American Libraries. I’m not sure I see the value-add.
- I wish I could tell which links went to giant PDFs before I clicked them, but each hyperlink is an affiliate link through an outfit called ixs1.net (helpful error message here) which means no mousing-over the text to figure out which is which.
- The site uses web bugs as near as I can tell, while this is not surprising, neither is it cool
- There is an unsubscribe link, but I had to use my email’s find feature to locate it.
- They don’t post old issues on the web site. This makes a certain amount of sense, since there is already an AL Online news digest as well as a weekly roundup of stories coming to interested members in their inboxes, but then there’s the question: why do this at all?
- I specifically set my communications preferences with ALA — once there was a way to do so — to receive “official communications only” which is described as “ballot, renewal and membership card, American Libraries and division journals and newsletters specified in the ALA Handbook of Organization” on the Communications Preferences page. This may be nitpicky of me, but I don’t see why a heavily-advertiser supported newsletter — Sirsi is the sponsor for issue 1 — which is mostly rehashing news I already have access to elsewhere in ALA is seen as official communications. Put another way, why is me saying it’s okay for them to mail me a magazine seen as the same as saying it’s okay to put me on an email list for a newsletter?
For those of you who are already not fans of ALA, this will come as no surprise, ALA continues not to understand how to communicate in the digital world. For those of us who keep saying “No no, I think there’s still hope” each fumbling foray like this makes us wince and wish we belonged to a savvy organization that excited and interested us with their new ideas and options for intteraction.
There has been a lot of talk about Library 2.0 lately, and I’m with Steve that I’m more interested in doing cool stuff with my libraries than writing about libraries, or debating semantics, but I can say one thing for sure, I know it when I see it. In this case, I know I’m looking and not seeing it
My favorite thing about blogs beyond the personal interactions that they afford is reading what people think about more products than I can usefully evaluate on my own. Two reviews that came through my reader lately have been true gems:
1. Mary “LibraryLaw” Minow discusses LibraryElf: My library elf – the joy and the horror
2. Sarah “Librarian in Black” Houghton tries a beta of QuestionPoint’s Flash interface: New QuestionPoint Flash Interface: LiB’s Review
Meredith “Information Wants to be Free” Farkas also does a lot of good no-nonsense reviews.
This may be one of those things that everyone knows but me, but it looks like EBSCO has made their Library/Information Science & Technology Abstracts available now for free. The sexy URL redirects automatically to the longer internal URL. The press release with the announcement is here. [update: fixed link, thanks everyone]