“Elsevier officials said Monday that it was a mistake for the publishing giant’s marketing division to offer $25 Amazon gift cards to anyone who would give a new textbook five stars in a review posted on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. While those popular Web sites’ customer reviews have long been known to be something less than scientific, and prone to manipulation if an author has friends write on behalf of a new work, the idea that a major academic publisher would attempt to pay for good reviews angered some professors who received the e-mail pitch.”
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.
Mazel tov to Walt Crawford on the publication of his new book Balanced Libraries. Walt published this book via Lulu Press and has devoted some space in his most recent issue of Cites and Insights to discussing how the Lulu Experience worked for him.
I’ve spent some of the last week going back and forth with editors of various things I’ve written. In one case an article I’d written had a blurb that I felt totally missed the point of my article, and in another case the changing of an ellipsis to a period made the last paragraph of a book introduction I wrote come across in a way I hadn’t intended. I decided not to continue co-editing a column for Serials Review because the sheer amount of process involved in communicating with Elsevier — making sure each web-page citation was in proper CMS style, getting a ton of automated email, most of which I was directed to ignore — wasn’t worth it for me. Every time, I was working with great editors, but there is only so much they can do between the time an article is written and the time it appears in print. No one enjoys being edited, but I think for most of us it’s the cost of doing business.
Between Walt’s Lulu experience and the books that Rory has been putting out as part of Library Juice Press — which I shamefully confess to having received and not yet had time to read but man do they look lovely — there are now alternatives to the slow intractable schedules and my-way-or-the-highway agreements that print publication has given us. Granted, these may not be legitimate in the eyes of tenure-granters, but not all of us are looking for tenure nowadays. I wish this shift were giving more of us bargaining power with existing print publishers, or changing the way they do business somewhat, but my feeling is that it will.