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
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