- PeerJ Press Release
- Scholarly Publishing 2012: Meet PeerJ
- New Publishing Venture Gives Researchers Control Over Access
- PeerJ launches open access into a new realm
- An interview with the founders of PeerJ, an innovative new academic publishing startup.
- PeerJ launches & More PeerJ musings
- New OA Journal, Backed by O’Reilly, May Disrupt Academic Publishing
- Pay (less) to publish: ambitious journal aims to disrupt scholarly publishing
- Journal offers flat fee for ‘all you can publish’
- New front in "open access" science publishing row
- PeerJ Raises $950K from Tim O’Reilly’s Ventures To Make Biomedical Research Accessible to All
- PeerJ – a brave new world?
- New and exciting kid on the block: PeerJ
- Scientific publishing, with a twist
- PeerJ Launches: Lifetime Open-Access Publishing for $99
- Linkfest from Day 1 of PeerJ
Archive for: June, 2012
Welcome to the most recent installment in my very occasional series of interviews with people in the publishing/science blogging/computing communities. The latest is with Peter Binfield and Jason Hoyt of PeerJ. PeerJ is a new startup in the scientific publishing industry, using a rather unique business model whereby authors will be able to pay one fee and they get a lifetime of publishing their articles in PeerJ.
Please see my post with the PeerJ press release for more details.
I recently had an opportunity to ask Peter and Jason some pre-announcement questions about PeerJ and I've included their responses below. I asked all the questions except for the last one before I saw any of the press release or other information now on the PeerJ website. The press release and responses below were embargoed until today.
Here are the bios I received for Peter and Jason:
Peter Binfield, Ph.D. - Co-founder & Publisher
Pete has worked in the academic publishing world for almost 20 years. Since gaining a PhD in Optical Physics, he has held positions at Institute of Physics, Kluwer Academic, Springer, SAGE and most recently the Public Library of Science (PLoS). At PLoS he ran PLoS ONE, and developed it into the largest and most innovative journal in the world. He is a respected authority in the academic publishing and Open Access worlds and has made numerous presentations to industry and academia. He is currently a member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE) as well as being on the Advisory Committee of the MedicineX conferences.
He is passionate about academic publishing and believes that publishing needs to be in service to the academic community to best facilitate the rapid and broad dissemination of research findings.
Jason Hoyt, Ph.D. - Co-founder & CEO
Jason holds a PhD in Genetics from Stanford University where he worked under Michele Calos researching human gene therapy. He developed new methods for non-viral gene delivery into mouse hematopoietic cells using the phiC31 integrase.
Before founding PeerJ, he worked at Mendeley as Chief Scientist/VP of R&D and pioneered the data mining group that scaled Mendeley's growth to crowd source more than 150 million academic documents in just over two years. This firmly established Mendeley as a big data company. Also under his direction, services such as personal recommendations, search, real-time statistics, and the Mendeley API were developed. He has co-written and been awarded several major UK and European grants to investigate new data mining techniques and establish a pilot program with the University of Cambridge to integrate Mendeley with institutional repositories.
Jason strongly believes that research needs to be openly available if we are going to solve this century's biggest challenges.
Q1. Is there a 100 year/perpetual access business plan? It would be nice to have a solid digital preservation plan. In other words, a sense of how deeply the issues around $99 sustainability have been explored.
We completely understand the need for a robust preservation plan and so of course we have one. We will be archiving all our content at PubMedCentral, as well as with CLOCKSS (we have already joined CLOCKSS). As soon as the Royal Dutch Library starts taking publishers again, we will also be archiving there. With these 3 industry standard archives in place we will meet or exceed the archiving levels of the majority of publishers.
As to the sustainability of the actual business -- I am afraid 100 years is a little beyond our planning horizon... What we can say is that given our knowledge of, and experience in, this industry we believe we have a business model which is as self sustaining as that of any other commercial publisher. Although clearly there is a start-up phase where systems and processes need to be built, once we are up and running we will have an ongoing business which can stand on its own under any reasonable expectations of how the future market might develop.
Q2. Do the fees have to be researcher-based? Is there any way institutions could play a role -- or perhaps have lifetime institutional licenses?
Fees are indeed individual based, however we have the facility for institutions (or research funders for example) to "bulk pay" for the individual memberships. We don’t anticipate a lifetime institutional license, but we do expect some institutions to be interested in "automatically" signing up their faculty, or perhaps every new Grad student who starts with them, for example. In addition, we have the facility for people (e.g. a PI) to buy the membership on behalf of someone else (e.g. a co-author).
Q3. What kind of ecosystem of other players do you see sprouting up around PeerJ?
The opportunities to re-use open access content are numerous, but so far they have barely been explored because there simply hasn’t been enough OA content to work on. However, it is also the case that many publishers haven’t done a very good job in helping that ecosystem evolve -- PeerJ will try to encourage these developments by using public APIs, open sourcing much of our content, and providing high quality metadata. We hope to see people take our content and data mine it for new discoveries; provide overlay functionality to semantically mark up articles on the fly; write apps that use our data; develop new discovery services based on our article metrics and so on.
Q4. For arXiv the fact that a good chunk of the articles end up published in journals or conferences ends up acting as a kind of post-publication peer review and you could almost see the journals acting as kind of an overlay on arxiv. Do you foresee creating some kind of “journal” overlay on peerj or there being an aftermarket for creating these overlays? (in PLoS lots of stuff ends up in their topical journals versus the stuff that ends up in PLoS ONE, for example...)
PeerJ will be a journal (and we will also have a PrePrint server -- PeerJ PrePrints), and it will publish a wide range of content in a manner similar to PLoS ONE -- therefore we expect to develop navigation and filtering tools to help users make sense of that content (for example, the paleontologists probably don’t want to see the articles about oncology). It is an open question whether these new functionalities might evolve to eventually look or feel like a separate "journal" to a user.
However, it is also worth mentioning that because of our open access license, anyone will be able to build their own "overlay" on top of our content (and that of other OA publishers), and provide any kind of other services, for example further layers of discovery or of peer review. These are exciting possibilities which we will definitely encourage.
Q5. The Scholarly Kitchen has already likened your approach to that of Walmart conjuring up images of abandoned downtown commercial districts. Or even as a kind of predatory OA journal, a ponzi scheme almost. How do you respond to this type of criticism?
As a general rule, the Scholarly Kitchen is not a great fan of Open Access publishers, and in addition they were commenting before any real information was yet available. Now that we have formally launched, we believe our actions will speak for themselves, and we expect people to form their own opinions based on the facts of our business model.
With that said, your question does beg some specific responses:
One of the complaints in the first post you reference was that if you remove a lot of the important functions from a company you have nothing worthwhile left. That post misses the point -- if you look at a subscription publisher, then they maintain a lot of "important" functions simply because those functions are essential to their specific business model. If you remove the business model (i.e. selling copyright-protected subscriptions, with a hardcopy component, to university libraries) then you remove the need for all sorts of "essential" functions such as warehousing, distribution, a legal dept, a sales force, a billing and collections group etc etc. This is actually what open access publishers such as PeerJ are doing -- we have a new type of publication model which allows us to knowingly strip out what is extraneous to the process of publication, allowing us to pass those savings back to the customers (the authors). If PeerJ can provide a high quality, professional, publishing service that authors value (which we will) at a price that authors feel is fair, then that is what counts, not whether we are providing irrelevant services that add no value in order to maintain an outdated publication model.
The implicit complaint in that post was that making a service cheaper was in some way a bad thing. It is only bad if the ultimate service which is delivered is not valued by the customers or is regarded as substandard (in which case you will quickly lose customers). In our mind, we would like to drive the cost for an author as low as possible, while still providing the highest possible standards of professional publication, in order to deliver a service which is genuinely valued. Unlike some publishers, we are willing to be judged by the marketplace.
As to being predatory -- we can absolutely assure you that this is not the case. Pete used to run PLoS ONE and Jason was the head of R&D at Mendeley. We both know how to run "respectable" businesses, and we both have reputations that we would like to maintain! PeerJ is in the service of the global academic community (not the other way round), and we believe that they will see the value in what we are providing.
Q6. I see from the press release that you will be concentrating primarily on articles in the biological and medical sciences. Any plans on moving beyond articles into data or other types of research objects? As well, any plans to expand into other disciplinary areas?
PeerJ is a journal and as such we expect it to publish "regular" journal articles (albeit with considerable additional functionality, such as multimedia etc). However, PeerJ PrePrints is a preprint server, and so it is not constrained in the same way. Although we expect authors to mostly submit draft articles into PeerJ PrePrints we do expect it to become a somewhat "experimental" publication venue where people can submit things which don’t necessarily look and feel like a "normal" article. Only time will tell what the future publication needs of the academic community are going to be, but we hope and expect that PeerJ will be able to accommodate them.
As to other disciplines, we need to concentrate on one thing at a time of course. Therefore, there are no plans to move outside of Biological and Medical sciences at the moment.
I'm not one for posting publisher press releases on this blog (and embargoed ones at that!) but sometimes you just have to try something a little different. And this is such an occasion.
Below is the press release for a new science publishing startup called PeerJ. It is founded by Peter Binfield, formerly of Public Library of Science, and Jason Hoyt, formerly of Mendeley. The core idea is that scholars will be able to pay one fee (starting at $99) and be able to publish on the PeerJ platform for life. The truly interesting aspect of this is that PeerJ is peer reviewed. It's kind of like a cross between PLoS ONE and the arXiv. To me it seems to resemble what we think of as a disciplinary repository like arXiv in that it will be a large collection of articles that will be at least somewhat unstructured. But at the same time, like a PLos ONE, will also have very strict peer review.
There are a few different fee levels, each with different features, but that is the core idea.
Obviously this idea is incredibly disruptive of normal publisher practices. To make this business model work they will obviously have to operate radically differently from anything even vaguely resembling a traditional publisher. One can imagine that a lot of the functions that such a traditional publisher provides will be left out.
So, you all must have questions? You bet I do. In fact, I had a chance to pose a few pre-launch questions to Binfield and Hoyt which you can read here in a more-or-less simultaneously published post. Most of the questions were posed before I read the press release below or any other of the information now on their web, so I'm sure there are many new questions that might arise. Please feel free to add them to the comments and hopefully Binfield and/or Hoyt will be able to answer them either here or in another forum.
What do I think? I'm not sure really. I'm obviously a huge supporter of open access and as such I definitely wish PeerJ well in its plans. On the other hand, there are obviously huge challenges involved in making this work so only time will tell how successful they will be. I imagine that many in traditional publishing (and their supporters) will have a lot of questions and will voice a lot of skepticism and disdain for this brave effort.
Here's the press release:
New Open Access Publisher Introduces Innovative Business Model - Pay Once, Publish for Life
Your Peers, Your Science.
Academic Publishing is Evolving
PeerJ Inc. (http://peerj.com), a new Open Access academic publishing company, formally announced itself today. Founded by seasoned academic publishing and technology professionals from PLoS ONE and Mendeley, PeerJ will publish a broad based, rapid, peer-reviewed journal (‘PeerJ’) and an innovative preprint server (‘PeerJ PrePrints’). PeerJ will open for submissions in Summer 2012, and will publish its first articles in December 2012.
“PeerJ significantly moves the needle towards universal Open Access publishing for all academics,” stated Peter Binfield, Co-Founder and Publisher of PeerJ. “We provide authors with publication at an affordable price, starting at just $99 for life; an inclusive venue in which to publish their peer reviewed research; and an innovative and dynamic approach towards academic publishing in the internet era.”
PeerJ will publish all well reported, scientifically sound research in the Biological and Medical Sciences. The journal will operate a rigorous peer review process and will deliver the highest standards in everything it does. “We have an attractive model that authors will appreciate; a great team who know what needs to be done; and the unique opportunity to take Academic Publishing to a new level. PeerJ is 100% committed to improving the academic publishing process for both authors and readers” said Binfield.
Jason Hoyt, Co-Founder and CEO, explained that “PeerJ will innovate in everything it does and will set new standards for both the publishing experience and the dissemination of research. We will go beyond publishing by building tools to be open sourced back to the academics who make PeerJ possible, as well as to interested developers. We will continue to innovate and experiment around the open access model, and we will strive to deliver an outstanding service to our authors.”
Unique among academic publishers, PeerJ provides authors with low cost lifetime memberships giving them the rights to publish their papers freely thereafter. Three membership plans exist - Basic, Enhanced and Investigator. All member plans confer lifetime rights, and the three tiers allow members to publish once, twice, or an unlimited number of times per year in PeerJ. Each author on a paper must be a member and the Basic membership plan is just $99. To celebrate the launch, PeerJ is offering discounts of $30 off the Enhanced membership and $40 off the Investigator membership until September 1, 2012 (see: http://peerj.com/pricing/).
Funding for PeerJ has come from a partnership between O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) and O’Reilly Media - as such, Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media and an Open Source leader, will join the governing Board of PeerJ. Tim was instrumental in helping to block the passage of the 2012 RWA bill in the U.S. Congress (which would have negatively affected open access to academic content in the US) and is a passionate advocate for open, unfettered communication in academia. Co-founders Binfield and Hoyt are excited to have his involvement and Tim had this to say about PeerJ: “It's easy to forget that technological revolutions also demand business model revolutions. Open access is transformative for science publishing, not only because it spreads knowledge more efficiently, but because it slashes the cost of producing and consuming that knowledge.”
And here is a generic Q&A document that was provided to me.
What is the driving force behind PeerJ?
It is clear that the academic publishing industry is about to move wholesale towards Open Access. This is a very exciting time and as a result there are tremendous opportunities to enact positive change; to significantly improve the publication process; and to bring the act of publication into the modern era.
It has been extremely refreshing to take a blank slate and sketch how the ‘perfect’ publishing operation could be delivered. We have been unencumbered by prior business decisions, legacy systems, or established product lines. As a result, we believe that there are several differences between us and other publishers and therefore we believe that PeerJ has a real opportunity to further revolutionize the industry.
The Co-Founders are Jason Hoyt (until recently the Chief Scientist/VP of R&D at Mendeley) and Peter Binfield (until recently the Publisher of PLoS ONE). The idea for PeerJ and the lifetime membership model was Jason’s - he was very aware that the world needed better solutions to the publication problems that exist today, and that rapid solutions were not going to come from governments or established subscription publishers. It was clear that any improvements to the system would need to be self sustaining, and driven by a deep understanding of where the industry had come from and where it could be headed. He came up with the basic PeerJ model and Pete jumped at the opportunity to partner with him.
We believe that PeerJ takes the best elements of traditional academic publishing, and combines them with the latest thinking on how to deliver and disseminate research. It is close enough to established publication models that authors can feel comfortable with it, yet innovative in many key respects (the business model; the incentives built into the system; the open peer review; the preprint server and so on). Taken together, we believe that PeerJ will significantly contribute to an accelerating move towards Open Access - we expect to be at the forefront of a revolution in how academic content is published and distributed.
We are passionate in our belief that academic content can be published better, faster, and more effectively than is currently the case. If we can improve this system then new research will make it into the world faster and more effectively, and that research will have more reach and impact. As a result, society in general (and academia in particular) will reap significant rewards.
How did you and your co-founder meet and when did you get the idea for PeerJ?
Jason speaking: “We first met when I was living in San Francisco and working for Mendeley (and Pete was working for PLoS) and we first appeared together on TWiS (This Week in Science) with Kiki Sanford in 2009. Bootleg copies of that appearance can still be found, and Kiki plans on interviewing us again later this June for a follow-up.
The idea really dates back to my graduate school days. PLoS didn’t exist when I started grad school and I was shocked at the “sticker price” for publishing with existing subscription journals. They really aren’t all free to authors if you start including very high charges for color images, page limits, etc. When OA and PLoS did arrive, I thought it was great, but that we could still do better. When I decided to leave Mendeley to start something new I said to myself that “everyone seems to be waiting around for either the government or publishers to drop costs, so why not just do it and see what happens?” The world shouldn’t have to wait any longer than is necessary.”
Is there a need for one more Open Access Journal?
In some sense it is wrong to think of us as “just another OA journal”. What we actually represent is another opportunity to accelerate the move towards Open Access for all content, and a viable attempt to create a new business model to help us get there!
With that said, we are of course, ‘another’ OA journal. There are about 1.5 million articles published worldwide every year, in 25,000 journals, and even though the academic publishing world is on the verge of flipping to an Open Access model, the number of professionally administered OA journals is still rather small and mostly concentrated in 3 large publishers (PLoS, Hindawi and BMC). In addition, the amount of content being published as OA is still quite small (around 15%). Finally, there has not been a great deal of experimentation with new or innovative Open Access business models (Open Access, in itself, is not a business model). For all these reasons, we feel that there is plenty of room for a new journal willing to push the envelope, help expand the footprint of Open Access, and to experiment with new and better ways to do things.
The past 300 years has been an experiment with the subscription model. The OA model is only 10 years old, so there is plenty of opportunity to improve upon it!
What is your long term vision for PeerJ?
We want to operate the best publication process and build the best publication platform in the world. We want to drive the publication price as low as possible (free is a good price to aim for). We want to accelerate and improve the dissemination of academic results for the betterment of all society.
Like we said, academic publishing is evolving…
And don't forget to check out this post for my interview with Peter Binfield and Jason Hoyt.
John MacCormick's new book, Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers, is very good. You should buy it and read it.
Which is what this book does. It starts from the premise that people love computers and what they can do but don't have much of an idea about what goes on inside the little black box. And then, what MacCormick does is take nine general types of high level functions that computer perform and explain first what those functions really mean and second a general idea of how software developers have approached solving the initial problems.
Those general problem/function areas are each treated in a separate chapter: search engine indexing, pagerank, public key cryptography, error-correcting codes, pattern recognition, data compression, databases, digital signitures and computability. As you can see, the title is a bit misleading. It's not strictly nine separate and distinct algorithms that are examined but more nine problem areas in computer science and the sets of algorithms that are used to solve the problems in that domain. But of course, that's a much less interesting title!
I have a computer science degree and out of interest and my necessity of my subject liaison responsibilities, I've followed the field fairly close over the years. As a result, quite a bit of the book is kind of old news for me. I am fairly familiar with problems under discussion and the general approaches that computer scientists take. So my evaluation of MacCormick's explanations is a little coloured by my own background.
Overall, MacCormick does a decent job of explaining the algorithm with a nice mix of words and pictures. Sometimes the words seemed to trip over themselves, getting a little eye-glazing trying to explain something mathematical using an only approximate metaphor. Sometimes the pictures were a little cluttered. I think he was afraid to use flow charts or pseudocode, fearing that they would be too techy and alienating. That may be true, but the downside was a bit of wordiness and a kind of conceptual fog in trying to get very abstract notions across in words.
But that's a quibble. Mostly MacCormick hits the right level. What kind of technology background do you need to get the most out of this book? I think it would be helpful to have a bit of an appreciation and knowledge base of computing; that will definitely help to make it all the way through. A lot of people might find it a bit tough to grasp the entirety of each chapter so some skimming might be in order. This book might be a tough slog at times for people with really no knowledge or background. But definitely worth the effort to get a least the basics from each chapter.
On the other hand, this is the perfect book for someone that's interested in computing but wants to get a better appreciation of what it's all about before maybe committing to a career. With a little mental elbow grease you can take your knowledge of computing to the next level. In other words, smart and nerdy college and high school kids are the perfect audience. (See my son's review, he fits that description perfectly).
As for people like myself who already have a pretty good background, this is a fun read that will really stretch and deepen your appreciation of computing. Pretty well anyone generally interested in science and technology would find something here worth reading.
This is a valuable addition to the popular computing literature. I would definitely recommend it for any university computer science collection, both for computing students and for those that are just interested. Larger public library systems would probably also benefit, especially for branches located near high schools. As for high schools, this is definitely the kind of book that could make a huge difference in the life of a young man or woman who's wavering about a career in computing.
MacCormick, John. Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011. 219pp. ISBN-13: 978-0691147147
(Review copy provided by publisher.)
Around the Web: Academic Librarians As Campus Hubs, Intellectual Freedom & the Library as a Workplace and more
- Academic Librarians As Campus Hubs
- Intellectual Freedom and the Library as a Workplace
- MLA Shift on Copyright
- Book Beat 2012 (on university presses at BEA)
- Commencement Address to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (Laurence Lessig on political corruption)
- How to Fail When Using Internal Social Media
- The Curious Case of Internet Privacy (by Cory Doctorow)
- Reaching Out: Why Geeks Need a Manifesto
- How journals once facilitated and now hinder scientific progress.
- Top Libraries in U.S. and Canada Issue Statement Demanding Better Ebook Services
- How President Obama could really lead on open access
- Three easy rules for staying in business as an academic publisher
- Open Content Mining: Richard Poynder blogs our progress so far, and I summarise my current impasse with publishers
- A New Declaration of Rights: Open Content Mining
- Every Nook and Cranny (physical campus spaces)
- The Language of MOOCs
- Summary of the #ReachingOutSci Series
This past week one of the true giants of fantastic literature died: Ray Bradbury.
I like what Gregory Benford had to say on the Tor.com blog:
Nostalgia is eternal for Americans. We are often displaced from our origins and carry anxious memories of that lost past. We fear losing our bearings. By writing of futures that echo our nostalgias, Bradbury reminds us of both what we were and of what we could yet be.
Like most creative people, he was still a child at heart. His stories tell us: Hold on to your childhood. You don’t get another one. In so many stories, he gave us his childhood—and it worked for us, too.
And a few other of the commentaries I've seen around the web:
- Ray Bradbury and the dark side of the American Dream
- On the Passing of Ray Bradbury: “Meeting the Wizard”
- Remember Ray Bradbury with 25 inspiring quotes
- President Obama on Ray Bradbury
- Ray Bradbury and the Sea
- The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury (Neil Gaiman)
- Ray Bradbury, R.I.P. and More on Ray (Mark Evanier)
- Ray Bradbury wasn’t a digital dinosaur; e-backlist coming
And a couple of my own posts inspired by Bradbury or his works:
- Real cost of the smartphone revolution
- The rise of libre open access
- 25,000 signatures and still rolling: Implications of the White House petition
- Technology Review Goes Digital First
- Journalism: The best of times, and the worst of times
- Publishers' Fallback Position (GSU decision)
- What Does It Take to Evaluate Teaching?
- 2012 top ten trends in academic libraries: A review of the trends and issues affecting academic libraries in higher education
- Value of Academic Libraries Summit White Paper
- Andrew Keen: 'Social media is killing our species'
- Tor Books Announces E-book Store: Doctorow, Scalzi & Stross Talk DRM-Free
- The young are different
- E-Publishing May Be Doing Everything Right, But We Can’t Ignore The Spectre Of Piracy
- With a Little Help: Publishing’s Virtue: On the whole, book publishers are a decent lot.
- We’re creating a culture of distraction
- A success, and a long road ahead (Whitehouse petition)
- Scientific Publishing - Investing in our Future
- Who Takes MOOCs?
- The Publishers Association releases report detailing the potential effect of making journals free after a six month embargo
- Added Value: I do not think those words mean what you think they mean
Apologies to my loyal readers for the rather inside-baseball library and Canadian politics focus of my recent posts, but that unfortunately is where I'm at right now. It will probably continue for a least a little bit.
The Canadian Library Association held its annual conference in Ottawa last week and one of the highlights was certainly a keynote by Daniel Caron, the head of the Library and Archives Canada. Which has been quite controversial recently in Canadian library circles due to the drastic cuts going on.
According to reports on Twitter, the keynote itself wasn't too interesting, nor was the Q&A session with Caron later on in the day.
But it seems that librarians, both registered at the conference and others, were barred from passing our information about the cuts at LAC:
According to Jennifer Dekker: Librarians silenced at CLA conference.
Part of the activities of the Day of Action included a group of a dozen volunteers (many of them retired LAC employees) promoting a white shirt / black ribbon campaign at the CLA national conference and trade show. May 31st was selected as the Day of Action since Daniel Caron, Canada’ sNational “Librarian” was to make a keynote speech at the conference, as well as present during a Question and Answer session later that afternoon. Of the group passing out ribbons, only two were registered delegates at the conference; the rest were concerned or retired librarians wanting to raise awareness of the impact of the cuts. They talked to delegates, handed out leaflets and answered questions.
Many conference delegates gladly accepted the leaflet and ribbons for about 20 minutes, when one registered delegate, conference speaker and Action Day volunteer was told by Kelly Moore, Executive Director of CLA that giving out information regarding the cuts to the LAC was “inappropriate.” In addition to handing out ribbons, the librarian and a colleague had placed CAUT “Save LAC” bookmarks on the seats of chairs in the room where the keynote was to be held. They were told to stop, that the conference was “not the right venue” for the activity, and were asked to leave the 3rd floor of the Ottawa Congress Centre – despite being registered delegates of the conference. Downstairs, on the 2nd level, volunteers continued to hand out ribbons and information. But within minutes, Moore had two security guards remove the librarians and banish them to the street level of the Congress Centre and away from the conference delegates. The official reason given was that the Day of Action volunteers were not registered for the conference. But in fact, even the two librarians who were official delegates were asked to leave. (They were re-admitted later).
To answer the questions above in light of CLA’s statement on Intellectual Freedom, removing librarians from a library conference for wanting to educate their peers about budget cuts to the National Library and to other federal libraries amounts to silencing. It is censorship and it emphasizes Toni Samek’s point made in 2008 that librarians themselves have no protection against those who would silence and censor an opinion that is different from opinions held by those in positions of authority and power. Librarians tasked in our universities, colleges and societies with the protection of free speech and freedom of expression in its many forms, do not themselves share in the benefits of our own advocacy efforts. (Emphasis mine)
These are very serious charges. Please read the whole post to get a fuller idea of the situation.
The CLA has responded on it's blog: CLA Response to Comments Regarding Events at 2012 Conference. And with the same text in virtually ever blog that has mentioned the controversy.
The Canadian Library Association believes in promulgating fact.
So let me clarify.
No registered delegates were asked to leave, to stop placing bookmarks, or to stop handing out materials.
Non-registered people were respectfully asked to move outside the CLA conference space. They were still able to distribute their materials within the convention centre.
President, Canadian Library Association
So, we have two versions of reality here.
I would tend to favour the first more but I would be really interested in hearing from other Canadian librarians and library people who were at the conference and either directly involved in the incident or who were witnesses to what took place. Please feel free to speak up either here in the comments (where you can post anonymously) or via email at jdupuis at yorku dot ca if you don't wish to make your point of view or experiences public.
Update 2012.06.04: I should have been more explicit in stating that I wasn't at the conference. I believe I'm still a member of CLA via an institutional membership but that's my only formal affiliation with the organization.
- Open access will bankrupt us, publishers’ report claims
- What data can and cannot do
- I Point To TED Talks and I Point to Kim Kardashian. That Is All.
- Why Library and eBooks Issues Matter
- Sports Subsidies and Library Spending
- Improving Research Skills
- RUK: The Maturing Threat of Open Access
- Letter from Books of Wonder to DOJ about ebooks lawsuit
- Let's Not Call It "Computer Science" If We Really Mean "Computer Programming"
- Reaching Out: Why are scientists trapped in the ivory tower and what can be done to escape?
- What the Forbes model of contributed content means for journalism
- Open Access: Money and Data talk and say the same thing?
- Why I became an open scientist…
- On boundaries (defining what it means to be a librarian)
- Occupy Journals
- Open, free access to academic research? This will be a seismic shift
- Can You Put that in the Form of a Question?
It's unseemly to revel in the misfortunes of others. Words to live by, ones I usually take very seriously. Of course, all bets are off for my Friday Fun posts, so let's revel a bit in the misfortunes of Facebook and the man seated at the throne in King's Landing.
As its share value continued to plummet towards zero in its first week of trading, social media giant Facebook has seen off a major revolt by thousands of furious shareholders by issuing a series of heartwarming and whimsical posts featuring kittens and other adorable internet memes.
A number of disgruntled investors used their new online statuses to group together and launch a class action suit against the firm. They claimed that vital information was witheld from them, in particular the fact that Facebook was almost entirely composed of banal and self-absorbed posts by uninteresting people who might be valuable to advertisers but, by God, are unbelievably tedious.
However the, investors were headed off by a slew of light-hearted posts from the company’s newly-formed Investor Friendship Team. The posting began at 13.00 EST with a series of lolcat photos, including ‘I iz sitting on ur sharez in da kitty litta’ and ‘OOPS – can I haz ordinree savingz account next tyme?’
I also appreciate that greedy investors aren't spared. Says he, rushing to check the stocks actually held by the funds in his retirement account...