maybe libraryland has been too passive for too long and that’s why folks think they can bully us? maybe we don’t market ourselves well enough so folks don’t understand what we do and how we do it? or maybe folks just aren’t capable of handling critical discourse?
Edwin Mellen Press is suing Dale Askey (and McMaster University, his current employer) because after evaluating their products and finding them lacking, he had the audacity to blog about it. apparently, an academic with an opinion is earth-shattering. (something something if you worked with academics regularly this wouldn’t surprise you at all something.)
before joining libraryland i worked in publishing – newspapers, magazines, trade publications and scholarly publishing – for 14 years. i understand the business models. i see the challenges. i paid my dues. and anyone who knows me well will tell you i love, LOVE, the publishing industry. (sure, some of it is broken and needs fixing, but i truly do adore it.) so as someone who loves publishing, and still considers myself part of the industry, this whole thing embarrasses me.
awhile back i wrote a post about libraryland partners. this is another example of the screwy power dynamic we have with our “partners”. librarians vet resources all damn day – we are experts when it comes to this stuff. we get tenure based on this expertise! we share this information with colleagues because that’s how it works in academia and libraryland. if you have a crappy product, we will call you out on it because it gives you the opportunity to make it better. or not, as the case goes. if we’re all in this together, the appropriate response to criticism is discourse, not legal action.
McMaster must step up and support Dale. academia must step up and support Dale. libraryland MUST step up and support Dale. blog about it. tweet about it. tell your faculty and colleagues. sign this petition. but most of all, fight for academic freedom. fight for true partners.