A short thought on Edwin Mellen Press
April 2, 2013
As is now well known, Edwin Mellen Press sued librarian Dale Askey for posting a negative review of their products. Now they have threatened to sue the Scholarly Kitchen for writing about this, and also to sue one of the commenters on that site.
I, of course, am not a librarian, and so have no opinion of my own regarding Edwin Mellen Press. For all I know, they are a competent and legitimate publisher who work to the highest standards and provide excellent value for money.
But I do have one question, and it’s this: what does it say about a publisher when their response to criticism, or to discussion of criticism, is bring out the lawyers? Does it give you confidence in their ability to persuade with logic that their work is good?
Of course, individual librarians will make their own choices about which books to buy and which journals to subscribe to. Perhaps in making those decisions, one of the things they will consider is the very impressive steps that Edwin Mellen Press has taken to protect its reputation.
Update (almost immediately)
Here is a Wayback Machine cache of one of the supposedly offending Scholarly Kitchen articles. For whatever it’s worth, I don’t see anything remotely objectionable here: just professional opinion, dispassionately recounted, and facts about a previous similar lawsuit.
And here is TechDirt’s assessment of the situation — which is considerably more forthright than many others.