Monday, December 15, 2008

Journal of Access Services Jumps the Shark, Pt. 2



As I said in my post on the matter (http://tscott.typepad.com/tsp/2008/11/too-predictable-to-be-annoying.html) I'm fond of the Annoyed Librarian as well. But I find the decision to devote a quarterly issue of a supposedly peer-reviewed journal to a collection of edited blog posts to be somewhat bizarre. For those of us who don't have access to your introductory essay, I wonder if you might explain why you think this was a sensible move?
Wayne's response:
...that's a very good question. It is bizarre, but I don't see that one satirical issue of one journal amounts to that much."

"The journal issue was the idea of the journal editor, though. I don't know the motive. I'd have to look back through emails to make sure, but as I understand it the journal already had a regular humor column. Perhaps the AL special issue was supposed to be an extension of that."
The issue editor thought is was bizarre but didn't think one satirical issue of one journal amounts to much. What?! Would any peer-reviewed journal in any other profession ever make the decision to publish a satirical issue? Would we ever see The New England Journal of Medicine decide to post a series of satirical essays from Dr. Phil? We want our profession to be taken seriously but then are willing to compromise standards. In this case, in order to get some publicity? 

Wayne's decision to edit the issue and not question the journal editor was likely out of a sense of service to the profession. However, the decision still undermines the credibility of the Journal of Access Services and further erodes the perception of Haworth Press in general. This should be of a major concern since a significant number of LIS titles are Haworth titles. As a member of a promotion and tenure committee, I do not know if I could ever again think of JAS as 'quality' publication, although some would argue that I shouldn't have to begin with.  
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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The BMJ holiday issue and CMAJ holiday issue always contain satire and tongue-in-cheek articles, yet somehow they manage to be taken seriously.

Eric Schnell said...

Agreed. An article around April 1 or near the holidays can serve to lighted things up. Readers may look forward to it.

I guess I could stand (partially) corrected if one could point me to a peer-reviewed scholarly journal that dedicated *an entire issue* to satire and tongue-in-cheek. (excluding anything around April 1)

T Scott said...

The BMJ & CMAJ holiday issues really aren't relevant to this -- they take a tiny percentage of pages out of an entire year's production to make what is very clearly an exception, and even in those issues they report serious work. JAS took 25% of their annual content and never even addressed the notion of this being an exception to standards of peer review. It's a travesty. And making excuses for it by pointing to the occasional humorous, satirical or tongue-in-cheek articles that appear in major medical journals is evidence that some librarians just don't have a clue.

Eric Schnell said...

T Scott,

Librarians can't pull off stunts like this and then still expect to be taken as seriously as scholars.

Scott said...

My sense from a LLAMA SASS meeting at Midwinter was that the Journal of Access Services is simply hard up for articles. The moderator of our meeting reminded the group more than once that JAS is seeking articles. Of course that doesn't excuse what they did with this issue, but my guess is that they preferred to put something, rather than nothing, out...