Dear SSP Members,
Some of you may have recently seen or heard about an item posted on the “News” page of the Protocols.io website with the title “How a Sustained Misinformation Campaign by Publishers Attacked @PLOSONE’s Rigorous Peer Review.” In this piece, the author identifies SSP’s creation of The Scholarly Kitchen blog as the point at which this alleged “misinformation campaign,” intended to denigrate PLOS ONE’s peer review practices, “really takes off.” He makes note of the fact that several major for-profit publishers are organizational members of SSP, and then cites several items posted in the Kitchen between 2009 and 2013, selecting quotes from those postings that he feels cast a negative light on PLOS ONE’s review practices.
With this piece, Protocols.io is effectively accusing SSP of colluding with some publishers to hurt the business of another publisher. Realizing that this public accusation might cause concern among our membership, we wish to make it clear that the accusation is false. SSP is not now and has never been engaged, either alone or in collusion with any other organization or organizations, in any kind of campaign to criticize or attack the practices of any organization whatsoever. PLOS is a well-respected and valuable member of our community.
As you know, SSP is a 501(c)(3) organization made up of individual members across all sectors of the scholarly communication industry. We represent many types of publishing professionals—non-profit and for-profit publishers, librarians, academics, industry service providers, and funders. SSP is a community for everyone engaged in scholarly publishing—an organization where they find forward-thinking programs, important dialogue about the evolving scholarly system, and partners to share their expertise and progress. We do not lobby or take positions on issues. We encourage the discussion of both mutual and divergent goals and viewpoints in our publications and at our educational events.
As for The Scholarly Kitchen blog: postings in the Kitchen regularly analyze (sometimes praising, sometimes critiquing) the work and practices of publishers, vendors, libraries, editors, authors, pundits, governments, private and public funding bodies, and other contributors to the scholarly-communication ecosystem. In doing so, the Kitchen’s contributors express their own individual views and opinions; as is clearly explained on the Kitchen’s “About” page, “opinions on the Scholarly Kitchen are those of the authors. They are not necessarily those held by the Society for Scholarly Publishing nor by the authors’ respective employers.” The authors do not coordinate their postings with SSP—nor do they even always agree with each other. Each commentary offered in the Kitchen represents the opinion of its individual author.
We find it regrettable that Protocols.io felt it appropriate to level this kind of unfounded accusation at SSP, particularly in a public forum. If any member of the Society has concerns or questions, we encourage you to contact Rick Anderson (President) or Melanie Dolechek (Executive Director).
President, on behalf of the SSP Board of Directors