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Quick update on AAAS letter

Just posting this quick update because the discussion about the AAAS letter, the response of their CEO, and subsequent coverage in Times Higher Education is moving rapidly this morning. With many different time zones involved, it can be tricky to keep up for the few of us who occasionally like to sleep! Here’s a round-up for those on the West Coast who are just waking up to this or anyone who is interested.

As some of you may know, last week 115 people from the the Research and Open Access (OA) community (including some from ScienceOpen and our Boards) sent this letter to the AAAS to protest the pricing level and structure for the new OA journal Science Advances.

Science Advances has a new Twitter stream which has but one tweet:

A couple of things to point out here, Possibly in an effort not to give the open letter more publicity, the AAAS don’t say in the tweet what they are responding to (no mention of open letter or link) and neither do they say in the response. A quick read of the AAAS CEO response (who is Alan Leshner, also not named!), shows it to be a classic PR piece that copiously links to previous corporate (but it’s a non-profit member led organization) AAAS statements about Science Advances, but nowhere to the letter!

Thankfully, the AAAS CEO response does now have a link to the open letter, published at The Winnower, via a comment from Ernesto Priego, a Lecturer in Library Science at the Dept of Library and Information Science, City University, London.

Paul Jump, science and research reporter for Times Higher Education to whom the AAAS response is addressed, has today written an article entitled “Shock and derision as Kent Anderson named Science publisher” which does mention and link to the letter and clears up the confusion. However, it is also worth noting that although the article headline is true, the open letter itself doesn’t make mention of Kent Anderson and focuses on pricing and licensing. 

The team behind the open letter (Erin McKiernan and Jon Tennant plus others) are strategizing their response and I will update this post as the days (probably minutes!) unfold.

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The story unfolds:

New 1: 8/28 – the follow up email to  was published as a comment on the original letter. 

New 2: 8/30 – took AAAS a few days to come up with this “response” to the letter, an achingly funny corporate FAQ which doesn’t mention the original or the follow up letter and fails to address any community concerns. Hmm. verdict = lame.

New 3: 9/1 – over the weekend, community get a bit fed up with not being heard by AAAS (a non-profit member organization that is meant to Advance Science). Some prominent news outlets interview Jon Tennant and Erin McKiernan.  First result, this excellent article by New Statesman.

New 4: 9/3 – Second result, excellent article by The Conversation.