T&F apologises in censorship dispute

T&F apologises in censorship dispute

The editorial board of a journal has withdrawn its threat to resign en masse over a censorship row, following a public apology from the publisher involved in the dispute.

Editors of the journal Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation, had threatened to quit after Taylor & Francis (T&F) had intervened with the publication of proposition paper "Publisher be damned! From price gouging to the open road", Times Higher Education (THE) reported.

The paper, written by four academics at the University of Leicester's School of Management, was originally planned for publication in September last year, but did not appear until May this year, with all publishers names removed from the article and a disclaimer added that the "the accuracy of the content should not be relied upon". The paper criticised "large profits made by commercial publishers on the back of academics’ labours, and the failure of the Finch report on open access to address them."

Academics accused T&F of censorship, and threatened to resign.

However, the publisher responded to the editors with a letter, seen by THE, which apologised for being "overzealous".

The letter, from T&F global journals publishing director David Green, said: "in our concern to avoid legal and copyright problems, we were overzealous in the changes we sought in the content of the journal’s debate. Publication of the issues was delayed and we failed to communicate clearly with the editors. We apologise for these failings… We accept that there must be a crucial divide between the roles of the academic publisher and the editor, and that this must be maintained."

Professor Stuart Macdonald, general editor of Prometheus, told THE: "It is extremely rare to get a public apology from a publisher, so this is fine," and said the board had withdrawn its resignation threat.