Marcia J. Bates
mjbates at ucla.edu
Thu Apr 1 13:37:32 EDT 2010
It appears that there is a feeling that the ASIST Board did not
consult sufficiently with the membership regarding the cancelling of
the publication of ARIST. I certainly had that feeling with regard
to the review and appointment of Blaise Cronin to edit JASIST.
Blaise has been doing a fine job--I'm not criticizing his work--but
the whole selection and announcement process sure caught me by
surprise. As a long-standing member of the prior JASIST Editorial
Board, the first I knew of his appointment was when a letter was sent
from ASIST headquarters demanding my resignation as a member of the
prior Editorial Board. Consultation with the Editorial Board would
have been appropriate, a thank you to the prior Board would have ben
appropriate, and the courtesy of informing us before it was generally
announced would have been considerate.
Now, in both cases, there may well have been more discussion than I
realized. I've been the typical ASIST member caught up in my work.
But perhaps that is the point. The ASIST listserv functions solely
as a place for announcements. I've searched for both "JASIST" and
"ARIST" in the titles of the ASIST listserv submissions, beginning
beginning Oct. 1, 2007, which happens to be how long my ASIS-L
mailbox goes back, and there is no mention whatever of either of
Couldn't there have been an announcement asking for input on these
two MAJOR decisions? We might have had a lively and interesting
discussion of these questions. The last posting on the ASIST blog
was Nov. 15, 2009. Evidently, that is not functioning as a site for
And when I say major decision re JASIST, I do NOT refer to Blaise's
appointment, which is in the purview of the ASIST Board; rather I
refer to a discussion of the future directions of JASIST. The time
of transition between a prior Editor and a new Editor is surely the
ideal point at which to have such a discussion. The discussion could
have provided valuable input to the new Editor, who could have taken
these ideas into account in whatever way best suited him.
Finally, as a discipline, we do research on scientific communication
and information use. (Duh!!) There is expertise within the
information science community that understands these issues far
better than the average professor or practitioner does. We need to
be a bit more reflective on our own communication as raising issues
that every discipline has to deal with in a new IT environment.
Opening these questions out to the general membership might have
produced some great ideas and insights.
What perhaps may not have been given sufficient attention is that
actions taken by the ASIST Board are not solely business decisions.
They are also decisions that impact the intellectual turf, to put it
bluntly, that ASIST claims in the world of ideas. The contributors
to that academic turf need to be consulted too. In the end, the
popularity of JASIST and ARIST rest on their intellectual content, as
well as the current dynamics of shifting information technologies.
Surely, we in ASIST collectively know a lot about those things.
Marcia J. Bates, Ph.D.
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Editor, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences
Department of Information Studies
Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1520 USA
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