[Asis-l] ARIST

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 
these--not once!!!

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 
discussion either.

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.
Professor Emerita
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
Tel: 310-206-9353
Fax: 310-206-4460
Web: http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/bates/
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