[Asis-l] ARIST

Richard Hill rhill at asis.org
Wed Apr 7 12:42:02 EDT 2010

Apologies for being delayed in responding to Marcia’s post.  ASIS&T Summit
meetings intervened (and are intervening right now).

First, repeating, ARIST content is not being cancelled.  The format has been
changed to what we think will be preferable and more useful for both authors
and readers – available more widely and more promptly in JASIS&T.

Marcia complains about the selection process for the JASIST Editor and then
the announcement of his appointment.  The selection process for JASIST
editor involved a carefully selected Task Force which involved members of
the then-current editorial board.  We did not consult with the entire
editorial board, as that could lead to bias and self-perpetuation.  Perhaps
too late, apparently insufficiently, we communicated the decision to the
then Editorial Board.  Yes, we did insist that the new editor have a free
hand in selecting his own Editorial Board, and that e-mail was not
personalized but sent through a list so all would know at the same time.
Mea Culpa’s for offenses taken have already been made.

As has been stressed, the ARIST format decision was not quick or easy. A
broadly representative task force, including ARIST authors and readers, an
independent scholarly publishing consultant knowledgeable about trends and
directions, elected leaders and a wide variety of viewpoints was assembled
and presented with all available information.  A full day retreat was held,
resulting in the Task Force’s recommendation to the ASIS&T Board, a
recommendation which was accepted.  

With the volume of data and studies involved, some of it confidential and
proprietary to publishers, it was not seen as practical to take the issues,
in all their complexity, to the membership at large.  That, after all, is
why organizations assemble task forces.

The decision was not withheld from the members; it was announced on what was
a considered timeline, including publisher advice, to not affect sales of
current editions.

Dick Hill

Richard B. Hill
Executive Director
American Society for Information Science and Technology
1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 510
Silver Spring, MD  20910
Fax: (301) 495-0810
Voice: (301) 495-0900 
From: asis-l-bounces at asis.org [mailto:asis-l-bounces at asis.org] On Behalf Of
Marcia J. Bates
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 1:38 PM
To: asis-l at asis.org
Subject: [Asis-l] ARIST


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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