The $3 million Edward Mellen Press hit!

“Publish with The Edwin Mellen Press”, suggests its web page.

“We are a non-subsidy academic publisher of books in the humanities and social sciences. Our sole criterion for publication is that a manuscript makes a contribution to scholarship.

“We publish monographs, critical editions, collections, translations, revisionist studies, constructive essays, bibliographies, dictionaries, reference guides and dissertations.”

daleBut, “The libel suit by Edwin Mellen Press against Dale Askey, a university librarian, for expressing his professional opinion about the quality of Edwin Mellen publications is an egregious assault on academic freedom.

“At this writing, McMaster and Kansas State University are not providing legal support to Dale Askey. Therefore, it is time for professors and others who are concerned about the free exchange of ideas about the quality of academic presses to petition Edwin Mellen to drop the lawsuit.

“The press can only further harm its reputation by playing the bully in this matter. A far better response to a critical assessment of the quality of its publications would be for the Edwin Mellen Press to step up its efforts to build a solid reputation in academic circles,”

That’s the opinion of Martha Reineke, professor of Religion.  However, she’d better be careful  otherwise she too  could end up on  the Mellen press hit list for saying what she thinks.

Says the Chronicle for Higher Education »»»

In June 2012, Edwin Mellen Press’s founder, Herbert Richardson, issued a notice of action to Mr. Askey, suing him for more than $1-million. That same day, the press issued a similar notice of action to Mr. Askey and McMaster University, telling them that they were being sued for libel and seeking damages of $3-million.

The lawsuit, filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, came to light this week when Leslie Green, a philosophy-of-law professor at the University of Oxford, mentioned the case when responding to a blog post about a list that gave Edwin Mellen Press a low ranking among philosophy publishers.

“My own view is this is intolerable,” Mr. Green said in an e-mail interview. “McMaster University should vigorously defend its librarians, and academic freedom. In my opinion, there is no merit whatever in Mellen’s lawsuit against the university: It is a bullying tactic.”

Other professors have also come to Mr. Askey’s defense. Martha J. Reineke, a professor of religion at the University of Northern Iowa, started an online petition asking for an end to the lawsuit. In its first hours online, it drew more than 50 signatures.

 (Cheers, Marc)