Intellectual Freedom Friday: University Librarian Being Sued by Publisher Finds Global Support

Dale Askey, a university librarian at McMaster University in Ontario, is being sued after the creation of a critical blog post about a scholarly publisher.

Edwin Mellen Press is suing Askey and McMaster for a sum of $3 million for libel and $500,000 in aggravated and exemplary damages. Mr. Richardson, founder of the press, is asking for $750,000 in damages for libel and $300,000 in aggravated and exemplary damages. These are astounding figures to have come about from a seemingly harmless critique of a publishing company.

Edwin Mellen claims that Mr. Askey accused the press of “accepting second-class authors” and urged “university libraries not to buy the Press’s titles because they are of poor quality and poor scholarship.” For a few months afterward, several people chimed in in the blog’s comments section, some agreeing with Mr. Askey, others arguing in support of the publisher.

Since this accusation has surfaced in the academic community, it has received sizable attention and Mr. Askey is being backed by professors and librarians around the globe. The Chronicle conveys that, “on Twitter, academics around the world are tweeting about the case using the hashtag #FreeDaleAskey, and Martha J. Reineke, a professor of religion at the University of Northern Iowa, created an online petition seeking an end to the lawsuit. It has drawn nearly 1,900 signatures since Friday from Britain, Canada, and the United States.” What do you think, do you sympathize with Dale? Do librarians have a right to openly critique the library and publishing industry as part of an open and professional discussion of current trends and issues, or is it more of a duty?

Via  The Chronicle

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