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GEOED-RESEARCH  March 2015

GEOED-RESEARCH March 2015

Subject:

Re: New “Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education” Invites Manuscripts

From:

Stephanie Slater <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Stephanie Slater <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 21:12:18 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (69 lines)

I am saddened to see the post that Dr. Libarkin has made in the listserv regarding 
the new journal that is available to the community (JAESE), as she failed to include 
pertinent information.

Prior to Dr. Libarkin’s post on this listserv, she made a request of the publisher of 
JAESE regarding a publication. A subset of the editorial board, selected for their 
expertise in publishing in both science education and in “hard science,” was quickly 
convened. I was the board member who managed the subcommittee. It was 
decided that the request was both philosophically flawed and lacked support in 
evidence or fact. As a result, her request was denied. 

Her failure to mention this, in her post, fails to meet a rather low bar in terms of 
bending over backwards for the sake of intellectual honesty. I think most of us 
would honestly say that we would be skeptical if someone chimed in on the listserv 
saying: “I’m not sure that we should support this journal, and by the way, I just 
made a request of the journal and the editorial board turned me down.” 
Nonetheless, intellectual integrity requires us to make such disclosures, especially 
when we are bringing the integrity of others into question.

What is more personally disappointing is that in her post Dr. Libarkin wrote: “I do 
not know anything about the JAESE journal.”  Given that she has known the editor 
for more than a decade, knows numerous members of the editorial board, myself 
included, filed a request with the publisher, has read the journal, and has done 
some work to find gossip that might discredit the journal, her statement that she 
doesn’t know anything is disingenuous.  Indeed, it is a false statement.

In the interest of confidentiality, including Dr. Libarkin’s right to privacy, I don’t 
think that the details of her denied request to the journal should be discussed in 
this forum.  However, her interaction with the journal thus far, provides her with at 
least some small potential stake in smearing the name of the journal (and of the 
authors published therein). It is therefore germane, should be equally public, and 
should factor into the value of what she has written here. 

As we turn a more objective and scholarly lens on the topic of publishing, we 
should be talking about a journal based on the merit of the work that it publishes. 
If we want to say anything about a journal, we should probably first read the work 
in it.  If we have serious concerns that the work is subpar, and we actually want to 
chime in, in the interests of improving the field, we might contact a member of the 
editorial board to see if they are aware, and if there is something that we can do to 
improve matters. Until we do those things, chiming in on a listserv and dismissing 
the value of a journal that has published the work of our colleagues, is little more 
than trolling.  We can do better than that.

In this case, we should note that the five publications in the first volume of JAESE 
are all important to the field and demonstrate quality of scholarship. We could be 
talking about and encouraging good work, discussing how the work situates in and 
informs the field.  To instead focus on whether or not we like page charges, 
dismisses the effort and scholarship of our colleagues.  We might also talk about 
how four of the five publications belong to solo women. This is encouraging.  Given 
that our field frequently struggles with issues of gender parity, dismissing the 
scholarly work of four women in the geosciences, without bothering to read their 
work, is probably not the way we want to go.  Instead, let's have some discussion 
about the value of diverse voices in our field and the ways in which we can 
encourage and facilitate diversity through publication.

As a member of the editorial board, I can say that the editorial board is active, is 
highly qualified, is committed to creating a new space where astronomy and 
geoscience education researchers can publish their work (at the same price 
charged to them by JGE, and well under the open access charges of most 
journals), and that we are especially committed to publishing the works of new 
researchers, and researchers from the international community. I think it is worth 
giving that a chance.

Clear skies,
Stephanie Slater

Stephanie Slater, Ph.D.
Director
CAPER Center for Astronomy & Physics Education Research

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