"The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Stuffiness"
"Who is Gerard Wanrooy and why did he (and his boss at Elsevier, Joop Dirkmaat), overriding JEBO editor Barkley Rosser's decision, refuse to publish one of these photographs in the article or to post them as accompanying materials linked on JEBO's website; and why did they try (and fail) even to refuse us the right to publish a link to them on my personal website?"
I reproduce here the electronic correspondence that tells the story of this heavy-handed interference by Elsevier's publishers with decisions properly left to journal editors.
From: "Wanrooy, Gerard (ELS)"
To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: "'Rosser, Barkley'" <email@example.com>,
"O'Neill, Joey (ELS)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: JEBO 1513
I am afraid the only changes allowed in proof stage are correction of
typo's. Your paper can only be published in JEBO as it was at the end of
the refereeing process. Therefore, we cannot include the photograph and the
references to it. We will proceed with production accordingly.
Gerard L. Wanrooy, Publisher
P. O. Box 1991, 1000 BZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 485 2454
Fax: +31 20 485 2623
My replies of 2/27/2003:
The inclusion of the photograph was agreed upon before the final version was accepted and sent to the production office, and the agreement was delayed this long only because in repeated tries, I could not get Elsevier's production office to respond to my queries about the inclusion.
Even if this were not the case, it is normal for authors to be allowed the courtesy of presenting the best possible final version of their work for publication. This courtesy is minimal, given that the authors _freely_ assign copyright to the publisher.
I made only one minor change in the submitted manuscript that was not caused by Elsevier's typsetting errors (true in both the first and second round, which corrected only persistent errors in Elsevier's typesetting process), and the cost of including the photograph and the links, whatever it is, has already been incurred.
I therefore expect Elsevier to honor JEBO's commitment. If Elsevier does not honor the commitment, I will resign from the editorial board and publicize as widely as possible the events that led up to my resignation.
Dear Barkley and Gerard,
Many thanks, Barkley, for you message and suggestion, and my apologies for causing you this difficulty.
However, at this point, the photograph is already included in the electronic version that is now completely ready for publication (and it was already included in the first set of electronic proofs I was sent in October). The same is true of the links. It would be more work and expense, not less, for Joey O'Neill to take them out.
Whatever the reason for the miscommunication, I ask that Elsevier honor its agreement, made via JEBO, to include the photograph in the printed version.
JEBO editor Barkley Rosser's
supporting reply of
I fear that I incompletely sent a message.
It was my understanding that the photo was to be
included in the article. I am very sorry if for whatever
reason this is not happening. Allow me to suggest as
an alternative that it be posted on the JEBO website
with a clear reference to that being included in the
paper. I hope that there can be a satisfactory resolution
of this situation, which I regret has occurred.
When it became clear to Wanrooy
and his boss that the photo and links were actually in the version that
Elsevier's copy editors originally received, they reversed the rule in their
disingenous 2/27/03 message. Here is Wanrooy's reply of
I discussed the matter extensively with my management. The conclusion we
have reached is that inclusion of the photograph in the paper, links to the
web site http://weber.ucsd.edu/~vcrawfor/Photos.html#EveMkt (which
appears to be a series of holiday/family photos accompanied by oriental
music) as well as publication of the photographs on the JEBO web site, do
not serve a scientific purpose. Therefore, photograph and links should be
removed before the paper can be published. We regard the publication of
these materials as potentially damaging to the reputation of JEBO being a
serious scholarly journal.
As this decision does not in any way change the scientific content of your
paper I hope you will still publish it, without photograph and links to the
web sites, in JEBO. Please let me know.
This, from the publisher of the !
This, from the publisher of theAnnals of Tourism Research
!My reply of
Does this mean that the originally stated rationale for removing the photo and the links, in your message copied below my signature, was not the true rationale? I think professionalism demands giving an author the true rationale initially, even if this involves a risk that its premise will be shown to be false as occurred in this case. I would really like to understand how this decision was reached, and why the journal editor's decision is being overridden at this late stage of the process.
I would also like to know precisely how the judgment to deny an author even the right to link to supporting materials _on his own web_ site was reached. This is extreme, and I am unaware of a precedent for such an action by any journal, reputable or otherwise.
I suppose I consider the inclusion of the photograph--as opposed to the links--in the paper a judgment call, though it is one that has already been made by the journal editor. Your view that the photos are included partly for entertainment rather than scientific value is correct, but do I need to point out that a scholar's mission is partly to engage his readers, and that entertainment has not been entirely absent from the reputable published economic or scientific literature? the paper is in a sense a contribution to economic anthropology, and the included photograph of the auctioneer is no different from the kind of documentation one finds in leading anthropological journals, even I suspect (without having searched) some of those published by Elsevier.
If I were the chief editor of a journal whose editorial decision had been overridden in this heavy-handed and (with regard to the exclusion even of relevant links) capricious way, I would resign. (I say this not to prejudge Barkley's position in this matter, which I have not discussed with him; only to question it as a matter of Elsevier's editorial policy.) I think you would find that many of "your" editors would reach the same conclusion.
I will wait for your response to the questions in my first two paragraphs, which I think deserve to be answered, before discussing the question of publication with my co-author.
My second reply of
With apologies for belaboring the point, let me try to explain more clearly the rationale for including or at least linking to the photographs.
The scientific contribution of the paper consists in two things: (i) reporting the discovery of a new kind of auction in use in the field, classifying it (as a dual form of a standard Dutch auction), and (ii) showing that it can be analyzed using standard tools from auction theory. The analysis shows that (only) in the presence of certain kinds of uncertainty, it has a subtle difference from the standard Dutch auction and other common auction forms, which in the right circumstances can actually increase the profits of the seller. Understanding this difference and how it works is straightforward for auction specialists, but the consequence is surprising even to specialists. Our purposes in writing the paper were to communicate the existence of dual auctions to specialists, alert them to their unexpected consequences, and to entice nonspecialist readers into learning about auction theory in the context of an intriguing and entertaining example.
The discovery of a new kind of auction in the field was exciting; there are less than half a dozen kinds of auction actually in use, and this one at first appears bizarre (though ultimately explicable). This is what I earlier referred to as the "economic anthropology" component of the paper, and it is not negligible even from a purely scientific point of view. The photographs are simply my co-author's and my attempt to convey some of the excitement of this discovery to our readers. They certainly further our expository purpose, and to a lesser extent our other purposes.
As a long-term reader and editorial board member of reputable economics journals, it seems clear to me that exposition and excitement are not at all out of place in a scientific journal. Nor, I think, is my judgment on this unique. When we circulated the paper as a discussion paper, we received many favorable comments, some from editors, co-editors, and/or board members of the Journal of Economic Literature, Econometrica, the Journal of Political Economy, the American Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Theory, and the Journal of Development Economics. Most specifically praised the photographs, and none suggested that they were inappropriate.
To avoid further delay and waste of time and effort, my co-author and I agree to publish the paper with or without the emendations you have proposed. But we ask you and your management again to reconsider, in the light of the arguments above, the inclusion of the photograph and the link to the remaining photographs on JEBO's web site. At the very least, we ask you to allow the link to my own personal web page, which is not associated in any way with Elsevier or JEBO. I would suggest that suppressing such a link to supporting materials on an author's own web site is extreme, and probably unprecedented.
Wanrooy's response of
Thank you for your emails of March 12 and 13.
As my management is now involved in the matter I cannot take a decision
without rediscussing it with my Publishing Director. Unfortunately he is
not in the office today and thereafter I will be traveling until the 25th.
We will send you our reaction as soon as possible.
A strategic retreat. Wanrooy's
final response of
Further to my email of March 14 I let you know that the footnote referring
to your web site will be included. The photograph and further references to
the photographs will not be included.