Dear Fine Network Editors,
Yesterday early in the day, I saw some tweets from my friend DNLee about an interaction she had with an editor at biology-online in which she was called an “urban whore” by the site’s editor. I’ll admit I had the following two reactions:
1) I took my earrings off and was ready to fight on behalf of my friend, because no woman should every be called a whore.
2) “Who the fuck is biology-online and what right does some low rent aggregator think they have to come at anyone?”
I looked around the site a little more though and realized that some of my big named colleagues in physiology have had posts aggregated there. I was glad later in the day to see that DNLee had posted about her experience on her Scientific American blog.
Then I went to lab meeting, came back, and the post was gone. Vanished into the ether. Rumor circulated around Twitter that it had been pulled. I talked to DNLee and she very graciously provided me its content to post and was classy as fuck about what had gone down, refusing me any additional comment.
But, I’m a smart woman, I’ve been running this game a long time, and I know when things smell shady as fuck. It doesn’t take much googling to discover this:
Figure 1: Note at the bottom that Biology Online is part of the Scientific American Partners Network.
The same people that Called DNLee an “urban whore” are part of your Partners Network. Where there’s a partnership in this industry, there’s usually a financial relationship. I really crossed my fingers that you hadn’t pulled DNLee’s post to keep your financially-allied partner happy. I hoped you’d had a moment of panic and would come to your damned senses and do the right thing. But then your editor released this statement on Twitter:
Figure 2: With a link to the original tweet.
And, with that, the confirmation that once again a publication is more interested in chasing paper than doing the right thing.
Now, I realize that you fine folks have been playing at “discovering science” for a long time, but I’ve been actually doing science for a long time and I’m hoping I can offer some insights that might help you all understand why this is such a cock up of a problem.
You see, science is about discovery, yes. But, more importantly, at its core science is about discovery with integrity. It’s about accepting data for what they are, even when they challenge our view of the world. It’s about reporting your conclusions, even when they are not popular and create conflict. Science is about chasing the truth and uncovering more of that truth with each new discovery. Not obscuring it. I became a scientist because science is about honesty and curiosity and that little moment of excitement when you’re holding something brand new and you can’t wait to show it to the world.
I have a vision of what science should look like. When I close my eyes, I see a community where we are fascinated by the world around us. Our core value is, indeed, discovery, The more senior of us extend our hand to raise up those more junior than us. We mentor them, care for them, love them, and protect them. We respect and value that our diversity makes us stronger. We empower those folks to feel like super heroes, because they are. They really, truly are. More so than any character, these folks have the power to shape our future for the better.
What you’ve taught me today is that you do not share my values. You may post glossy, sexy pictures of science, but you are not interested in discovery. You do not value truth, honesty and integrity – the core values that I hold most dear as a scientist. Most importantly, you did not empower my friend. You shut her down when she shared that she had not been respected. You put the dollar before the scientist.
I can’t read you anymore, Scientific American because there is truly nothing scientific about you.
What I can do, is to support my friend and fellow scientist and I can ask my fellow readers and scientists to join me in boycotting your publication.
Isis the Scientist