McMaster librarian's blog post on publisher spurs lawsuits

February 11, 2013

McMaster University and one of its associate university librarians, Dale Askey, are facing lawsuits as a result of comments made by Askey on his personal blog in 2010 while a tenured associate professor at Kansas State University. The remarks, since removed from the blog, referred to Edwin Mellen Press, an academic publisher, as a "vanity press," with "few, if any, noted scholars serving as series editors." Edwin Mellen Press filed 2 lawsuits in June in Ontario’s Superior Court. The first implicates both Askey and McMaster, who was his employer for some of the time the blog post was live, alleging the university is "vicariously liable" for his statements, and also claims libel and exemplary damages in the amount of $3.5 million. A second suit, filed against Askey alone, claims more than $1 million in similar damages. This is "a clear attempt to silence Askey's exercise of academic freedom by legal action," says James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. Inside Higher Ed