Max Planck Society sues journal over right to reply

HerbertJackle Alison Abbott in naturenews:

The society alleges that the editorial grievously misrepresents it and harms the reputation of one of its scientists. It wants the journal to publish a letter from the society addressing these concerns without delay.

Peter Fox, an editor-in-chief at Human Brain Mapping, says that the MPS letter went through normal refereeing processes “in a timely manner”, but says he does not know when it will be published. MPS vice-president Herbert Jäckle, a developmental biologist who was deputized to speak for the society, claims that the journal has unfairly delayed the society's right to reply.

The dispute has been raging for nearly a year. Fox, a neurologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, accepted the letter on 11 March, two days after the deadline the society set before taking legal action. Fox says that he will publish the letter together with a reply that “rebuts Dr Jäckle's various accusations”.

“I don't have a problem with the journal printing a reply,” says Jäckle. “But I fear that without expedited publication, the letter would appear on the web only after months of delay and in print only in a year.”