Plant researcher Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva has been banned from submitting papers to any journals published by Taylor & Francis. The reason: “continuing challenges” to their procedures and the use of “inflammatory language.”
This is the second time Teixeira da Silva has been banned by a publisher — last year Elsevier journal Scientia Horticulturae told him that they refused to review his papers following “personal attacks and threats.”
Apparently, Taylor & Francis has too become frustrated with Teixeira da Silva’s communication strategy. Anthony Trioli, from Taylor & Francis, told Teixeira da Silva in an email (to which Teixeira da Silva copied us on his reply) that they would no longer accept his papers:
We regret your continuing challenges to our established publishing procedures. We believe the number and frequency of these challenges, and the inflammatory language you employ, has undermined the professional working relationship between author and publisher fundamental to successful publishing. We note that you have published over 40 papers across 15 journals since 2010 with Taylor & Francis, which suggests you have benefited from working with us and our partners, yet you have frequently impugned us and continue to do so now. Therefore with regret we must advise you that no new submissions by you, either as a Corresponding or Co-Author, will be considered by any Taylor & Francis journal.
(For the record, neither Taylor & Francis nor the Elsevier journal have used the word “ban,” but by refusing to accept submissions, they are of course effectively doing the same thing.)
In light of the ban, Trioli explains, Taylor & Francis has withdrawn an article that was supposed to be published:
Please note that your recently accepted article, “The reproducibility associated with and proprietary importance of declaring the commercial source and grade of chemicals and equipment in a scientific paper” (KCIB 1084449), to be published in Communicative & Integrative Biology has been withdrawn. Feel free to submit elsewhere for publication.
For years, Teixeira da Silva has pushed back against what he calls “a corrupted publishing industry” with frequent and passionate complaints, sometimes dispensed in all caps. Sample email to Elsevier editors:
MOREOVER, IF I DO NOT RECEIVE A CONFIRMATION, WITH PROOF, OF STANDARD AND UNIFORM INQUIRY TO ALL AUTHORS, AS WELL AS A RESPONSE TO THE NEXT 8 QUESTIONS, I WILL CONTACT ALL SCIENTIA HORTICULTURAE AUTHORS AND ALSO THE INSTITUTES TO WHICH ALL SCIENTIA HORTICULTURAE EDITORS BELONG.
He is also a frequent commenter on Retraction Watch.
Teixeira da Silva told us he believes the move by Taylor & Francis stems from his complaints about high publishing fees for one of their journals:
The latest case, which I believe sparked the banning, was with Communicative & Integrative Biology, an open access journal. A paper submitted earlier this year was accepted automatically without peer review. Yet, I was expected to pay an exorbitant APC. I do admit that I goofed up by submitting to the journal, unaware of the OA APCs, but I was displeased to see a paper, which is most definitely far from perfect, being accepted automatically, with a big price tag on it. So, I complained. And each and every case has its deep background. I hope that case by case, I can expose each conflict, and give a balanced view, also showing where I have erred, if at all.
The fees for publishing in Communicative & Integrative Biology currently range from $750 to $2,000, depending on the type of submission and the license. They are set to see a small hike on October 1st. We’ve seen another T&F paper felled by a page charge dispute — earlier this month, we saw a paper pulled from Plant Signaling & Behavior over a charge of $100 per page.
In an email Teixeira da Silva forwarded to us, Trioli explains that, despite a quick turnaround time, Teixeira da Silva’s paper had gone through a proper vetting process:
As to the accusation of your article not being peer reviewed, I can assure you that it certainly was. Rapid review of submissions is something that Landes Bioscience prided itself on as a publisher, and a policy that Taylor & Francis is committed to maintaining for Communicative & Integrative Biology. As you note yourself, your submission was reviewed and accepted without the need for revision in 22 days. I would ideally like to see that time shortened, but acceptance in 3 weeks is certainly acceptable.
The ban has been very upsetting, Teixeira da Silva told us:
I do wish to state very emphatically that I feel very sick, very sad, very disappointed, and very frustrated that complaints cannot be effectively dealt with by Taylor and Francis. My career is in ruins with these conflicts. Science activism is born out of the frustration of dealing with publishers’ bureaucracy. As scientists, we have the right to complain, and the emphasis on tone only emphasizes a publishing platform obsessed with politically-sensitive language and tone rather than dealing with quality control at the core of the publishing process. When frustration sets in, I guess the channels of communication come to an end. Making an example of me will only infuriate the scientific base who can see through the farce and the tragic comedy at play.
Teixeira da Silva also elaborated on his current status as a researcher:
I decided to retire in April 2013 so that I could work independently, form my own collaborations and publish freely without being bound to any institutes or codes of conduct, thus minimizing the potential or actual conflicts of interests, and allowing me to challenge, albeit with some horrible results like this one, the publishing elite about some principles I disagree with. So yes, I publish actively and work with quite a few groups around the world.
We reached out to Trioli, and to the Editor in Chief of Communicative & Integrative Biology. We’ll update this post if we hear back.
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