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"Letters will be sent to article’s corresponding author who will represent the final say on matter"

Dolphin

Senior Member
Messages
17,567
ETA: I may have misinterpreted this. It may not mean the corresponding author has a veto, just that they anything that is published, they will get a chance to reply to and hence have the final say.

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/authors/rftg-article-types.pdf


I was just looking at guidelines for authors for Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior


Letters to the Editor
Brief letters (maximum of 500 words, including references) will be considered with a cover letter indicating that the correspondence is “for publication.” Letters regarding an article published in Fatigue must be received within 6 weeks of the article’s publication. Letters will be sent to the article’s corresponding author who will represent the final say on the matter. To be reviewed, letters must include the title and author of the article and the month and year of publication. Letters will be published on a space-available basis.

I think I recall the renegade psychologist James C. Coyne mentioning this practice (and not being happy with it - possibly in the contest of a specific journal). Anyone know how widespread it is? I wonder whether some journals use this policy sometimes, without explicitly saying it.

Can't say I like the policy, put perhaps authors only get so much say in the matter?
 

alex3619

Senior Member
Messages
13,810
Location
Logan, Queensland, Australia
This is antiscience. Suddenly I am very concerned about this journal.

PS In response to the alternative explanation, that the authors always get to reply to the letter, I actually have no problem with it. The situation needs to be clarified. If they have a right of reply, but are not required to and the letter will still be published, is a desirable practice. Authors should have a right of reply.
 

Simon

Senior Member
Messages
3,789
Location
Monmouth, UK
Letters regarding an article published in Fatigue must be received within 6 weeks of the article’s publication. Letters will be sent to the article’s corresponding author who will represent the final say on the matter. To be reviewed, letters must include the title and author of the article and the month and year of publication. Letters will be published on a space-available basis.
If by 'the matter' they mean the issue raised by the letter, than that's just standard practice: the authors always get final say. I think this is probably the case since they add that Letters will be published on a space-available basis.

If the authors have a veto on what gets published that would be more unusual, I think, and pretty awful. In the James Coyne case the authors didn't have a direct veto, but the journal had a policy that they wouldn't publish anything critical without a response from the author. The author refused to respond, effectively exercising a veto. James Coyne wrote to the journal asking them to reconsider their absurd policy, and they did - as well as giving him enough space to write a proper critique.
 
Messages
13,774
If by 'the matter' they mean the issue raised by the letter, than that's just standard practice: the authors always get final say. I think this is probably the case since they add that Letters will be published on a space-available basis.

If the authors have a veto on what gets published that would be more unusual, I think, and pretty awful. In the James Coyne case the authors didn't have a direct veto, but the journal had a policy that they wouldn't publish anything critical without a response from the author. The author refused to respond, effectively exercising a veto. James Coyne wrote to the journal asking them to reconsider their absurd policy, and they did - as well as giving him enough space to write a proper critique.

I think that you're right that I misinterpreted this (sorry fatigue journal... irritable before bed!)... however, it does also sound like their policy places them in the same bind that Coyne came upon, even if this was accidental, rather than a deliberate attempt to allow authors a veto on correspondence. Hopefully, were a situation to arise in which an author did refuse to provide a final say, the journal would just publish the critical correspondence anyway.

Also, I'd be interested to know how much say authors do have over what letters are printed in response to their articles.
 

Dolphin

Senior Member
Messages
17,567
Also, I'd be interested to know how much say authors do have over what letters are printed in response to their articles.
I would too. I found with one particular group of authors, some of e-letters which normally were published, were published less frequently. I could be wrong but it seems possible the authors were bad-mouthing me and/or what I'd written to the respective editors and/or the editors had given them some sort of say in the matter. And this made me also think this might happen with some full letters.