February 22, 2013
Where in the world is Dick Spinelli?
Dick Spinelli has not been seen or heard from since he left his modest estate in Italy about a week ago. The rumor, reported here, was that he had been escorted by the Swiss Guard to Rome for Pope-candidate vetting. Right now, some are asking "where in the world is Dick?"
Family members, friends and colleagues around the world are concerned that agents of god's rottweiler may be holding him in a cold, dark, damp cell for some old school interrogation. Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis returns! Folks at Hein are so concerned that a Lutheran counsel who is an expert on catholic (read universal) canon law has been retained for "show me the body" purposes.
Why might Dick be held incognito by the Holy See? Well, you know, wanting folks to think for themselves may be viewed as a heretical perversity. Even, perhaps one should say, since the fossilization of the results produced by the Second Vatican Council which convened some 50 years ago. The current and retiring pope was not known as "god's rottweiler" for his immediate predecessor, Pope John Paul II, for no reason, right? (Being 50% Polish and 50% Italian I'll admit to some 100% American-born filtered pride in Karol Józef Wojtyła being elected Pope while not being surprised by his brand of orthodoxy. It would have become an issue with me had he taken the name Pope John, Paul, George and Ringo Too. But I digress.) Certainly Pope Benedict XVI's promotion of many fellow travelers to the rank of princes of the Church (eg here) is clear evidence that he is opposed to Catholics thinking for themselves.
If Dick flunked the Pope-vetting process, it is time to produce the body, battered and brused if that is the case. The deadline for suggesting candidates for the office of AALL VP-P-Elect to the Nominations Committee is fast approaching -- March 15th. It is unclear whether one may toss the name of someone into the hopper without knowing the suggested candidate's whereabouts under our association's bylaws. Not a criticism because even an alt-ways-and-means proposal did not contemplate this situation.
What the hell, just do it. Judging submitted candidates in absentia during the conclave known as Nominations Committee review is SOP. Of course, the first vendor AALL member, who could would win widespread rank-and-file support for the high elective office of VP-P-elect (for life, even like the Pope), might fluke AALL's vetting process because of Dick's heretical perversity.
And then there is the matter of AALL conducting its own Vatican II. I seriously doubt piecemeal or comprehensive reforms from AALL's princes and princesses and courtiers are going to stop rank-and-file members from taking prophylactic measures to protect themselves and who they represent from AALL's college of cardinals.
At the very least, I believe a bylaw amendment needs to be passed to require AALL's cardinals to wear at least a zucchetto during board meetings, telephone conference calls with board members, and appearances at AALL chapter meetings. Heads will have to be shaved to create a bald spot for those who don't already have one. I'm thinking our association's cardinals should be requried to wear the complete cardinal ceremonial garb during AALL's annual meetings. A clothing allowance?
Their courtiers, well, black is always in style, right? Vestments are the official uniform worn by priests when they are on the job. I guess a bylaws amendment should contemplate a clothing allowance for cassocks, etc. for them too. The cost can be offset partially by the elimination of name tags. But I don't think membership dues should be used to purchase rings for "kiss this" purposes. [JH]
Friday Fun: "Customers Suck..."
... according to the wisdom of the burger-flipping retail staff known as Beavis and Butt-head. But who are the customers? The users of products and services (the vendor perspective) or the institutional providers of the products and service to the beneficiaries we know as our user population?
This divide in perspective leads to one hellva of a lot of costly consequences. For example, they include asinine end user focus groups and equally asinine look-over-the-shoulder ethnographic studies of practitioner practices. Both are based on the assumption that what practitioners say they want and what they currently do actually provides insight into what they need. Providing practitioners what they say they want based on this sort of expensive to gather evidence is how innovation is killed.
This "customer sucks" perspective when it refers to law librarians as representatives of the folks who write the big checks can also been seen in the conversion of B2B transactions to the retail model. Here the focus is on selling to the individual consumer. However, it will lead to acquiring and renewing print subscriptions as well selling boilerplate licenses to most institutional buyers. Sell a couple of burgers or sell a bunch of bags filled with burgers; want some extra packets of secret sauce, that will be a cost add-on.
So who really sucks? From my perspective, no one as long as the perspective divide can be bridged. (Excluding, of course, the tweakers known as corporate prophets and their market study crews -- perhaps one can deduct their labor costs and associated addiction costs from your negotiations.) There is a far better way to play the predictioneer's game. [JH]
February 21, 2013
Supreme Court Action: Retroactivity, Double Jeopardy, Habeas Corpus, And Jurisdiction
Here are the five opinions released by the Court yesterday. The first case is Chaidez v. United States (11-820). The case concerns retroactive applicability of a “new” rule defining the standard of competence for counsel. Chaidez was subject to deportation proceedings due to the fact that she pleaded guilty to mail fraud in 2004. She filed a writ of coram nobis seeking to overturn her conviction as a means to avoid deportation. At the time the petition was pending, the Court decided Padilla v. Kentucky. That case held that it is a violation of the Sixth Amendment if counsel did not inform a non-citizen of the deportation risks associated with guilty pleas. The District Court held that Padilla did not announce a new rule but simply applied a standard to a new context. The Seventh Circuit reversed holding that Padilla announced a new rule.
The Supreme Court affirmed the Seventh Circuit holding that Padilla was not retroactive. As such, its holding does not apply to Chaidez’s case. Many courts had held that advice about deportation was removed from the Sixth Amendment’s requirement for counsel because it was a “collateral consequence” of a conviction. Padilla changed that. Under this analysis, the law that applies to Chaidez is the law that was in effect at the time of her guilty plea. Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the Court, Joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Ginsburg.
The next case is Evans v. Michigan (11-1327). This is a double jeopardy case. I’ll take the elements of Arson for $300, Alex. Evans received a directed verdict acquitting him of arson due to a misunderstanding of the elements of the crime by the trial judge. The trial court assumed that the State had to prove that the burned building was not a dwelling. That is not part of the State’s burden. The Michigan Appellate Court reversed and the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed holding that a mistake of law which did not resolve a factual element of the offense was not an acquittal for double jeopardy to apply.
The Supreme Court reversed, holding that retrial is barred even if the acquittal is based on an egregiously erroneous foundation. The Court used several examples of its precedent to justify the result, including an erroneous decision to exclude evidence; a mistaken understanding of what evidence would suffice to sustain a conviction; or a misconstruction of a statute defining the requirements to convict. Double jeopardy attached in these circumstances which were distinct from procedural errors. Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the Court, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion.
The third case is Johnson v. Williams (11-465). It concerns how a federal court considering a habeas corpus petition determines the extent that a state court has considered the merits of issues on direct appeal. The fact that the case is out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals kind of telegraphs the result (reversed!). Respondent Williams was convicted of murder in California. One of William’s issues on direct appeal was that her Sixth Amendment rights were violated when the trial court dismissed a juror during deliberations. The Appellate Court analyzed the circumstances and used Supreme Court precedent to uphold the conviction in light of the issue raised. The California Supreme Court returned the case to the Appellate Court for reconsideration in light of a very recent opinion it released on juror dismissal. The Appellate Court discussed that case and the Supreme Court precedent and again upheld the conviction, though in both instances it never explicitly acknowledged that the issue involved Sixth Amendment rights. The District Court denied habeas relief but the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that the California Appellate Court had not considered William’s Sixth Amendment claims. That Court also found that William’s rights were violated.
The Supreme Court reversed. It held that there was a rebuttable presumption that the trial and appellate courts had addressed the constitutional issues on the merits. In this case, the Appellate Court had discussed the California Supreme Court precedent which in turn discussed federal precedent. Though not invoking the Sixth Amendment directly, the Appellate Court effectively considered the constitutional issues in its decision. Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court and was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.
The fourth case is Henderson v. United States (11-9703). The trial judge in Henderson’s criminal conviction lengthened his sentence so he could participate in a rehabilitation program. Henderson did not object to the sentence and raised it for the first time on appeal. The Supreme Court decided in another case that it was error for a judge to lengthen a sentence for treatment or rehabilitation purposes while the appeal was pending. The Fifth Circuit concluded that it did not have the authority to correct the “plain error” because the precedent was different at the time of the trial.
The Supreme Court held that the Fifth Circuit could correct the error as long as the error was plain while the appeal was still pending. The Court reviewed its precedent, which was not conclusive, in light of the language of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 52(b) to conclude that even though the law may be unsettled at the time of the error, it can be corrected when the law is settled at the time of appellate review. Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court and was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Thomas and Alito joined.
The final case is Gunn v. Minton (11-1118). This is a patent case where a failed party challenges his counsel’s competence. The District Court invalidated Minton’s patent on an interactive securities system under the “on-sale” bar. Minton had leased his system to a brokerage more than one year before he filed for patent protection. Minton argued on a motion for reconsideration that the lease fell within the experiment exception to the on-sale bar. The District Court held that the argument was waived and the Federal Circuit affirmed. Minton filed a malpractice action in state court. His former attorneys argued that the argument would have failed even if raised timely. The trial court agreed. Minton then argued on appeal that his case should have been brought in federal court as the patent laws give exclusive jurisdiction to them for any patent related issue. The Texas Court of Appeals rejected that argument and held that he failed to establish experimental use. The Texas Supreme Court reversed, holding this was a matter for the federal courts.
The Supreme Court reversed. It held that the patent laws do not deprive the state courts from hearing the malpractice claim as it does not arise under the patent laws. The claim is too remote from the substance of the patent laws to trigger exclusive federal jurisdiction. Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. [MG]
The Saga Continues: National Jurist Admits the Obvious -- The Rate My Professors Data Used in its Law School Rankings is Pretty Damn Inaccurate
But the editorial staff of National Jurist fails to also admit the even more significant info antic obvious; the data sources in Rate My Professors cannot be verified. Citing the opps from the rag known as National Jurist about its goofy as hell law school rankings, University of Chicago Law prof Brian Leiter writes in Two-thirds of "Rate My Professors" data that National Jurist used was inaccurate, magazine now admits:
And by "inaccurate," they mean only that the lists included non-law faculty or faculty who didn't teach at the school in question--they do not mean that the data itself actually reflects the opinon of law students about professors whose classes they really took. No one has any way of confirming that.
Let's add there is no way to determine if law profs gamed their own Rate My Professors rankings. Call me cyncial, but that possibility certainly is not beyond the realm of law prof ego-driven imagination. I'm thinking James Boyd White should have included a chapter on his theory of law as constitutive rhetoric by applying his critique to the culture of the legal academy with a study of published law prof-law school "Yippee!" in The Legal Imagination.
Leiter adds, "[National Jurist] still should withdraw the entire ranking, and hire some educational and statistical consultants to come up with a worthwhile metric." Perhaps National Jurist should just get out the law school rankings game completely. Will National Jurist publish another rankings next year? Wait 'n see.
Right now, however, it is time to gear up for this year's annual ritual known as US News Law School Rankings -- forthcoming in law prof blog posts near you, no doubt. Let's ditto that for law school PR fodder. [JH]
February 20, 2013
Supreme Court Action: Antitrust, Detention Incident To A Search, And Mootness
As I wrote in yesterday’s post, the Supreme Court issued four opinions yesterday. Five more were released today. Here is the remainder of the opinions issued yesterday. The first is FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health Systems, Inc. (11-1160). The case involves a grant of authority by the Georgia Legislature to local hospital authorities to lease or acquire hospitals as a means of providing indigent health care. One county in Georgia formed a non-profit corporation to manage its hospital which itself was a non-profit corporation. The hospital authority decided to buy the only other hospital in the county and add it to its health system. The FTC sued to block the purchase on antitrust ground, alleging that the purchase would reduce competition in the local market. The trial judge dismissed the complaint and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed, holding that the state action doctrine applies. That doctrine holds that states are allowed to manage their own economies and are entitled to immunity if the anticompetitive action was a foreseeable result of the legislation.
The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the grant of authority by the legislature was no different from general grants of power to corporations. That type of grant does not exempt the authority from the operation of the antitrust laws any more than it would for a corporation operating in the market. The Court stated the anticompetitive consequences of the law had to foreseeable. The legislature need not expressly articulate that purpose in the law. However, a general grant to participate in a competitive market without more is not one that exempts the application of the antitrust laws. Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
The next case is Bailey v. United States (11-770). Police were about to execute a search warrant seeking an illegal handgun in a building when they saw two people leave the premises. They followed the car driven by the individuals and stopped and detained them about a mile away. The search team had found a gun and illegal drugs in an apartment. Defendant Bailey’s personal possessions included a key that opened the apartment. Baily moved to suppress the key and statements he made about it. The police defended the search under Michigan v. Summers, 452 U. S. 692, which allows officers to detain the occupants of a house while a search is conducted. They alternatively argued that the detention was valid under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1. The District Court denied the motion and the Second Circuit affirmed using Summers as authority. Neither court considered the Terry argument.
The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Summers only applied to individuals in the immediate vicinity of the search. That was not the case with Bailey and his co-defendant. None of the factors normally favoring detention at the time of a search—that the defendants would disrupt the search, destroy evidence, or pose a risk to officers were present. Summers could apply if the defendants had returned to the scene. The question as to whether Terry applied would be determined on remand. Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Scalia filed a concurring opinion joined by Justices Ginsburg and Kagan. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Thomas and Alito.
The final case from yesterday is Chafin v. Chafin (11-1347). The case concerns the application of the mootness doctrine in the context of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the implementing act, International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA). Mr. Chafin married Ms. Chafin, a citizen of the United Kingdom, in Germany when he was stationed there as a member of the armed forces. They had a daughter. Mr. Chafin returned to the United States and filed for divorce and child custody in Huntsville, Alabama. Ms. Chafin was deported and the daughter remained with Mr. Chafin. Ms. Chafin later filed a petition seeking return of the daughter under ICARA. The District Court held the child’s country of habitual residence was Scotland and granted the petition and entered a preliminary injunction prohibiting Mr. Chafin from removing the daughter from Scotland. Ms. Chafin immediately left for Scotland where she filed for and was granted custody. The Eleventh Circuit dismissed the appeal as moot.
The Supreme Court reversed holding that this was still a live case where a court could grant relief. The Court noted that the Chafins are vigorously contesting where their daughter will be raised and is not hypothetical. Mr. Chafin is seeking relief from the District Court’s judgment. The litigation may continue in the United States and Scotland depending on the outcome of the appeal. The merits of the case are quite different from mootness. Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. Justice Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion joined by Justices Scalia and Breyer.
I’ll review the five decisions from today in tomorrow’s post. They are available at the Court’s website. [MG]
E-Books: What Librarians Need to Know Now and for the Future: An ALA eCourse that starts on March 4th
Instructor Mirela Roncevic is offering this asynchronous eCourse beginning on March 4 and continuing for 4 weeks. Topics include:
- Defining e-books and understanding how they work
- Where e-books are available and how are they delivered and distributed
- How e-books are used in libraries—in physical branches, digital branches, library websites, and in classrooms
- The current issues relating to e-books in libraries and what you need to know to be prepared for the future
Additional information about the course, plus registration costs for single users and bulk purchases, can be found on the ALA Store here. [JH]
Ronald Dworkin (1931-2013): On the value of being skeptical while being here
Many would agree that Ronald Dworkin was the most important philosopher of law (and politics) in the Anglo-American sphere of influence in our time. Note well, that proposition is based on a value judgment and that is Dworkin 101.
Propositions in Dworkin 101 (philosophy alert -- propositions are statements examined by critical, logical analysis) are true if they flow from principles of fairness and justice. Define what is fair and just, and then draw conclusions that do not violate formal logic. However, if one disagrees with the value propositions about what is fair and just, there's no need to continue reading unless one wants to identify topics not covered or critique the specific methodology used. Just return the text to the law library.
But this is always the case in philosophical thought. For example, if you don't accept that "Becoming" is the result of "Being" and "Nothing", there is no reason to continue reading Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (or Mind or Culture) except for performing a critical analysis of Hegel's speculative methodology aka "dialectics" and/or identifying topics not covered by this and all "all too human" thinkers. Accept "Being" to "Nothing" to "Becoming": Hegel's dialectical reasoning is ruthlessly logical. One can end up an "absolute idealist," not that there is anything wrong with that!
Some would argue that Dworkin's major contribution was to make the case that moral considerations should be taken into account in law plus politics (avoiding the "law and .."). One could argue that since they already are considerations, for example, at the judicial level, ethics in law (not legal ethics) must be the "stuff" of close examination. I would argue that Dworkin's project was much more fundamental. The philosopher's task is to question and by questioning to remind others that they ought to do the same. Becoming skeptical is the root from which our Euro-centric tree of philosophical traditions originated from.
In the below video clip, Dworkin makes the case that skepticism is a moral position. As such, it must be earned according to Dworkin. Should the intellectual output of unearned skepticism be ignored? I don't think Dworkin is saying that one should have a closed mind. An open mind is evidence of being willing listen to anyone because one has the guts to re-think one's own assumptions. Ultimately that is the task of a philosophical GPS in the world of spirit or mind or culture we all too human beings dwell until we die.
Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog has posted links to obits and memorial notices at In Memoriam: Ronald Dworkin (1931-2013). Highly recommended. [JH]
February 19, 2013
Supreme Court Action: Drug Sniffing Dogs And Probable Cause
The Supreme Court issued four opinions this morning. Two of them are criminal cases; one is related to competition as affected by the state action doctrine; and one concerns the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and its implementation in the U.S. through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA). I will report on one of the two criminal cases today and the other three cases tomorrow.
The first case is Florida v. Harris (11-817). The case concerns the accuracy of a drug-sniffing dog as the basis for probable cause for a vehicle search. Officer Wheetley pulled over Harris on a routine traffic stop. Harris declined a search request which prompted Wheetly to use his dog, Aldo, to sniff for drugs. Aldo indicated he had found something and Wheetly searched the vehicle. He did not find any drugs that Aldo had been trained to detect but did find significant quantities of raw materials used to make methamphetamines. Harris was arrested for possession of those ingredients. Harris was out on bail when Wheetly stopped him again. Aldo again signaled something was there but Wheetly found nothing.
Harris’ attorney moved to suppress the search. The Court noted that the attorney did not contest Aldo’s training or certification. Rather, he focused on Aldo’s performance in the field. The trial judge denied the motion. The Florida Appellate Court affirmed but the Florida Supreme Court reversed, holding that a wide array of evidence is necessary to establish probable cause, including field performance records. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that finding probable cause is a kind of fair probability on which reasonable and prudent people act. The totality of the circumstances determines whether or not the standard for probable cause has been met.
The Court stated that field records are misleading since hits and especially false misses can’t be quantified. They may be considered as part of a total array of evidence, but are not specifically required as held by the Florida Supreme Court. A trial court should hear all the evidence and make a ruling based on the circumstances. Here the state produced records showing Aldo’s reliability in controlled circumstances and Harris failed to challenge that evidence.
Justice Kagan delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. [MG]
When All Else Fails, Sue or Threaten to Take to Court the Publishing Industry Critic
In a recent post about the curious case of Edwin Mellen Press which alleges that Dale Askey committed libel (and McMaster University, vicarious libel) in a Canadian court, Mark Giangrande wrote "I can’t imagine a suit such as this making much progress in a U.S. court. Otherwise every bad book review ever written would be the subject of litigation" See Academic Librarian Sued For Dissing Publisher In A Blog Post on LLB. In Another informative item on the Edwin Mellen Affair (Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog) Chicago Law prof Brian Leiter comments that "Canadian libel law is a bit closer to the insane British model than I had realized, for example, in putting the onus on the defendant to establish the truth of the facts asserted and the reasonableness of his opinions."
Yesterday, Mark reported that the Canadian Center for Science and Education (CCSE) is threatening to file suit in a US court against Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and scholarly initiatives librarian at the University of Colorado Denver, over being included in Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers based on his Criteria for Determining Predatory Open-Access Publishers (2nd edition). Both posted were published on Beall's Scholarly Open Access: Critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing. Do note well the blog's subtitle.
Both Askey and Beall were practicing critical analysis grounded in their professional expertise. Perhaps if the posts had been written by someone who was not a librarian, neither publisher would have given either post a second thought.
On Feb. 14, 2013, ARL and CARL issued a joint statement in support of Dale Askey and McMaster University.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) share a commitment to freedom of opinion and expression of ideas and are strongly opposed to any effort to intimidate individuals in order to suppress information or censor ideas. We further share the belief that a librarian must be able to offer his or her assessment of a publisher’s products or practices free from such intimidation.
“No academic librarian, research library, or university should face a multi-million dollar lawsuit because of a candid discussion of the publications or practices of an academic publisher,” said Brent Roe, Executive Director of CARL. “The exaggerated action of Edwin Mellen Press could only impose a chill on academic and research librarians’ expression of frank professional judgments.”
I haven't checked to see if ARL-CARL has issued a similar statement of support for Jeffrey Beall but it wouldn't take much text editing to do so.
If Askey had published a post along the lines of "the 2012 winner of best new title in academic publishing is X which was brought to market by Edwin Mellen Press" and/or Beall had posted "the best scholarly open-access publisher in 2012 was CCSE," the only people who might be questioning their street creds would be other librarians. I seriously doubt questioning librarians would sue the blog authors for injury to their and their profession's reputation. Differences in frank professional judgements based on the rigor of critical reasoning abound inside and outside the library community.
Apparently there are two publishers who fail to understand this. Alternatively, their lawyers fail to understand that not all publicity is "good." Think of the legal publisher community's private WTF reactions to the Land of 10,000 Invoices cocoon which resulting in the myopic arrogance of TR Legal washing its dirty laundry in the public forum known as Rudovsky. Question our editorial updating practices! Well, yes. And then there was the opps known as Whatever Happened To The Rudovsky Case? In the context of CCSE's lawsuit threat, Mark writes "I think this may be another be careful what you ask for situation." Yup.
End note. But for lawsuits, filed or threatened, I would not have been aware of either Askey or Beall's blogs. Of particular interest to me is monitoring dubious practices in the scholarly OA publishing industry. Taking the RSS feed for Beall's Scholarly Open Access: Critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing is highly recommended because I don't know any librarian who is doing as good of a job as he is by thinking out loud in the librarian blogosphere about the sometimes too-good-to-be-true claims of OA publishing. For example, just read the following two posts:
Publisher Charges Authors for Retractions ("I am involved in a case of duplicate publishing — as the person who discovered and reported it to Springer, who published it the second time. I have been copied on many emails being sent among the authors, the editors, and Springer.") and
New Publisher Fakes Association with Reed Elsevier (If you want a really good example of a predatory publisher, have a look at KnowledgesPublisher. This brand-new publisher uses lies and deception to make itself look legitimate. The journal has a large logo on the left side of the page that says, “2012 Impact Factor 0.315!” The problem is that the 2012 impact factors have not been published yet and won’t be until summer. At the bottom of the page, the site has this statement, “Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.” This is deception; the journal is trying to associate itself with Elsevier. In fact there is no connection. (Emphasis in the orginal))
National Jurist's Law School Rankings Info Antics: On Verifying the "Accuracy" of Data When Data Sources Cannot Be Verified
We are now reviewing the RateMyProfessor data for all law schools with significant variances from the Princeton Review data, being careful to exclude non-law professors and former law professors. We expect to have this review done by Feb. 19. -- Jack Crittenden, Editor In Chief, National Jurist, Editor's comment on Best Law School ranking.
Although National Jurist is now actually reviewing the "accuracy" of the Rate My Professors data, the question is why didn't they do that before publishing the ranking? NJ says "we believe that the voice of students is essential." But that's not in dispute. The point is that Rate My Professors is not "the voice of students," and a magazine with any integrity, as opposed to an interest in generating hype, never would have utilized such an absurd source. (I'm not even sure what it means to check the accuracy of Rate My Professors data: anyone with Internet access on the planet earth can fill out a Rate My Professors survey, how could that be meaningful?) -- Chicago Law prof Brian Leiter, Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, National Jurist Now Back-Pedalling on its Thomas Cooleyesque Law School Rankings.
Stay tuned... . Today is Feb. 19th, isn't it?
The pot calling the kettle black. One purveyor of absurd rankings reports about the National Jurist kerfuffle. But you would be hard pressed to find him reporting on, let alone responding to, law prof criticisms of his own fatally flawed info antics spit out by the methodologically-challenged intellectual bankruptcy of being an info science amateur. See Info Antics, Not Metrics; When Counting Mickey Mouse Clicks Trump Content Analysis. [JH]
February 18, 2013
Another Publisher Threatens Suit Against A Librarian For Blog Comments
What is it with Canadian plaintiffs and libel lawsuits against librarians? Inside Higher Ed reports that the Canadian Center for Science and Education (CCSE) is threatening to sue Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and scholarly initiatives librarian at the University of Colorado Denver over inclusion in a list of predatory publishers. Beall’s criteria are fairly extensive, but include elements such as an author having to pay for publication; a questionable editorial staff; vague contact information; editorial practices that do not match those from publisher associations; and evidence of author misconduct such as plagiarism. The CCSE takes umbrage that some of its titles makes Beall’s list. The letter states that being on the list leads to a natural tendency to injure our client’s reputation” and promises legal action in a California court.
This is on the heels of the Edwin Mellen Press suing librarian Dale Askey, associate librarian at McMaster University in Canada with similar accusations. See previous LLB posts The Curious Case of Edwin Mellen Press and Academic Librarian Sued For Dissing Publisher In A Blog Post for more details and opinion. More recent developments on the Edwin Mellen press case are available in this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education and this one from Inside Higher Ed. I recommend the comments from both stories.I can’t speak for the Canadian litigation but anything done in the United States would likely lead to discovery requests aimed at author contracts, editorial practices and the like. I think this may be another “be careful what you ask for” situation. [MG]
Playing Catch-Up: A Monday Morning 2-fer for This Presidents' Day Working Holiday
One of the benefits of being a public sector law librarian is getting some federal holidays off private sector law librarians don't. Typically, Presidents' Day is one of those federal holidays. I know I didn't get the day off. Courts might be closed but working of a day like today was one folks used to catch-up on outstanding assignments.
I may go to work at my little county law library today to catch up on some research requests because I had one of those days late last week where all I did was in-take assignments I couldn't otherwise dump on my very well qualifed staff. That rarely happens but when it does as in these instances, it will require this aging and decrepit law librarian to use print in concert with accessable from home online resources. Talk about old school!
So for my private sector colleagues who don't have to "rethink their ROFLMAOYSST value" today because they are at work even if today is a recognized holiday by their employer, here's a little 2-fer pick-me-up. [JH]
"It's green and often found .... ."
Nope, not onions found in the marshland of Chicago.