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Scientific Publisher Sues Over Journal Pricing Study

Charging “unfair comparative advertising,” the scientific publishing firm of Gordon & Breach is suing the American Institute of Physics over an article and a letter about the costs of - professional journals that were published in the organization’s monthly magazine, Physics Today. The case raises numerous questions—in part because the New York-based publishing firm has so far chosen to press the case not in the United States, where Physics Today is published, but

Ken Kalfus

Charging “unfair comparative advertising,” the scientific publishing firm of Gordon & Breach is suing the American Institute of Physics over an article and a letter about the costs of - professional journals that were published in the organization’s monthly magazine, Physics Today.

The case raises numerous questions—in part because the New York-based publishing firm has so far chosen to press the case not in the United States, where Physics Today is published, but in West Germany and Switzerland. Partisans for Physics Today charge that the lawsuits could inhibit scientific research, especially research about the explosive rise of journal prices (The Scientist, July 24, 1989, page 1); Gordon & Breach replies that the article is example of biased research performed by a scientist with a stake in the study’s result. The lawsuits, which seek injunctions, retractions, and damages, also raise questions about methods of comparing the costs of professional...

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