Last ditch attempt to block publication of special issue of Journal of Health Psychology foiled

foiled againPublication of the special issue of Journal of Health Psychology will go forward as planned on Monday July 31.

But there was a last ditch attempt to block publication of the special issue by a powerful but unknown PACE trial advocate. It was finally foiled on Saturday morning, July 29. A weaselly coward suggested papers weren’t properly peer reviewed and that the special issue should therefore not be published.

That of course was nonsense.  It is also an ironic complaint, because the PACE investigator team had demanded that their response to the commentary by Keith Geraghty be published without having to undergo peer review. And the same PACE investigators rejected in their revision of their reply almost all of my detailed review.

journal of health psychologySome threats were made to Sage Publications, the publisher of Journal of Health Psychology, which expressed a reluctance to go forward as planned. As often happens with these kind of pressures, we weren’t told the identity of the complainant. It was clear that whoever s/he was,  this person was powerful in being able to grind to a halt of making the special issue available,  complete with the introductory editorial that was not previously available.

I announced to my colleagues that I would take responsibility for unilaterally breaking the embargo on the press release and post a blog about it. If necessary, I would explain that I did it without permission, because I was making an announcement, not a request.

I prepared the blog on July 28, but waited till 7 AM on July 29 before going live, in hope that Sage would relent. No decision was announced by  that hour, and so I posted the blog.

sage publicationsThe strategy was that we would get visible in social media and be prepared to create an embarrassment for Sage Publications if the publisher did not let us go forward. Actually, all of the papers were available Early Release except Editor David Marks’ great accompanying introductory editorial. We were prepared to move that editorial to a public repository, and if necessary the other articles from the special issue, as well. A few hours later, Sage agreed to go forward and publish the special issue on Monday morning.

Stay tuned for a historic issue of the journal, complete with Editor David Marks’ previously unavailable introduction.