The Scientific Activist

Shelley in Newsweek

Newsweek has a story online today about a passage, in a book published by Wiley, that was recently discovered to have been plagiarized (D’oh!) from Wikipedia. Fellow ScienceBlogger Shelley of Retrospectacle gets a mention, though, for her run-in with Wiley earlier this year over her inclusion of a few figures from a Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture article in a blog post… a post that just so happened to be slightly critical of the article’s press release. From Newsweek:

In an ironic wrinkle, this isn’t Wiley’s first embarrassing encounter with new media. In April, Shelley Batts, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan, posted figures from Wiley’s Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture on her site. Her post–which credited the journal–compared the raw data on antioxidant effects of fruit in alcoholic beverages with how that data was being spun in the journal’s press releases. Wiley’s response: an e-mail that read, in part, “if these figures are not removed immediately, lawyers from John Wiley & Sons will contact you with further action.” Batts took the offending data down and posted the note, causing a minor stir online–and leading the journal to apologize. “I don’t have any ill feelings toward Wiley or the journal,” Batts now says. “The only thing I wanted to come out of it was a discussion.”

The fact that this incident is coming up months later–in the mainstream media–demonstrates the staying power of this incident, and it’s another example of the impact that blogs (and science blogs) are having outside of their blogospheric realm.