Hilde Lindemann, former president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, has resigned as a member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Bioethics. She wrote:
“While the journal has been hugely successful, there seems to be no oversight or accountability, so it is difficult for board members to know very much about the review process, the acceptance rate, the rate of submission, the journal’s financial footing, who owns (as opposed to publishes) the journal, and other matters having to do with its day-to-day operations. I do not know who sits on the conflict of interest committee even though the Information for Authors page says it is “comprised [sic] of members of the editorial board.” And although the editor-in-chief has said he would disclose the financials of the journal, he has not done so–at least, not to me. The board is never called to meet; we are never consulted as a group in any meaningful fashion. It’s not even clear who chooses the board, or on what basis. So it seems that our good names go toward a journal that we know very little about.
I have been an editor myself for much of my adult life and I know what the pressure of deadlines can do to distort editorial judgment. But I also know that it’s possible to run a journal transparently and responsibly, and I no longer feel confident that AJOB is so run. Until that changes, I cannot lend my name to its masthead.”