Mellen Press sues librarian for libel

In a serious affront to academic freedom, Dale Askey, an Associate Librarian at McMaster University (Ontario, Canada) has been sued for libel by the Edwin Mellen Press (which has lost similar cases in the past).

From the Leiter Reports:

A professional librarian at McMaster University’s library complained, in a 2010 blog-post, that Mellen was a poor publisher with a weak list of low-quality books, scarcely edited, cheaply produced, but at exorbitant prices.  Librarians are expert at making such judgments; that’s what universities pay them to do.  And the post made a key point about the public interest: ‘in a time when libraries cannot purchase so much of the first-class scholarship, there is simply no reason to support such ventures.’

According to the Leiter Reports, the Academic LibrarianInside Higher Education (“Price of a Bad Review” February 8, 2013 by Colleen  Flaherty), and other blogs, McMaster University and the librarian face a $3M lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court, alleging libel and other damages. A copy of the lawsuit from June 2012 is available online.

P.S. Further reading:

Reid, Paul H., Jr. 2006. The Edwin Mellen Press Versus Lingua Franca: A Case Study in the Law of Libel. Queenston, Ontario: Edwin Mellen Press. [Held by about 50 North American law libraries].

New, Jake . 2013. “Librarians Rally Behind Blogger Sued by Publisher Over Critical Comments.” Chronicle of Higher Education. Feb. 14.

P.P.S. A commenter requests that readers of this post please consider signing a petition in support of Askey.


  1. […] NY.” The publishing house in question is the Edwin Mellen Press. Readers of this blog (Feb. 8 and March 4) may recall that Richardson has actively litigated against librarians and others who […]

  2. […] Mellen Press sues librarian for libel […]

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