Notes from the Editors | Monthly Review | October 2012 (Volume 64, Number 5)
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"...SAGE’s takeover of O&E’ s editorship and the transfer of it to GRONEN were undoubtedly carried out primarily for economic reasons, despite the profitability of the journal up to now. GRONEN offered a much expanded subscription base for O&E, promising enhanced revenues. Moreover, bundling O&E with other business, management, and organization journals was made more difficult by O&E’s critical orientation. Finally, O&E was often explicitly antagonistic to business culture, which was at best an annoyance. Since O&E was fully owned by SAGE the obvious profit-making decision was to hand over the journal to editorial interests more congruent with SAGE’s long-term economic objectives.
This was not the first time that SAGE had sought to implement such an editorial coup to promote its objectives. A similar case occurred in relation to the journal Political Theory in 2009, when SAGE replaced an existing editor with another seemingly more in line with SAGE’s business plans without consulting the editorial board. In that case, however, political theorists learned of the editorial coup early in the process and responded publicly and aggressively, taking advantage of a number of blogs to circulate their objections, with hundreds of irate posts. This drew attention from the influential Chronicle of Higher Education. The result was that the new editor dropped out and SAGE backed down, presenting the whole matter as a “misunderstanding,” and reverting to the status quo ante (Scott Jaschik, “Who Controls Journals?” Inside Higher Ed, July 7, 2009; “What’s Up With Political Theory?” Crooked Timber, July 2, 2009; “Political-Science Journal and Its Publisher Reach New Détente,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 7, 2009; Barbara Fister, “Mistakes Were Made,” Library Journal, July 9, 2009).
In contrast, the 2012 O&E coup was handled much more deftly on SAGE’s part with greater secrecy and organization. Moreover, concerned members of the O&E board made the fatal error of seeking to negotiate with SAGE management and with GRONEN privately on their own terms, rather than going public over the coup. SAGE and GRONEN were thus left holding all the cards and treated their transition plan as a fait accompli. In this way, the for-profit business model and the “sustainability management” intellectual agenda prevailed.
The first issue of the new corporate-oriented, green-capitalist O&E is now scheduled for March 2013."