Placement of ad in Historically Speaking questioned





The blog Progressive Historians pointed out this week that Historically Speaking, the publication of the Historical Society, is running an article by Robert Self about his new biography of Neville Chamberlain, wrapped around an ad for the book by its publisher, and that the author identification for Self (attached to the article, not the ad) included a discount for buying the book. “The ad placement was done as part of the editorial process, raising the question of editorial independence. With any advertising there’s a question of influence, but academic publications — even more so than news organizations — are supposed to maintain a strong separation between content and economic decision-making,” the blogger said. Donald X. Yerxa, editor of Historically Speaking, said that the juxtaposition of the ad and article was inadvertent and that one had nothing to do with the other. Yerxa added, however, that the reference to the discount in the author identification represented a “questionable practice” and that he thought the reference had been edited out. He said he was “suprised and disappointed” to find it published.


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