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In defense of PNAS

Mon Jan 4 09:41:33 EST 1993

Regarding John Lazzaro's defence of the Proceedings of the National Academy of

    This follows from the "Charter of Authors' Rights." proposed article 1.

"1.Judgements concerning the acceptance, reviewing and publication of a
paper should be concerned with the characteristics of the paper itself
and not with the race, sex, creed or colour of the author."(Ref.2)

    David Kristofferson (ref.3) expanded on this, implying that the character-
istics of the author might include his/her status in the heirarchy.

    If this were so, I then pointed out that the authorship discrimination
practiced by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences would aptly
reflect the principle David was espousing.

John Lazzaro then wrote arguing that PNAS is a special case (ref.1):

   In response to this I would point out that there are MANY very distinguished
people in US science who are NOT members of the Academy. How is it that some
distinguished scientists are in the club, but not others?      Privileged
access to publication in a prestigious journal based on membership of some
heirarchy seems to conflict with the proposed first article.

   Lazzaro has since attempted to buttress his case with further arguments.
While I accept the principle that making rules which cover every case is often
not possible, I personally do not find Lazzaro's arguments that PNAS is a
special case very convincing. The following note I received from someone whose
anonymity I will respect, does not detract from my assessment of Lazzaro's case

"The US. NAS is frequently in a state of embarassment when Nobel
prizes are awarded to non-members. There have also been several cases
where individuals declined membership since they "did science not

  As a Canadian I am not in a position to check the validity of this assertion,
but it does not sound too way out. Does anyone else have a view on this matter?

       Sincerely, Don Forsdyke. Discussion Leader.

(1) Lazzaro, J. (1992) Bnt.jrnl.note 1228, 2324
(2) Forsdyke, D.R. (1992) Bnt.jrnl.note 1221, 1105
(3) Kristofferson, D. (1992) Bnt.jrnl.note 1222, 1631
(4) Forsdyke, D.R. (1992) Bnt.jrnl.note 1228, 1500

                                                  Don Forsdyke
                                                  Discussion Leader

(1) Forsdyke, D. R. (1992) Bionet.Journals.Note 1221, 1105
(2) Christoffersen, D. (1992) Bionet.Journals.Note 1222, 1631
(3) Baxter, A. (1992) Bionet.Journals.Note 1224, 750/

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