Editors resign from leading environment journal

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Statement of collective withdrawal, protesting “a gross violation of academic freedom, scholarly standards, scientific responsibility, and business ethics.”

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Climate & Capitalism is pleased to publish this statement. The signers, who include many of the most respected academics in the global environmental movement, deserve broad support for their firm stand in defense of editorial autonomy, independent scholarly research, and scientific freedom. For more about the crisis at the journal, see Notes from the Editors in this month’s issue of Monthly Review.

Update, November 1, 2012: Environmental journal editors reply to publisher


We, the undersigned are collectively resigning from the Editorial Review Board of the peer-reviewed academic journal Organization and Environment (O&E), effective December 1, 2012, in protest of a hostile takeover of the journal by the Group on Organization and the Natural Environment (GRONEN), engineered by Sage Publications (the owner of the journal) without the prior knowledge or acquiescence of the present O&E editors and Editorial Review Board. We regard this as a gross violation of academic freedom, scholarly standards, scientific responsibility, and business ethics.

O&E was founded fifteen years ago and quickly became a leading international journal for ecosocial research that combined analysis of organizations, nature and the human environment, with a strong emphasis as well on environmental sociology. Contributors have been particularly concerned with environmental degradation, sustainability, and liberation in relation to their complex social causes and consequences.

The journal has stood out during the last decade and a half in its inclusion not only of standard peer-reviewed articles, but also sections focusing on citation classics, archives of organization and environment classics, and commentary and discussion. Although primarily oriented to organization theory, environmental sociology, and ecological economics, the journal throughout its history has been interdisciplinary, open to broad philosophical and cultural contributions. Its impact factor in 2011 was a very respectable 1.234, higher than many long-established social science journals. By any reasonable standard, O&E was a very successful academic journal.

Nevertheless, instead of allowing O&E’s present editors and Editorial Review Board to carry out a smooth editorial transition for the journal, when the terms of its current editors expired, Sage used its ownership rights to carry out a behind-the-scenes shift in editorial control from the present editorial group to GRONEN, at the same time radically altering the journal’s academic orientation from one of “ecosocial research” to “sustainability management and policy.”

Our collective withdrawal is therefore meant to constitute a strong public protest against this violation of the responsibility of owners/publishers of academic journals to respect editorial autonomy, independent scholarly research, and scientific freedom.

  • Bobby Banerjee, University of Western Sydney, Australia
  • Shannon Elizabeth Bell, University of Kentucky, USA
  • David Barkin, Autonomous Metropolitan University, Mexico
  • Steven R. Brechin, Syracuse University, USA
  • Robert J. Brulle, Drexel University, USA
  • Brett Clark, University of Utah, USA
  • Debra Davidson, University of Alberta, Canada
  • Liam Downey, University of Colorado, USA
  • Riley Dunlap, Oklahoma State University, USA
  • Michael Dreiling, University of Oregon, USA
  • Robyn Eckersley, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Alpen-Adria Univeristy, Austria
  • John Bellamy Foster, University of Oregon, USA
  • Al Gedicks, University of Wisconsin, USA
  • Andrew Kent Jorgenson, University of Utah, USA
  • Timothy W. Luke, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA
  • Carolyn Merchant, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • Arthur Mol, Wageningen University, Netherlands
  • David Pellow, University of Minnesota, USA
  • Charles Perrow, Yale University, USA
  • Simone Pulver, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA
  • Eugene Rosa, Washington State University, USA
  • Thomas Rudel, Rutgers University, USA
  • Ariel Salleh, University of Sydney, Australia
  • John M. Shandra, State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA


  • Outrageous that it had to come to this, but well done to the signatories. This is a real indictment of Sage, and another indication of how thoroughly bankrupt the academic publications industry is.

  • This is sad. It would be pointless to refer to this journal anymore. But I’ll wait till Dec. 1st, 2012, in case there’s a change of heart where needed. – Najma Sadeque, The Green Economics Initiative, Shirkat Gah, Karachi, Pakistan.