Book Price: $210. Taxpayer's Cost: $540

posted in: November 2012 | 0

In the spring of 2011, Wiley-Blackwell, the well regarded publisher of scientific texts, came out with new title: Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management in the Western Pacific. A blurb on the book’s back cover states that it “documents a three-part series of workshops convened by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council to facilitate understanding of this promising new approach” to managing fisheries.

And although the book was published by Wiley-Blackwell, the council’s logo appears prominently on its front and back covers – a tip-off that the book did not go through the usual rigorous process of peer-review to which scientific texts are customarily submitted. Instead, according to information provided to Environment Hawai`i through a Freedom-of-Information Act request, council Executive Director Kitty Simonds contracted with the company to print the book for $12,000, in return for which the council would receive 200 copies.

The contract makes it clear that absent the payment, Wiley-Blackwell would not publish the volume. In a paragraph titled “Special Provisions,” the contract states: “Publication of this work is dependent on receipt of a purchase order from [the council] for 200 copies at the price of $60 per copy prior to manuscript delivery.”

The council also paid the book’s editor, Edward Glazier, for his services. Glazier, a frequent contractor to the council and a principal of Impact Assessment, Inc., the company whose name appears on the invoices, was at least $95,500 for his services, which included helping to organize the workshops, preparing the report of the proceedings, and finding a publisher for it.

All totaled, the book cost the taxpayer-financed council a minimum $107,500, or $540 per copy. That doesn’t include the substantial costs associated with holding the workshops, which were attended by invited guests from throughout the Pacific, the continental United States, and from as far away as England. Or, to quote the book, the workshops involved “local, regional, national, and international experts representing a variety of relevant disciplines.”

Patricia Tummons

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