And I wish AAAS luck, because they will need it.
Anderson has a lot of knowledge about the scientific publishing industry, that much is clear. He has served as president of the Soceity for Scholarly Publishing.
But he also has a definite point of view about scientific publishing, which he has puts forward at the blog The Scholarly Kitchen. If I may try to summarize some of his positions (The Scholarly Kitchen is a group blog, so I may be misremembering other people’s positions as his; correct me if I’m wrong):
Anderson argues that subscription journals
He has been critical of open access publishing. (Honestly, I wonder if he has a voodoo doll wearing a PLOS ONE t-shirt.) In this interview, he says, “I think (open access) is structurally flawed.”
He has been extremely critical of PubMed directing traffic away from publishers (e.g., here and here). That huge numbers of working biomedical scientists find PubMed invaluable to their research and use it every day seems not to matter much in Anderson’s point of view.
At every turn, Anderson had advocated positions that favour the interests of publishers over either the needs of working scientists or the general public.
It’s okay to have a point of view. It’s okay to defend publishers (I do it myself sometimes.) But it seems odd to put Anderson,
Anderson’s appointment is not a good move, public relations wise, for AAAS. But it will give other publishers an opportunity to contrast their positions with those espoused by Anderson. What publishers will support giving researchers and readers valuable tools that they want?
I once thought that Science magazine was rife for takeover by its members to become an open access journal. Anderson’s appointment seems like an open access takeover is exactly what AAAS fears, and they want someone to dig a moat and man the barricades.
Edit: Struck “for profit” in a couple of places, as the subscription model is probably more central to Anderson’s argument. And, as noted in the comments, Anderson has worked with non-profits.
Occupy Science (the journal)
AAAS creates another Zune journal
Interview with the Scholarly Kitchen’s Kent Anderson
Meet Kent Anderson, anti-#openaccess campaigner, publisher of Science