Posts Tagged ‘ScienceOnline’

Scientific American sends Bora on “leave”

October 18, 2013

One thing is clear after this last weeks’ convulsions at Scientific American. Breaking the silence can have an effect in the face of wrongdoing but it requires a society prepared to listen.  In the face of wrongdoing, silence is not always golden, silence is acquiesence, silence condones. But breaking the silence does not always end well for whistle-blowers  and breaking the silence requires taking some risk. Edward Snowden can testify to that.

The fall-out at Scientific American continues and Bora Zivkovic has been sent on gardening leave. But the behaviour of Scientific American editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina for her initial knee-jerk censorship and then her attempts to explain away her initial untruth has yet to be fully addressed. The Editor’s Note accompanying the reinstatement of the censored blog post does not carry much credibility and – in my opinion – seeks to establish a blatant untruth as real. There is no apology to the blogger for the censorship, no expression of regret.

Editor’s note (10/14/13): This post was originally published on Friday, October 11, 2013, at 16:58, and taken down within the hour. As fully detailed here, we could not quickly verify the facts of the blog post and consequently for legal reasons we had to remove it. Email to the editor referenced in this post to elicit his comments has gone unanswered. Biology Online would not disclose his identity or give out additional contact information and other efforts to identify him to solicit a response have been unsuccessful. Biology Online has confirmed the exchange. This post is therefore being republished as of October 14th at 4:46pm.

Whether Zivkovic was sent on leave or asked to go on leave is moot.


Bora Zivkovic, who has admitted to sexual harassment and resigned from the board of ScienceOnline, has now taken a break from his duties as blog editor at Scientific American, according to Philip Yam, Scientific American’s news editor.

In an email this morning, Yam confirmed the news that was making its way around Twitter–that Zivkovic was taking a break from his duties at his request. Alice Henchley, a spokesperson for Scientific American, said in an email, “Bora Zivkovic is on personal leave at the moment.”

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