Predatory Publications by TRU Professor Pyne (Part 2: Meeting The Man)

(Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC)


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See the previous article on the infamous paper by Thompson Rivers University Economic Professor, Derek Pyne.

For a simplified version of the story, Professor Pyne published a paper in April 2017 titled “Predatory publications”. It was a look into the academic publishing, and how fake journals were popping up. Given university professors’ duty to “publish or perish”, these seemed to be a way out.

This is a topic that has been reluctantly addressed by universities before. However, this paper took more of an economic view of the subject — rewards and benefits from publishing in such journals.

The paper has not been well received by Thompson Rivers University, especially since it seemed to implicate members of the faculty. Relations between Professor Pyne and the school have gone downhill.

In September 2018, almost a year and a half later, Professor Pyne was suspended from TRU. He is now back at work. He claims that the paper was one reason, but not the only, for the suspension.

Currently, a complaint has been filed under Section 13 of the Labour Relations Code, claiming the Union violated Section 12. Here is the actual text from the Labour Relations Code (of BC)

Duty of fair representation
12 (1)
A trade union or council of trade unions must not act in a manner that is arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith
(a) in representing any of the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit, or
(b) in the referral of persons to employment whether or not the employees or persons are members of the trade union or a constituent union of the council of trade unions.

(2) It is not a violation of subsection (1) for a trade union to enter into an agreement under which
(a) an employer is permitted to hire by name certain trade union members,
(b) a hiring preference is provided to trade union members resident in a particular geographic area, or
(c) an employer is permitted to hire by name persons to be engaged to perform supervisory duties.

(3) An employers’ organization must not act in a manner that is arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith in representing any of the employers in the group appropriate for collective bargaining.

Procedure for fair representation complaint
13 (1) If a written complaint is made to the board that a trade union, council of trade unions or employers’ organization has contravened section 12, the following procedure must be followed:
(a) a panel of the board must determine whether or not it considers that the complaint discloses a case that the contravention has apparently occurred;
(b) if the panel considers that the complaint discloses sufficient evidence that the contravention has apparently occurred, it must
(i) serve a notice of the complaint on the trade union, council of trade unions or employers’ organization against which the complaint is made and invite a reply to the complaint from the trade union, council of trade unions or employers’ organization, and
(ii) dismiss the complaint or refer it to the board for a hearing.
(2) If the board is satisfied that the trade union, council of trade unions or employers’ organization contravened section 12, the board may make an order or direction referred to in section 14 (4) (a), (b) or (d).

Canuck Law meeting Professor Pyne

The actual interview occurred on Thursday, January 24 at the University in Kamloops, BC. Note: Questions were prepared, but the replies shown are summaries of what was said.

1/ What did you think would happen publishing this?
-It was a new angle on the publishing industry
-This hadn’t been done before
-Expected a higher amount of support for academic freedom and inquiry

2/ Any support from colleagues?
-Some privately do offer support
-No one wants to be public about it
-This is considered an attack on academic freedom

3/ What actually triggered the suspension?
-Collective agreement allows for feedback for candidates
-I exercised that right. University called it defamatory and accusatory

4/ Why the 16 month delay in the suspension? (April 2017-Sept 2018)
-It took time for the backlash to happen
-Reporting by the New York Times really hurt
-American media interviews were given
-Comments made in online forums
-Research comments

5/ Why isn’t the TRU faculty union helping?
-164 page complaint was filed
-Academic unions don’t work the same way private sector unions do
-Lack of understanding by the union in matters like this

6/ What do you see Labour Relations doing?
-Little. They have a very low success rate
-Since 2016 (records shown), 0 or 1 cases successful each year
-Most “successes” come from informal negotiation between parties

7/ What would you like Labour Relations to do?
-Order the union to file a grievance

8/ How can universities screen for “predatory journals”? What are the warning signs?
-Mailbox addresses (suites) given in address
-Journal no one has heard of before
-Very quick turnaround times
-Questionable, if any, peer review
-Questionable “Impact Factors Analysis”
-Real journal will provide abstract, fake will make you buy entire article, paywall
-There are 10,800 right now identified, another 955 suspected (all fields)

9/ Has this led to policy changes at TRU?
-Might have tipped people off as to what is happening?

10/ Was it difficult to get data for research?
-Time consuming
-Manually searching profiles
-Research Ethics not needed (since no face-to-face interviews)
-Google Scholar quick source (academic publications)
-Checking academic profiles also an option

11/ Does this hurt academia?
-It can lower the trust people have in experts and authority figures

12/ Broadly speaking, how does peer review work?
-You need an idea of which journals to submit to
-You submit your research
-You may have to redo large sections of your paper
-Editor of publication often orders revise & resubmit
-Editor will find referees with similar publications to review yours
-Referees are usually volunteers, it’s more of an honour
-It can easily take a year or two to get published

Made in Court (Review)

(Supreme Court Decisions That Shaped Canada, by Richard Pound)

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This is a case-law book which has a collection of Supreme Court of Canada decisions over the last century.

Each case is covered in about 5-6 pages. It combines actual quotes from the Court rulings along with commentary on the reasoning. The reviews directly come from the rulings, and are not filtered through media bias.

Certainly, everyone has their own opinions as to which cases should be included, but Mr. Pound selects 57 cases from a wide cross section of law. Here are a few of them

Juries decide the Facts, Judge Determines the law,
R v. Latimer, 2001

Marital Breakdown, Wives Without Rights
Murdoch v. Murdoch, 1973

Fighting For Language Rights
Attorney General of Quebec v. Blaikie et al, 1979

The Right to Die: Beginning a Legal Debate
Rodriguez v. British Columbia, 1993

Of course, the full text of any of the decisions can be researched using CanLII.

This is only a handful, but the book contains 57 cases, with a good mix of quote and analysis. Not overwhelming to digest individual cases. All in all, a great reference book.

Representing Yourself in Court (Review)

(How to Win Your Own Case, by Devlin Farmer)

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UN GCM Challenged In Calgary Fed Court, 300-635 8th Ave SW.
Case File: T-2089-18. Filed December 6, 2018.
CLICK HERE for more information
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This is basically an instructional book written in 2015 for those wishing to represent themselves in court.

Unlike An Advocacy Primer, covered in September, the Farmer book contains much more basic information, and is much more simplified. It assumes that the readers have little to no knowledge about how the court proceedings work, and is a lot more reader friendly.

An interesting Supreme Court ruling, Pintea v. Johns, came out in 2017. It codified the obligations of Justices, Judges, Masters, and Deputy Judges to ensure that self-represented litigants are getting fair treatment in court. In fairness to the author, it was 2 years after the book was published.

A Brief Outline of The Book
Part 1: Alternatives to court
Part 2: Learning the law
Part 3: Filing
Part 4: Lawyers
Part 5: Discovery
Part 6: Motions and temporary orders
Part 7: Pre-trial prep
Part 8: Trial proceedings
Part 9: Witnesses
Part 10: Exhibits
Part 11: Closing arguments
Part 12: Intro to appeals

By no means does the book actually prepare someone for the court. However, by explaining what is happening and why, the self-rep is able to prepare him/herself and more thoroughly understand the process.

The book is written a very basic level, yet contains a wealth of information necessary for a potential self-represented litigant to face the court. It also avoid legalese and jargon. As such, it is very readable to anyone with adult reading skills.

This book stays away from specific forms and names, which in this case is a blessing. Better to understand the process more than to be bogged down with memorization.

The book is published by “Self-Counsel Press”, which releases many self-help and how-to books on a range of topics. Overall, they are very readable. They are not tedious or intimidating at all. This publisher releases some very good content.

If you are facing (or initiating) a court case, this book will do well to helping the average reader understand what is happening. At a minimum, if you do choose to get legal counsel at some point, reading this book beforehand will enable you to make better choices. Also, you are less likely to be gouged for fees.

Overall, this is a highly recommended read for anyone with any interest in court procedures.

Review of the Book ”An Advocacy Primer”

(3rd edition of the book by Lee Stuesser)

This book was released in 2005 by Lee Stuesser, a law professor at the University of Manitoba. It is basically a reference book for how to litigate different types of cases.

The book itself was written for law students in how to work for clients. However, the information provided is very straightforward, and many self-represented persons could get a leg up simply by reading through and following along. Self representation, as discussed here, is possible by many people, on the more simplistic cases.

”An Advocacy Primer” details: (a) how to go about the many steps in litigation; (b) gives many tips on how to prepare documents; (c) organize arguments; and (d) common pitfalls to avoid.

A brief outline of the book:

Chapter 1: Developing a Trial Plan
Chapter 2: Draft of the Pleadings
Chapter 3: Civil Case — Disclosure
Chapter 4: Criminal Case — Discovery
Chapter 5: Making Submissions
Chapter 6: A Trial Notebook
Chapter 7: Running a Civil Trial
Chapter 8: Running a Criminal Trial
Chapter 9: Opening Arguments
Chapter 10: Closing Arguments
Chapter 11: Your Case — Direct Examination
Chapter 12: Using Exhibits
Chapter 13: Principles of Cross Examination
Chapter 14: Impeachment
Chapter 15: Objections at trial
Chapter 16: Special Witnesses
Chapter 17: Appellate Advocacy
Chapter 18: Ethics of Advocacy

Stuesser’s work can be used in one of two ways. First, it can be read straight through as a non-fiction book. Second, it can be used in pieces, as needed for a representative in a legal matter. This 475 page book also gives many templates of legal forms, and exact wordings to include.

The second option is obviously far more practical. The first is possible, although it would be a very tedious read to do in one sitting.

Overall, the book is great source of information, both for self-reps and other legal enthusiasts.