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The Hindu
The Hindu
R. Prasad

‘eLife grieves the tragic losses of civilian lives, both Israeli and Palestinian’

Responding to a News Analysis published in The Hindu on October 27 about the firing of Michael Eisen as the Editor-in-Chief of eLife and to an email sent to the journal on October 24, an eLife spokesperson on behalf of the Board of Directors told The Hindu in an email that the “particular content of Eisen’s tweets is not the reason behind the decision to replace him”. “Eisen has demonstrated patterns of behaviour with regards to how he chooses to communicate that has at key times been detrimental to the cohesion of the community we are trying to build and hence to eLife’s mission.”

“We value and respect everyone’s right to freedom of speech including political expression and the legal right to protest. Particularly for those in leadership positions, exercising that right comes with responsibilities: an expectation to show good judgement and a duty of care to the communities they serve. We don’t believe those qualities have been demonstrated,” the spokesperson added.

“The decision to replace Eisen was made due to his pattern of behaviour around communication and his decision to not act on feedback previously given. It was not made for any singular or specific breach of eLife’s code,” the spokesperson said. However, the October 14 tweet by eLife soon after Eisen clarified his controversial tweet did explicitly mention that while the “opinions of eLife staff and the editorial board are their own, they are covered by our code of conduct”.

“While we do not usually comment on geopolitical issues, we feel it is important to state that we grieve the tragic losses of civilian lives, both Israeli and Palestinian, which have taken place over the past few weeks. Our thoughts are with all those affected and we hope for a swift, humanitarian resolution to this crisis,” the spokesperson said in the mail.

eLife’s response to The Hindu saying that the journal “grieve[s] the tragic losses of civilian lives, both Israeli and Palestinian”, comes nearly two weeks after it tweeted on October 14 saying “eLife condemns the atrocities committed by Hamas last week” but remained silent on Israel’s war crimes.

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