Authors Richard Johns and Tony Szamboti, ASCE members Scott Grainger and Seth McVey, and IC911 Executive Director Ted Walter got together on August 18, 2023, to talk about their five-year ethics case against two former editors of the ASCE’s Journal of Engineering Mechanics. Here is the video of their interview with host Fran Shure.
For more than a decade, Richard Johns and Tony Szamboti battled to have their paper published in the ASCE’s Journal of Engineering Mechanics.
Their paper was a direct response to and critique of an earlier paper the journal had published on the Twin Towers’ destruction. Nevertheless, the editors — both of whom had major conflicts of interest in relation to the paper being critiqued — rejected Johns and Szamboti’s paper as “out of scope.”
Now, nearly five years after Johns and Szamboti filed an ethics complaint against the journal’s editors, the ASCE’s Executive Committee has voted unanimously to dismiss their complaint.
The documents related to the case are presented below. They include the statement and attachments submitted to the ASCE Executive Committee by Johns and Szamboti as well as the statement submitted by Roberto Ballarini — the sole remaining defendant in the case (the other editor, Kaspar Willam, is no longer an ASCE member) — and the case summary submitted by the ASCE’s Committee on Professional Conduct (CPC).
Anyone who takes the time to read Ballarini’s statement and compare it to the evidence submitted by Johns and Szamboti will see that Ballarini was blatantly lying. And anyone who takes the time to read the CPC’s case summary will see that the CPC’s position is baseless — indeed, it is literally without basis because the CPC provided none — and that the CPC did not sincerely investigate the allegations against the two editors.
Be prepared for your jaw to drop when you see how obviously and egregiously the journal editors violated the ASCE Code of Ethics and how decision-makers at ASCE refused to hold them accountable every step of the way — thus preventing Johns and Szamboti’s paper from ultimately being published.
Attachments to Johns and Szamboti Statement: