More Eisen Drama for eLife

Michael Eisen falls victim to his Twitter/X impulses, and ignites an unnecessary controversy

Earlier this year, speculation ran rampant that Michael Eisen, the EIC of eLife, had been fired. The idea arose from a series of misguided tweets Eisen posted to his personal account indicating “he’d tried” and leading to a longer story in Nature about how eLife’s new approach to preprint publication had fomented backlash from the founding editor, editorial board members, and some researchers.

Now, Eisen is in hot water again due to his hair-trigger Twitter/X habits, having tweeted an edgy joke from the Onion and then engaged in an unknown number of related social media spats before quitting the field. The tumult led Eisen to delete his Twitter/X account, and forced eLife to quickly issue an ominous statement to distance themselves. Editorial board members have resigned or pledged to stop reviewing until Eisen is removed or eLife backs off threats to fire him — a Catch-22 for all involved.

The threads provide some good bad examples of what the Musk era of Twitter/X has become when controversies erupt.

Because Eisen deleted his account, patching together the story has been a bit difficult. Here’s the best I’ve been able to do.

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