Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, February 09, 2007

IWR on the AAP PR campaign

Mark Chillingworth, The perils of PR pitbulling, Information World Review, February 9, 2007.  Excerpt:

Put aside your opinions on open access (OA) as a publishing model, and consider for a minute the sad fact that the industry has reached the point where it feels it is necessary to hire the PR “pitbulls”. Men like Eric Dezenhall, the PR agent at the centre of the debate, contribute nothing to debates and lower the perceived value of an industry – and no-one wins if that happens.

Dezenhall, as the Nature and IWR stories reveal, can cook up a good soundbite, but nothing he says will benefit the OA debate or the companies paying his hefty fees. In the long term, spin doctors simply lower the quality of the debate, and in doing so decrease interest in it....

No business can progress without meaningful debate, and misguided soundbites are a major obstruction to development. As one publisher said to me: “It is a shame that some publishers devote so many resources to the defence of the status quo, rather than looking forwards and working with the community. PR and marketing are not evil – they are essential to this industry; but it is disproportionate to focus on OA’s threats.”

The AAP, Elsevier and Wiley have hired Dezenhall because they don’t feel the OA debate has had a proper airing. Many would disagree. IWR would like to extend an open invitation to both sides to contact us and, within the normal constraints of publishing, we will give each side a platform to air its views....

PS:  I appreciate Chillingworth's offer to use IWR to air both sides of the debate.  I've just written to him express my willingness to participate.