Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Andrew Leonard on PRISM

Andrew Leonard, Science publishers get even stupider, Salon, August 28, 2007.  Excerpt:

For fans of increased public access to taxpayer-funded scientific research, 2007 got off to an eye-opening start when Nature broke the news in January that Eric Dezenhall, a public relations high flier, was advising a group of scientific publishers to start pushing the theme that "public access equals government censorship."

I had some fun with that tidbit: "... any publisher of scientific research who even begins to entertain the notion that free access to scientific information can or should be equated with government censorship should be mocked mercilessly in every publication, online or off, free or subscription required, evanescent as a blog or solid as a hard-copy Encyclopedia Britannica, from now until they beg forgiveness from every human on this planet for their disingenuous mendacity." ...

Despite my rhetoric, I can't say I actually believed that the publishers would take Dezenhall's advice. But that is exactly what has happened, reports Peter Suber, the author of a blog exquisitely focused on the topic of open access. On Aug. 23, the Association of American Publishers announced that it was forming a lobbying organization, the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM), to fight back against the perfidious influence of the open access revolutionaries.

A specter is haunting commercial science publishers:

Policies are being proposed that threaten to introduce undue government intervention in science and scholarly publishing, putting at risk the integrity of scientific research by ... undermining the peer review process by compromising the viability of non-profit and commercial journals that manage and fund it [AND] opening the door to scientific censorship in the form of selective additions to or omissions from the scientific record.  

...I stand by my original opinion. The American Association of Publishers and everyone associated with it should be ashamed of trying to protect their profit margins by slandering the open access movement as government intervention and censorship. Research paid for with government funds should be freely accessible to the general public. Peer review will survive. PRISM, however, will be doomed by its own weasel words, which represent a betrayal of everything science stands for....

Let the mocking begin.