Open Access News

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A very personal protest of PRISM

Tom Wilson, Resignation from Editorial Boards, Research Information Weblog, September 3, 2007. 

I suggested, last week, that academics should resign from editorial boards of journals published by the supporters of PRISM. Clearly, then, I had to do so myself. Below is a copy of my letter to the Editor of the International Journal of Information Management (a journal I founded). I have written in similar terms the editor of Education for Information.


Dear Philip,

I have felt for some time that there is a conflict of interest in my membership of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Information Management, given my advocacy of open access publishing and, more to the point, the fact that I am publisher and editor of an open access journal.

This feeling was strengthened by the recent announcement of the lobby group PRISM, established, as I understand by the commercial publishers as an attempt to discredit the open access mode of publishing. In particular, their claim that open access threatened the peer review process is nothing less than the 'big lie' - the propaganda technique of Dr. Goebbels - and, clearly, I cannot let my name continue to be associated with a publisher who is prepared to use this kind of tactic.

You and I both know that this claim is nonsense and it is a very great pity that the publishers are prepared to employ the services of a lobbyist who adopts this kind of strategy: it does little to encourage trust in their motives.

I particularly regret that I have to resign from the Board of a journal that I founded and with which I have been associated for so long, but in the present circumstances no other course of action is available to me.

Given that one of the claims of the PRISM Website is that the publishers spend significant amounts of money on supporting the peer review process, and given that, in common with other academic referees, I have never benefited from that spending, I shall in future refuse to undertake unpaid refereeing work for any journal which is not an open access publication.

I shall be copying this message to my colleagues on the Editorial Board and to my Weblog, in support of the open access movement.

With regrets and kind regards to you, personally,