Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wiley deflects questions about PRISM

Mark Chillingworth, Wiley boss side steps PRISM questions, Information World Review blog, October 10, 2007.  Excerpt:

Peter Wiley the chairman of international scientific publishing giants Wiley declined to discuss the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM) anti-OA campaign today. Wiley, a former journalist and a published author, was at the Frankfurt Book Fair and celebrating the company's 200th anniversary.

With an extension of the hand Chairman Wiley handed the issue to Stephen Smith, Senior VP for Europe and International Development. "Our general view of OA is, it's another business model," said Smith.

Both men were keen to point out, rightly, that publishing is an expensive business and agreed that greater clarity about the role and importance of peer review and the publishing process would benefit the sector right now. Something critics have said PRISM is preventing.

"OA fees are going up," Wiley said, expressing concern that the new sector is unsustainable, in his only comment on the subject.

Wiley would be drawn on authors understanding of the publishing process, saying that in academic and trade (novels etc sold in bookshop) there is a "lack of realism about the publishing process"....

PRISM is the Association of American Publisher's controversial lobbying group that is claiming that open access (OA) publishing is a threat to peer review.


  • Although PRISM hasn't named a single publisher belonging to its "coalition", Wiley seems to be one of them.  According to Nature, Wiley was one of only three publishers in the room (with Elsevier and ACS) when Eric Dezenhall pitched the PR proposal now embodied in PRISM.  Is Wiley dodging questions about PRISM simply to avoid controversy?  Or is it distancing itself from PRISM, rough the way the AAP/PSP (which launched PRISM) did when it removed all mention of PRISM from its web site?
  • Peter Wiley is right when he points out that "OA fees [at fee-based OA journals] are going up."  But that's not responsive to any of the criticism of PRISM.  PRISM opposes government OA policies, which one and all focus on deposits in OA repositories, not submissions to OA journals.  In any case, rising fees do not entail that "the new sector is unsustainable".  If it did, then all of Wiley's journals, and all other TA journals, would be unsustainable as well.  But in fact most OA journals charge no publication fees at all, and we can already point to examples of fee-based OA publishers making a profit (Hindawi) and no-fee OA publishers making a profit (MedKnow).  If Wiley won't respond to questions about PRISM, I wonder whether he'd respond to the conclusion of the University of California Academic Senate that "The economics of [subscription-based] scholarly journal publishing are incontrovertibly unsustainable."