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RE: Response on Re: Call for Boycott of Cell Press Journals

I don't think the open access model redresses in any way the putative
conflicts of interest cited by Dr. Kudinov.  An author or editor
disinclined to provide the appropriate disclaimers in a subscription-based
journal isn't likely to do so when submitting to, or overseeing, an open
access publication.  These delicate situations (and numerous others)
create challenges for any publisher, regardless of its business model.

Commercial publishers are not intrinsically inclined to ignore possible
transgressions of this sort, in order to retain subscriptions:  the loss
of credibility would lead to far greater (if not irrevocable) damage. They
have every incentive to ferret out problems and resolve them
expeditiously.  The same is true of the open access publisher:  I'm sure
there would be very similar internal reviews conducted by the stewards of
any such journal when confronted by these sorts of allegations (naturally,
the outcome of such reviews would not often be met with universal

An example of how conflicts of interest (or the appearance thereof) aren't
limited to commercial publishers or publications:  earlier this week the
Los Angeles Times published the article "Stealth Merger: Drug Companies
and Government Medical Research" (December 7, 2003, by David Williams),
along with several case studies concerning practices at the National
Institutes of Health (NIH):  several officials were/are being paid
handsome consulting fees by the makers of the drugs they were/are supposed
to be monitoring (web access to the articles is free for a few more days,
but you must register first).  Findings from at least one of the studies
in question were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences (PNAS) in 1997.  The NIH reportedly is considering reviewing its
policies, but hasn't made any changes recently -- according to the
article, the last major revisions took place when Harold Varmus was
Director in the mid- to late-nineties, and these were considered by some
to be inadequate if not disingenuous.

There may be good reasons to champion or disdain the NIH and PNAS, and
there may be good reasons to defend or renounce Cell Press' and/or its
publications.  But bear in mind that conflict of interest dilemmas aren't
indigenous to subscription-based journals published by commercial
organizations, nor will they be resolved merely by the introduction of
open access publishing models.


Adam Chesler

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 5:59 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Response on Re: Call for Boycott of Cell Press Journals

7 December 2003

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to invite you to read a follow up on "Call for Boycott of
Cell Press Journals".

It is available with no registration as a commentary on a story "Call for
Boycott of Cell Press Journals" at STLQ Scholarly Publishing arhive,

The comment additionally lists the references for other stories, including
the latest "Open Access under attack" that referes to the latest coverage
of the debate on Open Access at The Lancet and other sources, and another
response on a boycott call.

The response feature of the STLQ provides an opportunity to sound your own


Alexei Koudinov, MD, PhD
neuroscientist and editor