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Re: Just who is on the defensive?

David Goodman wrote:

"Now as quick comment to start off, their PR advisor has chosen what are perhaps the weakest arguments against open access...."Public access equals government censorship""

Honestly, I've been wondering what took the big publishers so long to react. They've allowed the pro-OA side to frame the debate, control language, and even create a lobbying organization. No wonder why they are defensive and going out for professional help! Rhetorical positions about transparency of government, accountability, public interest, and social justice are very powerful and have been used astutely. Censorship, on the other hand, is a dirty word and most academics have an immediate negative reaction to this term, which is why it will be used. Dezehnall's group will undoubtedly find other negative associations, the right language, and the right frame for a big media campaign. They are very good at this.

The debate over Open Access, like the debate over abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, taxation, and other controversial topics create polarized groups for the very reason that their arguments are grounded in different value-systems. This is why Dezenhall's PR group is attempting to associate the OA debate with some deeply held values of scientists. David Goodman may be right about the weakness of this argument, but "Media messaging is not the same as intellectual debate."

Phil Davis
PhD Student
Dept. of Communication, Cornell University