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Re: PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access: excerpts from article in Nature Magazine

It is quite astounding to hear the outcry over publishers 
engaging in "media messaging" rather than "intellectual debate."

For years, the OA camp has used media messaging--with its 
attending distortions and gross simplifications--to great effect. 
Consider a pearl like, "Taxpayers have the right to access 
research they have already paid for." Indeed they do. They can 
look at exactly what they have paid for--which is research up to 
the stage of preprints. They have not, however, paid for 
peer-review, copyediting, composition, or any of the other value 
that a publisher adds to the manuscript. That inconvenient fact 
has not, however, stopped OA advocates from implying that 
publishers are cheating taxpayers from something they already 
own. (By this logic, one might argue that citizens have the right 
to free bread for having paid agricultural subsidies.)

Before OA advocates start huffing about the need for 
"intellectual debate," they need to demonstrate their own 
intellectual integrity.

Peter Banks
Banks Publishing
Publications Consulting and Services
FAX (703) 383-0765

On 1/24/07 3:58 PM, "David Goodman" <dgoodman@Princeton.EDU> wrote:

> Their PR advisor has chosen what are perhaps the weakest 
> arguments against open access.
> If governments want to censor or direct academic research they 
> already have the ability, and they use it. They direct the 
> research and publication permitted from government 
> laboratories, as the US does with global warming; they can 
> control what they fund, as with stem-cell research; they can 
> prohibit some classes of research altogether, as with cannabis; 
> they can restrict it, as with cryptography. They can even 
> restrict the attendance at scientific meetings. They can delay 
> or prevent the publication of medical research, as they did 
> with penicillin in world war II.
> Peer review is not carried out by publishers. It is carried out 
> completely by scientists--the scientists who submit the papers, 
> the scientists who allot them to referees, the scientists who 
> do the refereeing. and the scientists who make the final 
> decision on the basis of the referee's reports. Publishers 
> claim to organize the process, but it has never been clearly 
> shown just what they do but pay office expenses and purchase 
> the software to keep track of the correspondence--and open 
> source software is also available.  Scientists are perfectly 
> able to operate without them, and for many journals they do 
> just that.
> What would the world look like without peer review? It would 
> presumably have fraudulent medical research, such as some of 
> the recent stem cell research, and it might have fraudulent 
> research in other fields, such as the Lucent fraud a few years 
> back, all published under the current publishing 
> system--complete with peer-review.
> The main problems with peer-review are getting scientists to 
> use it, and making the financial readjustments required for a 
> system which would almost certainly cost less than the present.
> That commercial publishers should use such arguments is a sign 
> of the strength and inevitability of the open access movement.
> David Goodman, Ph.D., M.L.S.
> dgoodman@princeton.edu
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Leslie Carr <lac@ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
> Date: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 3:23 pm
> Subject: [AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM] PR's 'pit bull' takes on open
> access: excerpts from article in              Nature Magazine
>> Jennifer McLennan (ARL) points out the following article to 
>> appear in Nature 
>> http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v445/n7126/full/445347a.html 
>> Extracts below
>> =====
>> PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access
>> Jim Giles
>> Journal publishers lock horns with free-information movement.
>> The author of Nail 'Em! Confronting High-Profile Attacks on 
>> Celebrities and Businesses is not the kind of figure normally 
>> associated with the relatively sedate world of scientific 
>> publishing. Besides writing the odd novel, Eric Dezenhall has 
>> made a name for himself helping companies and celebrities 
>> protect their reputations, working for example with Jeffrey 
>> Skilling, the former Enron chief now serving a 24-year jail 
>> term for fraud.
>> ...
>> Now, Nature has learned, a group of big scientific publishers 
>> has hired the pit bull to take on the free-information 
>> movement, which campaigns for scientific results to be made 
>> freely available. Some traditional journals, which depend on 
>> subscription charges, say that open-access journals and public 
>> databases of scientific papers such as the National Institutes 
>> of Health's (NIH's) PubMed Central, threaten their 
>> livelihoods.
>> From e-mails passed to Nature, it seems Dezenhall spoke to 
>> employees from Elsevier, Wiley and the American Chemical 
>> Society at a meeting arranged last July by the Association of 
>> American Publishers (AAP). A follow-up message in which 
>> Dezenhall suggests a strategy for the publishers provides some 
>> insight into the approach they are considering taking.
>> The consultant advised them to focus on simple messages, such 
>> as "Public access equals government censorship". He hinted 
>> that the publishers should attempt to equate traditional 
>> publishing models with peer review, and "paint a picture of 
>> what the world would look like without peer-reviewed 
>> articles".
>> ...
>> Dezenhall noted that if the other side is on the defensive, it
>> doesn't matter if they can discredit your statements, she added:
>> "Media massaging is not the same as intellectual debate.
>> Les Carr