Nature is reporting that the Association of American Publishers arranged for a “pit bull” public relations specialist to help big science publishers (including Wiley, Elsevier, and the American Chemical Society) defend themselves from the open access movement.
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”. . .
In an enthusiastic e-mail sent to colleagues after the meeting, Susan Spilka, Wiley’s director of corporate communications, said Dezenhall explained that publishers had acted too defensively on the free-information issue and worried too much about making precise statements. Dezenhall noted that if the other side is on the defensive, it doesn’t matter if they can discredit your statements, she added: “Media messaging is not the same as intellectual debate”.
Nor is it the same, apparently, as telling the truth. But what seems almost stranger to me is the statement to Nature by Brian Crawford of the ACS. He believes that when a government agency insists the results of its publicly funded research be made public, it’s engaging in censorship.
“When any government or funding agency houses and disseminates for public consumption only the work it itself funds, that constitutes a form of selection and self-promotion of that entity’s interests.”
What?! Dude, those are MY interests. I PAID for them.
Posted by Barbara Fister