Re: Stop fighting the inevitable - and free funds for open access!

From: Peter Banks <pbanks_at_BANKSPUB.COM>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 08:41:07 -0500

Nice try, but I haven't made that argument (primarily because I well
remember trying the "He started it first!" tactic on my mother when I was a
boy and her being quite unconvinced.)

I repeat what I did say: It's unfortunate when serious matters of policy
policy get reduced to slogans. It's bad when OA advocates do it, it's bad
when publishers do it.

I on the OA side, the "Taxpayers have a right to read what they've paid for"
has a grain of truth. It's a serious question to ask how much and what form
of access the public should have to the fruits of their investment in
research. It's media messaging to suggest that publishers have somehow
pirated away that public resource, when obviously the public never paid for
the value the publisher added. (If you think the publisher adds no value,
then the simple solution is to mandate the posting of preprints.)

On the publisher side, the government funding equals censorship also has a
grain of truth. We are living with the most secretive and manipulative
administration in U.S. History. It's a serious question to ask whether
government funding of publishing gives politicians undue control over
scientific communications. It's media messaging to suggest that such funding
automatically equals "censorship."

The odd thing about all of this is that those excoriating Dezenhall seem
never to have read his book, only the Business Week account of it. (Let me
guess, David: "Nail 'Em" is not on your bookshelf.) When I was in graduate
school, it was considered unethical to cite references you hadn't actually
read. No matter. No one seems to have noted that Dezenhall's endorsers are
not just a who's who of corporate scoundrels, but include such people as
former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, not exactly an enemy of science. And
while I don't agree with many of the positions Dezenhall has taken, he has
sometimes been on the side of defending solid science against "media

Life offers such wonderful ironies if you stop to appreciate them.



On 1/31/07 4:40 AM, "David Prosser" <david.prosser_at_BODLEY.OX.AC.UK> wrote:

> It's interesting that one of the things the Nature article quotes Eric
> Dezenhall, the PR 'pit bull' as saying is that 'if the other side is on the
> defensive, it doesn't matter if they can discredit your argument'. Over the
> past week Peter has attempted the 'open access advocates are worse' strategy
> ('They say Pat Schroeder attacks the disabled!') and the 'open access
> advocates are mad' strategy (Senator Cornyn has apparently gone 'batty'').
> This all to divert attention from the revelation that the best argument
> there is against open access appears to be the Orwellian concept that
> freeing the literature equals censorship. I'm sure Mr Dezenhall would be
> impressed.

Peter Banks
Banks Publishing
Publications Consulting and Services
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Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 591-6544
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Received on Wed Jan 31 2007 - 14:19:53 GMT

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