a bit more on PRISM

If you haven’t already, go read Peter Suber’s initial response — it is, as always, clear, calm, comprehensive and compelling. (I hope to meet Peter one day; I imagine him as a kind of unflappable, scholarly James Bond…) This is your one-stop anti-PRISM shop for the time being: if you read nothing else, read this; and whenever PRISM rears its ugly head, make sure Peter’s response gets an airing too.
Peter has also responded to a Publisher’s Weekly article that simply repeats the PRISM propaganda. The by-line is Rachel Deahl, a senior news editor at PW. I wrote to her, as follows:

Dear Ms Deahl,
I write in response to your recent brief article in Publishers Weekly (“AAP Tries to Keep Government Out of Science Publishing”, August 23, 2007), in which you quote or repeat several egregious errors of fact which are being propagated by the newly formed anti-Open Access disinformation factory, PRISM.
Briefly, there is no aspect of the Open Access publishing model which would force anyone to “turn over” anything to the government, nor will OA publishing damage peer review in any way. For a detailed and authoritative response to the PRISM campaign, I refer you to Peter Suber, Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, on his weblog Open Access News:
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2007_08_19_fosblogarchive.html#365179758119288416
In your article, you quoted PRISM and AAP members, but gave no space to the opposing point of view, which is simply that taxpayers should get what they have paid for: the results of the research they fund, and maximally efficient use of those results by the researchers whose salaries they also pay. I hope you will follow your initial report with a more balanced article that includes interviews with Open Access experts and advocates. In case it is of use in your research, I include here, in no particular order, a brief list of potential interviewees:
Peter Suber, as above (contact)
Paul Ginsparg, founder of arXiv (contact)
Barbara Cohen, Executive Editor, Public Library of Science (contact)
Mark Patterson, Director of Publishing, Public Library of Science (contact)
Matthew Cockerill, Publisher, BioMed Central (contact)
Finally, I should point out that I have also published this letter on my own weblog, and you are of course welcome to respond there (www.sennoma.net) at any time.
Best wishes,
me.

I’m not sure whether this will do any good — William Walsh has pointed out that Publisher’s Weekly is owned, once removed, by Reed Elsevier, noted price-gougers and employers of the notorious Publisher’s Pitbull, so Ms Deahl’s options may be limited by her bosses. This is also a good place to point out that if you write to her, being a jerk about it will not only be pointless and stupid but will in fact damage the OA cause. (That should go without saying but these things do tend to get out of hand when emotions run high and email allows one to send in haste and repent at leisure…)

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