Peter Suber points out that no members of the AAP/PSP’s ill-conceived PRISM “coalition” were ever identified, and that at least nine publishers publicly disavowed or distanced themselves from it; he then asks:
Has AAP/PSP ever consulted its members about its position on the NIH policy? Are AAP/PSP members willing to see their dues spent on a lawsuit to delay it?
I think it’s worth finding that out.
Listed at the bottom of this entry are the “green” and “pale green” EPrints/RoMEO publishers listed as members by the PSP (links and names taken directly from the PSP website). On closer inspection, it seems that RoMEO proper lists all of the “pale green” publishers as yellow, and (with one or two caveats concerning journals with long embargo periods) gives them all a “compliant” rating in respect of NIH policy.
Here is a draft of the letter I have in mind to send to each of these publishers:
the Association of American Publishers’ Professional and Scholarly Publishing division (AAP/PSP), which lists [your company] as a member , recently issued a press release  in response to the new NIH mandate  for Open Access to publicly funded research. The press release was highly critical and contained a number of mistaken and misleading assertions; for details, you can read a public, point-by-point rebuttal  by Prof Peter Suber, open access project director at Public Knowledge  and a senior researcher with the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition . I’m sure you remember PRISM, the AAP/PSP’s ill-considered campaign against Open Access [since your company publicy distanced itself from same]; this latest press release is similar in tone and apparent intent.
In stark contrast to the AAP/PSP’s public stance, [your company] is listed by Project RoMEO  as a [yellow/green] publisher. This means that [your company] policy regarding self-archiving of journal articles was fully in line with the new law even before it became law, and there is absolutely no conflict between your business model and the NIH mandate. In fact, of the 46 PSP member companies indexed by Project RoMEO, 30 have no policy that conflicts with the new law; and of the approximately 6000 journals published by those 46 companies, around 5700 already allow their authors to comply with the NIH mandate.
I write, therefore, to ask: does the AAP/PSP accurately represent its members in its opposition to the NIH mandate? Was [your company], as a member of the Association, consulted before the AAP/PSP respnse was made public? Finally, if [your company] is not in agreement with the AAP/PSP on this matter, would you consider making a public statement to that effect [in the same way you did regarding PRISM]?
The most obvious thing missing from the draft is “who the hell am I, to be asking you this?” Now, I can send the letter as myself — concerned citizen, professional research scientist, potential client of publishers — but I am only an egg, and it would have a good deal more impact as an open letter from a variety of interested and concerned parties, and still more if it came from somewhere official (ARL, SPARC, I don’t really know who would be appropriate here).
So — anyone up for a multi-author open letter? Any other ideas?
Update 080310: decided not to send letters after all; see here, scroll to bottom of post.
The publishers in question:
- Blackwell Publishing
- The MIT Press
- Nature America
- Oxford University Press
- SAGE Publications
- University of Chicago Press
- University of Illinois Press
- American Anthropological Association
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Geophysical Union
- American Institute of Physics
- American Mathematical Society
- American Psychological Association
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM, Inc.)
- Cambridge University Press
- Elsevier Science Inc.
- The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE)
- Institute of Physics Publishing
- The Johns Hopkins University Press
- Wolters Kluwer Health
- Massachusetts Medical Society
- National Academy Press
- Rockefeller University Press
- Springer Publishing Co.
- Springer Science + Business Media
- University of California Press
- The University of Hawaii Press
- John Wiley & Sons, Inc.