Open access community condemns PRISM

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Following the Association of American Publishers’ launch of 'PRISM' - the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine - the open access community has launched a scathing attack on the coalition's motives.

According to Stevan Harnad of Southampton University and the American Scientist Open Access Forum, PRISM is as 'an anti-open access lobbying organisation'. He also asserts the coalition has been set up to 'counteract the accelerating growth of open access and the dramatic success of the pro-open access Alliance for Taxpayer Access lobbying organization in the US and the EC Open Access Petition in Europe.'

'Unlike the pro-open access lobby, which has a huge and growing public support base worldwide, the anti-open access lobby is up against the problem that it has neither a public support constituency, nor any ethical or practical case to build one on,' says Harnad. 'It is simply an industry trying to favour its corporate interests over the public interest without quite saying so.'

According to Harnad, the coalition's tactics include pretending that open access represents government interference in both the corporate sector and the research sphere while also putting both peer-review and scientific quality at risk.

'Open access maximises access to research findings, and thereby maximises the uptake, usage, and application of research findings,' he says. 'It is therefore in the best interests of research, researchers, research institutions… and the tax-paying public.'

Harnad also suggests the open access movement 'might be in conflict with the best interests of the peer-reviewed journal publishing industry' possibly reducing subscription revenues. 'So far none of this has happened, but with the growth of open access, it might,' he adds.