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US coalition defends 'publishing integrity'

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A new US initiative from the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM) aims to warn the public about the so-called risks of government interference to scientific publishing.

By bringing together 'like minded scholarly societies, publishers and researchers' PRISM hopes to safeguard scientific peer-review processes, which it believes are under threat from recent government involvement.

'We are enthusiastic about this initiative… to alert [policy makers and citizens] to the very real threat to peer review that ill-considered government interference represents,' said Patricia Schroeder, president and chief executive of Association of American Publishers (AAP). 'Only by preserving the integrity of the peer-review process can we ensure that research remains accurate, authoritative, free from manipulation and censorship, and distinguishable from junk science.'

PRISM is a coalition launched with developmental support from the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of AAP to alert Congress to the unintended consequences of government interference in scientific and scholarly publishing.

The move follows recent demands on not-for-profit and commercial journals from Federal government to surrender large numbers of published articles that scholarly journals have paid to peer review, publish, promote, archive and distribute. 

Schroeder believes this government interference will force journals to relinquish intellectual property and copyright protections, placing the entire scholarly communication process at risk.

'Peer review has been the global standard for validating scholarly research for more than 400 years and we want to make sure it remains free of unnecessary government interference, agenda-driven research, and bad science,' added Brian Crawford, chairman of the executive council of AAP’s Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division.