20 October 2007

OA and the lobby industry

Heather Morrison has another thoughtful piece on open access in her Weblog, suggesting that the publishers' anti-OA consortium PRISM has imploded.

I'm not too sure about this: PRISM is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of lobbying. We can be sure that the publishing industry is lobbying away vigorously, with people, rather than a Website and it's that personal lobbying that makes the difference, rather than what is on public view. My suggestion is that fellow OA advocates in the USA need to lobby just as vigorously, writing to their senators and congressmen/women and generally countering the misinformation that the lobbyists inevitably purvey. We've seen time and again under this US administration that the truth does not necessarily prevail; the key is how much money the industry is prepared to spend to swing the votes of the legislators, whether it is to damage the Alaskan environment by oil drillling, open the virgin forests of the national parks to the logging industry, or run the worst medical care programme in the Western world for the benefit of the drug companies and the mis-named 'health care industry'.

Constant vigilence and persistence in telling the truth about the warped economics of the existing scholarly communication system is the only weapon we have.

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