Sunday, January 28, 2007

Science Publishing: Ideas or Dollars?

Myriad problems plague the academic publishing model. Quantifying success with numerical indicators encourages scholars to publish for publishing's sake.

Likewise, publishing in academic journals is prized far more than books or book chapters. In no small irony for faculty researchers, publishers make money on journals. Researchers can only make money from books and book chapters, which are less valued.

Reading the Chronicle of Higher Education, I ran across this article.

Publishers' Group Reportedly Hires P.R. Firm to Counter Push for Free Access to Research Results
The Association of American Publishers has hired a public-relations firm with a hard-hitting reputation to counter the open-access publishing movement, which campaigns for scientific results to be made freely available to the public, the journal Nature reported on Wednesday.

The firm, Dezenhall Resources, designs aggressive public-relations campaigns to counter activist groups, according to the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit organization that monitors the public-relations business.

That's right. Hire an attack dog to tackle those radicals suggesting that science -- of all things -- should be about ideas rather than profits.

A few minutes later, I saw that my former colleague Matt Nisbet also wrote about high priced journal subscriptions today. Nisbet references an excellent article in the Washington Post titled, "Publishing Group Hires 'Pit Bull of PR."

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