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Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine
The Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine (PRISM) is a front group founded by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (PSP/AAP) to oppose open access to scholarly publications. The chairman of the PSP/AAP is Brian Crawford, who is also head of publications at the American Chemical Society.
Hiring Dezenhall For PR Advice
In January 2007, Nature reported that public relations operative, Eric Dezenhall, "spoke to employees from Elsevier, Wiley and the American Chemical Society (ACS) at a meeting arranged last July  by the Association of American Publishers." The publishers were seeking to counter economic threats from open-access journals and public databases.
In an email leaked to Nature, Dezenhall suggested that the publishers "focus on simple messages, such as 'Public access equals government censorship.' He hinted that the publishers should attempt to equate traditional publishing models with peer review, and 'paint a picture of what the world would look like without peer-reviewed articles.'"
"Brian Crawford, a senior vice-president at the American Chemical Society and a member of the AAP executive chair, says that Dezenhall's suggestions have been refined and that the publishers have not to his knowledge sought to work with the Competitive Enterprise Institute."
Crawford later defended the move to hire Dezenhall in an editorial: "In essence, the premise of a January 24, 2007 article in Nature was that [publishers] should be admonished for seeking advice and assistance from a media consulting firm known for its effectiveness in working with high-profile clients on controversial issues," he wrote. "Peer-reviewed science and medicine should be free of any government intervention or funding agency bias, and we will fulfill our responsibility to communicate that point of view, because doing so is in the best interest of science and society."
ACS apparently took Dezenhall up on his offer, according to New Scientist, which reported that publishers had established PRISM. "Dezenhall's strategy includes linking open access with government censorship and junk science – ideas that to me seem quite bizarre and misleading," wrote the reporter.  New Scientist acquired a copy of Dezenhall's strategy document for creating PRISM and released it on their Website.
In a press release announcing the launch of the PRISM Coalition, Brian Crawford stated, “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.”
Copy of Dezenhall Strategy
- Eric Dezenhall, "Proposed Coalition Strategies and Tactics", undated but 2007. (This document was drafted for the Association of American Publishers but leaked to New Scientist contributor Jim Giles. It was originally published at here.
c/o Professional & Scholarly Publishing
Association of American Publishers
71 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003
Tel: 1-212-255-0200 Ext. 257
- Susan J. Ainsworth "Brian Crawford Will Head ACS Publications" Chemical & Engineering News August 2, 2007.
- Jim Giles, "PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access: Journal publishers lock horns with free-information movement", Nature, Volume 445 No 347, January 25, 2007.
- Brian Crawford, "Chairman's Corner", Professional Scholarly Publishing Bulletin, Volume 7, No. 1, Spring 2007.
- Jim Giles, "Publishers prepare for war over open access", New Scientist, September 20, 2007.
- "Proposed Coalition Strategies and Tactics", undated. (Pdf file)
- Press Release "PRISM Coalition to Inform Public on Risks Government Interference Poses to Science and Medicine" The Association of American Publishers, August 23, 2007.
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