Translation of the PRISM press release

Recently, an organization with the blandly orwellian name Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine (PRISM) was founded. They represent those who like making easy money off publically-funded research, and are wetting their pants that someone in Congress might figure out their scam, and take their precious golden goose away. They sent out this press release. For those of you who can't be bothered unpacking its double-speak, I've provided a translation:

The formation of a coalition of scholarly societies and publishers was announced today

If coalition means lobby group for an industry that depends on government financing.

in an effort to safeguard the scientific and medical peer-review process

Since we don't pay our reviewers anything to do the hard work of peer-reviewing our articles – they add the value for which we sell our journals – we would be fools not to try to safe-guard our cash-cows.

and educate the public about the risks of proposed government interference with the scholarly communication process.

Our current scholarly communication process doesn't actually let you (the public) read the research that, you, funded through government research grants. We must educate you about this, so you won't want to read our articles in the future.

The Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine is a coalition launched with developmental support from the Professional & Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to alert Congress to the unintended consequences of government interference in scientific and scholarly publishing.

Our business model siphons money from government-funded scientists and sells their research back to them. The scientists, of course, pays us more money to read our journals from government grants. Any change in government policy would turn this spigot dry.

The group has launched a website at, where it articulates the PRISM Principles,

Although we don't want you to read the science articles that we publish, we want you to read about our efforts to prevent you from doing so.

an affirmation of publishers' contribution to science, research, and peer review, and an expression of support for continued private sector efforts to expand access to scientific information. (

When we say "expand access to scientific information", we certainly don't want to expand access to you – that would actually be open access publishing. No, we want to expand our own access to the research that you funded, and wall it off.

We are enthusiastic about this initiative and the potential of our new website

We are scared shitless that the bottom will drop of our market, and this is our last ditch effort to stop you.

to educate policy makers and citizens about our efforts to increase access to information, to alert them to the very real threat to peer review that ill-considered government interference represents, and to explore the ways in which we can safeguard peer review as a critical component of scientific integrity

The idea of losing easy access to government money makes us very, very ill.

" said Patricia Schroeder, president and CEO of AAP. "Only by preserving the essential integrity of the peer-review process can we ensure that scientific and medical research remains accurate, authoritative, and free from manipulation and censorship and distinguishable from junk science."

If we try to say that open-access does not involve peer-review often enough, we might even believe it. Open-access does not involve peer-review. Open-access does not involve peer-review. These are not the droids you are looking for. Move along.

Recently, there have been legislative and regulatory efforts to compel not-for-profit and commercial journals to surrender to the Federal government a large number of published articles that scholarly journals have paid to peer review, publish, promote, archive and distribute. Mrs. Schroeder stressed that government interference in scientific publishing would force journals to give away their intellectual property and weaken the copyright protections that motivate journal

In many other publishing industries, the author owns the copyright to their work, but in science publishing, we do. Please don't take away our rights to your work.

publishers to make the enormous investments in content and infrastructure needed to ensure widespread access to journal articles. It would jeopardize the financial viability of the journals that conduct peer review, placing the entire scholarly communication process at risk.

We are so incompetent that the technological advances in typesetting, layout and electronic communication has actually made us less efficient, unlike, say, magazine and newspaper publishing.

"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," said Dr. Brian Crawford, chairman of the executive council of AAP's Professional & Scholarly Publishing Division.

Considering that the original scientific journal, "The Transactions of the Royal Society" was funded and sanctioned by the English Monarchy, i.e. the English government, we don't know our history either.

"The free market of scholarly publishing is responsive to the needs of scholars and scientists and balances the interests of all stakeholders."

If free market means that we charge what the fuck we want without restraint.

Critics argue that peer reviewed articles resulting from government funded research should be available at no cost. However, the expenses of peer review,
promotion, distribution and archiving of articles are paid for by private sector publishers, and not with tax dollars.

We really know that the research we get is not free. It's already been paid for. By you. That's why it's valuable. But let us pretend that it is us, and only us, that add value to the science.

Mrs. Schroeder pointed out that these expenses amount to hundreds of millions of dollars each year for non-profit and commercial publishers. "Why would a federal agency want to duplicate such expenses instead of putting the money into more research funding?" she said.

Yes, why would a federal agency want to duplicate expenses by paying us twice for publishing work that they did, so that they can read it? A very good question. Think about this why we're laughing all the way to the bank.

comments powered by Disqus