The Scientific Activist

This is about the only appropriate response to the absurdity of the the anti-open access organization PRISM. A commenter on the last post pointed me to PISD, the Partnership for Integrity in Scientific Dis-semination:

The Partnership for Integrity in Scientific Dis-semination was established by a concerned group of biomedical scientists to combat the steady encroachment of Open Access (OA) publishing initiatives on the profit margins of traditional publishers. Major academic publishers such as Reed Elsevier, Blackwell Publishing, and Springer earn millions of dollars every year selling universities and other institutions expensive subscriptions to the academic journals they produce.


After undergoing extensive mediation and couples counseling, the PISD Coalition can confidently assert that scientific information does not want to be free. It wants to stay just where it is: safe and warm in the Reed Elsevier vaults, protected by the long arm of intellectual property law, earning massive profits for traditional publishers.


Peer reviewing doesn’t cost journals anything–scientists usually referee papers for free. Isn’t that a little unfair?

It is indeed a source of consternation to many in the publishing industry that current publishing conventions provide scientists with the opportunity to referee papers at no cost. Consider all the benefits reviewers accrue: (a) they get to read potentially important manuscripts several months or years before they’re officially published and become popular; (b) they’re afforded an easy opportunity to silence or scoop competitors by stalling their publications; (c) they might learn something, and you know how scientists are always saying you can’t put a price on knowledge! Given all these benefits, it’s pretty clear that peer reviewers are taking advantage of publishers’ goodwill in a way that publishers never intended. Fortunately, the current outdated model will soon give way to a new, auction-based model currently under development at one of the larger publishing companies.

Well played, my friend. Well played.

There is much, much more on PISD’s website. Go check it out.


  1. #1 MaxPolun
    August 29, 2007

    You should have put in the title for that last paragraph: “Peer reviewing doesn’t cost journals anything—scientists usually referee papers for free. Isn’t that a little unfair?”

    This is a pretty clever spoof.

  2. #2 Nick Anthis
    August 29, 2007

    Yeah, good point. I went ahead and added it.

  3. #3 Epikorean
    August 31, 2007

    PISD’s website is funny. It’s so absurd I don’t even know what to say. Denial is not just a river in Egypt…

    When all else fails, just deny, reject outright, and spout out bold counter-truths. Wait, if it’s contrary to truth, then it’s…a lie? Tell me it isn’t so. I guess this is what they call PR control. Pero yo no s� nada.

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