Things Get Worse for Those "Greedy" Academic Publishers

Things just went from bad to terrible for the image of the Association of American Publishers. Rick Weiss in today's WPost spotlights the Association's hiring of "PR Pit Bull" Eric Dezenhall to help in their fight against patient advocates and members of Congress who are trying to require free access at academic journals to the results of federally financed research. Two bills and appropriations language mandating public access to government-funded research are slated to be introduced in the new Congress.

Dezenhall, who's clients include Exxon Mobil, apparently advised the Association to use some of the following language in framing their defense and the efforts of patient advocates:

Public access equals government censorship.
Government [is] seeking to nationalize science and be a publisher.

Here's the clincher, as Weiss, one of the best in business, writes at the Post:

Kevin McCauley, editor of the trade publication O'Dwyer's PR Report and the man who coined Dezenhall's "pit bull" appellation in a 2006 interview with Business Week, said the publishing association may live to regret the image of desperation that comes with an association with Dezenhall.

"The question I want to ask the publishing association is why a group that publishes scholarly journals feels the need to go this route," McCauley said.

His question might best be answered by the one-page statement the association released yesterday, which Schroeder confirmed was written internally and not by Dezenhall.

"Private sector non-profit and commercial publishers serve researchers and scientists by managing and funding the peer review process, disseminating authors' work, investing in technology and preserving millions of peer-reviewed articles as part of the permanent record of science," the statement read, in part.


More like this

Over the weekend I spotlighted a Washington Post article on the Association of American Publishers' hiring of the "PR Pit Bull" to frame their attacks on free access to federally-financed research articles. The Post article noted the perception problems caused by consulting with Eric Dezenhall,…
When three separate people send you an article in Nature it gets your attention. Since I have a paid subscription to Nature, my attention was ready to be grabbed anyway, but I hadn't yet read this story so a tip of the hat to my informants. I also have paid personal subscriptions to Science and a…
Yes, that's actually the argument made by the Orwellian group, PRISM ("Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine"): Policies are being proposed that threaten to introduce undue government intervention in science and scholarly publishing, putting at risk the integrity of…
The article is here. A snippet: For a six-month fee of $300,000 to $500,000, Dezenhall told the association's professional and scholarly publishing division, he could help -- in part by simplifying the industry's message to a few key phrases that even a busy senator could grasp. Phrases like: "…

Isn't ExxonMobil, or perhaps it's many chemist employees, strongly affiliated with the American Chemical Society?

If so, it wouldn't surprise me that the ACS would use the same hitmen and tactics that "bad guy" chemical companies like ExxonMobil use in their PR and policy influencing campaigns.

It wouldn't be too surprising that American Chemical Society was hooked up with Exxon Mobil. A journalist with ACS was fired for reporting on documentst that proved members of the Bush Administration were not allowing federal scientists to links between hurricanes and global warming.

There's an online version of the documentary that you find by clicking on the episode "Science Fiction"