In my last post, I asked the hive-mind if arguments have been made suggesting government-mandated open access counts as an attack on free speech. I’ve since found one in the wild, although it hardly counts as a full-fledged argument.
Remember when Elsevier, Wiley and the American Chemical Society hired a public relations consultant to generate spin against the open access movement? Well, he used free-speech rhetoric:
The consultant advised them to focus on simple messages, such as “Public access equals government censorship”.
This revelation led to fallout coverage in Scientific American, the Washington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as commentary in the blogosphere. For most, the question of censorship wasn’t an issue – although both The Questionable Authority and The Daily Transcript take cursory jabs at the warning. (Apparently it is ‘idiotic’ and ‘reality-challenged’.)
In his original comments on this, Peter Suber gives some background (emphasis added).
[The American Association of Publishers] has been falsely identifying government archiving with government censorship, and falsely identifying threats to publisher revenue with threats to peer review, at least since the debate over the NIH policy in 2004.
Falsely? Perhaps I’ve missed out on a debate about this in the open access literature, but for now it seems only the publishers are taking the free speech angle seriously.
- See my original post: Policing open access: what about free speech?