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“Public access equals government censorship”

The big publishers of scientific journals are, not surprisingly, concerned about how open access to information on the internet is cutting into their profits. Apparently they are now hiring PR people to try to keep their market share, and the PR people are counseling that the very concept of open access needs to be undermined. With regard to our issues, who do you think stands to benefit more from such an anti-open-access campaign, the Darwinists whose propaganda engines are entrenched in the big publishing houses, or the ID proponents who are systematically excluded? Here is an indicator of where things appear to be going (I would like to see some independent confirmation):

… [A] strategy for the publishers provides some insight into the approach they are considering taking. The consultant advised them to 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”.

[...] In an enthusiastic e-mail sent to colleagues after the meeting, Susan Spilka, Wiley’s director of corporate communications, said Dezenhall explained that publishers had acted too defensively on the free-information issue and worried too much about making precise statements. Dezenhall noted that if the other side is on the defensive, it doesn’t matter if they can discredit your statements, she added: “Media messaging is not the same as intellectual debate”.

SOURCE: click here.

I imagine that “ID pseudoscience” will be exhibit A in why open access needs to be limited.

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27 Responses to “Public access equals government censorship”

  1. I have an electronic subscription to Nature.

    Here is a clip from the nature article which preceded the blurb you quoted:

    The author of Nail ‘Em! Confronting High-Profile Attacks on Celebrities and Businesses is not the kind of figure normally associated with the relatively sedate world of scientific publishing. Besides writing the odd novel, Eric Dezenhall has made a name for himself helping companies and celebrities protect their reputations, working for example with Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron chief now serving a 24-year jail term for fraud.

    Although Dezenhall declines to comment on Skilling and his other clients, his firm, Dezenhall Resources, was also reported by Business Week to have used money from oil giant ExxonMobil to criticize the environmental group Greenpeace. “He’s the pit bull of public relations,” says Kevin McCauley, an editor at the magazine O’Dwyer’s PR Report.

    Now, Nature has learned, a group of big scientific publishers has hired the pit bull to take on the free-information movement, which campaigns for scientific results to be made freely available. Some traditional journals, which depend on subscription charges, say that open-access journals and public databases of scientific papers such as the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) PubMed Central, threaten their livelihoods.

  2. Tax moneys support scientific research that gets published in extremely high-priced journals that are therefore inaccessible to the American public that pays for the research. Go figure.

  3. To clarify the readers what is going on, a bill is before Congress that would require researchers to make their research available for free on the internet if the Government has funded the research.

    Right now it is not a legal requirement. Or at least not enforced. Today, if Darwinists get government money for research, they are not really compelled to give free access to the public to the research that the public paid for.

    At least that’s what one side is arguing according to the Nature article.

    I’ll tell you what, it’s been awesome about some of the free access. Sometimes in debates over DNA, I could call up gene sequences for free through the NCBI data bank and challenge my opponents over the data…

    They used to be able to claim such and such a paper refuted ID, but then, if the paper was a government funded paper available for free and quickly on the net, I could look it up and call them on their misrepresentation.

    If this were 26 years ago, I’d be spending months paying bucks trying to get a hold of a paper I can get for free in seconds!

    I imagine that “ID pseudoscience” will be exhibit A in why open access needs to be limited.

    Dang right. The argument will go something like, “the creationists will use publicly available information to deceive the scientifically illiterate”.

    Why would the Darwinist fear these developments? What if, for example, the government began publishing large whole genome sequences derived via Solexa technology, and ID proponents could confirm their claims empirically about DNA evolution? Furthermore, the ID proponents can invite independent confirmation of the inferences because the data are publicly available.

    Even today, some papers published on muation rates can be independently challenged by IDers who simply have internet access and the time and skill to analyze the data. They can independently challenge claims by Darwinists who used to be able to get away with fabricating rebuttals to ID claims…

    The Darwinists make a claim about the evolvability of a nucleotide sequence, well, in days gone by that would have been hard to challenge. Not anymore, as the sequences are now publicly available, plus lots of related research on those sequences…

  4. Got the name of the bill so we can write to our congressional representatives to tell them to pass it?

  5. My description of the bill was premature as it’s not up for vote, only in the works (my bad), here is what Nature reported:

    Since 2005, the NIH has asked all researchers that it funds to send copies of accepted papers to the archive, but only a small percentage actually do. Congress is expected to consider a bill later this year that would make submission compulsory.

  6. Very interesting.
    One of the hallmark of totalitarian society where I lived was utter lack of transparency. Every “trick in the book” was used to prevent public from access to information. Instead, official propaganda pronouncements were issued to support the Dogma.

    I must admit, this is a good strategy by Darwinian Establishment, right our of Marxist book.

  7. They are shooting themselves in the head.

    If anything outrages the public it is under the rug moves to keep them ignorant.

    This is good news in one sense. It means the Darwinian juggernaut isn’t working as well as they thought and ID is getting a load of free pub off the Web.

    This is the clearest message we could ask for to tell us that they’re on the defensive in a serious way.

    The internet is not censurable in the larger sense anyway. There is always a software/hardware path to any information you wish to see – if you’re sturdy and stubborn enough to make the efforts.

    So it’s all a waste of money for these inane publishers to attempt such low-life “let’s-pretend-we’re-the-KGB” tactics anyway.

    And they dare call themsleves scientists?!

    I say let ‘em do it. They’ll only repulse the public and burn themselves out of business in the process.

    My, my, my! Such rabid efforts to stifle the opposition.

    It can only be explained by radical Darwinian Jihad.

  8. 8

    Michael Ruse has accused members of the ID community of abandoning the principles of the Enlightenment.

    The fact that ‘a group of big scientific publishers has hired the pit bull to take on the free-information movement’ is definitive and demonstrable proof that many who claim to speak for modern science have themselves abandoned Enlightenment ideals of open inquiry and factual disclosure.

    Science has cashed in their Enlightenment ideals, and “sold out” to “big (journal) business.”

    I think open access would send the Darwinian Superstructure crashing down.

  9. 9

    Someone needs to remind the big journals that they are subject to economic “Survival of the Fittest.” They are going to have to adapt, or they will become extinct.

  10. This little tid bit was symbolic, and just too funny regarding whom the peer-reviewed journal publishers enlisted to help them:

    Eric Dezenhall has made a name for himself …. working for example with Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron chief now serving a 24-year jail term for fraud.

  11. 11

    DaveScot,

    Do you hear the sound of Survival of the Fittest exploding?

  12. Borne
    If anything outrages the public it is under the rug moves to keep them ignorant.

    I suppose it’s a clever trick of the Darwinists to keep their research cloistered away in libraries?

  13. I personally don’t think the statements saying that this is a ploy to keep valuable information from being used against scientific orthodoxy. If someone knows of individuals who are making claims like “the creationists will use publicly available information to deceive the scientifically illiterate”, then let’s discuss that when it comes up. Otherwise, I think Dembski’s comment about how absurd it is for the people who pay for the research not to have access to it is the most cogent criticism thus far.

  14. Edit: That first sentence should read “I personally don’t think much of the statements saying that this is a ploy to keep valuable information from being used against scientific orthodoxy”.

  15. 15
    Inquisitive Brain

    Frankly172,

    That’s not what we’re saying here. One of my main complaints is that, for example, I am compelled under threat of imprisonment to pay taxes on my hard-earned money, and my tax money is used to directly fund research.

    Then, I have to pay again to read the research.

    But the problem here is that I already paid toward the research. Literally.

    Does that not strike you as unjust, or at least odd?

  16. Inquisitive Brian
    Does that not strike you as unjust, or at least odd?

    Perhaps. It certainly doesn’t strike me as an evil plot, in the line of the KGB or marxist totalitarians.

  17. I’ve been happy with PUBMed and NCBI so far. The Tools;
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Tools/, available for learning are great for free access. The scope of information is incredible and complexity the indicator of why Design is the future. They’ve done a pretty good job for government work. Somebody gets it. Open Database source, DNA, free online tools and documentation.

    I am quickly able to look at Wnt for Conserved Domains. Great stuff. The Database tools and 3D Modeling are good for free online access. I can imagine what Professional Tools must be like.

    This is what we paid for and our Government is responsible for making it available to us.

    Now, if the old Brick and Mortar Museums will update the WEB with fossils in unison with GENE projects, people can get accurate pictures of what is known. We should be able to simultaneously compare GenoType/PhenoType within the GUI modeling systems. There should be simple GUIs for example of Proteins across taxa with related pictures of actual life forms related to the structural anatomy. From this type of database you should see immediate comparisons of disparate forms and those alike.

    CompSci, EE’s, ME’s can figure this out, no brainer. So much of this is labeling of resources and systematics. Essentially, you have an organization problem on hand. And since traditional evolutionary biology never thought of order in the past, plus holdovers of phenotypic exchange, we’re saddled(I believe) with outmoded systems of related informational content.

    The big publishing houses and old powers that be are afraid the hard core sciences will discover patterns heretofore unseen by themselves. I do not blame this strictly on Darwinist, just on human nature and the need to control and protect one’s “prized territory” from would be cannabalist that will tear down all they’ve built at firts, but eventaully rearrange, rebuild and rejuvenate the field.

    It is going to take a holistic approach of rearranging the data and allowing for multiple views, not by evolutionary methods only, but by purpose and function(Design).

    All fossil records, pictures, data etc., must be available online to the Public At-Large with corresponsding genomic info(when available).

    Just how hard is it these days to Digitize Hobbits in Indonesia and put all appropriate information into a relational database for public consumption?

    Gene people are way ahead of Fossil people: go here.

    Anyone know of online sources similar to NCBI for Fossils?

    If Not, Why Not? These are our tax dollars, not only for cantankerous old Curators and stubborn territorial scientist.

    I should be able to click on the “forearm” of Neanderthal and see a lovely view of anatomical structures, along with cellular, plus NCBI data for cross comparison of species with genomic information.

    Think of it as a big spiral going back and forth across functional genotypes and taxa. It should be able to jump from bacteria in the stomach…. to bacteria in the fly.

    The Medical field is critical to this understanding of holistic approahes. Reductionism serves its purpose, but is limited.

    I’m guessing the field of Genomic Systematics of Life should be exploding. Just like there are systems engineers in any industry, we will need systems engineers for life.

  18. Franky172:
    I suppose it’s a clever trick of the Darwinists to keep their research cloistered away in libraries?

    What research? Is there any research that shows any mechanism can account for the diffences observed between humans and chimps? Or do we just continue to accept it as dogma that the two populations once shared an ancestor?

    Methinks you are confusing scientific research, that has nothing to do with the assumption of a LUCA, with Darwinism.

  19. But anyway, could William please help me out?

    According to Dembski, “complex” = “improbable under known natural causes”.

    According to Dembski, the simpler something is to describe, the more specified it is.

    I believe that is an over-simplification which misses the point.

    The context is using the EF on pulsars. My point is the EF boots out the signal at the first node and others think it passes through as being designed.

  20. I don’ see any problem here, given that I can go to any local university and read the Journals. Our governemnt also funds libraries, but they don’t buy us each our own copy of the books in it. We must go to the library and access the information there. Accessing the information in these journals is no different.

  21. Joseph
    What research?

    The research that the “KBG-like” tactics, and tactics out of the “marxist book” are hiding, evidently.

  22. I think if one polled researchers, one would find a plurality would be in favor of open access. I’m pretty sure librarians would be pretty near unanimous in their support. The idea that there is some conspiracy to hide away science from the public doesn’t make much sense.

    Yes, our tax dollars pay for much of the research of interest. But it costs money to publish – someone’s gotta pony up. Otherwise, we’re faced with a maze of …. well, I’m not sure how science gets disseminated if not by the system we have. If you’re worried about paying twice, look at it this way. When you pay for an article, you’re not paying the researcher, or institution, or whomever. You’re paying someone to provide a service, the service of finding, sorting, and validating research results. That’s a different matter than paying for the research itself.

    It costs to publish. Right now, these costs are recovered (by the publisher) in two ways – page charges and subscriptions. The legislation mentioned here would in effect reduce or eliminate susbcriptions as a source of income. Which would leave page charges as the only way to defray the costs – paying editors, other staff, production, etc.

    Think about it – without subscriptions then the researcher bears the full cost (or at least more of the cost) of publishing. That’s sort of like having Dembski pay to get The Design Inference printed, marketed, etc. instead of having readers pay the publisher. The move towards open access sounds, well, um, downright communistic.

    But that’s being a bit hyperbolic. At the risk of being labeled a commie, I would agree that open access is a good idea. But it will hurt publishers of scienctific journals. That’s what the fuss is about – someone’s gravy train is going to dry up a bit, and they don’t like it.

  23. I’ve read of many scientists and universities coming out *for* open access to scholarly journals (see, e.g., http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/journals.html and the examples he cites). I’m not personally familiar with scientists in general, or those working in evolutionary biology in particular, coming out in favor of restricted access. In fact, I think you might find common cause with the vast majority of evolutionary biologists re a bill requiring open access to the products of taxpayer-funded research.

    In the meantime, there’s more content freely accessible than anyone could reasonably be expected to read. Besides many interesting journals available on PubMed (example: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....ournal=403 ) and BioMed (example: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcdevbiol/ ), there are other journals that are freely available after a relatively short wait (e.g., the Oxford University Press Journal of Molecular Biology and Evolution, where all issues 12 months old and earlier are open access – see http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/archive/ ). Happy reading, and let’s hope for a successful bill to give us access to the research we’ve all paid for.

  24. “Forgive my lack of understanding of American politics. Is it the case that large corporations in the USA tend to support one political party over another?” – amadan

    The Republican Party is generally viewed as the pro-business party. But there are lots of exceptions. If you are a Democrat congressman from a state with lots of pharmaceutical companies or auto makers, for example, you’re gonna be “pro-business” when it comes to taking care of these industries in your state. There is too much tax revenue, employment and of course, political contribution money for you not to take care of these businesses!

  25. I have to say that Jud is correct. Everyone I know in science is in favor of open access.

    If anything, scientists WANT many people to read and cite their research.

    The only people opposed to open access are the money makers at the journals.

    The new open access journal PLOS is what the publishers are so worried about – and publishing in PLOS is becoming more and more prestigious.

    Here is the journal frontpage – there are many different journals, PLOS Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Computational Biology.

    http://www.plos.org

  26. I can prove Evolutionary Biologists are one of the most in favor of open access.

    If one goes to this link, for the Journal PLOS ONE, an open access journal, one can see the number of publications by subject on the right side.

    http://www.plosone.org/home.action

    The subject Evolution has 37 articles, only second to the number of articles to Genetics and Genomics. PLOS ONE has only been open for a few months.

  27. 27

    franky172,

    If “Nature published an article yesterday about big scholarly publishers meeting with a PR firm to propagandize against open access,” then I become concerned.

    Maybe there’s no “evil plot, in the line of the KGB or marxist totalitarians,” but hiring a propaganda agent like Eric Dezenhall is certainly cause for pause.

    I think it’s also a wake-up call for many in our society who think that science has destroyed the ivory towers of religion, and that the only ivory towers left are in science. Science journals are real businesses just like McDonald’s. The main difference being that McDonald’s is not hiring propaganda agents to put the smear on soup kitchens.

    Calling in a propaganda machine also causes us to pause and ask why it is necessary to impede something that is clearly altruistic and seems inevitable.

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