PRISM: Open Letter to Cambridge University Press

I have sent the following letter to the Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press requesting factual information about the involvement of CUP in PRISM, and have asked that I can publish the reply on this blog
Open Letter to Stephen Bourne, Chief Executive Cambridge University Press

Dear Stephen Bourne,

I am writing as an individual member of staff in the University (heavily
engaged in developing new approaches to scientific scholarly publishing) to
ask about CUP's involvement with the recently launched PRISM initiative
from the AAP ( This initiative is an
undisguised coalition to discredit Open Access publishing and its launch a
few days ago has generated universal dismay and anger in many quarters
including several outside mainstream publishing. The press release was
reported in full by Peter Suber on his Open Access News blog
where he has objectively answered and dismissed the basis of PRISM and its
methods. As an example of the language of PRISM it implies that publishing
in Open Access journals (as I do on occasions) is "junk science". There is
much more from PRISM which is both deliberately factually incorrect and
misleading and I cannot see how a reputable scholarly organisation such as
CUP could be associated with it. Indeed at least one similar publisher
(Rockefeller University Press


"I am writing to request that a disclaimer be placed on the PRISM website
indicating that the views presented on the site do not necessarily reflect
those of all members of the AAP. We at the Rockefeller University Press
strongly disagree with the spin that has been placed on the issue of open
access by PRISM." [rest of letter omitted here]

The purpose of my letter is simply to request factual information from CUP
about its involvement with PRISM. Since PRISM itself has not reacted to any
of the recent comment I can simply speculate that not all members of the
AAP (perhaps including yourselves) were consulted before PRISM made its
press release and new site. In particular it is unclear whether PRISM is de
facto composed of all the members of the AAP or whether it uses their
unsought goodwill to reinforce the apparent strength of the PRISM

This mail is an Open Letter (posted on my blog, and I would intend to publish
your reply in toto and unedited since your position (and those of similar
publishers) is of great public interest). If there is anything you would
not wish to be published, please indicate. Alternatively you may leave a
comment on the blog itself. (My blog itself, though strongly advocating
Open Access and particularly Open Data, attempts to be fair and accurate).

Thanks in advance

Peter Murray-Rust

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2 Responses to PRISM: Open Letter to Cambridge University Press

  1. Bill says:

    Nice one. I hope many will follow your lead.

  2. Pingback: Ruptures over PRISM « my:self-archive

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