Re: STM Talk: Open Access by Peaceful Evolution

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 13:35:54 -0500

I suggest that the most powerful inducement
towards restraint in access fees has been and remains the
pressure implied by the Open Access movement.
In the absence of the alternative that this provides, I think we
would have been seeing even higher price increases.
(I do not think it is remotely correct to say that we have seen
lower prices. I have never seen a consortial arrangment with any
publisher that decreases library costs or even holds them constant.)

Similarly, in the absence of the OA alternative I think we would have seen
total intransigence towards self-archiving, off-campus access,
interlibrary loan, access by walk-in users at public institutions, and
guaranteed permanent accessibility. All of these have been conceded
very relutantly by publishers. We now think of them as natural and enlightened,
but without the threat of extinction I think we would have seen very little of them.

It has taken much effort in recent years for librarians to
ensure that these essential elements are provided, and neither
publisher generosity nor publisher common sense would have brought them about.
What has brought them about is the desire of publishers to survive, and
their realization that this can no longer be taken for granted. I hope publishers
do survive; I think their mode of production has the potential to remain
relevant in many instances. Most researchers like (some) conventional journals;
some of them even read (a very few) in paper.

If researchers intensify the pressure towards OA, it will surely eventually
force those publishers rational enough to see what is in front of them, and
realize that they will only continue in business if they publish what individuals
and their libraries will want to buy and be able to buy.

Speaking purely as an individual,

Dr. David Goodman
Princeton University Library
Palmer School of Library & Information Science, Long Island University

Dr. David Goodman
Received on Wed Feb 19 2003 - 18:35:54 GMT

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