Re: STM Talk: Open Access by Peaceful Evolution

From: Jean-Claude Guédon <>
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2003 23:57:58 +0000

Le 1 Mars 2003 15:16, David Goodman a =E9crit :

> Jean-Claude may feel that
> > > Librarians create the illusion of free access by supporting the whole
> > > structure financially
> and Stevan may disdain
> > Anyone who prefers instead to fight with publishers over tolls -- or to
> > lock horns with clueless lawyers, blindly leading the blind around the
> > uncharted regions of cyberspace while clutching the old, inapplicable
> > paper-based categories for dear life
> I want to remind them that there will be an interval until the
> scientists see the light and make their articles available by true open
> access. In the interim, there is value in continuing some
> system of scientific communication that will include the contribution of
> those less-enlightened in this regard, but who may be doing good science
> in other respects.

I agree that this transition period cannot neither be avoided nor overlooked.

> This does require people who will work to provide as much access as
> possible to as many members of the community as possible, who will
> negotiate with publishers over not merely affordable tolls, but access to
> unaffiliated users, access by interlibrary loan, stability and permanence
> of access, and access in the third world.

Again, I fully agree.

> We do not work for ourselves: we are the agents of those who wish to
> obtain information. I think both Jean-Claude and Stevan would want to
> have some means of accessing the work of those who still publish in
> monetarily restricted ways.


David, I do not think we disagree. My remark about librarians was not
dismissive, far from it; it was simply meant to explain that, thanks to
the (very useful) role they play, librarians have succeeded only too well
in shielding academics like myself from the pain of periodical costs. This
efficient form of protection, I believe, has led many scholars to remain
indifferent to the financial questions relating to scholarly publishing.
This is a consequence of the good work by librarians, which is somewhat
ironic, but it cannot be avoided. In point of fact, I would not want it
to be avoided at the present time. I do need librarians. Obviously, during
the transition period, their good work will be needed more than ever.


Jean-Claude Gu=E9don
Litt=E9rature compar=E9e, Universit=E9 de Montr=E9al
T=E9l. : 1-514-343-6208
Fax : 1-514-343-2211
Received on Tue Mar 04 2003 - 23:57:58 GMT

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