Re: Reed Elsevier initiated with "underperform"

From: Richard Poynder <richardpoynder_at_VERIZON.NET>
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003 08:59:39 -0400

>If you look a the site it also recommends Kluwer and Thomson as 'buys' -
>it is based
>as far as I can see on the (typical if I may say so) analysts opinion,
>short term potential
>I agree with Stevan's assessment, it is irrelevant.

Exactly. So it reminds us once again that analysts are completely driven by
trends, fashions and short-term fads, and should generally be ignored by
investors. Stevan is wrong, by the way, to assume that the aim here is to
knock RE.

What the pronouncement by BNP Paribas surely demonstrates is that these
guys have a rather different concept of an "open access system" to members
of this list.

Its relevance, therefore, is surely that the term is about to go through a
very difficult period in which it will be used to mean all things to all
men. That will make the work of those who support BOAI etc. far more
difficult. Analysts and tipsters will start to use it to mean everything
but what the originators of the term meant by it, companies will start to
market products using the term open access (intentionally even, as they
ramp up the tolls while pretending to be something else), and the general
noise associated with all this activity will doubtless make life far more
complex for list members (as if their lives were not already beset with
misunderstandings and confusion!). More importantly, perhaps, the
researchers (who, we are told, are the people who can make the difference
here) will be confused, and may turn away from open access thinking it is
something else.

The analogy with the ongoing confusion between "free" software and "open
source" software is maybe analogous -- ask Richard Stallman how much harder
the open source people have made his life (although admittedly giving the
underlying concept the kind of profile Stallman would likely not have been
able to provide himself). In effect, his baby was hijacked.

Sure, none of this has to mean that the aims of Stallman (in the case of
software) and open access advocates (in the case of academic papers) will
fail to eventually be achieved, but it will surely slow the process down
and confuse everyone in the mean time. In short, the message just got muddied.

The reason for recommending Kluwer over RE, presumably, owes much to the
move from RE to Kluwer by Derk Haank.
Received on Wed Oct 15 2003 - 13:59:39 BST

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