Re: Author Publication Charge Debate

From: Suhail A. R. <>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 13:45:33 +0000

Jean-Claude Guedon wrote:

> 3. The OA [journal] movement may be commercial, but it does not have to be.
> Comparing it to a is inaccurate at best;

Can you please tell us why?

> 4. If there is one way to increase scientific productivity, it is with open
> access. Impact figures that begin to trickle in show much greater use of OA
> literature and, of course, OA literature allows much greater numbers of
> scientists to get involved in current debates, even in poor countries;

Sure, scientists from poorer countries can get involved in debates, but only
about others works as they would drop out of the publishing scene due to its
overhead costs to them

> 5. How one could ever conflate OA with "every researcher for himself" is
> beyond my understanding. OA involves a great deal of distribution, but it
> also rests on a great amount of coordination, standardization and
> interoperability.

It is certainly every author for himself unless you have an institutional

> 7. If tolls provide tools, we should also ask: can tools be financed in ways
> other than tolls and do we get the best tools with tolls. The answer is yes
> on both counts;

OA journals do not provide tools without tolls, so it boils down to
will tolls provide better tools

> 8. As for Albert Henderson's mantra about raising library budgets, the answer
> remains the same: of course, so long as it will not allow a number of
> publishers simply to increase their profit margin beyond the already obscene
> levels that have been repeatedly observed.

If it requires giving the publishers obscene margins through institutional
grants to provide free access, it will still be a better system than OA as
now no one is limited and the rich researchers are indirectly easing the
burden on the poor. This is an equitable solution for the research
communities, even though it allows publishers to make more money. I see the
movement as a new scheme to make money by playing on the emotions of
the research community. If TA publishers are making obscene margins, that
too is the target of OA publishers, is it not?

Albert Henderson wrote:

> Productivity should be the goal of the science community - authors,
> sponsors, readers, publishers, librarians, and the institutions that
> profit from grants. The OA movement has missed the mark by seeking
> financial efficiencies rather than effective science.
> The OA discussions fail because them include research claims but
> not the totality of science publishing. If we learned anything from
> Sputnik, it was that infrastructure -- including digests, reviews,
> libraries and library research and computerized index/abstract
> services -- deal with the chaos of research claims better than the
> every-researcher-for-himself/herself approach envisioned by OA. There
> is simply too much for any researcher to read, to digest and to evaluate.

Again I have to agree. Another reason why access tolls make sense over
author tolls. Furthermore, since many researchers access the same papers,
access tolls are more cost effective than author tolls.

> Readers that lack institutional connections can hardly begin to prepare
> credible research in most fields.
> Researchers need tools to prepare research. If 'tolls' provide tools and
> infrastructure directed at productivity, then 'tolls' should be embraced,
> as they were for hundreds of years.

This is true if we consider such conections to mean a research
infrastructure. However, nowadays, research is unfortunately lumped with
grants and finances and hence the idea of OA that emerged. OA is like
a bank loan, it gives you something, but in the end the interest takes
an awful lot away from you.

> The alternative OA approach is this: If higher education institutions
> were to realign library spending to match the growth of R&D, I believe
> publishers of research would be comfortable in permitting broad free
> access. A solid case should be made for governmental support of the
> indirect cost of libraries as a policy of science spending, since library
> research is essential for the preparation of science.

I never thought of this solution. I guess this is even a better idea than
embargoed access for 1 year.

> OA activists, including the major disciplinary associations, could be more
> effective by persuading a few hundred universities and a dozen agencies
> to support productivity in science than by trying to convince millions
> of authors to reject the social bonds that determine where they submit
> their papers.

This has been exactly what I have been trying to say, but it is more
pertinent to authors like us!
Received on Tue Feb 10 2004 - 13:45:33 GMT

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