Re: Author Publication Charge Debate

From: Albert Henderson <>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 16:17:14 +0000

on Tue, 10 Feb 2004 Jean-Claude =?iso-8859-1?q?Gu=E9don?=> wrote:

> In response to Albert Henderson, let me stress the following points:
> 1. The trend I was referring to was the growing support of a growing number of
> various granting agencies for financial support for the OA business plan as
> exemplified by BioMed Central and by PLos;

This is a miniscule movement compared to library and R&D spending
trends. I feel the big picture must be taken into account.

> 2. If we look at the growing number of open access journals and the
> growing number of open access repositories, including OAI compliant
> personal pages, and if we look at OA harvesters, I would say that
> movement is still a minority movement but that it is growing well and
> even fast. I would add that the growing frustration of a number of
> academics with the behaviour of various publishing houses is leading
> to an interesting revolt. The latter does not always coincide with
> open access, at least not yet, but it certainly gets one step closer;

The frustration is rooted in the failure of universities to meet their
obligations to support research and education with decent libraries. The
universities have campaigned long and hard using myths and slogans as
the core of propaganda aimed at shifing blame to publishers. Only the
most naive and trusting could accept any of it.

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

OA so far has shown little success in the real world as Stevan has
repeatedly pointed out in this forum.

> 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;

Better preparation is needed, not more sources -- many unrefereed --
and the possibility of researchers presuming they can get by without
access to the reviews and information services that are available only
through institutional connections.

> 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.

The task of reading and evaluating cannot be done alone or by reliance on
what has been released to OA. Many scientific fields require a task force
and an excellent library to evaluate the literature. This is also true
of much technology and social sciences but not so much in the Humanities.

> 6. Claiming some (obscure) link between OA and isolation from institutions is
> also very strange : universities themselves are setting up facilities to help
> faculty set up individual web sites...

You must not be speaking of readers who hope to bypass their inadequate
and nonexistent library collections.

> 7. If toll 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;

Charging authors is a toll, is it not?

> 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.

Have you actually read the public operating statements of any
publisher? Profits are hardly 'obscene' by any standard. This is what
I mean when I speak of myths and slogans. If publishers' profits were
'obscene,' you and everyone else would own shares. Publishers' profits
have never come close to profits reported by private research universities
in the United States.

        Best wishes,

Albert Henderson
Pres., Chess Combination Inc.
POB 2423 Bridgeport CT 06608-0423

ature. This is also true
of much technology and social sciences but not so much in the Humanities.

> 6. Claiming
Received on Tue Feb 10 2004 - 16:17:14 GMT

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