Re: Author Publication Charge Debate

From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2004 02:51:05 +0000

On Thu, Feb 12, 2004 at 09:14:58PM +0000, Suhail A. R. wrote:
> Bernard Lang wrote:
> > In order to understand your position, I would like to know where you
> > work, how much your library spends on publications, and what are your
> > qualifications to speak for poor countries (for example those where
> > hospitals cannot afford a single subscription).
> I work in Kuwait, Kuwait University spends a lot on the Medical Library
> (equivalent to any major US university Library at the very least - you can
> review details online at its website) and most major publications can be
> accessed without cost (to users). I did not realise that we require
> qualifications to speak for the third world, but none the less I have worked
> in Africa, South East Asia & the Caribbean so I have a good idea what user
> access restriction means. By the way, if you are located in an area where no
> subscriptions are available, and if you view my opinion as blocking the move
> to free access for such researchers, I should point out that this discussion
> is not arguing against open access as we know it, but about stopping
> publishers from replacing one kind of toll based system (access tolls) with
> another (author tolls) and therefore restricting author access in the name
> of open access. I have worked with a lot of authors in Kuwait (who work
> outside Kuwait University) who are unable to pay author tolls. Imagine what
> the scenario will be like in a poor third world country?
> Suhail

It is just that no one can do research without access to existing
literature. The simple fact that one does not reference recent literature
is enough to get a paper rejected. Furthermore, access is often needed
by people who do not intend to publish. Hospitals for example. So access
is the first order problem.

What is the point of free publication if you dot have the means or the
intent to write a publishable paper.

If I am wrong, I want someone from deprived areas to tell me so. I
do not think that Kuwait, Europe or the USA qualify.

Another point is the ratio amount of access to amount of publication,
which goes obviously against poor areas.

How do people working outside Kuwait university gain access to needed
litterature in the old model ? If they go to libraries, then
the money saved by libraries on access should help them now. If you
cannot handle that, that is your organisational problem in Kuwait. Do
not blame it on others.

But all this is short term ... and the discussion is really moot.

The very fact that people do not want to pay to publish will
encourage them to bypass the toll and find other ways.

If your position is that there should be no toll either way, for
access nor for publication, then you have my full support ... but I
understood that was not your position.

As far as I am concerned, serials publishers are history. The
proper name is zombies ... dead people who have not been notified yet.
And that does not mean that peer assessment, selection and filtering
will disappear. Libraries are the future, not publishers.

But I know this is not supposed to be said. Apologies for my bad

Etienne, save your time, and do not reply.


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Received on Sat Feb 14 2004 - 02:51:05 GMT

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