Re: UK Select Committee Inquiry into Scientific Publication

From: David Goodman <>
Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 14:54:08 -0400

Those [publishers] mentioned invested in the industry [with] knowledge
of the possibilities, including OA.

Presumably either they thought they would obtain sufficient return in
the time remaining, or they thought we would not succeed with OA.
That they might prove to have been wrong in their estimate need not
concern us for their sake. One strength of capitalism is supposed to be
that it rewards and encourages the taking of risks. The possibility of
failure is an intrinsic part of the system, and part of the
justification for the profits. Indeed, an industry in which no
enterprise failed would probably not be taking sufficient risk to be
innovative--or would be a cartel mutually insuring each other against

If scientists continue to act without judgment in the practical concern
of disseminating their results, and let complacency and narrow
self-interest prevent them from adopting OA, the investors will have
guessed correctly.

If one is looking primarily for smoothness of change, all OA Journal
models that preserve the existing journal system are clearly superior.
In exchange, they offer relatively little cost savings. To obtain the
great cost savings of repository-based OA, one must sacrifice some of
the smoothness. I do not know what strategy will be followed, or whether
a mixed strategy is possible. Either strategy is worthwhile: the cost
savings from OA journals are not great, but they are significant enough
to give time for us to develop better. The possible disruption from
repository models is well within our capacity to handle with the
available technical means. Perhaps the deciding key strength of
repository models is their resiliency--the existence of multiple digital
archives offers protection against failure.

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor,
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University, Brookville, NY
Received on Wed May 05 2004 - 19:54:08 BST

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