RE: : US University OA Resolutions Omit Most Important Component

From: David Prosser <>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 00:56:47 EDT

In these discussions about authors doing, or being forced to do, what is
'good for them' we appear to forget that we already force authors to do
'what is good for them'. For example:

In return for providing research grants we force researchers to deposit
gene sequences, protein sequences, etc. It is not to the benefit of the
individual researcher to deposit, they don't volunteer, but we recognise
the value of it being done and so insist on it. In doing so we create
databases that are of benefit to all researchers.

In return for providing research grants we force researchers to write and
file end-of-project reports. Again, researchers don't volunteer to write
these reports, but we recognise the value of having a reporting step and
insist on it.

In return for providing (significant) research grants the NIH is now
insisting on strategies to make data available. The researchers are not
queuing-up to volunteer, but NIH sees it as important and so forces
researchers to 'do the right thing'.

Open access advocates would argue that in return for research grants
funding agencies have the right to 'force' researchers to make a copy of
their research papers available through open access. The fact that some
may not volunteer to do this no more significant than the fact the some do
not volunteer to deposit sequences, write reports, or publicly archive
their data. If the funders of research believe it is important then they
have a right to 'force' researchers to do something that benefits research
by widening access and dissemination of the research they have paid for.


David C Prosser PhD
SPARC Europe
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 277 614
Mobile: +44 (0) 7974 673 888

-----Original Message-----

[] On Behalf Of Lisa Dittrich
Sent: 12 May 2005 03:37
Subject: Re: Fwd: US University OA Resolutions Omit Most

People have been educated to death about what's good for them health wise;
the public knows all this, they (we) just won't act on it. So the
question is, do we legislate behavior? We all know that is the issue now.
And who gets legislated/punished? The companies that make the "bad"
products (Mcdonalds, etc.) or the people that practice the "bad" behaviors
(through higher insurance rates, etc.). OA is hardly "brand new," and
lord knows PLOS and others have worked the press very well indeed.
Perhaps (shock!) researchers aren't as generous minded as OA/IR proponents
would like to think (remember all that fighting over who discovered the
AIDS virus?)? Or perhaps, indeed, busy researchers are just too busy
doing their jobs (and the problem is...?) What OA and IR evangelists seem
increasingly eager to do is legislate when recruiting volunteers doesn't
work. They are like the Republicans ranting about family values--if they
can't change peoples hearts, they'll by God force! them to follow the
Moral Law as they see it.

Researchers "give" our journal their papers--via an online ms. submission
system that we pay a monthly fee for (and that we paid a hefty fee and
lots of staff time to start up); that we then review (more staff time, on
the part of our editor and other staff); that we generate correspondence
for; substantively edit if accepted, etc. etc. etc. The reason the author
"gives" it to us is that he/she wants the imprimature of our journal's
name and reputation to enhance his or her reputation. That's the fact.

Otherwise, OA/IR advocates would promote simply bypassing the journal
process altogether and recommend posting mss. on online repositories and
forget we money-grubbing journals altogether.

Lisa Dittrich
Managing Editor
Academic Medicine (e-mail)
Received on Fri May 13 2005 - 05:56:47 BST

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