Re: royal society statement on OA.

From: David Prosser <david.prosser_at_BODLEY.OX.AC.UK>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 15:55:41 -0000



Why do we need more research?  The JISC Disciplinary Differences Report
(undertaken by Rightscom
s.doc) surveyed attitudes of UK researchers.  The survey put the


&#8216;Research funding bodies should mandate all researchers to deposit
their results in open archives&#8217;.  Seventy-four percent of
respondents agreed or strongly agreed.


The statement:


&#8216;Scholarly journals should be open access and free to the reader,
with institutions and funding bodies paying the costs of publication for


received agreement or strong agreement from 74% of respondents.


The RCUK policy would mandate deposit &#8211; which has majority support
from researchers &#8211; and make funds available for publication in open
access journals &#8211; which, again, has majority support from
researchers.  The policy also has the strong support of the UK
universities.  It would appear that the publishers are the only
stakeholders who object.




(PS Bravo, by the way, for your attempt to tar open access supporters
with the brush of both Stalinism and evangelism.  A heady combination!)


David C Prosser PhD


SPARC Europe



Tel:       +44 (0) 1865 277 614

Mobile:  +44 (0) 7974 673 888



-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Iain Stevenson
Sent: 24 November 2005 12:50
Subject: royal society statement on OA.


On the contrary, is not what the Royal Society saying in its statement is

we need more research about what researchers actually want before OA and

repositories become standard policy for research communication?  In so

it is upholding its proud history of seeking evidence and drawing

from research rather than jumping on bandwagons.  There has not been

research to show what researchers actually want and that which has been

notably the work of Rowlands et al at CIBER, seems to show that
researchers are

hazy and confused about OA and the benefits of self-archiving and

repositories over conventional publishing.  I for one am profoundly

that a body that represennts UK research funders like RCUK can take the

Stalinist view embodied in its statements which seems to be based much
more in

dirigiste managerialism than good research about demand and benefits.  Or
is it

too much to expect research councils to commission someresearch?


Earlier this week I attended an invitation only conference sponsored by

British Department of Trade and Industry about Research Communication
that had

the laudable aim of bringing together stakeholders in the research

communication process--funders, information managers, publishers and

researchers to discuss what was needed.  However, I was deeply disturbed

hear a succession of funders and information managers affirm their faith
in OA

and repositories as the way forward without--when pressed--having any

that this is what the research community (and let us not forget that

and information managers exist to support the research enterprise not the

way about) actually want.   Evangelism and blind faith can to be sure

in colourful ceremony and impressive liturgy but if the congregation (the

researchers) don't know what is going on, it is only empty rhetroic.  At

conference, it was significant that the researchers were conspicuous by

absence, despite having been invited.  To my mind, this is 'the dog in

night time' (reference 'Silver Blaze' to non-Sherlockians):  they weren't

because it doesn't matter to them and it wont matter to them until there

real research to show the benefits.  It is an affront to the entire 

community that a body

like RCUK  can draw conclusions  and determine policy before even basic

about demand and benefits has been conducted.  Or

is it normal for the verdict to be reached before the trial has been



Oh, and by the way, can I nail the canard that the Royal Society
published the

world's second scientific journal?  Of course Phil. Trans. holds that

distinction but it was published as a commercial venture by Henry

one of those despised publishers who stand in the way of progress.  As

was Journal des Scavans, the earliest scientific journal.


Professor Iain Stevenson

Professor of Publishing Studies

City University London.




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