Re: AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM Digest - 3 Dec 2007 to 5 Dec 2007 (#2007-243)

From: Andrew A. Adams <a.a.adams_at_READING.AC.UK>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2007 07:28:09 +0000

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> From: Jan Szczepanski <jan.szczepanski_at_UB.GU.SE>
> "allow people to walk through your field"
> Orwell would have liked this new meaning
> of "mandate"
> and what about the crops on my field? Can
> we mandate that we will have the right to
> take that also, in the name of common good?
> Without much success I have compared
> "mandates" with Stalin's collectivization.
> Instead to sell on a market You have to
> sell it to the state. In our case to the people
> that finance your activities on the field.
> What emerged during the first years of the
> sad French revolution was the abolishing
> of all author rights for the good of all. During
> the sad Russian one, you even lost your field.
> What is emerging during the OA Revolution?
> The same mistakes as usual.

The mistakes that are emerging here are all Jan's. Academics are required (by
exactly the same type mandates that the OA movement advocates for OA or ID/OA
deposit) by funders and employers to disseminate the results of their
research. I see no one complaining about this as a principle. There remain
some arguments about details of this, but no one argues the principle that
research without dissemination is selfish and not the reason why academics
are paid by their institution nor why funding is provided by charities and
governments (research funded by commercial organisations alone is subject to
somewhat different pressures, but here it is usually the academics themselves
who insist on a reasonable right to disseminate results while protecting
other commercial interests such as patent rights and trade secrets).

All that OA mandates do is require that the dissemination takes advantage of
new technology to make these results more widely available. The cost to the
author is of a very small amount of time comparatively. For example it takes
me days or weeks of work (counting the hours spent directly writing) to write
a paper of 3000 words, whereas it takes approximately 15 minutes to correctly
deposit it in an OA archive.

Everything else is FUD. We are mandated to do the dissemination of our
research results. It is in our own (that is, the academic's) interest that
our results are disseminated. That is why we do not require royalties from
publishers on the sales of journals containing our papers (which is what
makes academic papers a completely different beast to any other form of
copyright work). OA mandates push academics into things in the best interests
of themselves, other academics and society at large. The only possible losers
here are the publishers currently making large profits out of academic

An academic retains the right of authorship, the right of derivative work
production and all the other rights embodied in copyright law, while granting
the right to free copying. Analogies aside, this is no damage to the author
who does not make money from restricting copying, but does gain academic
kudos (which probably translates into higher salary and greater research
funding) from wider dissemination.

Any librarian opposing OA mandates either badly misunderstands the mechanisms
of peer review (falling into the publisher trap of believing that publishers
provide peer review when it is academics who provide it supported by an admin
mechanism currently run by publishers) or is somehow caught in the trap of
believing that only paper copies of texts are useful, and that the
librarians' principle role is physical curation of stock (which is part of a
librarian's role but not the whole of it and certainly not the most important

*E-mail*********  Dr Andrew A Adams
**snail*27 Westerham Walk**********  School of Systems Engineering
***mail*Reading RG2 0BA, UK********  The University of Reading
****Tel*+44-118-378-6997***********  Reading, United Kingdom
Received on Thu Dec 06 2007 - 08:10:51 GMT

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