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[BOAI] Re: Wrong Advice On Open Access: History Repeating Itself

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad AT ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2009 17:22:57 -0400


Threading: [BOAI] Wrong Advice On Open Access: History Repeating Itself from amsciforum AT gmail.com
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On 31-Oct-09, at 12:05 PM, Prof. Tom Wilson wrote:

> No one knows exactly how the 'open access' movement will pan out but  
> I think
> that some things are fairly clear.
>
> 1, scholarly publishers are facing very similar problems to the  
> newspaper
> industry - changes in technologies are making them redundant.

Newspapers do not provide the service of peer review.

> 2, anything that props up the industry will simply delay the  
> inevitable and
> institutional repositories prop up the industry - indeed, why else  
> would
> publishers give permission for authors' works to be archived?   
> Strong advocacy
> of repositories is strong advocacy of the status quo in scholarly
> communication.

The purpose of the Open Access movement is not to knock down the  
publishing industry. The purpose is to provide Open Access to refereed  
research articles.

> 3, at least in the UK, universities seem to have other things on  
> their minds
> (like potential bankruptcies in a number of cases) to be too  
> concerned about
> such things as mandating repositories.

The enhanced research impact that OA will provide is a (virtually cost- 
free) way of enhancing a university's research profile and funding.

> 4, scholars are increasingly taking matters into their own hands and  
> producing
> free OA journals on some kind of subsidy basis and any economist  
> will tell you
> that social benefit is maximised by this form of OA.

Hardly makes a difference. The way to take matters in their own hands  
is to deposit the refereed final drafts of all their journal articles  
in their university's OA Repository.

> 5, change is difficult when status and promotion are made dependent  
> upon
> publication in journals that are highly cited in Web of Knowledge,
> consequently, it is only when free OA journals make their way into  
> the upper
> quartile of the rankings that they will begin to attract as many  
> submissions as
> the established fee-based journals (whether subscription or author- 
> charged).
> Some OA journals are already in that position.

No need whatsoever to switch to or wait for OA journals. Just deposit  
all final refereed drafts of journal articles immediately upon  
acceptance.

> 6, however, 5 above may be overtaken as scholarly communication  
> methods
> continue to evolve. The present situation is not the end of the  
> line, but a
> somewhat confused intermediate stage of development. Cherished  
> features of such
> communication, such as peer review, may disappear, to be replaced by
> post-publication comments. These may be stronger affirmations of  
> quality than
> citation - particularly as we usually have no idea as to why a paper  
> has been
> cited.

The goal of the OA movement is free peer-reviewed research from access- 
barriers, not to free it from peer review.

> In brief - any strategy evolved today on the assumption that the  
> future is
> likely to be the same as the past is probably going to fail.

The only strategy needed for 100% OA to the OA movement's target  
content -- the 2.5 million articles a year published in the planet's  
25,000 peer reviewed journals -- is author self-archiving and  
institution/funder self-archiving mandates.

Stevan Harnad

>
> Professor T.D. Wilson, PhD, Hon.PhD
> Publisher/Editor in Chief
> Information Research
> InformationR.net
> e-mail: t.d.wilson AT shef.ac.uk
> Web site: http://InformationR.net/
> ___________________________________________________

        
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