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[GOAL] Fwd: [BOAI] Who is afraid of open access ?
From: Stevan Harnad <harnad AT ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Begin forwarded message: > From: Marin Dacos <marin.dacos AT openedition.org> > Subject: [BOAI] Who is afraid of open access ? > Date: 21 March, 2013 4:06:20 AM EDT > > Dear colleagues, > > The French newspaper Le Monde has published a public statement, > signed by sixty members of the academic community (Presidents of > universities, Librarians, Journals, publishers and researchers) under > the title "Who is afraid of open access ?". The original paper ↵ is here : > ↵ http://www.lemonde.fr/sciences/article/2013/03/15/qui-a-peur-de-l-open-acces_1848930_1650684.html > > More than 1500 people already signed this statement, calling for > open access as fast as possible and asking for HSS taking leadership > in this direction. It is now available in English : > http://iloveopenaccess.org/arguments-for-open-access/ > > You can sign it : http://iloveopenaccess.org/?page_id=329 > > Best regards, > Marin Dacos > Director - OpenEdition > > > > Arguments for Open Access to Research Results > > In July 2012, the European Commission issued a recommendation on Open ↵ Access (i.e. free for the readers) publication of the results of publicly ↵ funded scientific research. The Commission believes that such a measure is ↵ necessary to increase the visibility of European research before 2020, by ↵ gradually suppressing the barriers between readers and scientific papers, after ↵ a possible embargo period from six to twelve months. Latin America has been ↵ benefiting from this approach for ten years after the development of powerful ↵ platforms for Open Access journals. Scielo and Redalyc, which together host ↵ almost 2000 journals, have considerably increased their visibility thanks to ↵ their Open Access policy: the Brazilian portalScielo now has more traffic than ↵ the US-based JSTOR. Such examples show that Open Access changes the balance of ↵ power in a world dominated by groups which hold thousands of (mostly ↵ English-language) journals: it paves the way to what could be called a real ↵ “bibliodiversity”, since it enables the emergence of a plurality of viewpoints, ↵ modes of publication, scientific paradigms, and languages. > > Some French editors of journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences ↵ (HSS) have expressed their concern with regard to this recommendation, which ↵ they saw as a threat to a vulnerable business model. However, a thorough ↵ assessment of the sector would be required to provide a true cost-benefit ↵ analysis: one should shed light on its funding sources and modes, both direct ↵ and indirect, public and private, and determine the roles the various actors ↵ play in this field, pinpointing the added value brought about by each of them. > > To be afraid of Open Access is, in our eyes, to commit oneself to a narrow ↵ – and in fact erroneous – vision of the future. If the HSS were set aside in a ↵ specific “reservation” today, they would become isolated and would ultimately ↵ become extinct. On the contrary, we think that the HSS can be at the forefront ↵ of this opening movement, precisely because there is an increasing social ↵ demand for their research results (we estimate the overall traffic on Cairn, ↵ OpenEdition, Erudit and Persée to be around 10 million visits per month!). The ↵ fears voiced by our friends and colleagues are largely groundless in this ↵ respect. Not only is the share of sales made outside of higher education and ↵ research institutions very small in the business models of HSS journals, which ↵ remain mostly directly or indirectly funded by public money, but there exist ↵ new business models capable of reinforcing the position of publishers without ↵ having the authors pay, as is demonstrated by the success of the Freemium ↵ programme developed by OpenEdition, a French initiative. Solutions to finance a ↵ high-quality open digital publication system are being invented and have ↵ started to prove their efficiency, as in the cases of Scielo, the Public ↵ Library of Science (PLOS), Redalyc or OpenEdition. It would be a disaster if ↵ the HSS were kept aside from this powerful and innovative movement which is ↵ bound to reshape our scientific landscape. Far from backing off, they must be ↵ among the leading disciplines in this movement, as they are in the Spanish- and ↵ Portuguese-speaking countries. The resistance to this evolution advocated by ↵ some of our colleagues seems to be a short-term strategy neglecting the ↵ potential benefits for science and education, as well as the democratisation of ↵ access to knowledge it will enable. > > According to us, this is not only an economic and commercial problem. ↵ Although the existence of an Elsevier-Springer-Wiley oligopoly exerts heavy ↵ pressure on university budgets and although the funding system of academic ↵ publishing should be rethought, generalised Open Access is first and foremost a ↵ matter of scientific policy. Knowledge cannot be treated as a commodity and its ↵ dissemination is more than ever a vital concern in our societies: we can work ↵ towards a revolutionary democratisation of access to research results. ↵ Knowledge behind barriers, which only the happy few working in the richest ↵ universities can access, is barren knowledge. It is confiscated, though ↵ produced thanks to public funding. In this debate, higher education and ↵ research institutions have akey role to play. The diffusion of knowledge and ↵ research results, their spreading among an audience as large as possible, is ↵ one of the missions of these institutions. Therefore a relevant scientific ↵ policy has to build public digital infrastructures, but also needs to support ↵ innovative publishing policies aimed at fostering cross-disciplinary exchanges, ↵ new forms of writing, multilingualism and the broadest diffusion. > > Who is afraid of Open Access? Private access policies hinder the ↵ dissemination of ideas and is ill-suited to the new paradigms introduced by ↵ digital media. It is high time that we considered the Web as a unique ↵ opportunity in terms of innovation, the diffusion of knowledge and the ↵ emergence of new ideas. > > We are not afraid of Open Access. To take knowledge out of silos and ↵ beyond the boundaries of academic campuses is to open knowledge to everyone, ↵ acknowledge that it has a pivotal role to play in our societies and open up ↵ perspectives for collective growth. > > Do not be afraid of Open Access! It is now possible to establish a new ↵ scientific, publishing and business contract between researchers, publishers, ↵ libraries and readers in order to enter for good a society of shared, ↵ democratic knowledge. >
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