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[BOAI] Some Reflection from Wellcome Would Be Welcome

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum AT gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2013 11:29:35 -0400


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It's time for the Wellcome Trust to think more deeply about its endlessly
repeated mantra that the "cost of publication is part of the cost of
funding research."

The statement is true enough, but profoundly incomplete: As a private
foundation, Wellcome only funds researchers' research. It does not have to
fund their institutional journal subscriptions, which are currently paying
the costs of publication for all non-OA research. And without access to
those subscription journals, researchers would *lose* access to everything
that is not yet Open Access (OA) -- which means access to most of currently
published research. Moreover, if those subscriptions stopped being paid, no
one would be paying the costs of publication.

In the UK, it is the tax-payer who pays the costs of publication (which is
"part of the cost of funding research"), by paying the cost of 
journal
access via institutional subscriptions. It is fine to wish that to be
otherwise, but it cannot just be wished away, and Wellcome has never had to
worry about paying for it.

The Wellcome slogan and solution -- the "cost of publication is part of 
the
cost of funding research," so pay pre-emptively for Gold OA -- works for
Wellcome, and as a wish list. But it is not a formula for getting us all
from here (c. 30% OA, mostly Green) to there (100% OA). It does not scale
up from Wellcome to the UK, let alone to the rest of the world. What scales
up is mandating Green OA. Once Green OA reaches 100%, journals can be
cancelled, forcing them to downsize and convert to Fair Gold, single-paid
at an affordable, sustianable price, instead of double-paid pre-emptively
at today's arbitrarily inflated Fools-Gold price.

Hence it is exceedingly bad advice on Wellcome's part, to urge the UK, that
because the "cost of publication is part of the cost of funding 
research,"
the UK should double-pay (subscriptions + Gold OA) for what Wellcome itself
only needs to single-pay. (And this is without even getting into the sticky
question of overpricing and double-dipping.)

Wellcome took a bold and pioneering step in
2004<http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/4115.html> in
mandating OA.

But in since cleaving unreflectively to pre-emptive payment for Gold OA as
the preferred means of providing OA -- because Wellcome does not have to
pay for subscriptions -- the net effect of the Wellcome pioneering
intiative is now beginning to turn negative rather than positive.

I hope the BIS 
Report<http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/1040-UK-BIS-Committee-2013-Report-on-Open-Access.html>
will
encourage Wellcome to re-think the rigid route that it has been promoting
for a decade, culminating in the Finch Fiasco.

*Stevan Harnad*

--047d7b603d12111ef204e6092caf
Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

<div dir=3D"ltr"><span 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,ari=
al,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">It&#39;s time for the 
Wellcome Trus=
t to think more deeply about its endlessly repeated mantra that the 
&quot;c=
ost of publication is part of the cost of funding 
research.&quot;=A0</span>=
<br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-s=
erif;font-size:13px">
<br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-s=
erif;font-size:13px"><span 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana=
,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">The statement is true 
enough, b=
ut profoundly incomplete: As a private foundation, Wellcome only funds rese=
archers&#39; research. It does not have to fund their institutional 
journal=
 subscriptions, which are currently paying the costs of publication for all=
 non-OA research. And without access to those subscription journals, resear=
chers would=A0</span><em 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,a=
rial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">lose</em><span 
style=3D"color:rgb=
(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">=
=A0access to everything that is not yet Open Access (OA) -- which means acc=
ess to most of currently published research. Moreover, if those subscriptio=
ns stopped being paid, no one would be paying the costs of publication.</sp=
an><br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,san=
s-serif;font-size:13px">
<br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-s=
erif;font-size:13px"><span 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana=
,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">In the UK, it is the 
tax-payer =
who pays the costs of publication (which is &quot;part of the cost of 
fundi=
ng research&quot;), by paying the cost of journal access via institutional 
=
subscriptions. It is fine to wish that to be otherwise, but it cannot just =
be wished away, and Wellcome has never had to worry about paying for it.</s=
pan><br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sa=
ns-serif;font-size:13px">
<br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-s=
erif;font-size:13px"><span 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana=
,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">The Wellcome slogan and 
solutio=
n -- the &quot;cost of publication is part of the cost of funding 
research,=
&quot; so pay pre-emptively for Gold OA -- works for Wellcome, and as a 
wis=
h list. But it is not a formula for getting us all from here (c. 30% OA, mo=
stly Green) to there (100% OA). It does not scale up from Wellcome to the U=
K, let alone to the rest of the world. What scales up is mandating Green OA=
. Once Green OA reaches 100%, journals can be cancelled, forcing them to do=
wnsize and convert to Fair Gold, single-paid at an affordable, sustianable =
price, instead of double-paid pre-emptively at today&#39;s arbitrarily 
infl=
ated Fools-Gold price.</span><br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:v=
erdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">
<br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-s=
erif;font-size:13px"><span 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana=
,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">Hence it is exceedingly bad 
adv=
ice on Wellcome&#39;s part, to urge the UK, that because the &quot;cost 
of =
publication is part of the cost of funding research,&quot; the UK should 
do=
uble-pay (subscriptions + Gold OA) for what Wellcome itself only needs to s=
ingle-pay. (And this is without even getting into the sticky question of ov=
erpricing and double-dipping.)</span><br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-=
family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">
<br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-s=
erif;font-size:13px"><span 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana=
,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">Wellcome took a bold and 
pionee=
ring step in=A0</span><a 
href=3D"http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Hyperm=
ail/Amsci/4115.html" 
style=3D"color:rgb(0,51,102);font-family:verdana,arial=
,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">2004</a><span 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,5=
1,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">=A0in =
mandating OA.</span><br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,ar=
ial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">
<br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-s=
erif;font-size:13px"><span 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana=
,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">But in since cleaving 
unreflect=
ively to pre-emptive payment for Gold OA as the preferred means of providin=
g OA -- because Wellcome does not have to pay for subscriptions -- the net =
effect of the Wellcome pioneering intiative is now beginning to turn negati=
ve rather than positive.</span><br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family=
:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">
<br 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-s=
erif;font-size:13px"><span 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana=
,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">I hope 
the=A0</span><a href=3D"=
http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/1040-UK-BIS-Committee-201=
3-Report-on-Open-Access.html" 
style=3D"color:rgb(0,51,102);font-family:verd=
ana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13px">BIS 
Report</a><span style=3D=
"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-si=
ze:13px">=A0will encourage Wellcome to re-think the rigid route that it 
has=
 been promoting for a decade, culminating in the Finch 
Fiasco.</span><br>
<div><span 
style=3D"color:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica=
,sans-serif;font-size:13px"><br></span></div><div 
style><span style=3D"colo=
r:rgb(51,51,51);font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:13=
px"><b>Stevan Harnad</b></span></div>
</div>

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