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Re: [BOAI] A step forward for open access publishing
From: "Prof. Tom Wilson" <t.d.wilson AT sheffield.ac.uk>
The CERN meeting's decision is, indeed, very interesting and potentially groundbreaking, depending upon the results of the work of the task force. In their deliberations I think that they should consider the received wisdom that the present system "ensures quality through the peer review ↵ process", since this is not always the case as various cases of spoof papers to scholarly journals has demonstrated. Quality is also declining because as John Willinsky notes, publishers are increasingly dropping the copy editing function from their journals ("The access principle", MIT Press, 2005 - a review is forthcoming in the January issue of Information Research). It is not the publishers who ensure quality, but the academics who carry out the work of peer review and they are as willing to do that for truly "open access" ↵ journals as for those that are commercially published. The second point is that "open access" achieved through author fees ↵ is not true open access, since it simply puts a barrier to publication for those who cannot afford the author fees. Nor is there anything to prevent the global publishing businesses to increase those fees beyond the level of price inflation in their home bases just as they have increased subscription charges. True open access demands a business model based on subsidies from government, research councils, scientific associations and individual institutions, with no subscriptions and no author fees. Given the amount of money now spent in the system as whole on journal subscriptions, it can hardly be said that the resources do not exist to achieve this. It is interesting that, in Eastern and Central Europe, a subsidy model of journal publishing has applied for many years: universities receive funds from governments (in some cases) and, often in association with the various Academies of Science, publish journals that are circulated to libraries through exchange agreements. The papers in these journals may not get into the international databases, but they achieve wide circulation among scholars in the countries concerned. It would be readily achievable for some of the smaller Western European countries to take the lead by requiring first publication of research in national, subsidised, open access, e-journals. By definition, papers in such journals would be readily findable through Web searching and, as various researchers have demonstrated, would be likely to achieve much higher citation scores than otherwise. 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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