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[BOAI] On old traditions and new technologies: BOAI should step out of Oldenbourg?s long shadow

From: "Armbruster, Chris" <Chris.Armbruster AT>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 17:20:04 +0100

Threading: RE: [BOAI] Balancing rights and interests in the digital age from carnetsdegeologie AT
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             [BOAI] Re: On old traditions and new technologies: BOAI should step out of Oldenbourg's long shadow from harnad AT

On old traditions and new technologies: BOAI should step out of Oldenbourg’s 
long shadow

“The willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their 
research … without payment” in conjunction with the internet will facilitate 
worldwide open access to knowledge – but only if we get it right.

The technology and economics of the internet mean that the marginal costs of 
disseminating research articles are decreasingly rapidly. By comparison, the 
digital doubling of research articles by way of institutional repositories is 
cumbersome, time consuming and expensive. It needs to be mandated. And then 
policed… Why bother?  

OA advocates seem unable to step out of Oldenbourg’s long shadow. Some think 
that they must either archive all the peer-reviewed journals again in OA (in 
which case national licenses, implemented worldwide, would surely be cheaper 
and quicker in converting research articles into a public good) or else clone 
the traditional journal online but charge the author…

Both solutions are neither creative nor adequate: they are fundamentally 
incompatible with the technology and economy of the internet. The WWW Galaxy 
means that dissemination is cheap and certification is expensive - a reversal 
of the premises of the Gutenberg Galaxy, in which peer review was cheap and 
printing costly. 

Surely, it is important to think through the consequences for open access to 
research articles? It seems amazing that OA advocates would go about 
re-erecting price barriers by ignoring the possibility of providing publishing 
services that are free to readers and authors – like ArXiv, SSRN, RePEc.

Indeed, how do we justify author charges of USD 1000, 2000 or even 3000 per 
article when there is positive proof that open access to research articles may 
be had for USD 1, 2 or 3 per article?

Chris Armbruster

"Cyberscience and the Knowledge-based Economy, Open Access and Trade 
Publishing: From Contradiction to Compatibility with Nonexclusive Copyright 
Licensing" (October 2006).  Available at SSRN: 

"Five Reasons to Promote Open Access and Five Roads to Accomplish it in 
Social and Cultural Science"  (November 12, 2005).  Available at SSRN:

"Open Access in Social and Cultural Science: Innovative Moves to Enhance 
Access, Inclusion and Impact in Scholarly Communication"  (November 15, 
2005). Available at SSRN:

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