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[BOAI] Bethesda statement
From: Peter Suber <peters AT earlham.edu>
[Forwarding from Ellen Paul. I will bring these and other comments on the Bethesda statement to the attention of the Bethesda group when it reconvenes in a few months. --Peter.] Dear Dr. Suber, I hope you will forward these comments to the signers of the Bethesda Statement. Your goals and principles are entirely laudable, but I fear that you have no understanding of the financial realities of scientific disciplines that do not share in the riches of research funding that is available to disciplines such as biomedical research, and of the financial realities of many small scientific societies. The Ornithological Council represents 11 scientific ornithological societies in the Western Hemisphere. Seven of these are in the United States. Six of them publish peer-reviewed journals in the traditional sense. Four have already made journal content available for free on the internet, 1 - 2 years after publication. This has been an expensive proposition for them, but they felt that the material should be easily accessible. However, to protect the subscription rate, which is the primary source of income for most of them, they do not make it available immediately. Unfortunately, many short-sighted scientists who have access to content via BioOne or other, similar sources, drop their society memberships. They seem not to know, or care, that ultimately, the loss of revenue will force the society, along with the journal, into extinction. Then the research is available to no one. The journal won't exist and the previously-published material will vanish from the internet because the society will no longer be available to maintain the website. Your principles are laudable but frankly, you seem arrogant in failing to realize that many smaller scientific societies outside the realm of biomedicine and similarly well-funded research disciplines are imperiled by completely free access. I hope you will consider the potential impact of your view -which some would take a step further, wishing to mandate open access - and modify your statement to address the concerns we have raised. Sincerely, Ellen Paul -- Ellen Paul Executive Director The Ornithological Council Phone: (301)986-8568 Mailto:epaul AT concentric.net Ornithological Council Website: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET "Providing Scientific Information about Birds"
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