[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: Monopolies in publishing

Jan's first point is absolutely right: articles can only be obtained from
one source.  The author's monopoly is protected by copyright and normally
transferred to the publisher.

I disagree, in a hair-splitting way, with his second point.  An
open-access journal is still a monopoly if there is no alternative source.  
It may not be an effective monopoly if it doesn't charge (except of course
for the entry-level of charge of a PC, a network etc.), but it's a
monopoly all the same.

An interesting dimension is of course the commercial publishers' effective
near-monopoly on validation (through the editorial process).  It's this
validation that authors and their institutions want, and which we have to
pay for.  Dissemination is secondary.  An interesting treatment is
Jean-Claude Gu�don's well known 'In Oldenburg's long shadow: librarians,
research scientists, publishers, and the control of scientific
publishing', ARL proceedings, 138, May 2001, p.3; available at
<http://www.arl.org/arl/proceedings/138/guedon.html> .

Until this near-monopoly is broken open access journals will not compete
with commercial publishing.

With best wishes

David Ball
Associate Head of Academic Services
(University Librarian)
Bournemouth University
Fern Barrow
Poole, Dorset 	BH12 5BB
Tel.: +44 (0)1202-595044
Fax.: +44 (0)1202-595475
Mob: 07971 027751

-----Original Message-----
From:	Jan Velterop [SMTP:jan@biomedcentral.com]
Sent:	10 July 2003 17:03
To:	'liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu'
Subject:	RE: Monopolies in publishing

It seems so obvious to me that subscription-based scientific journals are
monopoloid. Research articles are only published once. They are by
definition unique. Access to unique research articles is often crucial to
further research. They can only be obtained from one ultimate source
(albeit sometimes via agents). There is no opportunity to go to another,
possibly cheaper, source to find something equivalent, because equivalents
don't exist. So there is no choice if you need the article. No choice in
need means monopoly, no?

Authors of articles *do* have a choice of where to publish (at least where
to submit their papers). They can choose to submit to those journals that
serve their purpose best (e.g. to those that guarantee optimal
dissemination via open access). Open access journals are freely accessible
by the readers. This makes open access journals non-monopoloid.

Jan Velterop
BioMed Central