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RE: Monopolies in publishing: questions

You made me wonder, Sally, so I looked it up in the dictionary. In my
version of the Oxford dictionary, monopoly, in all its various precise
definitions, invariably has to do with 'exclusive control'.

The copyright holder has that. 

In traditional publishing, copyrights or essential parts of it are
transferred to a journal (publisher), who subsequently has the monopoly on
the sale and exploitation of the material.

In input-paid open acces publishing, copyrights remain with the author,
who *uses* them to effectuate open access by granting to any third party,
in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate
the article, in its entirety or in part, in any format or medium provided
that no substantive errors are introduced in the process, that proper
attribution of authorship and correct citation details are given, and that
the bibliographic details are not changed (BMC definition of open access,
substantially the same as e.g the Bethesda one or the PLoS one).  So the
journal subsequently has the monopoly on, er...what exactly? Being the
quality or relevance label associated with the article? Probably. A
'monopoly' we can live with?

Frankly, I don't care much about monopolies or about who has the
copyright, as long as there is open access.

If we can agree that open access to scientific research literature is a
good thing for science and society at large, then the issue remains of how
to finance that in a robust and reliable way (which in my mind rules out
reliance on subsidies beyond start-up ones).

We can also agree that peer-review remains a necessary way of assuring
levels of quality and of 'stratifying' the literature, and let's just for
the sake of the argument assume that the cost of whatever way science is
published is the same.

Then there are two models: traditional ones, with access limited to those
who pay, and open access ones, with unlimited access for everyone.

Why would anyone be in favour of the first model?

Why don't traditional publishers offer the choice to authors and charge
those who want open access to their article an amount equivalent to what
their per article income is from subscriptions?

I think I have a fair idea of what the answers would be to these
questions, but I am interested in how readers of this list would answer

Jan Velterop

-----Original Message-----
From: Sally Morris
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Sent: 7/10/03 10:24 PM
Subject: Re: Monopolies in publishing

What you say, Jan, makes all journals monopolies - it makes no difference
whether access is free or paid for.

Sally Morris, Secretary-General
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK

Phone:  01903 871686 Fax:  01903 871457 E-mail:  sec-gen@alpsp.org
ALPSP Website  http://www.alpsp.org