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Re: Looking an open access gift horse in the mouth

Many thanks to Brian Lavoie for his comments. I essentially agree with
them.  If I did not insist on these elements, it is mainly because they
are, in a sense, second order and, therefore, a bit more difficult to
evaluate. This incidentally does not decrease their significance or
importance. However, pointing out that other sources of financing are
emerging should quickly bring us to the point that the cost of research
should include the publishing costs and research funding simply has begun
to examine this issue in earnest, which is a step in the right direction,

Many thanks again, jcg

Le 16 Janvier 2004 16:50, Lavoie,Brian a �crit :
> In regard to Professor Guedon's comments -
> I agree that there is, at least theoretically, an incentive problem in
> terms of upstream (university) support of open-access publishing. However,
> it's not clear that this problem will render the model unsustainable. If
> you take a step back and look at how the research is produced, a similar
> incentive problem exists: institutions that serve as the source of a
> significant fraction of scientific research in effect fund the research
> for the benefit of the scientific community at large.
> Funding occurs through payment of the researcher's salary, and costs of
> lab space, equipment, graduate students, travel, etc. If this research is
> published in the open literature, it is, at least potentially, available
> to all, whether or not access is open or through journal subscription.
> This suggests that the funding institution is incurring costs to produce
> research which, when published in the literature, extends benefits to
> other institutions who do not directly fund the research - benefits which
> take the form of scientific knowledge that supports the research efforts
> of their own faculty. These benefits are non-exclusionary and
> non-rivalrous in their consumption - the classic economic definition of a
> public good.
> A number of explanations could be offered to explain how this the apparent
> incentive problem is overcome - e.g., quality published research enhances
> the reputation of the institution from which it originates. One could also
> claim that universities perceive the production and public dissemination
> of research as part of their mission, and so are willing to support its
> cost while widely distributing the benefits (although, interesting, some
> universities are trying to contain the exodus of innovative ideas by
> setting up start-up ventures to exploit them commercially). Could we not
> make the argument that universities will perceive the costs of suppporting
> open access as part of this pre-existing commitment to fund research for
> public consumption, and in doing so, sustain the open access publishing
> model in some form?
> Thanks for the interesting comments and the opportunity to comment on
> them.
> Regards,
> Brian F. Lavoie
> Research Scientist