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RE: Varmus in the Chronicle

Rick Anderson writes '... it costs money to do research and it costs money
to write about your research and it costs money to publish and distribute
a journal, and those costs aren't going to disappear simply because
everyone likes the idea of open access.  All the utopian rhetoric in the
world can't change the fact that there's no such thing as free

Could he let us know what serious open access advocate has suggested that
either a) all the costs of doing research and publishing the results are
going to disappear or b) there is such a thing as free information?

What we would argue is that the current funds being spent on subscriptions
and licenses to the research literature would be better spent on providing
open access.  That, surely, should be the real issue of debate.

The part of the debate that relates back to societies is the issue of
whether it is better to have universal access to information and the
possibility (but not a certainty) of reduced income for societies or
limited access and continued profits to be used by the societies.  To add
to the mix, we can also ask what chance independent societies who are not
part of big deals have of maintaining their profit-levels in the current,
subscription-based environment with declining library budgets. I would
suggest that they have a very poor chance and that a move to open access
might actually benefit them (as I have argued in a recent paper
http://www.sparceurope.org/resources/Big%20Squeeze%20-%20final.pdf )

David C Prosser PhD
SPARC Europe

E-mail:	david.prosser@bodley.ox.ac.uk
Tel:	+44 (0) 1865 284 451
Mobile:	+44 (0) 7974 673 888