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

Re: Cost of Open Access

I'm afraid, Joseph, that you've got the wrong end of the stick.

Since time immemorial people have seen the sense of separating the lentels
(chickpeas, beans) from little stones and pebbles. The verb for this
process is the very origin of the verbs 'to read' and 'to choose' in many
languages (hence 'lecture', 'elect', 'lectern', 'elite';  interestingly,
the English 'to read' comes from 'to guess'). The very same process in
science publishing is called peer-review (including the occasional stone
that slips through the process and may break your teeth; moral: always be
careful when eating lentils and reading science literature).

No one on the OA side of the argument, certainly not anybody I know, has
suggested that the selection process, peer-review, is given up.  Indeed,
in all the discussions about the definition that I am aware of, the term
Open Access has been inextricably linked with peer-reviewed literature. It
is the *only* literature that the OA advocates are concerned about.

Neither has anyone suggested that the concept of 'journals' be abolished.
Journals are a quite natural and useful way to organise and layer the
literature along criteria of quality, relevance, scope, even schools of

Open Access applies to peer-reviewed literature and although Open Access
is a quality of individual articles, not necessarily of journals, the
journals fulfil a function, as the significance of an article is indicated
by the 'label' of the journal by which (under the flag of which) it is
peer-reviewed and published.

Search algorithms will help locate the articles needed, with increasing
sophistication. If their full-text is available with Open Access, they
will be more easily found.

One last thought. A system built on payment of article processing charges,
such as the Open Access journals now being established, is more likely to
decrease output than increase it, and may limit the 'salami-slicing' that
goes on in the old-line publishing model.

Jan Velterop

On 6 Feb, 2004, at 22:15, Joseph J. Esposito wrote:

Heather Morrison worte:

Another area where cost savings can confidently be expected with open
access, particularly for publishers, is authentication.
The single largest cost in the publication of traditional (or proprietary or copyrighted) works is the creation of a market for a product. Every single penny expended by a publisher directly or indirectly goes toward this single task. Not only will open access, for all its considerable merits, not reduce this cost, but OA will indeed significantly, even overwhelmingly increase the amount of money that will go into pairing authors with readers. For those who think of marketing with a lowercase "m" as simply an appeal to base instincts in the service of a product (e.g., half-naked women used to sell automobiles), it may be beside the point that capital "M" Marketing is a difficult and daring activity that involves the identification of needs, the sourcing of materials, the definition of a product, and the creation of demand. It is such a demanding activity that its practitioners attend elite research institutions to be trained to do it. The journals industry as we know it today did not spring full-blown from the mind of Zeus.

OA will increase these costs because the suppression of production (what publishers do: they SUPPRESS production by serving as filters) will cease. Output will soar; finding the needle in a haystack will come to seem like an easy task. All the algorithms of Google will not put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Joseph J. Esposito