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Re: Open Access and For-Pay Access (to the same IR materials)

With respect to Steven Harnad's comments below: have not the existence of web portals and web services (yahoo, google, e.g.) shown that free access to content is compatible with business models that generate revenue? He does not seem to dispute this, but does offer caveats about the business potential in this arena. Fine, business involves risk.

When I discussed the subscription overlay model with a relative who works
in IT, he more or less blinked and said: well, scholarly publishing is
just behind the times with respect to how things are done on the internet

What is needed are new business models like those deployed by yahoo etc.,
where much is made free, but where revenues are also garnered in various

Thus the subscription overlay model as just one among other business
models that need to be developed. I will not repeat my librarian's
critique of the green initiative but refer to: http://www.lehigh.edu/library/guides/overlayjournals.html#green

"Journal prices are not dropping, and academic library budgets are not
rising." From http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA516819

Brian Simboli

Stevan Harnad wrote:

On Wed, 20 Apr 2005, Ann Okerson wrote:

At a meeting last week of consortial directors and representatives, an
interesting topic was raised.  One consortium had developed a
specialized (in subject) institutional repository using a particular
vendor's IR software.  The content in this consortium's IR is available
to the world for free and that will not change; the consortium and
authors arecommitted to this.  At the same time, the vendor is marketing
the software in a way that content developed and made available through
the IR software by all of the vendor's IR customers can be cross
searched with some nice enhancements - for a fee.  This set off quite a
And the moral is quite straightforward: Why resort to such (un-named)
"vendors" at all, when the most widely used "IR software" (Eprints,
Dspace, CDSware, etc.) is free, wiith no hidden catches?


And what's wrong with cross-searching with the OAI protocol? (That was
what it was designed for.)

And I wouldn't want to try to build a business these days based on a
for-fee searching service over OA archive contents, because be my product
ever so spiffy for the moment, it is a foregone conclusion that (many)
enterprising grad students will soon top it with a better search tool,
and for free.

o One side reasoned that owners of the IRs should/could refuse to have
their content participate, even passively, in such a commercial setting,
as antithetical to their desires when they set up the IR.
Doesn't matter in the slightest. OA content is OA content. If someone
thinks he can sell a service on top of it, let him try. If he succeeds,
he's got something people find useful enough to buy. If he fails (or a
grad student tops him the next day), that's business...

o Others reasoned that owners of the IRs should/could cooperate with the
IR software vendor to assure that the content can be included (author
permissions, etc.) so that authors can also get the benefit of better,
more focused search and services.
No need for the IR to either cooperate or thwart: OA content is OA
content. If it's there, online, OAI-compliant, free, and harvestable,
it's there. The primary content-providers (the authors and their
copyright co-holders) can of course challenge the use of their particular
piece of content for illegal commercial or political purposes, but that's
not the business of the OA Archives. They just provide a means for their
authors to provide Open Access to their articles.

Any thoughts about this kind of situation?  There is a lot of potential
for a lot of re-use, re-purposing, upgrading of works that are freely
available.  It's a new world we're entering. Ann Okerson/Yale Library
Potential there is. But when the works are themselves all OA, and freely
available to all directly, it puts some limits on cash-in aspirations
that will bring some surprises disappointments to those who try to
over-reach their grasp in this unfamiliar new world.

Patience. The 1st, 2nd, and Nth priority today is getting OA content up
from its current 10-20% level to 100%. No need to worry about pre-empting
pipe-dreams about commercial cash-cows. Just keep pumping those OA
articles! The OA will take care of itself.

Stevan Harnad