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

Re: Berkeley faculty statement on scholarly publishing

Dear Jan

It is good that you have started posting again from your new address. It
seems to me that you are taking a whole series of interesting hypothetical
positions which do not however impact that much on publishers.

If authors want publishers to go the author paid route, they (the
publishers) will find some way of making enough money for investment and
profit/surplus. It will be a new business model, which so far has not
worked as a business model. Publishers are not going to take the leap of
faith unless they do have evidence.

It is their main job on behalf of their authors and editors who are (in
the case of the learned societies actually also the owners) to stay in
business. One can envisage a situation where editors and societies tell
publishers that they must go OA and publishers resist. I can assure you
that this is not the situation now in most fields.

Publishers are not publishing for Congress or for journalists. It may be
that they have a moral duty to do so (I do not in fact think they have)
but publishing for the lay public has not and has never been the business
of scholarly publishers. They are part of scholarly communication. The
popularisation of science and medicine is different.

It seems to me that two reasons why almost all learned societies and most
authors and editors do not go strongly for open access is that i. as
authors they want to reach their peers and are not bothered about the
general public ii as users they mostly feel that they do get the access
they need. The reason why I assert this is that this is what the CIBER
survey (2004) showed.

As to the excellent article by Antelman, I wonder whether the conclusion
that OA articles result in more impact will remain in any follow up now
that Google crawls the sites of most major publishers. My own experience
(and I suspect your experience) is that in practice citations are as often
to the abstracts as to the full text especially in the medical area. We
shall see. I can see that increased impact is going to be a strong case
for OA publishers and will influence academics: at least it ought to be.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jan Velterop" <velteropvonleyden@btinternet.com>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2005 4:56 AM
Subject: Re: Berkeley faculty statement on scholarly publishing

> One of the reasons that Congress and journalists find that re-routing
> the money spent on science publishing (from subscriptions to upfront
> article charges and the resulting open access) is so highly plausible,
> may just be because it is. The idea that spending a small percentage of
> grant money on publishing research results should be diverting money
> from research and a loss to science is only correct if the following
> statement is correct, too: spending grant money (i.e. overheads) on
> library subscriptions is diverting money from research. And that's not
> even counting the additional drawback that research results are not
> universally accessible that way. To see the cost of publishing as money
> taken away from research isn't very helpful. Publishing just costs
> money, one way or the other. The sensible thing then is to look for ways
> to get the most benefits for science and society out of the money spent.
> Wouldn't it be interesting if major public policy initiatives were all
> taken on the basis of 'evidence' rather than on 'faith' (perhaps we
> should call it 'political will' in this case). I wonder for instance
> what the evidence was that led to the Freedom of Information Act.
> Probably naively, I always thought that it was just a belief in the
> benefits of open government. I'm ready to admit I'm wrong if somebody
> points me to the evidence. If we need the evidence Peter craves for the
> benefits of open access, that can only be gathered if experiments are
> done on a large enough scale. Early results already show that open
> access leads to more, and earlier, usage and citations for articles
> published with immediate open access. This is an interesting article in
> that regard: Kristin Antelman in College & Research Libraries 65(5):pp.
> 372-382 (http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/staff/
> kantelman/do_open_access_CRL.pdf)
> Jan Velterop
> On 13 May 2005, at 05:41, Peter Banks wrote:
> [SNIP]
> > Except it isn't chump change, it's a diversion of research funding and a
> > net loss for science. Anyone who thinks that the "few percent" will be
> > added to, rather than taken from, Federal research funding hasn't looked
> > at the federal budget lately. From now into the forseeable future,
> > prospects for increased support for scientific research are bleak.
> >
> > Here are the figures for NIH:
> >
> >   FY 2004 Actual  $28,036 M
> >   FY 2005 Appropriation  $28,594 M   (1.9%)
> >   FY 2006 Program Level  $28,845 M  (0.7%)
> >   Total Number of RPGs   38,746 (402 under FY 2005)
> >
> > For every 1% of RPG funding diverted to Open Access, there is a loss of
> > about $15.5 M in RPG funding.
> >
> > Conducting less research to support open access might make sense were
> > there strong evidence to support the contention that OA will
> > "dramatically increase the effectiveness of scientific communication,
> > and therefore will help the progress of science." So far, however, that
> > proposition rests on faith, not evidence. Effective communication does
> > not consist in shoveling out reams and reams of manuscripts; it consists
> > in devilvering information in a way and at a time that empowers crtical
> > decision making, whether in patient care or research. Just as we now
> > insist upon evidence-based medicine, we need to insist on evidence based
> > informatics. A major public policy initative like OA needs more evidence
> > behind it that has so far been presented.
> >
> > Peter Banks
> > American Diabetes Association
> > Email: pbanks@diabetes.org