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Re: Taking Our Academic Medicine

This is an honest statement. It is good to see an OA advocate explaining 
that authors will have to go through two hoops if they are going to be 
able to publish. They will dependent on money coming from their funders 
but the funders will decide what is best value before they agree to give 
the money. I think a lot of the academics who do not read this list will 
be not only surprised but horrified by the sort of future for them 
portrayed here.

It is not just a matter of best value. Any model for author-publishing has 
to take into account that articles are published after the termination of 
grants, containing research which was funded on a number of grants, and 
(more frequently) without grant. One funding body is already exploring the 
idea of block grants to universities/university departments to prevent 
problems for the latter category - though this does not allow in clinical 
areas for all the clinicians publishing.

Anyone who knows the nature of academic life (and I am sure Dr. Cockerill 
does) will appreciate that no academic will want to be at the mercy of 
their head of department. Many of those reading this list publish. Library 
journals are almost invariably not operating an OA model. It has been 
often noted that somehow those in libraries who need to publish to get 
tenure do not seem to accept a model that they advocate for the academics 
they "educate". How many librarians would like to have their contributions 
pre-refereed by those at the heads of their organations.

Anthony Watkinson

----- Original Message -----
From: "Matthew Cockerill" <matt@biomedcentral.com>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Friday, November 25, 2005 12:23 PM
Subject: Re: Taking Our Academic Medicine

> The wishes of funders already determine that authors must publish their 
> research (as opposed to not publishing it), if they want to get further 
> funding. And similarly, the wishes of funders also mean that authors 
> need to choose peer reviewed journals, of sound reputation, to publish 
> their research in, rather than publishing it just anywhere.
> What I would envision in the future is that:
> (a) the wishes of funders will similarly determine that authors publish 
> their research in a way which does not involve giving away the rights to 
> the published article to a third party
> (b) as with any other research cost, if publication costs are part of an 
> individual scientists research budget then the scientist concerned will 
> be motivated to try to find the best value when publishing their 
> research. Alternatively, if publication costs are paid by libraries or 
> funders, then yes, those libraries and funders will encourage 
> publication in journals which offer the best value. In that way, a 
> genuine market for the efficient, high quality publication services will 
> be created, in contrast to the current situation.
> Matt
> On 23 Nov 2005, at 21:13, Anthony Watkinson wrote:
> In principle "traditional publishers" have no problem with OA. If it 
> enables them to make sufficient surplus or profit for their purposes, 
> including investment in future author expectations etc, either the 
> subscription based model or the author paid model is OK.
> My own view is that barriers to publication of good scholarship are more 
> important than barriers to making it readership possible for anyone who 
> might want to read an article. The sting in the tail for authors in this 
> debate is that (in the model which Dr. Cockerill seems to envisage) are 
> going to be told where they can publish depending on the value perceived 
> by the funder or may be the value of what is being submitted for 
> publication as perceived by the funders. All funding involves 
> discrimination. Will there be a separate filter from the peer review and 
> preceding it?
> We do not know how the funders are going to decide what to fund - 
> Wellcome for example have not actually got round to explaining their 
> principles in this matter though there were hints at their presentation 
> to the STM conference at Frankfurt. I do not think it is publishers and 
> authors (in both of which categories I am) only who will find this 
> rather a concern and it is curious that no-one to my knowledge has 
> explained exactly how an author-paid system in an environment of total 
> OA (as described by OA advocates) is going to work. Marx managed this 
> but not Harnad. Maybe Cockerill can explain.
> Anthony Watkinson