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re: R & D & library spending

In response to Jan Velterop (message at):

Jan said:

"I admit to jumping a step (or two) when I concluded that you 
didn't find it conceivable that budgets rise with R&D spending, 
where you only said you'd find it inconceivable that they rose 
with price increases. Apologies for that."

Apologies accepted, dear Jan, however, this is still not what I 
said at all.

My main point was that it makes no sense to assume that open 
access cannot proceed without being proven scientifically valid, 
because pre-OA business models never faced any such burden of 
proof. My example was publishers raising prices higher than 
library budgets, resulting in the serials crisis.

If this was a scientifically proven business model, it seems this 
little variable was overlooked.  The text of this portion of my 
message "The Religion of Peer Review" is repeated (with one small 
correction) at the end of this message.

To clarify this concept a bit further: business in general is not 
science. Businesses may rely on scientific evidence where this is 
possible and relevant.  However, all businesses inevitably 
function in the real world, where more variables occur than could 
ever possibly be tested. Much of business relies on other 
techniques than science.

Liblicensers are very familiar with this, no doubt.  Successful 
services are developed through processes that involve 
negotiations and communications between publishers and 

Another point you have made, Jan, is that it makes some sense to 
correlate publishing with research funding in an OA 
processing-fee model.  I would agree with this point, however 
with the caution that this model does not account for unfunded 
research (up to 40% even in the sciences, according to Cameron 
McDonald as reported in Perkins, Lesley and Heather Morrison, 
Open Access: Perspectives from SSHRC and NRC Press: 

The success of the processing-fee model also requires affordable 
pricing for the processing fees, even for the well-funded 
research study.  Otherwise, the model is simply unpalatable on 
any kind of scale

My original words frm The Religion of Peer Review: 

Those who opposed open access have been known to say that there 
is no scientific proof that an open access business model will 
work. I agree!

However - is there scientific proof that current methods will 

Pricing and terms of service is, at best, determined by a 
collegial approach to negotiations by librarians and vendors - 
exactly the kind of work that many a liblicenser is engaged in. 
This is a very fine thing; but it is [not] a business model 
relying on scientific evidence.

The current approach has also led to the serials crisis. If this 
was developed through scientific methodology - someone must have 
forgotten a variable or two. Such as the fact that raising prices 
every year higher than library budgets could conceivably rise 
would lead to a crisis, for example.

Heather G. Morrison
E-LIS Editor, Canada http://eprints.rclis.org/