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j' insiste

The question I was discussing was the unique feature from the 
perspective of potential authors where the unique reputation of a 
journal is based on previous publications and the reputation of 
the editorial board.  My point was that the editorial board of a 
subscription journal has to decide if a committment to wider 
availability of information includes a consideration of the cost 
to libraries and whether they can take the chance of moving to a 
new or existing journal that helps in providing wider access and 
relief to libraries.

But as long as you mention it, these are the people that will be 
called on to take risks.  Similarly, the start-up editors of OA 
journals who take time away from their research to try to improve 
things put a certain amount on the line.  Nobody doubts that the 
owners of Academic Press are wild and crazy guys but there are no 
bankruptcy laws to protect academics who redirect their careers. 
And my understanding of American business is that you don't 
really get rich until you are bankrupt.  Anyway, for companies, 
isn't BMC taking a bigger risk than big publishing houses but, 
again, this is not the question for authors and the ultimate 
reputation of the journal.

Look, this is a unique moment.  Peter Banks and I agree on 
something: "more access to scientific information..." is a 
"...perfectly reasonable drive."  Part of his argument that this 
does not require open access is that 4 major diabetes journals 
successfully provide a high degree of access.  Peter has said 
this before but I have never been able to figure out whether this 
is an argument against or for OA.

The advantage of open access is that it is not mutually exclusive 
with other forms of publication if they also provide a service. 
Everybody knows this.  You can say it will be hard to develop a 
way to make open access pay but after all the emails, name one 
argument that is not financial for providing availability of 
scientific information that holds water at all.  Capitalizing on 
this advantage will involve big changes, will demand difficult 
thinking outside the box and will be very risky indeed.  Surely, 
you agree with this, Joe.

Richard Feinman

"Joseph J. Esposito" Sent by: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
03/29/06 08:11 PM
Subject: Au contraire

Richard Feinman wrote:

> Since the unique feature of individual journals is the 
> editorial board that can be paid from any source,

JE:  This is incorrect.  The unique feature is the investment, 
the initial risk that gives rise to the enterprise.  Without 
risk, nothing.  If you want to see the future of scholarly 
communications, look for the people whose chins protrude far 
ahead of their bodies.

Joe Esposito