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Re: Just who is on the defensive?

Professor Harnad writes:

But I hope you will in turn excuse the research community for being more concerned with *access* .
Those of us who are in touch with the research community on a daily basis find that their concerns are with how the OA model can work and not primarilly about access (as indeed the surveys have shown). The evidence is not yet available but surely plans for funding an OA universe should at least be worked on, as for example Wellcome have done. It is not just a matter of speculation but rather for publishers a matter of forethought.

Anthony Watkinson

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stevan Harnad" <harnad@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Sunday, January 28, 2007 5:40 PM
Subject: Re: Just who is on the defensive?

On Fri, 26 Jan 2007, JOHANNES VELTEROP wrote:

The issue shouldn't be -- and for most clear-thinking publishers isn't -- about OA yea or nay. It is about the fundamentally problematic idea of mandating access to the formally published literature without willing to provide in any way for payment...
But, dear Jan, need I remind you that Payment *in full* is being made -- via subscriptions and licenses -- for that vast majority of journals that are not OA journals!

The rest is just pre-emptive speculation: If those subscriptions are ever cancelled, the resultant savings can then be used to pay for Gold OA publication charges But until and unless they are cancelled, why do we -- the research community, I mean, because, frankly, the publishing community has not much say in this, one way or the other -- keep wasting time on this pre-emptive bargaining, instead of doing the keystrokes to provide the OA, now? (*That's* what the self-archiving mandates are for, at long last.)

Given the benefits of open access, an argument might even be made that its increased utility would justify a higher price. The mandates that are being considered, however, aim to remove (perhaps not by intention, but as an unintended consequence) any economic basis. That's the issue. Not OA or NOA.
Jan, as a publisher, you are to be excused for being so preoccupied with prices and your bottom line. But I hope you will in turn excuse the research community for being more concerned with *access* -- for which there is no need to pay a penny more or less at the moment! All that's needed is keystrokes. And that is what OA, today, is about.

Stevan Harnad