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Re: Research Reports as Advertisements: An Allegory
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- Subject: Re: Research Reports as Advertisements: An Allegory
- From: "Joseph Esposito" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2007 18:41:50 EST
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Professor Harnad's allegory describes the advertising industry as it existed 50 years ago.
On 3/4/07, Stevan Harnad <email@example.com> wrote:
On Fri, 2 Mar 2007, Peter Banks wrote:On 3/1/07 7:58 PM, "Stevan Harnad" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:The online age has given birth to a very profound conflict of interest between what is best for (1) the research journal publishing industry, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, what is best for (2) research, researchers, universities, research institutions, research funders, the vast research and development (R&D) industry, and the tax-paying public that funds the research... ...Green OA mandates by research funders and institutions have been vigorously opposed by some (not all) portions of the publishing industry: these opponents have already succeeded in delaying the adoption of Green OA mandates on a number of occasions.This "New-Yorker length" essay begins with a flawed premise: that research publishing and research are opposed. This certainly will come as news to the many senior researchers who work as editors, editorial board members, and reviewers in publishing.When research funders propose, and researchers petition, to mandate OA self-archiving -- and publishers oppose it -- I think it's more than reasonable to call that opposition opposition.Using similar logic, one might assert that there is very profound conflict of interest between what is best for (1) patients in the United States, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, what is best for (2) the health care industry, including doctors, hospitals, health-care insurers, the vast research and development (R&D) industry in pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
Suppose that advertising services traditionally made their money from *selling* ads (to readers) on paper. Merchants advertising their products would reluctantly agree to the placement of an access-toll (collected by the advertising service from readers) between the ads for their products and their intended customers (for the products the merchant is selling -- the ones the ad is advertising), because that was the only way to cover paper production/distribution costs, and at least merchants didn't have to pay the advertising service for preparing their ads. (Merchants supply the raw copy, but the ad companies make it look professional, and then print, distribute, and collect the tolls for accessing it.) Then the online medium comes along. Merchants still want some help in making their ads look professional, and they don't mind their ads continuing to be sold on paper, but they'd like them now to be free online, to maximize readers and thereby product sales. So while the ads are still selling well enough on paper to cover the ad service's costs and provide a fair profit, the merchants put their ads online for free -- not the raw copy, but the version made to look professional by the ad service. The ad services agree to individual merchants giving away the online version of their ads for free, but they oppose the merchants' association mandating that all merchants do it, saying it will destroy their (the ad service industry's) revenues and their ability to cover their costs. The merchants' association says that as long as paper ad sales are still covering costs, there is no justification for opposing a mandate that merchants deposit their ads free online. Only if and when paper ad sales are no longer sustainable is there any cause for objection, and then the objection can be met quite simply by merchants paying the advertising services directly for their value-added contribution. To make the analogy complete, it remains only to add that the *readers* of the adds are the merchants themselves: Let's say that they are selling their products to one another; hence the ads for their products are addressed to one another too. That means that if and when the ads are no longer selling on paper (because the free online version is all that readers want and need), then the only thing the merchants association needs to do is to redirect the money saved (from no longer paying for the paper ads): The value added to the online ad by the ad service is now paid out of the collective savings from the access-tolls for the (now obsolete) paper ads.
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