[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Self-Archiving and Journal Subscriptions: Critique of PRC Study

On 18/05/07, Ahmed Hindawi <ahmed.hindawi@hindawi.com> wrote:

> Some might say that the subscription money and the author 
> charges may end up being coming from two different pockets. But 
> these two pockets are in the same jacket. The research funder 
> gives the money to researchers. The university of these 
> researchers decides how much of this money goes into the two 
> pockets. Publishing costs or not, if you think money in the 
> left pocket is so much better for the society than the money in 
> the right pocket, then ask the universities to put more money 
> in it. It is all money from the research funders anyway, 
> right?!

Allow me to comment on this author-pays model. Don't you think 
this economical model is as bad a model for sustaining OA, as a 
subscription-based reader-pays model? If the readers are not 
supposed to pay for espousing the good cause of universal access 
to research, in the same way, authors who are doing the 
researched can not be 'taxed' for producing their research 
findings on the web for increasing universal access. Mind the 
word 'tax' here. In effect this is a direct tax on author's 
salary, which may be coming from the research grant and the 
author's employer quite legitimately finds a way to impose a cut 
on his/her salary.

However, if that would be the case - there is a better way to do 
it. I mean imposing an indirect tax on the authors - meaning the 
employer can actually give the salary after deducting the amount 
the author will be paying to the journal for publishing. But for 
those authors who tend to write more and more, can end up in 
paying an amount of indirect tax that can surpass the actual 
federal tax, if we consider that publishing a journal article can 
cost somewhere between $500-1000. This is no less money for an 
individual, but in many cases access to journal articles may not 
cost that much, at least in specific domains. Access to digital 
libraries of ACM and IEEE for computing literature even by 
individuals would cost at least 1/5th of this money.

However, as I have said, the amount which authors take home from 
research grant is salary and institutions are not supposed to 
impose and can not, legally till now, impose an institutional tax 
on that. If there is a federal law tomorrow towards an 
author-payee model, then simply the institutions have to increase 
their staff salary, allowing them to deposit their writing fee as 
much as they would write. Additionally, this might work in some 
disciplines of science and technology, but in other disciplines 
authors do not write straightforward from the research being 
carried out as part of their research grant. The bottomline is 
writing should be free, as much as reading.

Atanu Garai
Geneva/ New Delhi