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Re: Brantley blog post

In response to Joe's statement, "attention, not information is 
the scarce commodity," I hearken back to the old Certs 
commercial, where the dispute over Certs as breath mint and candy 
mint is resolved with, "stop, you're both right."  (I have no 
doubt that Barzini used Certs and paid full price for them.)

Attention is indeed a scarce commodity.  Particular slices of 
information are also often scarce, or priced beyond the means of 
people who could both make good use of them and cover marginal 
cost.  Locking everything up would not solve the attention 
problem unless price were a perfect indicator of quality.  And I 
must say that I find a world where high quality information is 
only available to the rich to be an extremely unattractive world, 
even if we knew exactly what we should attend to, if only we 
could afford it.

Paul Courant

On 1/7/08 10:28 PM, "Joseph J. Esposito" <espositoj@gmail.com> wrote:

> Some clarifications in response to Adam Hodgkin:
> 1.  Brantley is no longer blogging for O'Reilly's Radar.  Much 
> of his attention has shifted to the Publishing Frontier blog 
> (http://pubfrontier.com).
> 2.  You would have to ask Brantley this directly, but from my 
> extensive communications with him, I would say that his 
> concerns for libraries and the Google project in particular go 
> far beyond open access.
> 3.  My view--not Brantley's--is that the phrase "public 
> interest in Open Access" is misleading.  The public is 
> interested in the sense that open access has captured its 
> imagination, but there is no "public interest" in the sense 
> that there are any public benefits to open access.  I know I 
> have become tiresome on this point, but I will assert it once 
> more and move on: attention, not information, is the scarce 
> commodity.  Open access adds to information and dilutes 
> attention.  One might as well sell a space heater in the 
> tropics.
> 4.  I am skeptical about the assertion that "publishers are
> showing a very proper concern with the benefits of an information
> commons."  This sounds like Woodstock.  Publishers are awakening
> to various ways open access can be used to market other products
> and services, including subscriptions.  This does not meant that
> OA is a publisher's preferred marketing venue, but it is the hand
> they have been dealt and they are learning to play it.  Over
> time, except for those publications (a small number) that are
> fully funded for open access by various groups (e.g.,
> philanthropies or universities), open access will evolve into one
> facet of a broadly based marketing strategy.  A publisher's
> "proper concern" is perhaps better summarized by Don Barzini in
> his address to his fellow thugs in "The Godfather":  "After all,
> we are not communists."
> Joe Esposito