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Thanks to three list members

Many thanks to Sandy, Toby and Joe for informative, full and very 
interesting  answers to my remarks. Although I study publishing 
as intensely as I can, I am not involved in the day-to-day 
operations of a press. As a result, I certainly cannot (and would 
not) claim the kind of expertise we just read in the three notes 
I am referring to. Thanks again.

The relationship between OA electronic versions of books and 
actual sales of paper is the crucial point, I believe. Obviously, 
the numbers provided by Toby show that the number of people 
interested by (some) books is hugely superior to the number of 
buyers. This is, after all, one of the rationales behind research 
libraries. This difference in numbers also says something about 
the brakes on knowledge a toll-gated model of diffusion imposes, 
and it would be interesting to try quantifying it in some manner. 
But it also brings to mind the fact that a digital document lends 
itself to *conscious* modes of reading. Some "reading" is really 
a way of retrieving information, checking a fact, or checking the 
exact nature of a particular argument, as well as the nature of 
its supporting evidence. It is interesting to note that Google 
offers digital documents that can only be read in the banal sense 
of the word (and essentially on screen, because printing page 
images is painfully slow). Google reserves other possibilities of 
reading to themselves and they make money through their ad sense 
model. In effect, they achieve what Cliff Lynch has warned 
against: a form of open access without open computation.

Now, it seems to me that some degree of OA is better than none 
(this is what makes the Google agreement so complex to 
disentangle). In parallel, it also seems to me that some 
computational possibilities can be given out while other 
possibilities can be retained for revenue. This is reminiscent of 
"some rights retained" in the Creative Commons world. In short, 
what I am suggesting is that a good research project could 
probably help develop a business plan that would offer both OA 
and revenue, the latter coming more from added services 
(exploitation of some of the computational potential of digital 
documents) than from ads - academic works, almost by definition, 
are esoteric and, therefore, run contrary to mass methods of 
financing. The result would be OA texts with some open 
computational capabilities added, and a few more retained for 
revenue purposes.

Again, experiments like the OAPEN project can be very useful in 
this regard.

Jean-Claude Guedon