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RE: Open Access to Research Is Inevitable, Libraries Are Told

At 6:50 PM -0500 2/26/10, Nat Gustafson-Sundell wrote:

>an unpaid editor runs the peer review process (runs the software 
>distributing articles to peer reviewers, scheduling, reminding, 
>receiving responses, responding to author)

Just such use of a faculty member's time involves an "opportunity 
cost" for the university that hired the professor primarily to do 
research and teach. The more time spent doing these clerical 
types of work means less time spent on doing what the professor 
was hired to do. That was Colin Day's principal point about 
economic efficiency.

Sandy Thatcher

>I don't know that the learning curve is quite so steep for the 
>grad students -- at least in my experience.  I think the length 
>and steepness of a learning curve is directly related to whether 
>a person is being paid to learn and inversely related to the 
>amount of other things the learner needs to do.  When we were 
>walked through the application, it took less than an hour and 
>it's not like there was anything mysterious or difficult 
>involved. It was about as difficult as the expense reimbursement 
>system I installed at one of my jobs, and even the sales folks 
>picked that up in one hour of training.
>But the complaint is misplaced in any case since the software is 
>generally run by the 'permanent staff.' The model I've seen for 
>OA is that an unpaid editor runs the peer review process (runs 
>the software distributing articles to peer reviewers, 
>scheduling, reminding, receiving responses, responding to 
>author), with compartmentalized tasks assigned to students (if 
>they work on peer review related issues at all -- when they 
>would be better deployed at customizing websites for journals, 
>maybe cleaning HTML if necessary, and things of that sort), so 
>the learning is done while work is being done. Support for the 
>software comes from library support staff or university support 
>staff, if the editor isn't savvy enough to handle most or all 
>issues.  The support itself is a tiny expense because these 
>things actually do run themselves for the most part.
>This bit about "hidden costs" seems like insinuation for effect,
>when I've yet to see such insinuation bear out.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
>[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Sandy Thatcher
>Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2010 5:02 PM
>To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
>Subject: RE: Open Access to Research Is Inevitable, Libraries Are Told
>With all due respect to John Willinsky and the OJS software, 
>which is good and getting better all the time, there are still 
>significant costs involved in using the software; it is not so 
>sophisticated as to do all the work involved in managing peer 
>review, and there is also a significant learning curve (hence 
>cost) involved in training people to use it (or any of the 
>commercial counterparts like Editorial Manager, used at our 
>Press), which is exacerbated when those running a journal come 
>and go frequently, as happens when graduate student labor is 
>used. I suspect those "hidden" costs are seldom tallied up when 
>estimates of OA publishing are made.
>Sandy Thatcher
>>Indeed peer-reviewers do their work for free, at least in the 
>>case of journals, and there exists excellent free software to 
>>manage the peer review process (for example John Willinsky's 
>>OJS). But publishers continue to treat this as if it were 
>>sooooooooooooooooooooo expensive and soooooooooooooooooooo 
>>The main point of all this is that significantly digitization 
>>lowers a number of expenses and, as a result, many tasks 
>>previously out of reach for small groups are now quite easy to 
>>organize. There are costs involved in publishing, to be sure, 
>>but many are never monetized, and they are not as high as some 
>>estimates claim. Look at what SciELO is doing and with how much 
>>money, and then ponder... As a result, the perimeters within 
>>which publishers used to work are gradually shrinking, raising 
>>a number of professional anxieties that interfere with the 
>>clarity of the objectives - namely developing the best 
>>communication system possible for researchers.
>>Jean-Claude Guedon