Recent Links on Open Access
- Fissures Evident in Panel on Google Settlement. ‘“Everybody’s represented at the table, publishers, copyright holders, authors,” [one librarian] said, “but there’s no one there representing the public.” There’s no transparency in the University of Michigan’s amended agreement, she said, so “even if everything’s being done right, no way for us to perceive that.”’
- The Public Index, ‘a site to study and discuss the proposed Google Book Search settlement’.
- Horns of a Dilemma: Open Access or Academic Freedom: Philip Davis correctly points out that author-pays OA could put a strain on university libraries’ budgets if the libraries are asked to pay the authors’ publishing fees. He then uses this observation to construct a straw-man argument against all OA, by implying that OA is incompatible with academic freedom, and that subscription-based closed access is the best model. I pointed out some of the flaws in this argument in the comments, until Philip cut off the discussion. In my view, both subscription fees and author fees limit academic freedom by restricting participation to institutions and individuals who can afford to pay, and neither model places any real limits on how much money publishers can extort. In the subscription model, the result is that only the richest institutions can afford to give their members the freedom to read the best journals; in the author-pays model, the result is that only the richest institutions can afford to give their members the freedom to publish in the best journals. I think the best alternative is to abandon the idea that academic publishing should be financially self-sustaining, and a fortiori that it should make a profit. In any case, there is evidence that it need not cost much to publish a journal; many OA journals are published by universities themselves, at little or no cost. (Richard Sever argued that if universities publish OA journals, this introduces a potential conflict of interest when faculty want to publish in their universities’ journals; he didn’t explain why this isn’t a problem for the closed-access journals that, as he pointed out, many universities publish.)
- Deepak Singh comments on PLoS’s decision to promote article-level metrics and to ignore journal impact factors: ‘If you want article level metrics, you need to be web native. You need to be able to follow the links. So please, publish journals not as pdf versions of print, but as first class web citizens.’
- In Search of Anthropology-Friendly Subject Repositories: are there any?
- Finding a fair price for free knowledge: Writing in New Scientist, Peter Eckersley sets out ‘a challenge to the governments of countries that want to lead the way, whether rich or poor: sit down with Google (or one of its competitors), authors and publishers, and work out a deal that offers a complete, licensed digital library free to your citizens. It would cost taxpayers something, but less than they currently spend on buying scarce books and supporting large paper collections.’
- ACM responds to the blogosphere: Scott Delman, Group Publisher of the Association for Computing Machinery, points out a problem with self-archiving: ‘The fact that ACM charges both for access to the published information in its Digital Library and also extends the courtesy of “Green OA” to its authors is actually less important to me (while both are important aspects of what we do) than the fact that ACM and many other association publishers serve as well-intentioned caretakers of the scholarly record. I have spent too many hours trying to identify the “most up-to-date version” of an author’s article on his or her Web site or digging through the various related institutional repositories to identify a specific version of an article to believe that any other system at the present time offers the advantages of publishing with learned societies.’ The implication seems to be that only those who can afford to pay should have access to ‘the scholarly record’, and that Delman doesn’t mind if everyone else has to dig through institutional repositories only to find out-of-date versions of articles. The assertion that Green OA is a ‘courtesy’ that publishers extend to academics is also telling; in reality, it’s authors who giving something to publishers, not the reverse.