Re: Archivangelism

From: Iain Stevenson <w.i.stevenson_at_CITY.AC.UK>
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2004 22:32:20 +0000

Matthew Cockerill wrote:

> There is still genuine irony in the claim that 'both forms of access can and
> do provide "free at point of use" access'
> Subscription-only content is free at point of use, *if* your institution
> pays for it and you are accessing from a context in which you gain access to
> your institutional access rights.
> Open Access content is unconditionally free at point of use to anyone at any
> time.

Matthew is being disingenous. Open-access CANNOT be free compared to
subscription journals because authors pay and when they can't, they don't
get past first base.

It has not been explained to me what the fundamental difference is
between a library subscribing to a journal so a member can read it
for "free" or in another part of the forest, a research funder paying
a publication access fee so the same reader can read it for free at
biomedcentral? both models have costs hidden from the reader, but the
costs are real nonetheless.

It couldn't be (wicked thought) that Matthew has a competitive commercial
publication model to promote--or perhaps milkmen in his neighbourhood
pay him to deliver his breakfast pinta!

Seriously, I'm not arguing that either model is better than the other--they
are opposite sides of the same medal. I don't believe in fairies, santa
claus or toll-free publishing. Every act of publication MUST involve real
costs in the information chain. An archiving system isn't just "there";
someone pays for it, ditto the access fees that pay Matthew's salary.
Nothing wrong with that, but don't claim that it's just "economics". Si
eppur muove, as a certain non-peer reviewed scientist once remarked, but
then he took on the Vatican.........
Received on Sat Jan 10 2004 - 22:32:20 GMT

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