Re: Author Publication Charge Debate

From: Suhail A. R. <>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 15:55:37 +0000

Barbara Kirsop wrote:

> I sympathise with developing country authors who have to go through the
> process of asking for a dispensation of document management charges if
> they can't afford these. This doesn't feel like a level playing field.
> But I fail to understand why some of the recent correspondents to this
> list are totally ignoring the BOAI-1 eprints archive route to OA.

The reason this is being ignored is that this discussion is about authors
publishing their work rather than authors accessing the works of others.
Secondly, this is not a discussion about our present (the status of OA
journals today is such that they have no bearing on developing country
authors), it is a discussion about the future. Thirdly author charges apply
to OA journals only and have no bearing on OA archiving. Putting these three
together we (not just developing world but also non-institutionally backed
authors in the developed world) are simply arguing for the research
publication match to end in the TA court.

> As has been said many times already, let authors who cannot afford the
> charges of publishing in OA journals (BOAI-2) continue to publish in non-OA
> journals and at the same time archive their published papers in an
> eprint archive. This way their research is guaranteed maximum exposure
> and impact and it is achievable at almost nil cost. And in India, for
> example, the first eprints archives have been set up and a series of
> meetings are arranged in the sub-continent to raise awareness about the
> potential of this for Indian science and to show other institutes how to
> set up similar archives.

As I mention above, we are not discussing the present, as that is simply
what all developing country authors are doing currently (at least the
publish in non-OA part). Its the future. If OA takes over at some point in
the future, these authors will suffer. This will mean a hegemony of access
to research publication and an end to best research being published fastest
but rather paid research taking over via publishers. This will remain a
problem whether we self archive or not, if the OA journal problem is not
tackled first. I believe the way out, as Henderson has pointed out, is for
higher education institutions to systematically increase spending on
libraries so that the TA publishers need not generate revenue from
individual tolls. This way they effectively become OA (can we call this
OAI-3). Moreover, authors like us and a good many in the developed world too
are generally ignoring the OA movement. As Henderson states, many others
cannot afford to subsidize publication -- OA or otherwise. I agree with him
that if this is not rectified, the OA movement will become one more
scheme gone bust.

May I suggest that we discuss the road to what I call OAI-3 if any one has
any further ideas?

Actually the website on the BOAI states for BOAI-2:

     "Second, scholars need the means to launch a new generation of
     journals committed to open access, and to help existing journals
     that elect to make the transition to open access..."

I think we should modify this initiative to read:

    "Third, scholars need to find mechanisms through which existing
    journals can make the transition to open access without the need
    for author tolls."

Eventually that is the goal we are seeking as researchers, and this
way we can achieve this without the hegemony created by the author toll
access system. I welcome suggestions and comments on the implementation
of such a modified OAI.

Received on Wed Feb 11 2004 - 15:55:37 GMT

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