Re: Mandating OA around the corner?

From: Matthew Cockerill <matt_at_BIOMEDCENTRAL.COM>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 11:07:04 +0100

Jim Till makes an excellent point.

The current system only really caters remotely adequately for scientific
communication between professionals in the same or closely

Open Access, as well as improving communication within a discipline, also
enables various different kinds of bi-directional knowledge transfer that go
beyond that:

* between disciplines
* between government and the private sector
* between researchers and the general public
* between the developing and the developed world

And the key point is that it's not a zero sum game - everyone comes away
from this exchange better off.
The scientists whose research is accessed benefit. And the people who do the
accessing benefit.

Meanwhile, open accesss critics insist on using language which falsely
implies that it *is* a zero sum game:
   "Britain would be a net loser" if it goes it alone with open access.
   "the main beneficiaries would not be university libraries and the
developing world at all, but Big Pharma"

Matt Cockerill
Matthew Cockerill
Technical Director
BioMed Central Limited

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> Behalf Of Jim Till
> Sent: 23 July 2004 14:46
> Subject: Re: Mandating OA around the corner?
> On Fri, 23 Jul 2004, David Prosser wrote [in part]:
> > I'm not at all convinced by the 'spending money on
> > dissemination impedes the discovery of a cure for cancer'
> > argument. Spending money on making sure that data are
> > easily available has accelerated the pace of scientific
> > discovery (most famously in genome research) and there is
> > no reason to think that this will not be the same for
> > papers.
> I agree that funds spent on effective "knowledge transfer"
> are well-spent. There have been many debates in the cancer
> research field (and in other areas of health research) about
> how best to foster "translational research" (e.g. the
> transfer of basic knowledge into policy and practice).
> Surely attempts to foster the dissemination of primary
> research results provide one very credible way to facilitate
> "knowledge transfer" in general, and health-related
> "translational research" in particular?
> I'd use a similar argument to counter concerns about the
> "free rider" question about OA, whereby "big business gains
> free access to research for their commercial advantage".
> See: MPs brand scientific publishing "unsatisfactory", by
> Bobby Pickering, Information World Review, 20 July 2004,
> Jim Till
> University of Toronto

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