Re: Critique of PSP/AAP Critique of NIH Proposal

From: David Goodman <David.Goodman_at_LIU.EDU>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 22:07:52 -0500

There is very little to add to Stevan's critique. Each of us will have an individual view
about some relatively minor factors , but it basically well reflects the basic viewpoint of
essentially everyone who is concerned in the dissemination of scientific research--
except some of the publishers.
I therefore want to look at it from the perspective of the publishers' role,
 and explain to them specifically why the NIH proposal is in their own best interest,

It is surely of concern to the publishers that they retain a role in scientific publishing, and that
their industry maintain its independence. By adopting the NIH policies they will; by rejecting it
they will not.

They will remain prosperous to the degree that the publish excellent material that
individuals, and the libraries purchasing journals on behalf of their individual users,
are willing to pay for--and I would say that this is exactly the primary professional
goal of any publisher. What makes a journal important is primarily its content, and the competition
for relevant and important content is the basis of their growth. The presentation of the
content is an major secondary factor in importance, and the competition in this respect
is also an appropriate part of their professional goal. Stevan has explained how this will
be positively, rather than negatively, affected, at least for the next few years--what happens after
that will depend upon them, if they act wisely.

They will remain even more in control of their destiny if they take the lead and
adopt immediately even more generous provisions than the NIH: shortening and with growing confidence
eliminating the embargo period, applying it to more classes of material--such as scholarly
review articles, and permitting and facilitating use of their carefully prepared
version of the article for OA, As pointed out, some publishers do indeed do each of these,
and they have not gone bankrupt but rather prosper.

If they prevent OA, or even are forced into it, they will forfeit the good will of the readers and
authors on whom they depend. All authors not publishing merely for attainment of tenure are
interested in having their work read, and their reputation depends on the influence they thus
obtain from the judgment of their present peers and their future peers who are still students.
In more immediate terms, their success in obtaining funding will depend both upon their peers'
judgment of the importance of their work, and the public's judgment of the importance of their
subject. As recent studies have shown, readers increasingly prefer papers that are in some
form immediately accessible.

The societies, in particular, have always had the both the natural patronage of their members,
 and also of others in and out of the academic world who realize their role in publishing much
 of the best work, at relatively low expense. Many authors have given them a preference in
selected where to publish; many libraries have given them a certain amount of preference in
deciding which subscriptions to maintain. I personally have already
lost this feeling with respect to some: they include societies whose journals I continued
to subscribe to on behalf of my users even after changing departmental interests had decreased
 use to the point where it would be cost-efficient to switch to document delivery.
The users expected this of me; they would not expect so now.

What will come next after the achievement of OA I consider not as speculation, but planning,
if done responsibly. (In this context responsible means not being biased to the Utopia
represented by one's own private goal, but rationally and scientifically evaluating the possibilities.
Would the publishers like to be part of this planning? the alternative is the the other partners
will continue without them. I think publishers on the whole publish better than libraries would,or than
authors would if left to their own devices. But if publishers do not accommodate the needs
of their users, the rest of us will go on as best we can even after their demise. I do not look
forward to this--I would much rather work with them, and benefit from their
expertise, if they make it possible.

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Stevan Harnad
Sent: Wed 11/10/2004 6:44 PM
Subject: Critique of PSP/AAP Critique of NIH Proposal

This is a very detailed critique of the critique of the NIH Public Access
Proposal by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Professional
Scholarly Publishing (PSP). It contains many basic points that NIH
can use to support its proposal against the points made by AAP/PSP.
A highlighted MS Word version is attache
Received on Thu Nov 11 2004 - 03:07:52 GMT

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