Effects of OA *publishing* on OA *publishing*: Peter/Paul Redux

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 13:36:06 +0100

   Re: New ALPSP study on the effects of Open Access on scholarly publishing
   "The facts about Open Access"

    Prior Amsci Topic Thread:
    "Drubbing Peter to Pox Paul" (started November 2004)
    and Guardian Eduation December 2004)

Without prejudice as to the reliability and validity of the ALPSP study,
I must point out (wearily, yet again) that this was *not* a study of "the
effects of OA on scholarly publishing" nor of "the facts about Open Access".

It was a study of *OA publishing* (i.e., of the journals that currently
make their own contents freely available on the web, how they currently
make ends meet, what their current quality levels are, and how they
currently implement peer review). The main findings are that: (1)
many current OA journals do not use the OA cost-recovery model, (2)
some current OA journals are having trouble making ends meet, (3) some
current OA journals may have lower quality standards.

These findings have nothing *whatsoever* to do with OA self-archiving,
nor with the proposed RCUK OA self-archiving mandate. They are about
current OA publishing only.

Touting them as being "The facts about Open Access" and as revealing
"the effects of Open Access on scholarly publishing" is utter nonsense
and very much in the spirit of ALPSP's rather strained efforts to give
the impression that there is any objective evidence at all that OA
self-archiving has a negative effect on journal publishing. There is
and continues to be no such evidence, and this study provides no such
evidence. The survey merely repeats the (well-known, well-aired) *opinion*
of some publishers that "disastrous consequences" are imminent.

Using the data on the current status of OA publishing as if it had any
bearing at all on OA self-archiving is drubbing Peter (self-archiving)
to pox Paul (OA publishing). This strategy may be sufficient to dupe
DTI for a bit


but sooner or later sensible people are bound to twig on the fact that
it is nothing but a smoke-screen.

I am quite confident that the RCUK consists of such sensible people.

Stevan Harnad

On Thu, 13 Oct 2005, Sally Morris (ALPSP) wrote:

> Apologies for duplication, but I thought your members/readers of
> all these lists would be interested in the message below
> Sally
> Sally Morris, Chief Executive
> Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
> South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK
> Tel: +44 (0)1903 871 686
> Fax: +44 (0)1903 871 457
> Email: sally.morris_at_alpsp.org
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Nick Evans
> To: alpsp-discuss_at_mailbase.ac.uk
> Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 2:32 PM
> Subject: New ALPSP study on the effects of Open Access on scholarly publishing
> I am pleased to let you know that the substantial research study
> into the quickly evolving landscape of Open Access publishing has
> been released by ALPSP today (Tuesday 11 October 2005). A free
> to download pdf of the full report is available on our website
> (www.alpsp.org) together with the Overview section (the first 32
> pages of the report) and a press release. The priced printed version
> of the report (which is 128 pages long) can also be ordered online.
> As you will know this new study 'The Facts About Open Access' was
> sponsored by ALPSP with the American Association for the Advancement
> of Science (AAAS) and HighWire Press, with additional data from
> the Association of American Medical Colleges. The research was
> conducted by the independent consultants Kaufman-Wills Group LLC.
> It makes fascinating and instructive reading. As Sally says in
> her introduction: "Discussion of Open Access tends to be strong
> on rhetoric but short on facts. But now we have, for the first
> time, a substantial body of data about different forms of Open
> Access publishing, and a baseline of comparison with traditional
> subscription publishing."
> Nick
> Nick Evans
> Member Services Manager
> Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)
> 9 Stanbridge Road
> Putney, London, SW15 1DX
> Email: nick.evans_at_alpsp.org
> Web: www.alpsp.org
> Phone: +44 (0)20 8789 2394
Received on Thu Oct 13 2005 - 14:38:46 BST

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