Re: UK Parliament (Westminster Hall) debate on Academic Publishing

From: Barry Mahon <barry.mahon_at_IOL.IE>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 17:09:12 +0100

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On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 12:55:46 +0100, Dr Andrew A. Adams <a.a.adams_at_READING.AC.UK> wrote:

> Dear All,
> Yesterday (15th December 2005) there was a debate in Westminster Hall (*)
> on the report of the Science and Technology Committee's report "Scientific
> Publishing: Free for all?". Details of the debate are available here:

Having ploughed through the (sometimes turgid) debate I was struck by two items from the input to the discussion by the responsible government Minister -

        "The Government's position on open access is that we need to ensure, as we have heard from many quarters, a level playing field in order that research funding authorities can have the discretion to provide the funds if the author prefers an open access route. Given the uncertainty with current business models, that position is the most appropriate in order to encourage competition and innovation in publishing models and to retain freedom of choice for authors.

        The Government need to consider a number of important issues with regard to scientific publications. Hon. Members will be aware that different disciplines, ranging from social sciences to astrophysics, have different needs, so a one-size solution would not necessarily fit all. We have to take into account the specific needs of many very different disciplines when formulating policy. Much has been said about the vital issue of peer review. Researchers need to be confident that the article that they are reading has been vigorously and rigorously peer reviewed, whatever the business model might be. Peer review is crucial for quality control, whether in print format or in an electronic journal, whether using open access or traditional subscription approaches.

        It is imperative that the quality of research articles be maintained and not compromised by financial considerations or hasty changes to business models. As has been said, the leading journals have significant rejection rates, and it is that that drives up the quality of the articles"

IMO, it is not often that Governments are so logical in their approach to policy.

I am not sure that this comment meets Stevan's criteria for distribution....

Barry Mahon
Received on Fri Dec 16 2005 - 16:18:33 GMT

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