Re: Forthcoming OA Developments in France

From: Lisa Dittrich <lrdittrich_at_AAMC.ORG>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 08:23:39 -0400

I agree, and I think this highlights an issue raised in T. Scott
Pluchak's very thoughtful response to PLOS's current financial situation.

I personally think the push to OA has come from a few zealots (Varmus and
whatever Nobel Laureates he could strong arm into signing his various
decrees) and librarians upset about "the serials crisis"--i.e., the
higher prices they had to start paying once site licences came along and
also, of course, the high prices some journals charge for regular subs
(the usual suspects always trotted out to show how outrageously greedy
all of us in scholarly publishing are).  Most scientists, though, with
the possible exception of physicists, have been quite content with the
"open access" they already have--namely, the ability to easily get
content through their libraries, paid for by their library's budget. I
can't tell you how many of the authors I work with who don't even know
what the term "open access" means!  Granted, my work is with folks who
are split between medicine and medical education (so it's
social-sciencey) but still.  It's not the coin of the realm it is on this
list. And they are VERY busy people.     So ask them to take one more
step after publication--to deposit their research on an NIH database, or
even an IR, and most will say "I'll get to that...sometime."

As with most other causes, it's those whose livelihoods --the Varmuses
and Harnads of the world--and those whose pocketbooks--the librarians and
publishers--who are most invested in this issue who get their knickers in
a twist over it, as one of my editors used to say.  That, and
intellectuals w/too much time on their hands.  The researchers are busy
researching and publishing.  Oh, sure, ask them if research should be
free, and they'll say yes.  Ask most people if "X" should be free, and
what do you think they'll say? 

One other thing:  the assumption that all researchers want to share their
data is nuts.  Remember the fight over who first discovered the AIDS
virus?  It got pretty ugly.  And we've published research in our journal
about geneticists holding their findings pretty close to the vest for
fear of being scooped.  It's not all a love fest in science land, people.


-----Original Message-----
From: on behalf of Peter Banks
Sent: Wed 6/28/2006 7:10 PM
To:; AmSci Forum
Subject: Re: Forthcoming OA Developments in France

On 6/27/06 9:48 PM, "Stevan Harnad" <> wrote:

> Multiple author surveys --
> international and multisciplinary -- as well as repeated
> experience with actual mandates have shown that there will be
> very high rates of compliance.


The NIH had about 4% compliance with its request for voluntary deposit in

The 2005 CIBER author survey concludes, "At the moment,
relatively few researchers are familiar with the concept of
institutional repositories...such evidence as we have suggests
that--at the population level--there is no great interest or
drive from the author community for this model." (page 43)

Even the Swam paper you cite doesn't suggest high levels of
awareness of interest in OA. A slight majority had not placed a
paper in an IR, and about three quarters of these didn't even
know about repositories.

What all the evidence does suggest is that most authors would
comply, sometimes grudgingly, with IR deposit if forced to, much
as they would comply with the need to pay taxes or get a wisdom
tooth extracted.

Peter Banks
Banks Publishing
Publications Consulting and Services
Received on Thu Jun 29 2006 - 14:15:55 BST

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