Re: Forthcoming OA Developments in France

From: guedon <>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2006 10:21:03 -0400

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Returning from the serene peace of forests and lakes, I was quite
startled by the venomous tone of the message below.

My!!! What a lovely human spirit!!! At least Hobbes, when he began to
assume that human beings were wolves to each other, was simply using the
worst-case scenario to demonstrate that social life was possible
notwithstanding. In the message below, we just have an appeal to the
kind of pseudo-realism one sometimes encounters in a dorm designed for
sophomores (remember the etymology...). The world is crap. Yeah...
yeah... Better learn how to survive in it. Yeah... yeah... The bloody
fangs of nature and all the rest of it... yeah... yeah...

Alternatively, Ms. Dittrich may be a devotee of Louis-Ferdinand Céline's
"Voyage au bout de la nuit"... If this be the case, she might consider
spending some time reading his biography, however busy she may be.

All the motivations ascribed to Harold Varmus, Stevan Harnad et tutti
quanti display a form of reasoning about as far removed from the true
scientific spirit as one can imagine. These are personal attacks without
any value whatsoever. They are surprising, coming as they do from
someone claiming to be a researcher, and one involved in medical
education to boot.

Just a little note about scientists already having sufficient access
through their libraries. This is more or less true of well-heeled
institutions, most of which are in wealthy countries. However, it is
never completely true, hence the need for OA.

For the rest of the world, this constitutes a barrier which corresponds
to yet another obstacle to development.

Finally, a large majority of scientific research is financed by public
money and scientific publications are largely bought by
publicly-supported libraries. On the macro, aggregate, level, the
world's public money makes most scientific research possible and then
more of the world's public money buys the published results for
researchers like ourselves. Does Ms. Dittrich know where the world's
public money come from?

Jean-Claude Guédon

Le jeudi 29 juin 2006 à 08:23 -0400, Lisa Dittrich a écrit :
> 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.
> Lisa
> -----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.
> Really?
> The NIH had about 4% compliance with its request for voluntary deposit
> in
> PMC.
> 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 Tue Aug 01 2006 - 17:46:10 BST

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