Don't confuse AIP (publisher) with APS (Learned Society)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 18:57:01 +0000

Below are Peter Suber's excerpts from the AIP (American Institute of Physics)
"Position On Open Access & Public Access".

It is important not to confuse AIP with APS (American Physical
Society). AIP is merely the publishing arm of APS, which is a Learned
Society (and one of the most progressive on OA).

Don't take the grumbling of AIP too seriously. The APS/AIP
division-of-labor is optimal, because it allows us to separate the
scientific/scholarly interests from the publishing interests (which are
so thoroughly conflated in most other Learned Societies, notably the
American Chemical Society!).

Below, the AIP is basically saying that the interests of generating and
protecting their current revenue streams and cost-recovery model trump
the interests of research, researchers, their institutions, their funders,
and the interests of the tax-paying public that funds their funders.

In contrast, the international Open Access movement, five out of eight
UK Research Councils, the Wellcome Trust, the US FRPAA, the provosts of
most of the top US universities, the European Commission, a growing number
of Australian and Canadian Research Councils, CERN, and a growing number
of individual universities and research institutions think otherwise.

(By the way, self-archiving mandates do not "favor of one business model over
another": They are not about business models at all. They are about maximizing
the access, usage and impact of publicly funded research.).

AIP is the publishing tail, again trying to wag the research dog. Soon we will
see an end of this sort of nonsense.

    Berners-Lee, T., De Roure, D., Harnad, S. and Shadbolt, N. (2005)
    Journal publishing and author self-archiving: Peaceful Co-Existence
    and Fruitful Collaboration.

Stevan Harnad

  From Peter Suber's Open Access News
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has issued a
statement spelling out the AIP Position On Open Access & Public Access.
See the Fall 2006 issue of Professional Scholarly Publishing Bulletin,
p. 3.  The statement is dated October 2006.
    AIP's mission and policy is to achieve that widest dissemination of the
research results and other information we publish.
        * Since the arrival of the Web, AIP believes it has achieved wider and
        * more affordable dissemination than ever before in history, with more
        * subscribers, more readers and more libraries and other institutions and
        * people using our journals than ever before. Some use them free or at
        * very low cost under various open access models.
        * AIP believes it has been extremely successful in using and investing in
        * technology and new online platforms towards that end.
        * AIP has instituted and experimented with many business models,
        * including free and open access.
    AIP believes that publishers should be free to experiment with various
business models in the market place of ideas and economics.
        * AIP is fearful of and against government mandates that provides rules
        * in favor of one business model over another.
        * AIP is against funding agencies mandating free access to articles after
        * they have undergone costly peer review or editing by publishers.
    AIP is against the government posting or distributing free copies of articles
that publishers have invested in producing.
        * AIP believes that funding agencies have every right to report their
        * results to the public, but that if they choose to use
        * publisher-produced, peer-reviewed material to do that, then the
        * publisher should receive appropriate compensation.
        * AIP is also fearful about what government agencies might do with
        * articles they receive under any deposit system.  In particular, AIP is
        * fearful of mission creep with government agencies using the deposited
        * material beyond the goal of public access, for example in enhanced
        * publications that compete with the private sector.
Peter Suber:  The same issue of the PSP Bulletin (pp. 4, 8) reprints the
September 22 letter from 10 provosts to Senators Cornyn and Lieberman,
opposing FRPAA.  See my September 22 comments on the letter.
Peter Suber Comment.  No doubt peer review is added value.  It may be
added by unpaid editors and referees, but there are transaction costs
and they are paid by publishers.  But government OA mandates only apply
to research funded by taxpayers.  Since both publishers and taxpayers
make a contribution to the value of peer-reviewed articles based
on publicly-funded research, what's the best way to split this baby?
The current method is a reasonable compromise:  a period of exclusivity
for the publisher followed by free online access for the public.  More,
even after the embargo period ends, the existing policies and proposals
only mandate access only to the author's peer-reviewed manuscript, not to
the published edition.  Publishers who want to block OA mandates per se,
rather than just negotiate the embargo period, are saying that they want
no compromise, that the public should get nothing for its investment,
and that publishers should control access to research conducted by others,
written up by others, and funded by taxpayers.
Received on Sun Dec 10 2006 - 20:00:16 GMT

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