Re: PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access: excerpts from article in Nature Magazine

From: Michael Eisen <mbeisen_at_LBL.GOV>
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 06:54:08 -0800

And where do you think the money that pays for peer-review,
copyediting, composition and all the other things publishers provide
comes from? The Easter Bunny?

As Peter well knows, a substantial fraction of the money spent on
journal subscriptions comes directly or indirectly from public funds.
It is the height of irony for an industry that has lived off the
public till for decades to now decry the involvement of government in
publishing. The problem with scientific publishing today is not that
publishers are cheating taxpayers of something they already own, it's
that the scientific community is complicit in this process. We not
only allow publishers to deny the public - and much of the scientific
community - full access to the results of research they funded, but
we pay them huge amounts of money to do so. The solution here is not
to demonize publishers, but rather for governments and other public
bodies to no longer allow their money to be used to support an
ineffective system that is no longer serving their interests. The
taxpayers can, instead, use their funds to further develop a new
system for disseminating the results of scientific research that
ensures universal open access. And, I'm sure Peter won't object since
he apparently believes that taxpayers don't currently contribute to
revenues of the publishing industry.

Michael Eisen, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
UC Berkeley

Public Library of Science

On Jan 26, 2007, at 5:50 AM, Peter Banks wrote:

> It is quite astounding to hear the outcry over publishers engaging
> in "media
> messaging" rather than "intellectual debate."
> For years, the OA camp has used media messaging--with its attending
> distortions and gross simplifications--to great effect. Consider a
> pearl
> like, "Taxpayers have the right to access research they have
> already paid
> for." Indeed they do. They can look at exactly what they have paid
> for--which is research up to the stage of preprints. They have not,
> however,
> paid for peer-review, copyediting, composition, or any of the other
> value
> that a publisher adds to the manuscript. That inconvenient fact has
> not,
> however, stopped OA advocates from disingenuously implying that
> publishers
> are cheating taxpayers from something they already own. (By this
> logic, one
> might argue that citizens have the right to free bread for having paid
> agricultural subsidies.)
> Before OA advocates start huffing about the need for "intellectual
> debate,"
> they need to demonstrate their own intellectual integrity.
Received on Sat Jan 27 2007 - 15:03:15 GMT

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