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

From: Peter Banks <pbanks_at_BANKSPUB.COM>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 20:08:54 -0500

" Ask any researchers and they will tell you that lack of access to >
research findings severely limits research - it is painfully obvious."

If it so painfully obvious, please provide some evidence for it other than
your own opinion.

Actually I recently have visited the editorial offices of half a dozen top
researchers in one of the most important fields of clinical medicine. I
asked them if access to their journals was limiting research here or
internationally. These were all people somewhat sympathetic to OA goals, but
not one felt that clinical care or research was limited by access to the

However, if it is--and if there is data on this point I am open to it--then
Professor Harnad has an extremely simple solution: scientists should simply
deposit their postprints in institutional repositories. Many if most
journals allow this, and have done so for some time. The fact that the
percent of manuscripts that could be deposited is very small may indicate
that the vast majority of researchers simply do not agree with you.

On 1/29/07 5:29 PM, "Leslie Chan" <> wrote:

> It is hard to know whether to take Peter Banks seriously when he asserts
> that "there is not a shred of evidence that access to information is
> limiting research progress". Do publishers actually believe this? Banks is
> clearly no researcher if he believes that research takes place in a
> vacuum. Ask any researchers and they will tell you that lack of access to
> research findings severely limits research - it is painfully obvious. If
> inadequate access to information is not limiting research progress, why
> would anyone pay such outrageously high subscription fees to publishers?
> It is also
> very clear to everyone that without investment in research, progress
> cannot be made. The reason China, India and Brazil are becoming economic
> powerhouses is precisely because of improved access to research and strong
> investment in science in recent years.
> But science is not carried out to keep under lock and key, or distributed
> only to those countries that are economically and politically acceptable
> at the time. Scientists do research to discover solutions to problems, to
> help find cures for AIDS/HIV, avian flu, malaria, TB, and to make
> progress in understanding climate change, genetics of drought-resistant
> plants, new mechanisms to battle with pollution - or even to work on
> communications technology that allows us all to share knowledge for the
> good of the planet. It is not philanthropy or a form of "welfare" to share
> research with China, India and Brazil, (all of which have huge problems of
> poverty and disease despite recent economic improvements) but a human
> obligation. Scientists are not in the business of protecting the profits
> of the publishing industry, but in increasing our knowledge and solving
> problems. And thanks to OA, scientists can enjoy not only improved access
> to research but improved impact of their own work. This will translate
> into improved public benefit, which is why governments fund research in
> the first place.
> Leslie Chan
> Bioline International, University of Toronto Scarborough
> Barbara Kirsop
> Electronic Publishing Trust for Development
> Subbiah Arunachalam
> MSSRF, India
Received on Tue Jan 30 2007 - 02:12:14 GMT

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