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

From: J.F.B.Rowland <J.F.Rowland_at_LBORO.AC.UK>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 14:44:04 -0000

Chris Beckett said:

'I believe, and I think this view is shared by many people who have
inhabited the world of libraries and scholarly publishing for any
significant period think that Gold OA represents a threat to profit levels
and Green OA represent a threat to revenues and profit levels.'

These issues must be seriously addressed by those of us who believe in the
principle of Open Access, but I don't think the publhishers' hiring of a PR
'pit bull' will contribute very helpfully to informed debate.

'Gold OA represents a threat to profit levels' Yes, it probably does.
Those of us who don't work for publishers are not unhappy about this, the
point being that the publishers have been extracting monopoly levels of
profit from their captive, and predominantly public-sector, market for many
decades - ever since their mentor, Robert Maxwell, realised it was possible
in the 1940s. Now that the academic community is fighting back, they are

'Green OA represent a threat to revenues and profit levels.' That is more
arguable, and Stevan Harnad would probably say that it is speculation and
probably not true at all. My view is that it is possibly true, but that
there would not be a catastrophic collapse, more likely a gradual decline.
If so, sensible publishers would be making plans for an orderly transition
to a new scenario, rather than trying to rubbish the arguments of their
customers. Companies that are hated by their customers are in an inherently
unstable situation anyway.

Fytton Rowland, Loughborough University.
Received on Tue Jan 30 2007 - 14:50:45 GMT

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