Pitting Petitions Against Pit-Bulls: Sense Versus Sensationalism

From: Rune Nilsen <Rune.Nilsen_at_CIH.UIB.NO>
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2007 20:33:50 +0100

Stevan Harnads  5 messages are very important and well  well pointed,
except  for no 5, Developing countries.
I  strongly support  Jan Veltrops comment to this point.
The needs for  scientific literature  to  researchers and others in
developing countries  are very important, not at least  in a global
perpective  of research challenges. 
1. In health this is clearly stated by WHO and others what is called
 the  90/10 dilemma: ("only about 10% of funding is targeted to the
diseases which account for 90%  of the global disease
burden.") also addressing the fact that  to solve  the most important
global health problems,  researchers and universities in the developing
part of the world have to be  partners, and and  active users
of international research publications. The NIH  and PLoS contribution to
this agenda setting  has been good.
2. This 90/10  problem, however, is valid also in all other fields of
research (technology,  biodiversity,  social science and so on).
3. If the international research community do not  take the consequences
of this global reality, which includes  the publication strategy,  we
are  supporting  the present ACADEMIC APARTEID.  Availability of research
publications as OPEN ACESS, as a global public good is the most
important  tool  to   address and solve  the important  global and
poverty related  issues.. 
5. Mandatory  self archiving is the most important tool for  this goal, 
--also for the "book writing" researchers.
I am  professor in International health, University of Bergen, Norway,
and has worked in this field  since  last 30 years.
Presently I am  leader of a research programme Nile Basin Research
programme (for all the 10 Nile countries)
In all the institutions we are working with, the most fundamental problem
is lack of access to   research publications.
Stevan,  this is a big and fundamental global problem.
I am also  member of the Working group of Open Access in the EUA,
European University Association,  I am happy to say that it is a rapidly 
increaseing awareness in this field in Europe now.
Best regards
Rune Nilsen

Professor Rune Nilsen
Professor International Health
Director Nile Basin Research Programme (NBRP)
University of Bergen
POB 7800, 5020 Bergen
Teleph: +4741479217


From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
On Behalf Of Velterop, Jan, Springer UK
Sent: Saturday, February 10, 2007 3:58 PM
Subject: Re: Sense Versus Sensationalism: Pitting Petitions Against

(1) The "open access movement" is not the "open access journal
movement", but that doesn't mean there isn't something that can be
described as an "open access journal movement" among publishers and
editors (a growing number of sensible ones offering 'Gold' open

(2) At least one of the two 'Gold' publishing organisations (BMC)
came *before* the BOAI and both BMC and PLoS were constituents of
the BOAI (PLoS was not yet a publisher, but an open access advocacy
group before the BOAI and arguably started the whole movement off);

(3) The need for access to medical literature and in developing
countries is not "just" a small portion of the need for OA, but an
important portion, especially given the fact that a very high
proportion of scientific research is medical, relevant to the
entire world population (not just scientists and medics) and
intellectually accessible to a rather wide range of well-educated
people (again, not just scientists and medics), and a very low
proportion of any research reaches developing countries;

Jan Velterop

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Stevan
Sent: Sat 2/10/2007 1:39 PM
Subject: Sense Versus Sensationalism: Pitting Petitions Against

    Sense Versus Sensationalism: Pitting Petitions Against

    A CRITIQUE OF: Goldacre, Ben (2007) Open access and the price
    knowledge. "Badscience.net" The Guardian, Saturday February 10,

            like moths and drunks,
            seem attracted,
            where the light
            shines, not
            where the key lies"

(1) The Open Access movement is not the "Open Access Journal
Converting non-OA journals to OA journals is only one of the two
ways to
make articles OA ("Gold OA"), and the slower, more resistant way.
faster, surer way is to convert authors to depositing their own
(published in non-OA journals) on the web to make them OA ("Green

It is Green OA that can and will be required by researchers'
councils and employers (universities). The research community has
signed a petition in support of the European Community's proposal
mandate Green OA (20,000 individuals, 1000 institutions):

Similar movements are afoot in the US:

(2) It is not "two [Gold] OA publishing organisations" that have
led the
fight for (Gold) OA, but one (Green and Gold) organisation, the one
first coined the term OA in 2002: The Budapest Open Access

(3) The need for access to "medical literature", and in "developing
countries" is just a small portion of the need for OA, which
all forms of research, and researchers all over the world.

(4) The primary need for OA is to make research (most of it
and technical) freely available not only to "part-time tinkering
thinkers, journalists and the public" but to the researchers
for whom it was written and who can use and apply it to the benefit
the public that paid for it.

(5) To demonize non-OA publisher Reed-Elsevier as the "sponsor of
DSEI international arms fair [that] needs police, security, wire
and the pitbull of PR [Dezenhall] to defend it" is to sink into the
same pit-bull tactics.  Reed-Elsevier journals are Green on OA: It
research funders and universities that now need to mandate Green

Journalists and tinkerers should think more carefully before
about OA: Good science needs more sense, not more sensationalism.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Received on Sun Feb 11 2007 - 02:12:03 GMT

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