Some initial thoughts on the Brussels Declaration on STM publishing

From: Imre Simon <imre.simon_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 12:55:10 -0200

I beg to differ, at least partially.

The Free Software, Wikipedia and peer-to-peer phenomena proved that
managing widely used large repositories of open content is perfectly
viable without the intervention of large industrial players. It is
absolutely unclear that something similar in the context of scholarly
communication can't be done *without* loosing the advantages of peer review.

Unfortunately scientists seem to be very slow or perhaps very busy or
maybe just too alienated to go after a suitable model to achieve this.
Instead, most of them unconditionally surrender their copyrights to
large industrial players, like the signataries of the Brussels
Declaration on STM publishing and thereby they loose or at least vastly
loosen their relationship with their potential readership. A rather
lamentable state of affairs which many of us hope is just temporary,
until a proper consensus on how to best achieve the goals of
unrestricted readership and unrestricted computational use of *all* our
research papers can develop.

I would like to suggest the reading of a recent book to take these
points much, much deeper and clarify much, much better what is at stake:

Yochai Benkler,
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
Yale University Press, 2006

Besides the printed version, the book is also available in many formats,
under a Creative Commons license, at:


Imre Simon
Universidade de São Paulo

Peter Banks wrote:

> Yes, a few scientists can get together and create a journal using open
> source software.
> What they might find a bit harder, say, is managing a portfolio of 1000+
> journals. (The combined Blackwell-Wiley will have about 1250 journals).
> That
> takes an investment that a handful of researchers in their spare time might
> find a little daunting. At this level, you need a hosting platform, a
> manuscript management platform, hoards of editors and translators, etc.,
> and
> the capital and management to support it all.
Received on Tue Feb 20 2007 - 15:09:52 GMT

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