Re: European Research Council Mandate Green OA Self-Archiving

From: Pablo Ortellado <paort_at_USP.BR>
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2008 11:48:44 -0200

> (2) Insofar as OA (and Green OA self-archiving mandates) are
> concerned, however, the relevant question is not whether books count
> as the outputs of funded research. (OA is for the outputs of
> research, whether or not the research is funded. And Green OA
> self-archiving mandates apply to the research output of a
> university's salaried academics, whether or not their research
> receives external funding, just as the university's publish-or-perish
> mandate applies to publications irrespective of they are the result
> of external funding.)

Regarding OA for books, it seems to me that it is not a good approach to
discuss dogmatically what OA or Green OA is or is not. You may call it
OA or not, but books in many cases should be mandatorily made available
on the Internet or have a mandatory license allowing reprographic
copying (again, not relevant if this is to be called OA or we should
have another name for it). Figures probably vary across countries and
across scientific disciplines, but in a study we did in Brazil on a
sample of over 2,000 books, we found out that among Brazilian scientific
authors of books, 64% to 86% of them worked in public institutions in
full-time jobs when the book was written, so their scientific book was a
public funded research output (if we included public research funding
for scientists in both public and private institutions, figures would be
very close to 100%). Although we did not sample outside Brazil, I bet
figures are similar all over Latin America. Authors might (and do)
expect royalties revenues for their books, but they should not, as the
book, specially in the Social Sciences, is sometimes the main research
output of public funded science. And making books available either
through the Internet or through free licenses is VERY relevant for
scientific teaching in developing countries, where students frequently
have no means to buy books and they are not available in enough
quantities in the libraries (again in a study we did in Brazil, on 10
courses in the University of São Paulo - which is the best university in
Brazil - to buy all books required for one semester would consume +80%
of the whole monthly revenue of a student's family. Figures are
certainly higher in less elitist schools). So most students either share
books through the Internet or make xerox copies of them - and both
practices are considered illegal by the book industry, because the scope
of copyright limitations (fair use) is controversial. The lack of a
mandate to make public funded scientific books available is one the main
barriers to educational and scientific development in developing
countries. I really think this should be taken into account when
discussing a mandate for scientific books, even in developed countries,
as the books produced in developed countries (many of them with public
funding) are later used in developing countries (in Brazil 66% to 73% of
books adopted in scientific teaching in the university comes from abroad
- mostly from developed countries).

Pablo Ortellado
Received on Sun Jan 20 2008 - 14:18:31 GMT

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