funding open access

From: Thomas Krichel <krichel_at_OPENLIB.ORG>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2008 10:38:32 +0600

  Jean-Claude Guédon writes

> As for funding, research is funded by governments and publishing should
> be made a part of research funding. Waving the fearful banner of
> unreliable government funding is totally gratuitous here

  I am not waving the fearful banner of unreliable government funding.
  But I have to point out, that in my opinion, I have yet to see
  anything long-run useful that has been achieved by an EU
  funded project in the information area. My comments are echoed
  by discussions at the inetbib list recently, where all respondents
  on this issue voiced a similar opinion.

> 1. Many government programs have been run for decades if not
> centuries. Scientific research is one of them;

  There is research funding, but it is concentrated in some areas.
  There is very very little money to support open-acess publications
  in any area.

  Funding for closed-access is plentiful. Every year, the world's
  universities spend many millions of dollars to purchase access to
  closed-access publications. Nobody objects because by the force
  of habit, they accept this as normal. But this funding stream
  perpetuates an imbalance between closed-access and open-access

> 2. Private companies are jknown to go belly up with some regularity
> and then all hell breaks loose.

  In the area of academic publishing, which company has recently gone
  belly-up and all hell broke loose?

> The reality is that all human endeavours are fragile, not only
> governmental ones. As to the fickle nature of government policies, it is
> rarely exceeded, except by the fickle nature of corporate decisions
> driven, as they are, by stockholders' greed and the profit motive.

  As Jean-Claude knows, I am a trained economist. As such I believe
  that profit maximisation, or more generally, acting in one's self-interest,
  is generally a good thing. Universities are no profit-maximisers,
  but they have to maximise visibility of their work.

  When a university purchase closed-access publications, it
  subsidises the visibility of other universities, those where
  the authors of those closed-access publications are based. This
  is not in the best interest of a university. Any university would
  be much better off cancelling closed-access publication purchases
  and use the money saved to produce a local version of OAPEN, or on
  developing the IR, or on building discipline-specific aggregates
  of contents distributed elsewhere, for example supporting RePEc.
  All this generates visibility for them, and stops subsidising
  visibility of others.

  Thus, here is what Jean and his gang should do: they should argue
  that the university should cancel physics, mathematics,
  computer science, economics journals (just to name a few
  where de facto open access is very high), and hand over the
  money to them so that they can help local author build
  high-quality digital scholarly assets.


  Thomas Krichel
  phone: +7 383 330 6813 skype: thomaskrichel
Received on Mon Feb 18 2008 - 09:35:27 GMT

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