Re: Is the "request copy" button good for OA?

From: Jan Szczepanski <jan.szczepanski_at_UB.GU.SE>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 11:56:17 +0100

Andrew A. Adams wrote:
>> From: Jan Szczepanski <jan.szczepanski_at_UB.GU.SE>
>> Subject: Re: Is the "request copy" button good for OA?
>> The problem with the green way is mainly that it is a parasitic and has
>> no life of it's own.
>> More like a virus. The way scientists has taken is the golden road. That
>> is creating their
>> own journals and a complete free new infrastructure that has nothing to
>> do with the
>> commercial. This has been created without threats, force or mandates.
> Jan, you have the relationship utterly reversed here. It is the publishers
> who are the parasites.

According to Wikipedia "parasitism is a type of symbiotic
</wiki/Symbiosis> relationship between organisms </wiki/Organism> of
species where one organism, the *parasite*, benefits at the expense of
the host </wiki/Host_%28biology%29>."
> They used to provide a necessary service to scientists
> and scholars, in the Gutenberg era.

Publishers are indispensible even today. Without them we would still be
in the Gutenberg era.

One of the key findings in the report E-journals: their use, value and
impact from April 2009 was that

"E-journals represent good value for money
UK universities and colleges spent £79.8m on licenses for e-journals in
2006/07 (out of a
total serials expenditure of £112.7m).
We estimate that researchers and students in higher education downloaded
102 million full
text articles in 2006/07, at average cost (excluding overheads, time and
other indirect costs)
of £0.80."

Never has so many scientist have so many journals as today. One stroke
on a button and they have a
printed copy.

> That service was the typesetting,
> printing and distribution of content. Editing and peer reviewing has always
> been done primarily by scientists and scholars themselves, not professional
> publishers.
Take a glimpse at scholarly publishing in Report and Recommendations
form the Scholarly Publishing

A recent study involving a similar dataset concluded that mainstream
publishers of scientific, technical,
and medical journals publish more than 1.5 million articles per year[b].
The total worldwide revenues
from scholarly journal publishing were estimated from the above datasets
to be $8.0 billion in 2008
c,d], with approximately $3 billion attributed to the U.S. market. This
enterprise directly employs
approximately 110,000 people worldwide and 30,000 in the US. Online
availability of scholarly
journals has grown steadily since the first journals appeared online
nearly a decade ago.
> True, some editors moved across to become paid members of the
> publishing profession, but the vast majority of the academic work involved in
> publishing is done for free by scientists and scholars.
Once more: "This enterprise directly employs approximately 110,000
people worldwide and 30,000 in the US."
> In the
> Licklider/Berners-Lee era publishers role _should_ be only to administer peer
> review and perhaps copy editing (most type-setting is now done by the authors
> themselves, the rest of the typesetting being unnecessary work done to
> maintain Gutenberg-era house styles which are pointless now), if "publishers"
> are actually needed at all to organise this, since universities themselves
> and scholarly societies are probably better placed to take over this role.
Probably not. I can't see how local technocrats can make a better job. I
have before compared this
localism and petty home industry with the Great Leap during the Mao Era
in China.
> However, a variety of factors well laid out as the Zeno's Paralysis axioms by
> Stevan. Given this inertia, and the loss of access by researchers even at
> reasonably well-funded institutions (as a broad interdisciplinary researcher
> I am constantly finding access barriers not covered by even the expensive
> volume licensing arrangements the University of Reading subscribes to)
No library has ever had everything for everybody. For hundred of years
we in the library world have
helped each others with interlibrary loans or document delivery.

> the
> most efficient way forward, as demonstrated by the deposit rate for mandates
> and the low cost of maintaining repositories, is for universities to become
> the electronic distributor of the work of their researchers. Central
> repositories from ArXiv to the Depot can provide the locus of deposit for
> non-affiliated researchers. How, then, are repositories and mandates
> parasitic? They are only if your viewpoint is that the purpose of journal
> publishing is to fill the coffers of the publishing industry.

> If you believe
> that the purpose of publishing scientific and scholarly articles is for those
> article to be read by other researchers (and possibly a wider public
> audience) then mandates and IRs are the obvious solution to the access
> problem, not parasites on the poor beast of publishing (which has been
> leeching funds unnecessarily out of universities for twenty years). Mandates
> would be unnecessary without Zeno's Paralysis, but claims like yours on the
> "parasitic nature of repositories" are re-inforcing this paralysis.

> Gold OA
> is quite probably the future, but it will take far too long to arrive and
> cost far too much access.
Competion is better than mandates.

> Green OA is both the solution to the immediate
> access problem and probably one of the best ways to ensure a smooth
> transition (for researchers, I really couldn't care less about publishers) to
> a working Gold OA system, because universal green OA (which has many side
> benefits for institutions themselves in terms of internal communications,
> personal publications lists, tracking of researcher outputs and hence is a
> sustainable distribution mechanism) then provides a basis on which the real
> work of Gold journals (providing robust peer review and editorial mechanisms)
> can be focussed.

> Without first acheiving near-universal green OA, Gold OA
> will most likely remain an expensive sideline by which the parasitic
> publishers maintain their grasp on scarce university budgets, and continue to
> insult scholars and scientists by insisting on a transfer of copyright
> instead of a license to publish.
What difference does green OA make? There are milions of documents
outside the academic world that
are open access without any colours.

The green way is just a poor substitute for the real thing. It's a
peculiar phenomena in the STM sector
that could harm other parts of science, culture and knowledge and
disturb the scientific community.
Technocrats are not part of that community. They just want to parasite
on science.


De åsikter som framförs här är mina personliga
och inte ett uttryck för Göteborgs universitets-
biblioteks hållning
Opinions expressed here are my own and not
those of the Gothenburg University Library
Jan Szczepanski
Förste bibliotekarie
Goteborgs universitetsbibliotek
Box 222
SE 405 30 Goteborg, SWEDEN
Tel: +46 31 7861164 Fax: +46 31 163797
Received on Wed Feb 17 2010 - 13:11:17 GMT

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