{Disarmed} Re: OA's Three Bogeymen

From: (wrong string) édon <jean.claude.guedon_at_umontreal.ca>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 19:22:18 +0100

I am not so sure that I focus more on "ought" than "is". Public money is already
deeply integrated into scientific and scholarly publishing in a wide variety of
ways: direct subsidies, in-kind subsidies through the use of publicly-supported
facilities, tax breaks, etc. The SciELO model keeps recurring under my pen
because it is by far the largest, oldest and best organized example I can come
up with, but smaller, generally national, examples exist. What makes SciELO
unique, however, is that they have also tackled the issue of evaluation and
while they use all the existing, mainstream, means (SCI, Scopus, etc.), they
also develop their own metrics and techniques of evaluation.

This leads me directly to the second point: there is a direct link to be built
between modes of evaluation and the dominant publishing structure. If you do a
national evaluation exercise based on metrics derived from SCI, you immediately
reinforce the position of SCI as the correct arbiter of what counts and does not
count in science. And you immediately accept the validity of tools such impact
factors, even when applied to the wrong entities. The article mentioned by
Richard and pointing to the Chinese situation appears to be a good example when
evaluation techniques become so extreme and mechanical that the only way to
survive is to buy your way into the game. I suspect that, thanks to the presence
of SciELO and its role as a guarantor of basic quality and professionalism,
situations similar to China (as described in the article) will not develop so
easily in Latin America.

Jean-Claude Guédon
Le mercredi 17 février 2010 à 09:19 -0500, Richard Poynder a écrit :

I agree with much of what Jean-Claude says, particularly his (implied?)
suggestion that there is no obvious role for commercial publishers in an OA
environment. That seems to me to be becoming more and more obvious each day
that passes.

However, I think Jean-Claude is more focussed on ?ought? than ?is?. True, he
proposes an existing service (Brazil's SciELO) as a model for the future,
but given the way that researchers are motivated by their institutions and
their funders today, I suspect the model we are more likely to see emerge --
in the near term at least -- is the one that is apparently becoming common
in China (MailScanner has detected definite fraud in the website at "tiny.cc". D
o not trust this website: http://tiny.cc/5a58S).

Richard Poynder

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Guédon Jean-Claude
Sent: 17 February 2010 06:25
Subject: Re: OA's Three Bogeymen

Alas, this whole discussion continues to assume that publishing must rest
mainly on organizations that behave like businesses (hence the call for
sustainability) and often are busineses. Why should they not be treated as
services integral to the research cycle of activities (which should include
publishing)? If so, they should simply be supported by public money.
Research is supported by public money and publishing is an integral part of
research. No one asks if research is sustainable, and they do not for a good
reason: it is not! If publishing is an integral part of research, it follows
that publishing should be supported by public money and not be submitted to
market rules which, in any case, can only distort the "great conversation"of
science and of scholarship more generally.
The discussion below is also about one kind of Gold Publishing, the
so-called "author-pay model". Personally, I am very skeptical about this
model, and increasingly so. It solves access for third world countries only
through humiliating, piecemeal, requests, and it has opened the door to
devious practices, some of which are precisely being discussed below. Yet,I
believe the Gold Road is viable if constructed correctly. Once again, allow
me to point to SciELO. To my mind, this is the best and most coherent
strategy for the Gold road. It also coincides well with national science
policies trying to promote science and, as SciELO's Abel Packer would say,
provide a place in the sun for Third World scientists.
This is why I support a public option for scientific and scholarly
publishing, but this public option should be international in nature to
avoid being too vulnerable to national politics. This said, I would rather
be vulnerable to national politics than to Elsevier or any other large,
private, publisher. I can vote in my country but I have no voice inside the
Elsevier (or Springer, or ...) structure.
Jean-Claude Guédon
PS And, as a reminder, this statement is not in support of the Gold Road as
the exclusive way to reach OA; it simply tries to tweak the Gold Road to
make it more viable. This is also and exactly what I do when I try tweaking
the Green Road by saying that repositories must get involved in the
generation of symbolic value. Both roads are needed, but they must be
conceived coherently and correctly.


Van: American Scientist Open Access Forum namens Richard Poynder
Verzonden: di 16-2-2010 11:59
Onderwerp: OA's Three Bogeymen

I am inclined to agree with Keith. However, it needs to be acknowledged that
researchers are not always very discerning when choosing a publisher. I have
had some say to me, "In an ideal world I would not opt to pay to publish
with this or that particular publisher, but I need to get my work published
urgently, so I am just going to bite the bullet."

For that reason some OA publishers seem quite content not to be part of the
OASPA community, and happy to operate by their own rules -- in the knowledge
that there is a ready market for their services. So while one might argue
that the research community can afford to ignore these companies and simply
carry on using subscription publishers and Green OA, in the hope that the
market will somehow create an optimal OA publishing ecosystem, I am less


From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of keith.jeffery_at_STFC.AC.UK
Sent: 16 February 2010 12:00
Subject: Interview with Open Access publisher In-Tech/Sciy


All -
Richard Poynder recently suggested that there were three bogeymen haunting
the OA movement: (1) asking authors to pay to publish could turn scholarly
publishing into a vanity press; (2) OA publishing will in any case
inevitably lead to lax or even non-existent peer review; (3) OA publishing
is not financially sustainable.

In my opinion.....

There is already evidence of (1) with various publishers trying to scam
payment for publishing (fortunately very few cases to date).

As a consequence of (1), (2) inevitably happens - but hopefully only in the
case of a small number of so-called journals.

It may be that (3) is true; with all information to date indicating gold OA
costs 3 to 4 times more than current subscription models (the figure of 3
comes from our own estimates at STFC, 4 comes from the recent posting on
AMSCI concerning the ACM article).

But of course if current subscription models (maintaining peer review) are
backed up by green OA via IRs then everyone has the benefit of OA at a much
reduced cost.

In my opinion, the answer for academics - especially in these days of
financial stringency - is to keep with the subscription model and go green
OA and let future scholarship ecosystems develop.

Happy to discuss further...

Prof Keith G Jeffery E: keith.jeffery_at_stfc.ac.uk <mailto:kgj_at_rl.ac.uk>
Director Information Technology & International Strategy
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Harwell Science and Innovation Campus
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Jean-Claude Guédon
Professeur titulaire
Littérature comparée
Université de Montréal
Received on Wed Feb 17 2010 - 21:38:22 GMT

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