Re: Captured product vs. service

From: Uhlir, Paul <PUhlir_at_NAS.EDU>
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 09:54:50 -0500

Jean-Claude makes an important point about publishing as a service vs the
"productization" and proprietary control of the fruits of the freely contributed
research results. The publishers then control and exploit the donated knowledge
on "behalf" of the researchers, who amazingly still usually sign away their
I have written elsewhere about a similar practice by commercial data providers
vis-a-vis the U.S. federal government. For example, in the U.S., the Commercial
Space Act of 1998 directed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to
purchase space and earth science data collection and dissemination services from
the private sector and to treat data as commercial commodities under federal
procurement regulations, rather than to buy the data collection platforms and
own the data as a public good. The meteorological data value-adding industry has
directed similar lobbying pressures at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. The photogrammetric industry has likewise indicated a desire to
expand the licensing of data products to the U.S. Geological Survey and to other
federal agencies. This has huge implications for access, use, and reuse terms
and conditions, since information produced by or owned by the federal government
is in the public domain, without copyright restrictions on reuse. Thus, if the
government asserts ownership of the data, it can be freely (re)disseminated and
used, whereas if the government licenses ("rents") the data from private sector
providers, the government becomes a huge cash cow. The public domain status of
vast data collections with great research and public interest applications is
thereby severely compromised at the expense of the public that paid for it.

From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Guédon Jean-Claude
Sent: Wed 2/17/2010 6:24 AM
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


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 confident.

From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
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: <> 
Director Information Technology & International Strategy
Science and Technology Facilities Council
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