[xmca] RE: [BOAI] Open Choice is a Trojan Horse for Open Access Mandates

From: David Preiss (davidpreiss@puc.cl)
Date: Wed Jun 28 2006 - 12:13:45 PDT

A very interesting note on the issue concerning open access to scientific
literature. It might interest people here.

David D. Preiss Ph.D.
Profesor Auxiliar / Assistant Professor
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Escuela de Psicología.
Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860.
Macul, Santiago de Chile.
Teléfono: (56-2) 354-4605
Fax: (56-2) 354-4844.
Web: www.uc.cl/psicologia
Blog: http://psicologiacultural.blogspot.com/

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-boai-forum@ecs.soton.ac.uk
[mailto:owner-boai-forum@ecs.soton.ac.uk] On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
Sent: Wednesday, June 28, 2006 9:34 AM
To: AmSci Forum
Subject: [BOAI] Open Choice is a Trojan Horse for Open Access Mandates

               ** Apologies for Multiple Posting **

Dear OA advocates:

This is a note of caution about the spate of publishers currently announcing
that they are offering Open Choice -- i.e., the option for authors to buy
OA, at various asking prices, for their individual article.

On the surface, this sounds like a positive development: Publishers
experimenting widely with OA publishing at last.

But please don't forget the OA mandates that have been proposed and are
pending in the US, UK, EC, Australia, Germany, France, Norway.

Those are all OA self-archiving mandates, and they are already long-delayed,
mostly because of opposition from the publishing lobby.

Please be aware that the publishing lobby will now be using the paid-OA
option that they are offering as yet another means of trying to delay or
divert the adoption of the OA self-archiving mandates.

If the US, UK, EC, Australia, Germany, France, Norway felt they had the
extra money to mandate and fund paid OA instead of self-archiving today, and
promptly did so, that would be fine.

But that outcome is highly unlikely, for many reasons (the chief of which
being that 100% of the cash for funding publication is currently tied up in
paying subscriptions, so the extra money would have to be found from
elsewhere, in advance!).

Moreover, a consensus on a policy of mandating OA via self-archiving, at no
extra cost, even though it has been so long in coming (mainly because of
publisher opposition) is far less likely, and likely to be far longer in the
coming, if it instead becomes a paid-OA mandate, conditional on finding and
agreeing to invest all that extra cash
in advance -- particularly at a time when all publication costs are being
paid, hence there is no call for extra cash.

The publishers' promise that as paid OA catches on they will scale down
subscription prices is a hollow one: It is tantamount to saying, to an
individual customer: "Buy more of my product and the effect will trickle
down in the form of a lower price for everyone, including you." Nonsense:
individual authors, if they paid for the OA option for their own articles,
would simply be subsidising an infinitesimal reduction in the price of
subscriptions for institutional libraries the world over.

And the research community and public need 100% OA now.

I think Open Choice is a Trojan Horse, and that we should be very careful
about our reaction to it, as it risks eliciting years more of delay for OA
(under the guise of "preparing the way").

 From publishers who do not oppose the self-archiving mandates, Open Choice
fine: it is an indication of good faith, and willingness to test the waters
of Open Access Publishing. But from publishers lobbying against the adoption
of self-archiving mandates, and touting Open Choice as an alternative -- or,
worse, pressing for the mandating of paid-OA rather than self-archiving --
it is a clever, but somewhat cynical way of delaying still longer the
immediate mandating of OA, as now proposed all over the world.

Stevan Harnad
A complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2005) is
available at: http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/
        To join or leave the Forum or change your subscription address:
        Post discussion to:

UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional policy
of providing Open Access to your own research article output, please
describe your policy at:

    BOAI-1 ("green"): Publish your article in a suitable toll-access journal
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a open-access journal if/when
            a suitable one exists.
    in BOTH cases self-archive a supplementary version of your article
            in your institutional repository.

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