Open access, yes, open publishing, no.

Thoughts on “Open Access” proposed by the UK and backed by the European Commission.

Taken from the article:

From April 2013, science papers must be made free to access within six months of publication if they come from work paid for by one of the United Kingdom’s seven government-funded grant agencies,

Science journals have two ways of complying with the policy. They can allow the final peer-reviewed version of a paper to be put into an online repository within six months (green access). Alternatively, publishers may *charge authors* to make research papers open-access up front (gold access).

For ‘gold’ open access, RCUK will pay institutions an annual block grant to support the charges. (…) That might mean that universities and researchers will begin to discuss where they can afford to publish.”

And from this article on the same subject

“Bis 2014 soll das wissenschaftliche Publikationswesen vom System “subscriber pays” auf “author pays” umgestellt werden. ” (by 2014 the system changes from “subscriber pays” to “author pays”.

“Verlage von den Autoren typischerweise etwa 2000 Pfund Bearbeitungs- und Veröffentlichungskosten zur Freischaltung eines Artikels im Internet erheben”
(About 2000 Pounds per paper to be paid by the author, for the entire process, from receiving the submission, over peer-reviewing, editing, proof-reading, publishsing.)

This approach was proposed by the “Finch Study”.

And here goes an interesting comment on it. Mind the reference to “the collaborative, subsidised model”.

Professor Tom Wilson says:
11/07/2012 at 10:24

I find two issues in the report that are of concern. The first is that the Working Party seems to have given no attention at all to the model of open access publishing that delivers maximum social benefit; that is, the collaborative, subsidised model, which involves neither subscription nor author charges. This model is now used extensively by new open access journals as may be seen from the contents of the Directory of Open Access Journals. It delivers maximum social benefit, precisely because publication and access are both free – this is the only true open access, or more properly, open publishing. The costs of production are borne either by voluntary labour, or by the academic institution subsidising the work of editors and copy-editors: at present, the true costs of commercial publishing to academic institutions are unknown, since, as far as I am aware no one has carried out the research to determine how much institutions are already paying to support the work of journal editors (some have secretarial support provided by their institution, for example), members of editorial boards, and referees. If these costs were known and set against the costs of creating true openly published journals, the economic benefits of the latter would become even more obvious.

The second issue of concern is related. Why was this model not thoroughly investigated? An examination of the constitution of the Working Party might provide an answer – it contained three member of the commercial publishing industry but no one with experience of open publishing – open access, yes, open publishing, no. When the chief beneficiaries of the present system, who make profits considerably in excess of current business benchmarks, are participants in an examination of their industry, can in be wondered that no really radical model is explored? The publishing industry is the only business I know of that receives its raw material free of charge, receives financial subsidy in the editorial process from the institutions providing that raw material, and then charges excessive subscription costs to the same institutions. The technology now available renders the commercial publisher redundant in the scholarly publishing process and it is only the timidity of government and the academic institutions that prevents the development of radical alternatives.

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