Peter Suber, Politically selective calls for open access (November 2010)

peter.suber's bookmarks 2018-10-14


"What should we think about politically selective calls for OA?  For now, put aside those that are yoked to general calls for OA and framed as politically realistic first steps.  What about those that are not yoked to general calls for OA, and whose narrowness suggests political opportunism more than political realism?  Here are five quick examples from the US to show what I have in mind....

These cases beg for a close analysis of the kind of opportunism that puts political advantage over principle.  If these politicians thought that climate science had become ideologically skewed, if they wanted to improve its reliability, and if they believed public scrutiny would help expose and correct scientific errors, then why did they target just a few political opponents when they could have taken a more general, principled approach?  Why not call for OA generally, to all research in the field, to help expose and correct errors generally, across the field?  Why target just the leading scientists opposed to their own personal views, as if their own personal views were the measure of scientific reliability, or as if their own personal views were the remedy, rather than the recipe, for ideological bias?...

Here, however, I'm more interested in the strategy questions these tactics raise for OA activists, and by extension for activists of all kinds.  When should we welcome small steps toward a good goal and when should we oppose them?  Does it matter whether the small steps are politically selective if they take steps in the right direction?  Does it matter whether there are political obstacles to wider, fairer, and more general policies?  ...

When should we support incremental progress, especially when it's politically lopsided, and when should we tell our opportunistic, one-time-only allies to return to the drawing board?..."



10/14/2018, 08:51

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Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » peter.suber's bookmarks


oa.openwashing oa.usa oa.climate oa.environment oa.principles

Date tagged:

10/14/2018, 12:51

Date published:

11/02/2010, 08:51