When did Open Access stop being about Open Access?
peter.suber's bookmarks 2018-12-05
"At the time, the conversation felt constructive. Vocal customer segments were demanding change, new players were entering the market, and existing players were modifying their stance. From 2005 to 2007 I had many conversations with multiple funding body representatives. I heard on many occasions words to the effect of “We recognize the value of publishing, but we want to improve the dissemination of research we fund, will you work with us?” Sitting across the table there was a desire to find a solution.
When returning to journal publishing a few years back, I thought the whole Open Access debate might have been put to bed. After all, if customers want Open Access options there are plenty. But to be clear, it has not been put to bed, and today the tone is much different. In September, thirteen European funding bodies proposed Plan S, and the Wellcome Trust and The Gates Foundation quickly endorsed it. Though draped in Open Access, Plan S is not about ensuring the research these funders fund can be Open Access (these venues already exist), it is about undermining the commercial viability of subscription journal publishing, and also, it turns out, limiting the commercial viability of Open Access publishing. There are a number of provisions in Plan S that are intended to do real harm to publishers. And Robert-Jan Smits, the European’s Special Envoy on Open Access, who leads Plan S, is unabashed in Plan S’s aspiration to undermine publishers. For example, in a recent Physics Today article he states “There is something very wrong in the [publishing] system, and it has to change big time,” and “for the last 20 years, libraries, universities, and [others] had the possibility to sort this out. But they did not. Now the funders have stepped in, and they now call the shots.” ...
Open Access is no longer about Open Access, it is about harming publishers. And that is a shame."