For the last time - open access is not like stealing bread
Connotea Imports 2012-07-31
"The Times Higher ran a piece on...Brian Lamb's keynote at the recent JISC OER event in London. Brian makes his usual good points, but it was some of the comments that were revealing. In particular, one that states "We should also have 'open access' at Tesco: I should just be able to take from their shelves what I want without paying." I've heard this a lot in various guises over the years. I can't believe I'm still hearing it. I know that you know this is a dumb argument, but please, can we just put it to bed once and for all. Open access is not like stealing bread from Tesco for two VERY SIMPLE reasons: (i) If I take a loaf bread from Tesco then it is no longer there. If I read an online article it is still there for everyone else. We knew this back in 1998 when we talked about non-rivalrous goods. Can we stop using this misguided analogy now? Pleeeease? (ii) You could make the argument that each download of pirated music equals a sale lost (although that is a flawed argument I think). So maybe the argument has some validity for products you want to sell (big maybe for me). But for journal articles it really has no validity - the whole point of research publications is that you want as many people to read it as possible. And we know that open access journals get more citations than closed ones. So closed access defeats the very objective you are trying to realise...."