Closed Minds and Open Access | Ricochet 2014-12-07


" ... Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I’d be curious to know what evidence they looked at, what support they found for it, more about their methodology, and precisely what their recommendations were. I reckon quite a few of us here would be. And believe it or not, however much my instincts and experience cause me to suspect that they might very well have quite good evidence, and that their methodology may well be faultless, by this point I’ve just seen too much lousy science in my life to ever, ever, ever take it on faith that a study was done well simply because it sounds kind of right, based on my experience and gut feeling. So I’d quite like to read the whole thing. But I can’t, of course, because it costs $45 to buy this article, and $5.99 to rent it. And frankly, I’m a little unclear on that 'rental' concept—what does that mean? This isn’t a book. It’s not like you take it out of the library and then give it back. Once I’ve got it, I’ve got it, right? I want to keep it, I just copy it, no? I mean, is it supposed to be an honor-code thing? Is the idea that I promise only to read it for 24 hours and then never look at it again? But that’s not the main point, just a minor point of perplexity. The main point is this. I think Cambridge University Press is entirely entitled to be in the business of selling articles. I do not think it reasonable to expect that their editor-in-chief, deputy editor-in-chief, their copy editors, their production manager, their web designers, their customer-service representatives, acquisitions editors, graphic designers, proofreaders, webmasters, human resources managers, accountants, administrative assistants, and fact-checkers work for free. Indeed, the 14th Amendment settled that question rather definitively. Nor do I believe the researchers who wrote this paper should have done so for free, nor do I believe they would have done so, even if I believed—which I do not—that they should have. They have families to support, presumably, and even if they didn’t, it would be their business, not mine, if they said that they had Ferraris to buy, and thus did not care to work without adequate pecuniary compensation. And yet. The proponents of the open access movement have a serious point. The paper above may not be an important key or clue to progress in science. My guess is that it probably isn’t even much of a clue at all. But other papers, equally beyond the means of all but the very wealthy and well-connected, very well may be. And we need to have some reasonable way widely to share the results of that kind of scientific research ..."


From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.comment oa.publishers oa.business_models oa.costs oa.prices

Date tagged:

12/07/2014, 12:48

Date published:

12/07/2014, 07:47