Crisis in academic publishing - UdeMNouvelles 2012-06-20


“In almost every country in the world, research is supported by public funds... major publishers or learned societies sell their journals at exorbitant prices to libraries... which are also financed by public funds! It's a vicious circle in which taxpayers pay for the production and access to research while publishers and societies make profits of 30-45% before taxes... In recent months, more than 11,000 researchers worldwide have expressed their dissatisfaction through a petition calling for a boycott of Elsevier. This academic publishing giant earned profits of more than US $1.1 billion in 2011. This movement, which many observers have called the ‘Academic Spring,’ was born as a result of Elsevier's support of the Research Work Act... Open access is a kind of parallel system to traditional academic publishing that took shape with the arrival of the Internet... the Budapest Open Access Initiative... Signed in 2001, this international declaration was followed by the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge and the Bethesda Declaration on Open Access Publishing in 2003. Open access, however, began long before... In the early 90s, a major event occurred: the creation of ArXiv, a platform for physicists to submit preprints of their articles... ‘In 2012, ArXiv hosts articles from many disciplines and occupies an important place in the scientific world,’ said Vincent Larivière, a professor at Université de Montréal's School of Library and Information Sciences. In 1991, Jean-Claude Guédon launched Surfaces, the first electronic journal in Canada. ‘At the time, I didn't understand the economics of scholarly publishing, but I understood that if we did charge for the journal, it would have been buried by both lack of money and electronic support,’ Guédon said. ‘We therefore made it open access and financed it through grants.’ Today, the Directory of Open Access Journals lists more than 7,000 open access journals... How, then, are publishers like Elsevier and Springer able to rake in huge profits? ... First, there is the question of money, which as always, makes the world go round... Created by a Quebec interuniversity consortium, Érudit has provided, since 1998, French-language articles in the humanities and social sciences through limited open access via a moving wall. ‘Since 2006, the platform has developed a hybrid model: institutions pay a subscription to issues from the last two or three years, depending on the journal, which is called a ‘moving wall' strategy. Archives, however, remain open access,’ says Joanie Lavoie, digital publishing analyst at Érudit. There is also the ‘author-payer’ model. Publications from the Public Library of Science are an example. Researchers pay from $1,000 to $3,000 to publish one of their articles... ‘The money is usually paid in advance by a private or public organization, or by a government agency,’ Guédon said. Unfortunately, large publishing houses have developed this concept along their own lines. ‘They're charging authors as much as $5,000 for open access.’ He says a good model is the public subsidy of scholarly publishing. ‘Academic publishing costs about one percent of what is allocated to research,’ Guédon noted. ‘All you need is to add this amount to research budgets to cover publication costs while ensuring independence from governments so they don't interfere with content. This already exists in Latin America with the Scientific Electronic Library Online, which includes 800 open access journals...’ Another obstacle is the ranking of journals by ‘impact factor,’ which was created by commercial publishers... ‘All researchers want to publish in high-impact journals because it influences their careers,’ Larivière said. ‘Publishing in a prestigious journal can mean getting a particular grant or position. To be considered an important researcher, one simply cannot publish outside these journals.’ However, this is less true today, notes Larivière}, who, with colleagues George Lozano and Yves Gingras, compared impact factor with citation numbers for millions of articles published between 1902 and 2009. ‘The most cited articles are published less exclusively in high-impact journals. In other words, major findings are no longer reported in only elite journals. And this decline began in the early 90s... in short, it's power of the Web.’ This argument does not seem to have convinced researchers to embrace open access. On the one hand, the importance of impact factor seems rooted in academia's collective psyche... On the other hand, the publishing world is a jungle for many scientists... For Diane Sauvé, Associate Director of Libraries at Université de Montréal, researchers want to freely disseminate their results, but they often lack the resources and time to do so. ‘That is why we have developed various initiatives to support them,’ she said. In her view, researchers should consider another advantage of open access, which is to generate public interest and create innovative partnerships. ‘Since the launch of Papyrus, the institutional repository of Université de Montréal, we have r



08/16/2012, 06:08

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Tags: oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.comment oa.mandates oa.usa oa.legislation oa.rwa oa.nih oa.advocacy oa.signatures oa.petitions oa.boycotts oa.elsevier oa.copyright oa.libraries oa.plos oa.declarations oa.arxiv oa.costs oa.prestige oa.librarians oa.boai oa.prices oa.hybrid oa.history_of oa.fees oa.profits oa.jif oa.doaj oa.etds oa.harvard.u oa.budgets oa.preprints oa.canada oa.definitions oa.moving_wall oa.papyrus oa.érudit oa.repositories oa.policies oa.versions oa.journals oa.metrics



Date tagged:

06/20/2012, 21:12

Date published:

06/20/2012, 21:42