RepositoryMan: Gold Finch and Green Open Access 2012-07-19


“The UK's Finch Recommendations on Open Access, much of which look suspiciously like a blank cheque that the research sector has to write to one of its support industries, has stirred a lot of debate. Still, the government has supported it, and RCUK has been careful to publicly support it even while ensuring that it doesn't interfere too much with its current policy of open access mandates. But while I'm frustrated at the Finch recommendations and relieved that they haven't stopped the funding councils support for the UK's rich open access repositories infrastructure, I do think there might be some positive outcomes for OA. Let's not lose sight of the fact that the Open Access proposition is very simple, but quite radical: [1] Universities are disruptive communities - they create new knowledge and transfer it to society... [2] The Web is a disruptive technology - it drastically reduces the difficulty of sharing knowledge... [3] Open Access is a disruptive idea - it rebuilds universities' research communications on the Web's more efficient communications platform. The context in which Open Access operates is less simple... each stakeholder participant in this network is driven by other outputs and outcomes: individual researchers have careers to develop and families to feed; universities have reputation to develop and sustainability to ensure; publishing companies have profits to increase and shareholders to benefit; research funders have governments to impress; governments have lobbyists and voters to satisfy and industries to benefit... where Open Access practice is actually adopted, it is by those researchers who see it as an effective route to getting their job done ... In other words, open access flourishes in disruptive communities who adopt new practices to improve their own capabilities, regardless of the consequences. Disruptive technologies aren't disruptive just because they exist, but because they are adopted, used and gradually mainstreamed... Willett's strong words directed to publishers at the recent Publishers' Association indicate that the government really has adopted the Open Access ideal and is not taking many prisoners along the way ... The role of the Finch recommendations is to coerce the current research publishing players into accepting that Open Access is a reality ... offering them a lifeline that allows them a chance of transitioning to the realities of a new Open Access publishing network... the effect of the Finch lifeline may be a radical restructuring of the network, as Chris Keene (EPrints repository manager at Sussex) has pointed out in discussions on the UKCoRR mailing list. Payment of the APC ... changes the relationship between publishers and researchers... So although Finch's proposal may seem retrograde, superfluous and overly generous to the publishing industry, it does lead publishers by the nose to a much more exposed position. Now they have to deal with every author of every research paper and justify their costs on a much greater scale... those that lived by the market will probably die by the market in a thousand hand-to-hand combats... In the meantime, quite unlauded by Dame Finch, the UK has a robust infrastructure that actually delivers Open Access through an excellent network of institutional repositories together with training and advocacy programmes from each University library, all underpinned by a decade of technology R&D, policy development and professional practice funded by JISC. Finch doesn't predict a smooth transition to publisher-led Open Access, and the research community's response seems to back her predictions up. But the RCUK response shows what the UK is actually really good at - pragmatism - and likely means an increased role for repositories and the emergence of a more balanced and thoroughly hybrid environment as the network of stakeholders all seek to come to a new equilibrium.”



08/16/2012, 06:08

From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.comment oa.government oa.mandates oa.universities oa.libraries oa.librarians oa.prices oa.funders oa.fees oa.rcuk oa.jisc oa.recommendations oa.publishers_association oa.finch_report oa.ukcorr oa.repositories oa.hei oa.policies oa.journals



Date tagged:

07/19/2012, 14:57

Date published:

07/19/2012, 15:38