Discomfort with Gold OA | Commonplace
flavoursofopenscience's bookmarks 2021-04-22
by Ashley Jester
Many open access publishing platforms are more like club memberships. What model would actually make publishing more accessible?
If you are someone like me, who keeps an eye on developments related to open access even (perhaps especially) when they don’t affect you directly, you noticed that the University of California and Elsevier announced a pretty big deal, though not a Big Deal. It’s a transformative agreement that the university administration says is delivering on its goals of making research from its affiliated faculty free for anyone in the world to read and reducing their projected budget costs. Whether the deal actually will deliver on these two points is under debate elsewhere, but I wish to focus on the part of the agreement that has been bothering me, not only about this particular deal but about all transformative agreements of this sort, from the very first signed by Carnegie Mellon in the halcyon days of 2019. The social scientist in me is willing to accept that the folks involved in the UC-Elsevier negotiations understand their own preferences and have represented them ably; by all accounts, this is a good deal for the UCs and for Elsevier. But the question I cannot stop asking myself is whether this is good for open access. And social science suggests it might not be.