Some Thoughts on the Finch Report 2012-07-22


“I used to support the move to Open Access academic publishing. Now I suspect that the particular form of Open Access that has been selected will be worse than the existing model of scholarly publishing. the British government is currently considering whether to shift the regime for academic publishing from pay-to-view to pay-to-publish. The Open Access movement, which launched the so-called Academic Spring earlier this year, has been very critical of the existing model, which involves putting articles based on taxpayer-funded research behind a paywall... Four days ago, the relevant minister in the British government announced that he supported the Finch Reportproposal and that academic publishing in the UK would switch to the gold Open Access model within two years. The Finch Report has been controversial, particularly with so-called Early Career Researchers (i.e., PhD students and newly minted PhDs who may not have an employer willing to pay for their papers to be published) ... Changing to pay-to-publish model will likely disadvantage younger researchers, not to mention researchers at universities where the research budgets are small. Three days ago, Mark Carrigan, a PhD student and blogger at LSE wrote: ‘I fear that academic publishing could come to resemble the perilous landscape that PhDs and ECRs are only too familiar with at present. The competition for postdoctoral funding is ever increasing, leading to continual inflation of the things you need on your CV to stand a chance, yet without funding it’s very difficult to actually achieve these prerequisites... If authors are dependent on their institutions and/or funding bodies to pay the substantial fees required under gold open access then those who already have a job and funding will find it easier to publish and thereby increase their chances of getting another job and more funding... what of those who find themselves excluded? If your funding is patchy or non-existent how can you compete? Is it even going to be possible to be an independent researcher in any meaningful sense?’ Carrigan raises an important issue. One of the goals of the Open Access movement is to increase the diffusion of academic knowledge... I feel that the gold Open Access model of publishing will favour academic incumbents (i.e., older, well-established full professors) over new entrants. That’s totally anti-competitive. It’s bad for young researchers and even worse for consumers of knowledge... We also need to encourage competition in the marketplace of ideas. Any policy that may prevent young researchers from publishing research is a terrible idea, especially if it prevents the publication of ideas that challenge the orthodoxies of older academics... Here is something else that hasn’t been discussed enough: how can one country shift the regime for the global academic publishing industry? Is the UK coordinating the shift in its policy with the other major academic research countries? ...”



08/16/2012, 06:08

From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.policies oa.comment oa.government oa.advocacy oa.signatures oa.petitions oa.boycotts oa.costs oa.fees oa.recommendations oa.finch_report oa.journals



Date tagged:

07/22/2012, 14:08

Date published:

07/22/2012, 14:50