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August 25, 2010


Jean Shipman




(1) Yes "public access to publicly funded research" is just a sound bite: Once you look at research and research funding more closely, you realize that it should be "free researcher access to publicly funded, peer-reviewed research" -- so that the research can be used, applied and built upon by all of its intended users (researchers, and not just those whose institutions can afford to subscribe to the journal in which the research was published), for research progress, to the benefit of the public who funded it for the sake of that benefit (not for their own reading pleasure!).

But that would be a bigger mouthful to say, hence the sound bite.

(2) It would also be more of a mouthful to say that while journal subscriptions are paying the price of peer review, access to publicly funded, peer-reviewed research should be made free, now, by depositing the final, peer-reviewed draft in an Open Access Institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication -- and if and when (but only if and when) this ever makes subscriptions no longer sustainable as the means of paying for the peer review, then the peer review can be paid for as an institutional OA publishing fee, out of a fraction of the institutional windfall savings from the subscription cancelations.

That too would be a mouthful to say.

But it dispels all the apparent illogic and double standards that you rightly criticize in your posting. There are some who indeed believe the silly things that you rightly debunk. But that is not what OA is all about.

Stevan Harnad


My understanding of "double dipping": when a "hybrid open access" journal uses publication fees as a way to increase revenue, rather than as a revenue-neutral way to support a transition to open access.

T Scott

Jimtill -- definitely agree that what you describe constitutes double dipping (although that's a different thing from what I was discussing). The real problem here, though, is that it's pretty much impossible to tell if that's taking place. If Publisher X says that they've had a 10% uptake in the author paid articles and that they're taking that into account in setting their subscription rates, there isn't any way to tell if that's the case, without seeing all of the detail of how they're setting those rates, and very few publishers (particularly commercial ones) are likely to provide that. If Publisher X's rates still go up, that doesn't mean that they are double-dipping, but if the rates stay the same, or even go down, that doesn't mean that they're not. There are just too many other factors at play in setting those rates.

Michael Lindsay

Thanks for adding some perspective on this issue - Michael

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