UK Select Committee Inquiry into Scientific Publication
harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Fri Apr 2 12:00:27 EST 2004
This is cross-posted from Peter Suber's Open Access News
More on the UK inquiry
Richard Poynder, The Inevitable and the Optimal, Information Today, April 1, 2004.
Poynder's detailed observations of the oral testimony. Excerpt:
"Certainly, many of the 80-plus people attending on the first day had
come to see publishers called to account for their part in the ongoing
journal price-inflation crisis. They wanted to see the school bullies
given a bloody nose....Uppermost in the politicians' minds, however,
was the knowledge that there's now an alternative to traditional
publishing: open access. They were clearly attracted to a model that
promised to replace ever more expensive journal subscriptions with
one that freely distributed research papers over the Internet. While
claiming to be neutral, publishers were evidently bent on discrediting
open access....But the most surprising comment came when publishers
were asked how they intended to enfranchise those currently unable
to access scientific research either because they are not personal
subscribers, not members of a subscribing institution, or have
exceeded concurrent user limits. Jarvis startled the audience by
replying that it was dangerous to make medical information widely
available to the public....Apparently agreeing, Charkin nodded
vigorously and said, 'The unprocessed data of scientific research
papers is very tough for a layperson.' It seemed both publishers
felt that denying people access to information for their own good
was a tenable proposition. Unfortunately, their remarks served to
starkly contrast the autocratic tendencies of publishers with the
democratic aspirations of the open access movement, casting the
latter in a more desirable light."
Here is another excerpt from Richard's article (not in Peter's posting):
"Self-archiving, however, is the fastest growing form of open access
as scientists, determined to liberate their research from publishers'
financial firewalls, archive more and more of their papers on the Web"
And the article's title derives from:
Harnad, Stevan (1997) How to Fast-Forward Serials to the
Inevitable and the Optimal for Scholars and Scientists.
Serials Librarian 30: 73-81.
Reprinted in C. Christiansen & C. Leatham, Eds. Pioneering
New Serials Frontiers: From Petroglyphs to CyberSerials. NY:
In French translation as: "Comment Accelerer l'Ineluctable Evolution
des Revues Erudites vers la Solution Optimale pour les Chercheurs
et la Recherche"
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