Last week, I gave a presentation, Open Source/Open Access as Social Constructionist Epistemology, at the Conference on College Composition and Communication. There's also an OpenOffice presentation version that is CC licensed.
In Open access jeopardises academic publishers, Reed chief warns, The Media Guardian reports,
The rise of open access publishing of scientific research could jeopardise the entire academic publishing industry, according to the chief executive of Reed Elsevier, the world's largest publisher of scientific journals.
Writing in the company's in-house Review newsletter, Sir Crispin Davis warned that asking researchers to pay for their work to be published but then making it freely available on the internet "could jeopardise the stable, scalable and affordable system of publishing that currently exists".
Uh-huh. And if Elsevier's contribution is so "stable, scalable and affordable" then why is it that major academic institutions have drafted policy statements condemning Elsevier (either directly or through implication) in response to high individual journal prices and costly journal subscription packages? But I guess it is a stable system for making them profits, whereas open access does threaten the "commercial" publishing system.
There's been a conversation on TechRhet about Open Access scholarship of late and this morning Cory Doctorow posted a link to a paper that addresses some folks' questions of how are publishers supposed to make money if they "give away" their content. I have issue with the notion that they are giving away their content. Technically, if I contribute to CCC and they go Open Access aren't they giving away my scholarship? I don't know what everyone else gets, but the stipends that I have gotten for articles have been tokens and do not in any way reflect the blood, sweat, and tears that I put into my work...and that's okay.
I've been following that TechRhet conversation, too, although I feel that they haven't enagaged much yet with open access (seems as if open access still hasn't penetrated the discipline of computers and writing). But I did read How Free Became Open and Everything Else Under the Sun linked to by Boing Boing right after reading Tim O'Reilly's The Open Source Paradigm Shift. Good complements to each other because both suggest opening our understanding of open source to a wider spectrum which recognizes the social and economic cultural impact.
Good to see The New York Times covering the open access movement. Dr. Miguel Nicolelis's quote in the article summarizes why open access is important beyond just a scholarly publishing crisis:
"Usually you want to publish your best work in well-established journals to have the widest possible penetration," Dr. Nicolelis said. "My idea was the opposite. We need to open up the dissemination of scientific results."
This agrees with my perspective, and one that we should not lose sight of: it's about using Internet technology and open content licensing to maximize the dissemination and use of academic knowledge. Even without the problems for libraries being created by the commercial publishing industries, open access is still a worthy cause.
Hope this is true. From commons-blog:
According to a post by Stevan Harnad on the SPARC Open Access Forum, Elsevier has declared it will allow authors who publish in any of their 1,700+ journals to put their peer-reviewed post-prints (the next best thing to camera-ready final copy, I believe) on their personal webpages and their own institutional repositories, where they can be made available, for free, to anyone with internet access.
Now, this does not make up for the extortionist pricing that Elsevier charges. Nor do I think this a sign that academics should back off on pushing for open access and open content publishing. Instead, see this as a sign that open access is creating pressure and gaining momentum. Let's not stop here.