« IoP Announces Librarians' Newsletter | Main | Chemistry and Science News Feeds »

The Other Side of the "Open Access" Issue - Dana Roth

For some views from the 'other side' ...

:: There is note in Nature, v431, n7005, September 9, 2004. p.111, "Experiments in Publishing", which reviews Nature's Web Focus on the topic of Open Access. "One conclusion of the forum, which has already wrapped up, is that societies and publishers must remain financially healthy if they are to be able to maintain the quality of information, launch new journals and innovate electronically".

:: "Open Access to Journals Won't Lower Prices" is the thought provoking headline of a 'Point of View' by John H. Ewing (Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society), in the October 1, 2004 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Subscriber access at:

Ewing's main points are:

  • "We are told that the real problem is access to information, and that we should focus our attention on making material more accessible. Magicians call this technique misdirection, and it's at the heart of all tricks."
  • "Commercial publishers are delighted by the inadvertent misdirection because it diverts attention from the exorbitant prices they charge. As savvy business people, they understand that changing how they collect money does not have to change their profit margins."
  • "Do we need to destroy our publishing system to find a solution? Perhaps. But the argument that an open-access, author-pay model would solve the problem of prices is tenuous at best. Such a revolutionary restructuring of journals goes against Occam's razor, the idea that the most effective solutions are usually the simplest ones."
  • "Scholars and librarians have to stop dealing with high-priced journals,
    as authors, editors, referees, or subscribers."
  • "Will cutting off ties to high-priced journals be easy? Surely not. But it is far more likely to solve the problem of prices than changing the way we collect the money."
- Dana Roth

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)