Open Access 2.0

Open Access 2.0 © Grant Faint/Getty Images The nautilus: where - and how - OA will actually work By Joseph J. Esposito Related Articles The nautilus model of scientific publishing OA, OK? The debate over open access to the scientific literature appears to be moving onto a new phase. Many continue to argue one side or the other of a binary choice: Either all research publishing should be open access, or only traditional publishing can maintain

By | November 1, 2007

Open Access 2.0

© Grant Faint/Getty Images

The nautilus: where - and how - OA will actually work

By Joseph J. Esposito

The debate over open access to the scientific literature appears to be moving onto a new phase. Many continue to argue one side or the other of a binary choice: Either all research publishing should be open access, or only traditional publishing can maintain peer review and editorial integrity. Others, however, have moved beyond that false dichotomy, instead increasingly seeing various hybrid models emerging and new, often complex, business arrangements.

Partly this is a product of the apparent inability of open-access ventures to produce economically sustainable models. It is unclear whether BioMed Central, a privately held sister company of The Scientist, has broken even, and the Public Library of Science tax return from the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, the most recent publicly available, indicates that the organization lost $1.4 million on $5 million in revenue. Even if sustainability, rather than profit, is the goal, this is not success.

The new hybrid models are also the product of shrewd thinking on the part of traditional publishers, whether in the for-profit or not-for-profit spheres, which are identifying new ways to hold onto revenues and, in some instances, even to augment them. We are entering a pluralistic phase, where open access and traditional publishing coexist, though they increasingly are finding their own distinctive places in the research universe and are less likely to compete head-on. To respond to the binary argument with which I began this essay, open access is a good thing, but it is also a small and inevitable thing.

A better way to begin to understand what is going on in scholarly communications today is to start with Walt Disney. After completing the hugely successful Disneyland, Disney famously resented all the clever businesspeople who profited from his venture by opening hotels, gift shops, and restaurants around the perimeter of the theme park. In response, Disney went into real estate, buying up much of the Orlando, Florida area, now home to Disneyworld. The hotels and restaurants sit on the property of the Disney company, paying a toll for the privilege.

At least one publisher expects to be paid for the right simply to index articles. I imagine Walt Disney saying, "Damn! I wish I had thought of that!"

Traditional publishers take the view that they invested in the creation of scientific literature and thus should, like Disney, be able to extract a toll for each instance of monetization derived from their original investment. This now takes many forms. Increasingly common are so-called "author's choice" programs (for example, Springer's Open Choice and Oxford University Press' Oxford Open) in which an author is permitted to pay a fee to make his or her articles completely open access, the economic equivalent of a hotel on Disney property.

More intriguing is Nature Publishing Group's Nature Precedings, which brands open-access life sciences preprints with the Nature name. I was surprised to learn while working on a project this autumn for a client, a new search-engine company, that at least one publisher expected to be paid for the right to index articles - not the right to display articles, but simply the right to index them. I imagine Walt Disney saying, "Damn! I wish I had thought of that!"

Perhaps the most intriguing recent development is Reed Elsevier's announcement that it has developed OncologySTAT, an advertising-supported online portal for oncologists. Reed Elsevier will make its articles on oncology available on this portal at the time of first publication. Subscriptions to the underlying journals, hardcopy and electronic, will continue to be sold to academic libraries, but for users of the portal, the content would be free of charge. It is not yet clear how "open" this open-access initiative will be, as users must register and be qualified before gaining access (a version of the controlled-circulation model common to trade magazine publishing), but at a minimum Reed Elsevier is opening up the doors a little, even if just to build a small guest house on the property. Thus we now have the same content being monetized through subscriptions to libraries and through the packaging of audiences to advertisers in an open access or almost-open access form.

Each market segment thus attracts its own business model. But will any of these models accomplish the first aim of many open-access advocates, namely increasing the dissemination of research?

Unfortunately for such advocates, open access does not appear to increase dissemination significantly. Here's one simple reason for that: Most researchers are affiliated with institutions, whether academic, governmental, or corporate, that have access to most of the distinguished literature in the field. "Most," of course, is not the same thing as "all." Some researchers are independent or employed by impecunious institutions or reside in developing nations, and some articles appear in publications whose circulation is far from robust.

Thus, though there may be some exceptional situations, especially in the short term, the increased dissemination brought about by open access takes place largely at the margins of the research community. From the point of view of traditional publishers, to paraphrase Voltaire, open-access advocates make the perfect enemy of the good.

Another important reason open access does not significantly increase dissemination is that attention, not scholarly content, is the scarce commodity. You can build it, but they may not come. It is one thing to write an article and upload it to a Web server somewhere, where it will be indexed by Google and its ilk. It is fully another thing for someone to find that article out of the growing millions on the Internet by happening upon just the right combination of keywords to type into a search bar. A researcher advocate of open access might consider this question: Would you rather double the amount of published information available to you, or increase the amount of time you have to review information you can already access by one hour a day? We are awash in information, but short on time to evaluate it. Open access only worsens this by opening the floodgates to more and more unfiltered information.

Open-access advocates would do well to consider what put those keywords into a researcher's mind in the first place. Very often the answer is the sum of all the marketing efforts of a traditional publisher, including the association with a journal's highly regarded brand. Certainly, awareness begins with researcher interest, but it does not translate into popularity without marketing.

There are exceptions to this, however. An entirely new journal, for example, is likely to get a larger readership in an open-access format unless an established publisher gets behind it in the traditional, proprietary way and makes a major marketing push. But without that push, the one-click pass-along capability of the Internet, building on the growing social networking sites, can be highly effective in special circumstances. What is important to bear in mind is that exceptional situations are by definition exceptional.

This does not mean that open access is useless or adds no value when it comes to dissemination; what it does mean is that open access is most meaningful within a small community whose members know each other and formally and informally exchange the terms of discourse.

Many of the trappings of formal publishing are of little interest to many tight-knit communities of researchers.
Who needs peer review, copy editing, or sales and marketing?

What the authors of research material seek from their publishers is the audience - and, transitively, the prestige and certification that derives from that audience - that publishing companies, for-profit and not-for-profit alike, are set up to deliver. But what of the work for which there is little or no audience? What if there is simply no market? This is the ideal province of open access publishing: providing services to authors whose work is so highly specialized as to make it impossible to command the attention of a wide readership. Work can be specialized for any number of reasons. The author may be working in a tiny field; the work in question may effectively be addenda to previously and formally published work; or the author is probing a new area, where a community of fellow researchers has not yet emerged. Terming some information "highly specialized" doesn't mean that it is unimportant or of poor quality; it simply means that the material is of interest to a very small number of readers.

It is useful to think of a primary domain of open-access publishing as existing at the tiny center of scholarly communications, the innermost spiral of the shell of a nautilus, where a particular researcher wishes to communicate with a handful of intimates and researchers working in precisely the same area. Many of the trappings of formal publishing are of little interest to this group. Peer review? But these are the peers; they can make their own judgments. Copy editing? I doubt it, as this inner group already knows one another and can fill in the blanks and make mental corrections for errors in a hastily drafted document. Nor does this group require the sales and marketing of a large publisher, as the group is in regular communication anyway, without the mediation of a sales force or acquisitions librarian.

As one moves beyond the inner group of researchers, however, other readers may be interested in the work, but they may need some guidance in evaluating the material. For these readers, formal publication validates a work and asserts that it is worth giving attention. So we can imagine all of scholarly communications as a Nautilus' spiral: The inner spiral is the researcher's (and author's) intimate colleagues; the next spiral is for people in the field but not working exactly on the topic of interest to the author; one more spiral and we have the broader discipline (e.g., biochemistry); beyond that are adjacent disciplines (e.g., organic chemistry); until we move to scientists in general, other highly educated individuals, university administrators, government policy-makers, investors, and ultimately to the outer spirals, where we have consumer media, whose task is to inform the general public.

Something may be lost in the translation as research data moves outward from the core research colleagues to the disciplines beyond that. Without the "translators," however, which comprise the editorial review systems of traditional publishing, loss would be greater, as many readers would not be able to determine the relative value of different publications. At each step away from the center, the role of the publisher grows and the merits of open access diminish. Researchers not familiar with the author will seek a way to evaluate his or her work, and a reputable publisher's brand is a form of insurance. Formal publishing, in other words, assists an author not in speaking with a tiny group of peers but to a broader audience beyond them. Still, it's important to note that not all brands are created equal. The New York Times is a stronger brand for news than the Huffington Post, and the Huffington Post is a stronger brand than my friend's blog. The same can be said of various scientific publishers.

Whatever the virtues of traditional publishing, authors may choose to work in an open-access environment for any number of reasons. For one, they simply may want to share information with fellow researchers, and posting an article on the Internet is a relatively easy way to do that, especially when supplemented by personal E-mails or other communications to inform people that the article exists and comments are welcome. Some authors may "choose" open access because it is a condition of a funding grant. (I think some of the funding agencies have been misinformed about the benefits of open access, and they certainly have been misinformed about the costs, especially over the long term, but it certainly is within the prerogatives of a funding agency to stipulate open-access publishing.)

An open-access copy may be a way to provide a backup to the "original" on the author's personal workstation. Further, open access would be useful for: an article that may have been rejected by one or more publishers, but the author still wants to get the material "out there"; an author who may be frustrated by the process and scheduling of traditional publishers; an author who may have philosophical reservations about working with large organizations, especially those in the for-profit sector, not to mention deep and growing suspicions about the whole concept of intellectual property.

A reason to publish in an open-access format need not be very strong, as the barriers to such publication are indeed low. It takes little: an Internet connection, a Web server somewhere, and an address for others to find the material. Thus one way to think of open-access publishing is simply as an emergent property of the current state of Web infrastructure.

Despite this, many open-access ventures seem to have had difficulty financially because they have been built on the mistaken assumption that they are replacing traditional publishing and thus have to recreate all the services that traditional publishers now provide. Thus, BioMed Central has set up a series of open-access journals, replete with editors, review boards, and a peer-review system. This is also true of many of the publications of the nonprofit Public Library of Science, whose spending, even by the standards of large commercial publishers, is profligate.

At its most basic level, an open-access service need not be much more than "a hard drive in the cloud," a place where content can be stored and others can access it.

It is unclear whether open-access publishers are less efficient than traditional publishers, even as studies about per-article charges claim one thing or another. Among traditional publishers, commercial publishers are probably more efficient than not-for-profit publishers, but these efficiencies are rarely passed on to subscribers. Regardless of the underlying reasons, the revenue derived from a fully developed service must be very high in order to offset the cost structure. Where does that money come from? It comes from funding agencies, sponsoring institutions, and the authors themselves - it has to come from somewhere.

If, on the other hand, one views the province of open-access publishing as the small, specialized communities of researchers on the inner rings of the nautilus, whose aim is simply to share information with people working in the same narrowly focused area, all this overhead can be tossed out. What's needed is good software, not a stable of editors.

At its most basic level, an open-access service need not be much more than "a hard drive in the cloud," a place where content can be stored and others can access it. But even the most highly automated service can include far more features, and many existing services already do. We can imagine a generic service where an author uploads a document; the document is stored, but only the author can access it for changes or removal. The author has an account with the service; logging onto it, the author may choose to e-mail selected individuals about the document, granting access to that list.

Over time the list of invited readers may grow, and some names may be dropped from the list. The author, in other words, controls access to the document. This access can be extended to an academic department or to the members of a professional society; access can be granted to any authenticated directory of users. At some point the author may remove all access restrictions, making the document fully open access. It is a matter of debate as to whether any of these steps, including the final one, constitutes "publication," but it is indisputable that access can be augmented and that the marginal cost of doing so approaches zero.

Such a service, seeing itself in competition with other services, will likely add to its offerings. The service begins as simple storage, evolves into an access system with the author in control of authentication, and then becomes what we mostly see in the institutional repository arena now, a means to display open-access content without end-user restrictions. The next step is to set up alert services ("Send me a link for all new papers posted by Mary Jones"); these alerts already exist for Medline and Google Scholar and some university repositories. Search capability for entire collections is an obvious follow-on. Then comes the capability to place comments on the papers, and the opportunity for the author to respond. (At this stage we begin to see the social networking capabilities of Web 2.0 technology begin to tiptoe into the realm of peer review, though it is "post-publication" or "post-posting peer review.")

Perhaps one copy of the document is preserved as an uneditable original, where it is displayed side by side with another copy on a wiki platform, providing the means to update or correct the paper. Documents may also be rendered into special file types to facilitate new machine processes (e.g., text mining). They will likely trigger automated searches ("Find other documents like this one"), and they will automatically be linked into other information services such as a library's long-term preservation program and be assigned specialized metadata, such as an algorithmically generated Library of Congress classification. Whatever computers can do, will be done; this is inevitable: The only question is the order of the appearance of features and the timeline for implementation.

Open-access organizations thus are best suited to serve a new market or a small one - or, more likely, a large collection of very small ones - not the established markets of traditional publishers, and they can do this at modest expense.

How modest? Like many of the staff-heavy open-access services that are currently vying for researchers' attention, a highly automated, robust software platform requires a large initial investment. A startup engineering and product-development team of around 12 members is a common formulation. This team would take 6 to 12 months to build a service and data center, with the aims of the research community in mind. To make a product out of this, the team would have to include many of the things we now associate with Web 2.0 businesses: highly interactive sites, with the capability of allowing postings, comments, and alerts - a Facebook for the research community. A back-of-the-envelope estimate suggests that an average salary of $100,000 yields an annual payroll of $1.2 million. Double that figure to include the cost of rent, hardware, and bandwidth and you could bring the service to market in about one year for perhaps $2.5 million.

While the service would be as highly automated as possible, it would still be necessary to attract users to it, which requires marketing. Most Web companies of this kind experience a doubling of staff soon after launch. That brings staffing to 24, payroll to $2.4 million, and a fully-loaded second year expense structure of around $5 million. The first $2.4 million can be regarded as one-time or "sunk" costs; the $5 million a year constitutes ongoing overhead (fixed costs). There are no appreciable variable costs in this kind of Web-based business.

Once an effective open-access platform is in place on the innermost rings of the nautilus, the incremental cost of operating the service can be quite small. Traditional publishing is set up to deliver a different kind of service that refines editorial material and creates a market, but the ongoing costs for an open-access service can be small because of the shared assumptions of the community members resident at the innermost spiral of the nautilus shell. That diminishes the need for authoritative editorial supervision and marketing communications.

If authors would pay $50 to deposit articles, 100,000 articles in a year would bring the service to cash-flow breakeven. To put this into perspective, the arXiv service, funded by Cornell University, receives around 50,000 articles a year (though at no cost to the authors). Of course, the service would have to compete with other services, including the many that have in university libraries. To compete means better services. And here the new organization has an advantage over the current open-access repositories in that it is market-based and is thus set up to service its customers. For the new service the customers are authors, whose every whim will be satisfied with new features, until the cost of depositing articles appears to be negligible. Yes, there is a paradox here: Although open access is free to readers, its real beneficiaries are the authors, who use the service to communicate with peers. BioMed Central and Public Library of Science get this right, but their high-cost editorial model would be difficult to replicate across the entire range of research publications.

The revenue streams for the new organization go beyond posting fees, however. For example, professional societies may wish to have their own brand on an open-access repository. Perhaps AAAS, for example, fearing that Nature's new Precedings product will undermine its flagship Science publication, will license the software service; this is known in the industry as a "white-label" deal. Other organizations (e.g., the research units of corporations) may want to use the software but balk at making its proprietary research public and thus may opt for a license for a gated community. Over time, premium services will evolve as well in which other computer processes (e.g., data mining) are made available for an additional fee.

The fundamental tension in scholarly communications today is between the innermost spiral of the nautilus, where peers, narrowly defined, communicate directly with peers, and the outer spirals, which have been historically well-served by traditional means. Open-access advocates sit at the center and attempt to take their model beyond the peers. As I hope I've made clear, I suspect that this will be difficult to do, but a highly automated service funded by authors' posting fees would indeed put pressure on some outer spirals. At the outer spirals sit the traditional publishers, who are attempting, with increasing success, to extend their reach into the inner spirals, preempting and co-opting open-access initiatives wherever they can. What remains unknown is at just what middle point the two models will meet.

Comments

Avatar of: Matt Hodgkinson

Matt Hodgkinson

Posts: 2

November 5, 2007

This is an interesting article that I need to read in more detail, but could we see a declaration of Joseph Esposito's competing interests, please?\n\nThe recent controversy surrounding the American Chemical Society has highlighted how we all need to make a complete declaration of our financial and non-financial interests when debating open access.\n\nMine are that I am paid a fixed salary by BioMed Central, an open access publisher.

November 5, 2007

Joseph Esposito's bio can be found here, and includes what we consider his potential competing interests:\n\nhttp://www.the-scientist.com/2007/11/1/11/1/\n\nIvan Oransky\nDeputy Editor\nThe Scientist

November 5, 2007

The author makes an interesting case for his open access model. The software is not necessarily as expensive as he describes. Looking at open source software, a precursor to open science and open access, you can find technology for a fraction of a fraction of the cost that he describes. Though there are less bells and wistles, there is the opportunity to not only test the model on the cheap, but to easily expand the software, since it is open source.\n\nTesting the model is the key. There are a few efforts that are already probing for commercial opportunities that may be hiding within open science and open access that are similar to the nautilus model. Are there enough competitors to design a model that will work and bubble to the top or will someone get lucky and stumble on a model that works ...?

November 5, 2007

Matt Hodgkinson asked about my interests; Ivan Oransky pointed him to my bio. Hodgkinson or anybody else can find out more about me through Google, of course, but I will note here that my clients range from commercial to not-for-profit organizations: publishers, software companies, media services, etc. Among my clients past and present are JSTOR, Harvard University Press, Atypon Systems, two search-engine companies, ANSI, The University of Michigan, Olive Software, etc. My consultancy is a sole proprietorship.
Avatar of: Vernon Anderson

Vernon Anderson

Posts: 1

November 5, 2007

This is a very interesting article that provides an informed opinion on the proliferation of mixed models of publishing. I think that an underlying assumption that University and Institutional Libraries will be able to sustain access to the increasing number of journals is unrealistic. Subscription costs are rising beyond what can be covered. The budgetary space created by discontinuing print copies has been dissipated, making it more difficult to cover subscription increases.\nWhen researchers realize the advantage of one click access from PubMed, it will begin to affect their choice of where to publish their own work. \n\nI serve on several editorial boards, now mostly of open access journals but receive no financial payment for service
Avatar of: Dale Askey

Dale Askey

Posts: 1

November 5, 2007

It's fortuitous that Mr. Hodgkinson asks about Mr. Esposito's affiliations. It came as no surprise to me that he has a long background in publishing, multimedia, and telecommunications, as his biography notes. At several points in his article, I silently observed the voice of someone trying to soften the sharp edges of the commercial publishing world, while more or less dismissing most open access models.\n\nWhile I would grant that many open access ventures are flawed, not least PLoS, I could just as well point to many others that are not (academia is broad, and goes beyond STM). One tactic of this article with which I take issue is his conflation of various services under the heading of open access, e.g.- in the statement "[O]pen access only worsens this by opening the floodgates to more and more unfiltered information." That's simply too broad without many qualifications. If by open access one means solely institutional repositories, preprint servers, etc., then it might be something of a valid criticism (I happen to disagree that more = bad, but see his point of view). If, however, one means an open-access, peer-reviewed journal, I find it hard to see how this opens any floodgates any more than the steady stream of new and ever more narrowly defined titles from commercial publishers.
Avatar of: George S. Porter

George S. Porter

Posts: 1

November 5, 2007

Joe Esposito chose his whipping boys of the OA publishing industry with either diligence or extreme luck. The jury is still out on the Public Library of Science venture. It received substantial grant funding at the outset, but I've yet to see an analysis of how the money has been spent in the various criticisms of its burn rate. He casts aspersions on the profitability of a private concern, BioMed Central, on the grounds that as a private company it does not have to publicly disclose detailed financials.\n\nMissing from his analysis are notable Open Access publishing success stories, of which there are many.\n\nOptics Express is in its tenth year of publication. Optics Express has the highest impact factor (2006) of all optics journals tracked by Thomson Scientific. The journal is wholly supported by publication fees.\n\nAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics, in its seventh year of publication, under the aegis of the European Geosciences Union, similarly, is the premier journal amongst the journals tracked by Thomson Scientific in meteorology and atmospheric physics. In fact, its impact factor (2006) is more than 50% greater than the second ranked title in the field. The first couple of years of publication were underwritten by grant funding, however, publication fees were instituted 4(?) years ago and support the costs of publication for the title.\n\nI'll leave the correction of the misguided conflation of Open Access and vanity publishing for another writer.
Avatar of: Jan Velterop

Jan Velterop

Posts: 1

November 6, 2007

Joe?s Disney analogy promised a take on the open access debate that might have indicated an understanding of what peer-reviewed journal publishing is actually about. However, I was disappointed to see that the rest of the article was dealing with access to the published content. Access is the easy part. Anybody who wishes to publish on a blog can do so at virtually no cost. But it?s largely beside the point. Even tough we are talking about 'open access' and 'publishing', these are almost misnomers if one considers the real added value of peer-reviewed journal publishing. \n\nThe natural state of information is open. It can only be contained by constructs like copyright, and even then, those containers are pretty leaky. Scientific information is no exception, and it should be added that the whole purpose of using public money to support scientific research is to add to the pool of knowledge and understanding for the benefit of society as a whole, in economic terms or otherwise. In that line of thought, open is not only the natural state of the information, but should be its preferred state in principle. \n\nWhat peer-reviewed publishing does is not so much publishing in the sense of making public, as it is attaching a 'badge of peer acceptance' to an article. And that badge is not so much a filtering device as an ordering, layering, device. That is very important given that we live in an era of overwhelming abundance of information. The attaching of the badge is the most meaningful function of scientific publishing; not the dissemination per se. When Joe mentioned Disney, he referred to a brand. A brand is shorthand for the values behind it. And so is the badge -- call it a brand if you wish -- of a peer-reviewed journal. Developing and maintaining such brands, badges, takes time, effort and investment. \n\nSo if peer-review and its supporting structure (represented by journals and their publishers) is important, it should be entirely expected and acceptable that the service of developing and maintaining that structure should be financially sustained one way or another. In the past, when print was the only option and universal accessibility a practical impossibility, it was entirely natural that subscriptions provided that financial sustenance. Joe apparently fails to see that any restrictions on openness are nothing but compromises that do not have a purpose other than financially underpinning the considerable efforts and investments needed for proper peer reviewed publishing. The quest to find other methods of proper financial support for the service of attaching the badge of acceptance to scientific research information, and of sorting and layering it, is an inevitable consequence of the fact that now such universal accessibility is not only possible, but if it can be achieved, would provide a welcome path of return to the information?s natural state.\n\nDeclaration of interests: I am employed by Springer to develop pathways to economically sustainable open access models within the context of a large portfolio of established peer-review journals in a very wide variety of disciplines.
Avatar of: Philip Davis

Philip Davis

Posts: 1

November 6, 2007

Joe gets it right to think of 'attention' as the limited resource in scholarly communication. It explains why a very small number of journals receive the vast majority of readership and citations in the market for scholarly attention, while most journals are essentially ignored. The heuristics that readers employ to decide what is worth their time is partially made up of cues from publishers (what Joe calls branding and advertisement), and partially from recommendations from peers (colleagues, editors, and leaders in each field).\n\nWhat Joe forgets, however, is that the journal functions more than just disseminating information and building attention. The journal serves to evaluate an institution's faculty for promotion and tenure, grants and awards. This helps to explain why scientists are willing to hold on to the traditional publication system, and why alternative forms of publishing have essentially remained supplementary (or parallel) processes.
Avatar of: Brian Hanley

Brian Hanley

Posts: 11

November 6, 2007

Without a core of peer review sanity checking enforced by good editing, publication is little more than a screed of questionable value. I presume Joe is thinking of Arxiv there, but even Arxiv has a kind of peer review. Even the best authors write opaquely sometimes, or haven't thought something through. That's the whole point of peer review publication - throw it out and you simply have the internet.

November 6, 2007

Joseph Esposito mentions Nature Precedings (a project I work on), and then states that he knows of a publisher who expects to be paid for "the right to index articles". Lest this lead to any confusion, Nature Precedings is primarily interested in helping contributing authors achieve greater visibility for their research. All content on Nature Precedings is free to access and free to search. We embed metadata in the article pages to facilitate indexing and have been actively working with Google Scholar and other academic search engines to ensure inclusion of Nature Precedings content in their indices.
Avatar of: Gordon Couger

Gordon Couger

Posts: 3

November 6, 2007

The internet changes the way research is done. As an under grad I looked up journal in the card catalog, went to the stacks to get the journal and unless I was willing to spend the price of meal I read it right there and wrote my notes on 3 x 5 index card along with the reference and any promising leads in the bibliography. If it was important to my work that could quickly fill a 2 or 3 hours time.\n\nThe other day I went to the library to research a topic and stuck my USB dive in the slot and was getting a complete paper to read at my leisure every 30 to 45 seconds. I got more in the hour I was waiting on my wife than I could get in a month the old way. \n\nI can also bring the PDF files home and covert them text and use grep and other Unix shell tools to do exhaustive searches that would be impossible any other way. I am not saying the new way is always better but it can be if we use the tools we have right.\n\nI have kept computers on the internet and keep up several sites right now and I can't see were all the costs of open access publishing come from unless they are trying to keep all the editors and management they had when they were charging $10,000 each for subscriptions. The places I published in Agriculture had $150 a year dues and $75 dollar a page reprint fees for 200 reprints in the late 90. Take away the cost of printing the journal on paper and the dues could drop by 50% and there would not be a need for page fees.\n\nUnless the goal is getting paid like a CEO of General Motors and having a staff of paid editors on things such as left handed isomers of vitamins with two tiers of editors above them I am satisfied a journal can be built with simple HTML and PDF with no more than one or two paid hands at most. As long as no one demands the newest whiz bang tool in the web arsenal the tools Pluger, Pike, Kerington and Richie in the 70's when working for Bell labs, Basic Html and PDF files will do the job. I am game to try it with someone to.\n\nAt the very lowest level it can be done the way I make microscope documentation available:\nwww.science-info.net/docs/ things are so fluid that I can't keep an table of contents current there is a directory for each maker and so on down the way. For a journal it could be ~/JofLife/2007/Jan/articalname.pdf then the the page that is the Journal for January 2007 wold reference the files in that directory but if problems ever arise. a Google search for site:xxx.ogr/JofLife search terms works.\n\nBest Regards\nGordon\n\n
Avatar of: Gordon Couger

Gordon Couger

Posts: 3

November 6, 2007

There is no connection between how the papers are chosen to be published, how there published or who pays for what. Open Access is only a question about who has access to the the work and nothing else.\n\nBest Regards\nGordon
Avatar of: Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson

Posts: 1

November 7, 2007

Joseph Esposito?s article is both thought-provoking and, in parts, a little dangerous. Out the outset he notes: ?Many continue to argue one side or the other of a binary choice: Either all research publishing should be open access, or only traditional publishing can maintain peer review and editorial integrity.? This is a dangerous comment, since he is picking up on the ?big lie?, promoted by PRISM, that OA does not involve peer review. This, of course, is nonsense: every genuinely scholarly OA journal that I know of uses peer review as part of the publishing process ? it could never achieve any kind of reputation if it didn?t do so. Jan Velterop also seeks to perpetuate this association in his comment on the article ? yes, developing and maintaining the brand does take time and effort, as he suggests, but that time and effort is invested by the unpaid peer-reviewers and they are just as happy to work unpaid for non-commercial OA journals as for commercial publishers.\n\nLater Esposito appears at times to conflate ?open access? with ?open archives? ? confusingly both can be reduced to the same initials ? when he writes of authors choosing to make their work available outside of the formal publishing process. This ignores the fact that OA journals are formally published: they have ISSNs, regular publication intervals, they are indexed by the same indexing and abstracting services as the commercial journals.\n\nThere is also the association of OA with ?author charging?, and what I have called elsewhere the ?Platinum Route? of subsidised, collaborative OA publishing is ignored ? and yet it is this mode that is increasingly adopted by newly-published journals. And new journals are not the exceptional case that Esposito suggests: they are appearing almost every day and many of them adopt the Platinum Route. Case studies of such journals have appeared in Information Research (http://InformationR.net/ir/), which is also a Platinum Route journal. The ?one click? push that Esposito refers to is not an exceptional situation, but a common one for new open access journals and the notion that this only works at the fringe of scholarly communication is rather silly ? scholarly communication consists of a multitude of ?fringes?, each of little relevance to the rest of the community: like any other scholar in a specific discipline I have no interest in what is published in physics, chemistry, biology, pharmacology, Near Eastern studies, Scandinavian folklore and most of the rest of scholarship, but what is available to me openly within my own discipline is going to be central.\n\nAs another commentator has noted the costs of OA publishing are exaggerated, especially if the Platinum Route is adopted. No money at all flows in the publishing system for many OA journals, which use freely given time. That time is also given to commercial publishers, and if they had to pay true market rates for the time of editors and reviewers, the economics of scholarly publishing might be different. They would be markedly different if publishers had to pay for their raw materials ? the papers ? the way companies in other industries have to pay.\n\nThe suggestion of a novel OA publishing platform chimes with my suggestion that, on the analogy with music tracks and iTunes, ?One future model of scholarly communication could see collaborative peer reviewing in disciplines leading to archived papers that are delivered as tracks are today - the individual (who is always going to be more interested in the paper than in the journal as a whole) downloads papers of interest, and universities provide the finance for the open archive rather than subscriptions to the now-defunct journals? (http://tinyurl.com/2taspr). I don?t see such a model requiring huge additional investment ? as the system changes, as it inevitably will, what is saved in subscriptions can be transferred into the development costs of the new platform.\n\nAs I note in the same Weblog entry, commercial scholarly publishing is facing the same kind of threat, brought about by technological change, as the music industry and is reacting in much the same way as the music industry has reacted up to now. Neither industry will survive simply by defending the present model ? the dissemination of music and the dissemination of scholarly research are changing in analogous ways and the direction of that change is towards openness and new entrepreneurial models. Just as the old computer companies were never the leaders in change in that industry ? think of the switch from mainframe to mini-computer to desktop ? so it is unlikely that the giants of scholarly publishing will be at the forefront of change in their industry.\n
Avatar of: Paul Peters

Paul Peters

Posts: 1

November 7, 2007

The Hindawi Publishing Corporation currently publishes more than 90 open access journals, and the publication charges that we collect more than cover our costs. I sincerely hope that Joe's failure to mention Hindawi was simply an oversight, rather than an intentional effort to present only the data that supports his assertions (that OA publishers are unsustainable).
Avatar of: Graham Steel

Graham Steel

Posts: 5

November 7, 2007

*Interesting* article. Joe Esposito surely knows better than that.\n\nLet's look at the evidence as they say\n\nI think the following quote used by Dr Francis F. Muguet of École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées (ENSTA) is totally appropriate yet again....\n\n"All truth passes through three stages : \nFirst, it is ridiculed \nSecond, it is violently opposed \nThird, it is accepted as being self-evident" \n\nSchopenhauer
Avatar of: Toby White

Toby White

Posts: 7

November 7, 2007

I was taking this article quite seriously until I came across the statement that those of us on the outermost fringes of science (non-academics, ex-academics, hobbyists, etc.) were well-served by the traditional press. After clawing my eyebrows back down to face level, I was tempted to respond with something equally outrageous, but there's no need. The ignorance of the educated public about science (for that matter, the ignorance of most scientists about any science beyond their back yard) is better proof than any argument I could devise. \nSure, we're only the spectators in the pit. Our job is to pay the taxes that pay for the research and the subscriptions. We're not supposed to actually read the stuff. Still, I'm personally grateful for open access. Wthout it, I'd have very little access of any kind, not at $30 an article (Wiley) or a long drive downtown.
Avatar of: Barbara Kirsop

Barbara Kirsop

Posts: 1

November 8, 2007

I work with developing country scientists and publishers, via the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development (EPT), so you can see where my interests lie. My comment relates to two statements in the article:\n\nFirst: ?Opening the floodgates to more and more unfiltered information? is a travesty of the real situation. Please note that in 2003 a WHO survey of medical institutes in the poorest nations found that in 75 countries surveyed 56% institutes had been unable to purchase ANY subscriptions over the last five years. So an information overload hardly applies to scientists living in the regions where 80% of the world?s population resides and where most of the planet?s problems are experienced. \n\nSecond: The statement that Open Access ?does not increase dissemination significantly? is again demonstrably untrue as many studies have shown. The omission of such readily available statistics makes the validity of other arguments used in the article unconvincing. \n\nIn the developing regions, statistics available from the Indian MedKnow Publications service, Mumbai, the SciELO service in Brazil and Latin America, and the Brazil/Canada non-profit aggregator Bioline International, (all distributing peer-reviewed OA journals from developing countries, none charging for document management) are just examples of the OA services showing huge increases in usage as a result of open access. These statistics are available from a recent publication in ARIADNE journal http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue52/kirsop-et-al/, or from the BMC developing country portal. From here you can read, for example, that in just one year (2006) the requests received at Bioline for full texts of articles reached 2.6 million, or where the income (yes, income), submission rates, impact and other metrics of the Indian Journal of Post Graduate Medicine all increased significantly post-OA. This usage pattern is mirrored by all open access resources, as the references in the ARIADNE article show, so it is not just ?different? in developing countries as we have heard people argue.\n\nThe Joseph Esposito article refers only to open access publishing, but the twin road to unleashing access to research information (as described in the Budapest Open Access Initiative) by deposit in institutional or central repositories is not addressed. Statistics on usage from these resources again show impressive and growing usage. It is for these reasons that funding organisations and universities are mandating deposit of published articles in open access repositories (see the ROARMAP site on http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/policysignup/) and supporting open access publishing.\n\nBarbara Kirsop, \nElectronic Publishing Trust for Development\n
Avatar of: Stevan Harnad

Stevan Harnad

Posts: 7

November 15, 2007


SUMMARY: Joseph Esposito, a management consultant, says Open Access (OA) is "research spam." But OA's explicit target content is all 2.5 million peer-reviewed articles published annually in the world's 25,000 peer-reviewed research journals. (So either all research is spam or OA is not spam after all!). \n   Esposito says researchers' problem isn't access to journal articles (they already have that): rather, it's not having the time to read them. This will come as news to the countless researchers worldwide who are denied access daily to the articles in the journals their institution cannot afford, and to the authors of those articles, who are losing all that potential research impact. \n   Search engines find it all, tantalizingly, but access depends on being able to afford the subscription tolls. Esposito also says OA is just for a small circle of peers: How big does he imagine the actual usership of most journal articles is? \n   Esposito applauds the American Chemical Society (ACS) executives' bonuses for publishing profit, even though ACS is supposed to be a Learned Society devoted to maximizing research access, usage and progress, not a commercial company devoted to deriving profit from restricting research access only to those who can afford to pay them for it (and for their bonuses). \n   Esposito describes the efforts of researchers to inform their institutions and funders of the benefits of mandating OA as lobbying, but he does not attach a name to what anti-OA publishers are doing when they hire expensive pit-bull consultants to spread disinformation about OA in an effort to prevent OA self-archiving from being mandated. (Another surcharge for researchers, in addition to paying for their bonuses?)\n   Esposito finds it tautological that surveys report that authors would comply with OA mandates, but he omits to mention that over 80% of those researchers report that they would self-archive willingly if mandated. (And where does Esposito think publishers would be without existing publish-or-perish mandates?)\n   Esposito is right, though, that OA is a matter of time -- but not reading time, as he suggests. The only thing standing between the research community and 100% OA to all of its peer-reviewed research article output is the time it takes to do the few keystrokes per article it takes to provide OA. That is what the mandates (and the metrics that reward them) are meant to accomplish at long last.
Joseph Esposito is an independent management consultant (the "portable CEO") with a long history in publishing, specializing in "interim management and strategy work at the intersection of content and digital technology."\n\nIn an interview by The Scientist (a follow-up to his article, "The nautilus: where - and how - OA will actually work"), Esposito says Open Access (OA) is "research spam" -- making unrefereed or low quality research available to researchers whose real problem is not insufficient access but insufficient time.\n\nIn arguing for his "model," which he calls the "nautilus model," Esposito manages to fall into many of the longstanding fallacies that have been painstakingly exposed and corrected for years in the self-archiving FAQ. (See especially Peer Review, Sitting Pretty, and Info-Glut.)\n\nLike so many others, with and without conflicting interests, Esposito does the double conflation (1) of OA publishing (Gold OA) with OA self-archiving (of non-OA journal articles) (Green OA), and (2) of peer-reviewed postprints of published articles with unpublished preprints. It would be very difficult to call OA research "spam" if Esposito were to state forthrightly that Green OA self-archiving means making all articles published in all peer-reviewed journals (whether Gold or not) OA. (Hence either all research is spam or OA is not spam after all!). \n\nInstead, Esposito implies that OA is only or mainly for unrefereed or low quality research, which is simply false: OA's explicit target is the peer-reviewed, published postprints of all the 2.5 million articles published annually in all the planet's 25,000 peer-reviewed journals, from the very best to the very worst, without exception. (The self-archiving of pre-refereeing preprints is merely an optional supplement, a bonus; it is not what OA is about, or for.)\n\nEsposito says researchers' problem is not access to journal articles: They already have that via their institution's journal subscriptions; their real problem is not having the time to read those articles, and not having the search engines that pick out the best ones. \n\nTell that to the countless researchers worldwide who are denied access daily to the specific articles they need in the journals to which their institution cannot afford to subscribe. (No institution comes anywhere near being able to subscribe to all 25,000, and many are closer to 250.) \n\nAnd tell it also to the authors of all those articles to which all those would-be users are being denied access; their articles are being denied all that research impact. Ask users and authors alike whether they are happy with affordability being the "filter" determining what can and cannot be accessed. Search engines find it all for them, tantalizingly, but whether they can access it depends on whether their institutions can afford a subscription.\n\nEsposito says OA is just for a small circle of peers ("6? 60? 600? but not 6000"): How big does he imagine the actual usership of most of the individual 2.5 million annual journal articles to be? Peer-reviewed research is an esoteric, peer-to-peer process, for the contents of all 25,000 journals: research is conducted and published, not for royalty income, but so that it can be used, applied and built upon by all interested peer specialists and practitioners; the size of the specialties varies, but none are big, because research itself is not big (compared to trade, and trade publication).\n\nEsposito applauds the American Chemical Society (ACS) executives' bonuses for publishing profit, oblivious to the fact that the ACS is supposed to be a Learned Society devoted to maximizing research access, usage and progress, not a commercial company devoted to deriving profit from restricting research access to those who can afford to pay them for it. \n\nEsposito also refers (perhaps correctly) to researchers' amateurish efforts to inform their institutions and funders of the benefits of mandating OA as lobbying -- passing in silence over the fact that the real pro lobbyists are the wealthy anti-OA publishers who hire expensive pit-bull consultants to spread disinformation about OA in an effort to prevent Green OA from being mandated.\n\nEsposito finds it tautological that surveys report that authors would comply with OA mandates ("it's not news that people would comply with a requirement"), but he omits to mention that most researchers surveyed recognised the benefits of OA, and over 80% reported they would self-archive willingly if it was mandated, only 15% stating they would do so unwillingly. One wonders whether Esposito also finds the existing and virtually universal publish-or-perish mandates of research institutions and funders tautological -- and where he thinks the publishers for whom he consults would be without those mandates.\n\nEsposito is right, though, that OA is a matter of time -- but not reading time, as he suggests. The only thing standing between the research community and 100% OA to all of its peer-reviewed research output is the time it takes to do a few keystrokes per article. That, and only that, is what the mandates are all about, for busy, overloaded researchers: Giving those few keystrokes the priority they deserve, so they can at last start reaping the benefits -- in terms of research access and impact -- that they desire. The outcome is optimal and inevitable for the research community; it is only because this was not immediately obvious that the outcome has been so long overdue.\n\nBut the delay has been in no small part also because of the conflicting interests of the journal publishing industry for which Esposito consults. So it is perhaps not surprising that he should see it otherwise, and wish to see it continue at a (nautilus) snail's crawl for as long as possible...\n\nStevan Harnad\nAmerican Scientist Open Access Forum
Avatar of: Stevan Harnad

Stevan Harnad

Posts: 7

November 16, 2007

On Thu, 15 Nov 2007, Joseph Esposito wrote:
"Hey, Stevan, come off it. Read the article. Once again you pick a fight when I mostly agree with you."
I was commenting on your interview rather than your article, but if you insist, here goes. The comments are much the same. I think we are galaxies apart, Joe, because you keep on imagining that OA is about unrefereed peer-to-peer content, whereas it is about making all peer-reviewed journal articles freely accessible online:
Comments on: Esposito, J. (2007) Open Access 2.0: The nautilus: where - and how - OA will actually work. The Scientist 21(11) 52.
open access does not appear to increase dissemination significantly... [because] Most researchers are affiliated with institutions, whether academic, governmental, or corporate, that have access to most of the distinguished literature in the field.
Strongly disagree. You think there is little or no access problem; user surveys and library budget statistics suggest otherwise.
Thus, though there may be some exceptional situations, especially in the short term, the increased dissemination brought about by open access takes place largely at the margins of the research community.
Strongly disagree. On the contrary, it is the top 10-20% of articles -- the ones most users use and cite -- that benefit most from being made OA. (They receive 80-90% of the citations.)
Another important reason open access does not significantly increase dissemination is that attention, not scholarly content, is the scarce commodity. You can build it, but they may not come.
Strongly disagree. To repeat, OA is about published journal articles; so making them free online merely adds to whatever access they enjoy already.
It is one thing to write an article and upload it to a Web server somewhere, where it will be indexed by Google and its ilk. It is fully another thing for someone to find that article out of the growing millions on the Internet by happening upon just the right combination of keywords to type into a search bar.
Strongly disagree, and this is the heart of the equivocation. You are speaking here about self-publishing of unrefereed, unpublished papers, whereas OA is about making published, peer-reviewed articles OA -- whether by publishing them in an OA journal or by self-archiving them in an OA Institutional Repository (IR).\n\nThe very same indices and search engines that find the published articles will find the OA ones too, because making them OA is just an add-on to publishing them in the first place. It is only because you keep seeing the OA papers as not being peer-reviewed and published, Joe, that you give yourself and others the impression that there is an either/or here -- when in reality OA is about both/and.
Would you rather double the amount of published information available to you, or increase the amount of time you have to review information you can already access by one hour a day? We are awash in information, but short on time to evaluate it. Open access only worsens this by opening the floodgates to more and more unfiltered information.
This is a false opposition: OA is about accessing all journal articles, not just the minority that your institution can afford. If there are too many articles and too little time, affordability is surely not the way to cope with it! Let it all be OA and then decide how much of it you can afford the time to read. The candidates are all available via exactly the same indexes and search engines. The only difference is that without OA, many are inaccessible, whereas with OA they all are.
open access is most meaningful within a small community whose members know each other and formally and informally exchange the terms of discourse.
You are again thinking of direct, peer-to-peer exchange of unrefereed content, whereas OA is about peer-reviewed, published journal articles, irrespective of community size. (The usership of most published research journal articles is very small.)
Many of the trappings of formal publishing are of little interest to many tight-knit communities of researchers. Who needs peer review, copy editing, or sales and marketing?
I agree about not needing the sales and marketing, and perhaps the copy editing too; but since OA is about peer-reviewed journal articles, the answer to that is: all users need it.
what of the work for which there is little or no audience? What if there is simply no market? This is the ideal province of open access publishing: providing services to authors whose work is so highly specialized as to make it impossible to command the attention of a wide readership.
Most journal articles have little or no audience. This is a spurious opposition. And we are talking about OA, not necessarily OA publishing.
the innermost spiral of the shell of a nautilus, where a particular researcher wishes to communicate with a handful of intimates and researchers working in precisely the same area. Many of the trappings of formal publishing are of little interest to this group. Peer review? But these are the peers; they can make their own judgments.
The peers are quite capable of making the distinction between one another's unrefereed preprints and their peer-reviewed journal articles; and the difference is essential, regardless of the size of the field. OA is not about dispensing with peer review. It is about maximizing access to its outcome.
the next spiral is for people in the field but not working exactly on the topic of interest to the author; one more spiral and we have the broader discipline (e.g., biochemistry); beyond that are adjacent disciplines (e.g., organic chemistry); until we move to scientists in general, other highly educated individuals, university administrators, government policy-makers, investors, and ultimately to the outer spirals, where we have consumer media, whose task is to inform the general public.
I can't follow all of this: It seems to me all these "spirals" need peer-reviewed content. There is definitely a continuum from unrefereed preprints to peer-reviewed postprints -- I've called that the "Scholarly Skywriting" continuum -- but peer-review continues to be an essential function in ensuring the quality of the outcome, and certifying it as worth the time to read and the effort of trying to build upon or apply.
Harnad, S. (1990) Scholarly Skywriting and the Prepublication Continuum of Scientific Inquiry. Psychological Science 1: 342 - 343 (reprinted in Current Contents 45: 9-13, November 11 1991).
not all brands are created equal.
That's what journal names, peer-review standards and track records are for
Whatever the virtues of traditional publishing, authors may choose to work in an open-access environment for any number of reasons. For one, they simply may want to share information with fellow researchers, and posting an article on the Internet is a relatively easy way to do that
Again the false opposition: It is not "traditional publishing" vs. an unrefereed free-for-all. OA is about making traditionally peer-reviewed and published articles free for all online.
(I think some of the funding agencies have been misinformed about the benefits of open access, and they certainly have been misinformed about the costs, especially over the long term, but it certainly is within the prerogatives of a funding agency to stipulate open-access publishing.)
The funding agencies are mandating OA, not OA publishing. They have been correctly informed about the benefits of OA (it maximizes research access, usage and impact); the costs of IRs and Green OA self-archiving are negligible and the costs of Gold OA publishing are irrelevant (since OA publishing is not what is being mandated).\n\nWhether in the long term mandated Green OA will lead to a transition to Gold OA is a matter of speculation: No one knows whether or when. But if and when it does, the institutional money currently paying for non-OA subscriptions will be more than enough to pay for Gold OA publishing (which will amount to peer review alone) several times over.
open access would be useful for: an article that may have been rejected by one or more publishers, but the author still wants to get the material "out there";
No, OA is not for "research spam" (as you called it, more candidly, in your Interview): OA is for all peer-reviewed research; all 2.5 million articles published in all 25,000 peer-reviewed research journals, in all disciplines, countries and languages, at all levels of the journal quality hierarchy.
an author who may be frustrated by the process and scheduling of traditional publishers;
Authors can certainly self-archive their preprints early if they wish,\nbut OA begins with the refereed postprint (and that can be self-archived on the day the final draft is accepted).
an author who may have philosophical reservations about working with large organizations, especially those in the for-profit sector, not to mention deep and growing suspicions about the whole concept of intellectual property.
I am not sure what all that means, but it's certainly not researchers' primary motivation for providing OA, nor its primary benefit.
A reason to publish in an open-access format need not be very strong, as the barriers to such publication are indeed low. It takes little: an Internet connection, a Web server somewhere, and an address for others to find the material.
Again, the equivocation: There is no "OA format." The target content is published, peer-reviewed journal articles, and OA means making them accessible free for all online. Peer-to-peer exchange of unrefereed papers is useful, but that is not what OA is about, or for.
Over time the list of invited readers may grow, and some names may be dropped from the list. The author, in other words, controls access to the document. This access can be extended to an academic department or to the members of a professional society; access can be granted to any authenticated directory of users.
This is all just about the exchange of unrefereed content. It is not about OA.
At some point the author may remove all access restrictions, making the document fully open access.
Making unrefereed content freely accessible online is useful, but it is not what OA is about.
It is a matter of debate as to whether any of these steps, including the final one, constitutes "publication," but it is indisputable that access can be augmented and that the marginal cost of doing so approaches zero
. Providing free online access to unrefereed, unpublished content is not what OA is about, or for.
The fundamental tension in scholarly communications today is between the innermost spiral of the nautilus, where peers, narrowly defined, communicate directly with peers, and the outer spirals, which have been historically well-served by traditional means. Open-access advocates sit at the center and attempt to take their model beyond the peers.
There is no tension at all. Unrefereed preprints, circulated for peer feedback, are and have always been an earlier embryological stage of the publication continuum, with peer-review and publication the later stage. OA does not sit at the center. It is very explicitly focused on the published postprint, though self-archiving the preprint is always welcome too.\n\nNow, Joe, can we agree that we do indeed disagree?\n\nStevan Harnad\nAmerican Scientist Open Access Forum\n\n

November 29, 2007

It is perhaps understandable that Joseph J. Esposito's entire analysis and discussion of open access is conducted solely from the perspective of open access' relevance to professional scientists: The Scientist is after all a trade journal. But unhappily, discussing access exclusively from this perspective sorely neglects the social/ethical responsibilty of science to educate the public and thereby does science itself a serious disservice. \n \nOpen access's virtue is not just that it provides a small community of fellow researchers a venue in which to collaborate. It does provide that, but it also provides a window through which interested outsiders (ie, the public) can educate themselves about cutting edge developments in the sciences. Not all members of the public are affiliated with academic institutions or businesses that can afford to pay subscription prices to major journals. Open access lets the public participate in the excitement of science at a cost which the individuals involved can manage: his or her own time. \n \nLamentably, science suffers impoverished grass roots support. I believe that part of the responsibility for this state of affairs rests with the "scientific establishment" because it has allowed the scientific process to become opaque. The public definitely enjoys the benefits of science and to some extent, still respects science's authority, but much of the public doesn't really understand what science is. It could, if it just had the opportunity to watch science being done. And if the public understood science better, science would benefit by greater public support. Providing access to science-in-action through online, open access journals provides the public the opportunity to participate, at least from a distance. Access also provides an invaluable resource to those teaching high-school level science. \n \nBy placing the task of informing the general public about science in the outer reaches of his Nautilus Model of Scientific Publishing, Esposito assumes a somewhat paternalistic stance toward the public: the view that the public must be passively informed (as opposed to the view that individuals will actively inform themselves). Daily, millions use the internet to research their personal interests. They thereby educate themselves. This isn't to say that there isn't room for professional communicators who explain science and its findings, but that by placing the public in the passive outer reaches of the model Esponito underates the public and misunderstands the way adults learn. Open access provides an opportunity for the public to learn in its own way, about its own interests and for its own reasons.\n \nI think it would be valuable to see a discussion in The Scientist about how professional journals could lead a scientific outreach process by making their content freely available to the public for non-commercial purposes.\n \n
Avatar of: Ilse M. Zalaman

Ilse M. Zalaman

Posts: 4

November 30, 2007

such is Geoff Mulgan's title of his contribution in The Age of Anxiety. It appears somehow as if the so-called time-honored peer-reviewers could become marginalized by readers whoever they might be through open-access. Not long ago ago the things that frightened us says Mulgan were gods, natural disasters, dragons and demons. But it is characteristic of modern times that we have transferred those fears to our own creations. Open-access welcome to the club! In the era of experts open access in my eyes is a blessing. Finally the old club mentally is forced to change.\nGellet Burgess on his publishers:\nIf "Burgess UNABRIDGED," I say,\n"Fulfils a long-felt want,"\nDon't mind my praise, not yet the way\nIn which I voice my want.\n\nDon't let my adjectives astute\nYour peace of mind disturb;\nIt's bold," it's clever and it's cute,"\nAnd so is this my blurb!\n\nShould we start fatality rites because the public won't know if they are reading good papers or bad ones?

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