Debating Open Access

In the opinion article by Peter Farnham and William R. Brinkley,1 those who advocate open access to science literature were portrayed as launching a "broad-based attack on all business models for scientific publication other than their own." This is an unfortunate characterization. They just propose an alternative that avoids the serious drawbacks of the subscription system.It is beyond dispute, one hopes, that full access for research scientists to the literature is highly desirable. Traditiona

Jan Velterop
Aug 1, 2004
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In the opinion article by Peter Farnham and William R. Brinkley,1 those who advocate open access to science literature were portrayed as launching a "broad-based attack on all business models for scientific publication other than their own." This is an unfortunate characterization. They just propose an alternative that avoids the serious drawbacks of the subscription system.

It is beyond dispute, one hopes, that full access for research scientists to the literature is highly desirable. Traditional subscription models make such open access impossible, based as they are on journal subscriptions paid by readers (or, rather more likely, on their behalf by institutions).

For many a researcher this presents a problem. The proposed alternative, whereby the costs of publishing are borne by authors (or, more likely, by their research grants), would make full access feasible. This is not an attack, it is an attempt to solve the problem.

The authors also...