On "Open Access" Publishers Who Oppose Open Access Self-Archiving Mandates.
The online age has made powerful new benefits for research possible, but these benefits entail a profound conflict of interest between (1) what is best for the research journal publishing industry and (2) what is best for research, researchers, universities, research institutions, research funders, the vast research and development (R&D) industry, and the tax-paying public that funds the research. What is at stake is (1) a hypothetical risk of potential future losses in subscription revenue for publishers versus (2) actual, ongoing losses in current research impact for researchers. How this conflict of interest will have to be resolved is already clear: Research publishing is a service industry; it will have to adapt to what is best for research, and not vice versa. And what is best for research is Open Access (OA), provided through research funders and universities mandating the OA self-archiving of all their researchers' peer-reviewed research output. The conventional (non-OA) publishing industry's first commitment is of course to what is best for its own business interests, rather than to what is best for research and researchers; hence it is lobbying vigorously against the many OA self-archiving mandates that are currently being adopted, recommended and petitioned for by the research community worldwide. But what is especially disappointing, if not deplorable, is when "OA" publishers take the very same stance against OA itself (by opposing OA self-archiving mandates) that non-OA publishers do. Conventional publisher opposition to OA will be viewed, historically, as having been a regrettable, counterproductive (and eventually countermanded) but comprehensible strategy, from a purely business standpoint. OA publisher opposition to OA, however, will be seen as having been self-deluded if not hypocritical. I close with a reply to Jan Velterop, of Springer's "Open Choice": Jan opposes Green OA self-archiving mandates, because they would provide OA without paying the publisher extra for it. But all publishing costs are currently being paid for already: via subscriptions. So opposition to Green OA self-archiving mandates by a hybrid Gold "Open Choice" Publisher sounds very much like wanting to have their cake and eat it too (even though that is precisely what they like to describe Green OA advocates as trying to do!).
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