“A spate of recent articles in the Guardian have drawn attention to lots of reasons why open access to research publications is reasonable, beneficial and even inevitable. But two recent letters columns in the Guardian, headlined “Information that we want to be free” and “Better models for open access”, have perpetuated some long-running misconceptions about open access that need to be addressed. It’s not surprising that for-profit, barrier-based publishers are fighting to stem the tide, by misinformation if necessary, but researchers and the general public need not be taken in….”
Abstract: The adoption of open access (OA) policies that require participation rather than request it is often accompanied by concerns about whether such mandates violate researchers’ academic freedoms. This issue has not been well explored, particularly in the Canadian context. However the recent adoption of an OA policy from Canada’s major funding agencies and the development of the Fair access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) in the United States has made addressing the issue of academic freedom and OA policies an important issue in academic institutions. This paper will investigate the relationship between OA mandates and academic freedom with the context of the recent OA policy at the University of Windsor as a point of reference. While this investigation concludes that adopting OA policies that require faculty participation at the institutional level should not be an issue of academic freedom, it is important to understand the varied factors that contribute to this tension. This includes misunderstandings about journal based (gold) and repository based (green) OA, growing discontent about increased managerialism in universities and commercialization of research, as well as potential vagueness within collective agreements’ language regarding academic freedom and publication. Despite these potential roadblocks, a case can be made that OA policies are not in conflict with academic freedom given they do not produce the harms that academic freedom is intended to protect.
The false assumptions:
“1. Assumption: All or most OA journals charge author-side fees.
False: 70% of peer-reviewed OA journals charge no author-side fees. About 50% of articles published in OA journals are published in the no-fee variety.
2. Assumption: All or most subscription journals avoid charging author-side fees.
False: 75% of subscription journals do charge author-side fees, not as APCs but as page and color charges.
My number is from a 2005 ALPSP study. I’d gladly update it, but I haven’t seen more recent data.
3. Assumption: Fee-based journals don’t erect editorial firewalls to protect against corruption. (Among other things, an editorial firewall insures that peer-review editors don’t know whether a given author would pay a fee or receive a fee waiver.)
Hasty: Some do and some don’t erect editorial firewalls. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has published data on the ratio.
4. Assumption: If the possibility of fee-based corruption casts suspicion on the integrity of fee-based journals, then it would cast suspicion on more OA journals than non-OA journals.
False: On the contrary, if we assume no editorial firewalls at fee-based journals, then this business model would cast suspicion on 75% of non-OA journals and only 30% of OA journals (or 50% of OA journal articles)….”
Abstract: The last decade has seen an enormous increase in the number of peer-reviewed open access research journals in which authors whose articles are accepted for publication pay a fee to have them made freely available on the Internet. Could this popularity of open access publishing be a bad thing? Is it actually imperiling the future of science? In this commentary, I argue that it is. Drawing upon research literature, I explain why it is almost always best to publish in society journals (i.e., those sponsored by research societies such as Journal of Wildlife Management) and not nearly as good to publish in commercial academic journals, and worst—to the point it should normally be opposed—to publish in open access journals (e.g., PLOS ONE). I compare the operating plans of society journals and open access journals based on 2 features: the quality of peer review they provide and the quality of debate the articles they publish receive. On both features, the quality is generally high for society journals but unacceptably low for open access journals, to such an extent that open access publishing threatens to pollute science with false findings. Moreover, its popularity threatens to attract researchers’ allegiance to it and away from society journals, making it difficult for them to achieve their traditionally high standards of peer reviewing and of furthering debate. I prove that the commonly claimed benefits to science of open access publishing are nonexistent or much overestimated. I challenge the notion that journal impact factors should be a key consideration in selecting journals in which to publish. I suggest ways to strengthen the Journal and keep it strong. © 2016 The Wildlife Society.
“The best instrument for giving “credit where credit is due” would be a much higher appraisal of data sharing by research communities via citations of data sets and the consideration of data “production” in career prospects, funding application and evaluations. With this end in mind, this “new class of research person” is exactly the opposite of a research parasite. This person would be someone who is essential to the scientific enterprise in an increasingly data-intensive and collaborative environment. Longo and Drazen’s editorial however shows that there is still a long way to go before we reach Open Science.”
Commenting on an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
“This article mentions several open resources, but it doesn’t mention OA itself. When it briefly discusses open resources, it focuses on digitized public-domain books. It’s silent on OA journals. It’s silent on OA repositories. It’s silent on open data. When it mentions journal literature, it’s only to suggest that independent scholars might buy temporary memberships in JSTOR.
It wouldn’t be hard for someone to write a better version of this guide. But why was it evidently so hard for the Chronicle of Higher Education to realize that a better version was needed? “