[open-science] Open access, scholarship and business

cameron.neylon at stfc.ac.uk cameron.neylon at stfc.ac.uk
Tue Dec 13 11:20:55 UTC 2011

As an aside, this email exchange is an example of how we need technology development that can help us summaries and integrated complicated text corpi. No way I can parse and/or reply to the whole lot and people are being left off various threads. In part the question for me is how we fund that technology development.

On 12 Dec 2011, at 18:16, "Nick Barnes" <nb at climatecode.org> wrote:

> On Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 18:30, Heather Morrison <heatherm at eln.bc.ca> wrote:
> In my experience, OA advocates tend to be opponents, rather than
> proponents, of free-market neo-liberalism.

I guess broadly I am one of the proponents of a broadly free market neo-liberalism. In as much as I believe markets are well suited to solving certain classes of problem that other methods we have available are not. So I disagree that green OA is a long term solution because it distorts the markets are continues the current subsidy based model which is what got us where we are (publishers don't have a business model, they have a public subsidy) whereas gold OA with APCs forces the person who actually does the effective purchasing to feel the pain. 

My answer to anyone who says that this model and arguing for CC-BY leads to $5000 APCs is to point at PLoS and BMC and Hindawi. That's the current best value market position in my view.

To answer one of Heather's important points, that I say the developing world should be free to make choices and then I suggest imposing cc-by ccZero my answer would be that I wasn't saying that we shouldn't make choices but that our choices wherever possible should enable others to make the maximum range of choices. I would argue that ccby leaves others with the widest range of choices.

I'd also make to like a side argument that NC actually can cause exactly the problems that Heather is trying to avoid. Some can argue that if we choose NC we can protect the interests of those with limited leverage by allowing them access and reuse rights in a case by case basis. But in doing this we transfer significant costs to them in having to negotiate each time thy want to talk to a new 'publisher'. The people most able to do this are the ones with the resources to overcome those frictional costs, and will help to build up cartels of 'good causes' that could prevent others ending those markets. I think this is a plausible argument that more liberal licenses make it easier for new players to enter markets and to reduce the risk of monopolies and enclosure. It is just an argument, and I think we'd need to see evidence but I wanted to make the point it could go the other way.

Finally (and I haven't read the whole of the thread yet so I am sorry if I am repeating stuff but I think a proposal that allows free terms for some type of 'white list' of good causes is both unworkable and patronizing. Again we are taking those choices away from those who should be making them by deciding what are the 'right things'. I recognize that that depends on agreement that liberal terms give people more choices.

All that said I recognize in pursuing that argument that I need to come up with count ways of preventing the kind of enclosure and monopolies that Heather is talking about. So in neo liberal terms that means maintaining a free market where the cost of entry is low and the cost of enclosure is high. Alternately in social terms it means building the norms and structures that make that unacceptable. Neither of these are straight forward and both rely on infrastructure which in many cases does not exist yet, which means that my view is that we need that infrastructure to support both the economic and social structure that would mitigate these risks. But I'd love to hear other ideas on how this can be approached. I don't feel that licensing is the right route.


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