Thursday, September 13, 2007

Can't we all just share? For free?

I am getting really fed up with the astronomical costs of journal subscriptions. But then again, what librarian isn't?

Marc Meola has a very interesting post about the issue of open access for journals on ACRLog. Apparently, there is a group called PRISM who has created a PR campaign to oppose open access. They link open access "with lack of peer review, government censorship, and theft of intellectual property."

Where do they come up with this stuff?!

1. I do not see this causing a lack of peer review. There can still be peer review. Peer reviewers aren't paid in the first place. So what costs are really involved (and we all know these are all financial issues, so why not talk cost). A good example of this would be the world of computer science. I know a computer scientist or two, and they can get just about everything they want for free over the web. Sounds like open access to me! And it is still high quality stuff (well, I am told it is, I certainly don't understand any of it).

2. Government censorship? Wow, I'm lost. HOW is this government censorship. If anything it's the exact opposite of censorship - opening it up to a much wider audience.

3. Theft of intellectual property. Okay, that's just ridiculous. The researchers who write this stuff aren't even paid for it in the first place (okay okay, with the exception of grants). They certainly aren't paid for it's publication. Let's ask them if they want their stuff to be sold for extremely high prices. I think they'd want more open access. The more people their research reaches, the better, right?

I am also curious to know the extent to which library journals are open access. I'm sure this info is out there, but I do not have it. Are they just as bad as the rest of them?

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