[Coral-List] Open Access

Marc Kochzius kochzius at uni-bremen.de
Thu Apr 17 15:56:38 EDT 2008

Dear colleagues,

here is just a brief comment regarding open access:
Open Access is good for all readers.
Open Access is only good for authors who can pay for it.

Even though the German Science Foundation (DFG) and the Ministry of 
Education and Research advocating open access, they are at the same 
time not willing to finance it. One can e.g. apply for a DFG grant to 
cover costs of publication, but scientific journals are explicitly 
excluded. It only applies to books. So far I have not understood this 
rational. It would be interesting to hear about the policy of funding 
agencies in other countries.

The main question is who is going to pay for a publication? Reader or 
authors? In the old system the reader was paying for it, but in the 
open access system of the publishers I have the impression that they 
want to let both of them pay: readers for subscription and authors 
for "open choice" (that's how Springer call the option for open 
access). I can't help myself, but this looks like a rip-off.

The main problem is the transfer of the copyright from the author to 
the publisher, which is always requested. By doing this, the author 
has no right to make the journal pdf file of his own paper available 
in the web (e.g. web page of the university). Some publishers allow 
the author's manuscript version to be published in the web, but only 
with a link to the journals web page (e.g. Springer, Elsevier). Some 
publishers only allow this after 12 month (e.g. Blackwell)! This 
practise really hampers open access!
Please correct me if I am not informed right, but governmental 
scientists in the US and UK are somehow in a little bit better 
situation, because they do not need (or even not allowed) to transfer 
their copyright due to national legislations. This is accepted by the 
publishers. Therefore they are allowed to deposit the journal pdf 
version of their papers e.g. on the home page of their university or 
their private home page. This allows open access.
Unfortunately, all other countries not seem to have such an 
legislation and therefore the publisher insist on the transfer of 
copy right. However, it is up to us authors to refuse and argue about 
it with the publishers.

Here you can find an interesting interview with Richard Smith (PLoS) 
about open access and peer review (which is another problematic 
issue) and an update what is recently going on regarding open access. 
This source is really open access - no subscription necessary.



At 16:11 17.04.2008, you wrote:
>I have read the discussion of open journals and am concerned that the
>task of printed journals is given to short shrift.  I too would like to
>be able the read all journals for free from my laptop and maybe in the
>future that will be more the the case.  I read them now becasaue my
>agency has paid the price for open access.  When I retire, I will need
>to find other sources for some journals.
>There are people who serve as overall editors over all those free
>reviews.  They have an onerous job of making sure the best science is
>published and too often these selections are questioned by many in the
>community.  /Science /is a perfect example of a journal pilloried and
>accused of not selecting appropriate reviewers on fisheries management
>and aquaculture, to name two instances.  I will not debate the subject
>except to say I would not want the job or their budgets.  Too many
>technical journals have been lost to the costs of publication so I  have
>doubts the extent to which profit  is being reaped from their sale.  SUZ
>Coral-List mailing list
>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

More information about the Coral-List mailing list