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Partner Response to Open Access Publishing Negotiations in Europe

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in Observations and Responses, Responses | No Comments

This response to the Open Access Publishing Negotiations in Europe observation was written by Richard Dumont, Directeur général des bibliothèques, Université de Montréal

OA in Europe

Some European countries are trying to make progress, but unfortunately, the solution they advocate often revolves around agreements like the big deal, publish & read, read and publish, etc. These countries want the national license to include free circulation of articles published by national authors.

This seems to me to be a faulty solution that risks doing more harm than good. In this respect, I completely share the opinion of Richard Poynder: [OA Big Deals] Allow large legacy publishers to lock their high prices into the new OA environment, while marginalising and excluding the new-entrants that were supposed to disrupt the market. Unless something changes, therefore, the affordability problem will only be perpetuated. (Richard Poynder, The Open Access Big Deal: Back to the Future, March 28, 2018).

The mistake is in promoting the sustainability of commercial publishers rather than truly investing in establishing a scholarly communication system that is consistent with academic values, including the sharing of knowledge.

Ideally, these systems will combine the advantages offered by the commercial publishers (search capability, long-term preservation, quality metadata, journal revenue) and those of an open system (free distribution of knowledge, transparent costs, open governance, etc.). This will result in savings and a reduction in academic dependence on commercial publishers.

The objective is certainly ambitious, but it’s the spirit that drives the Canadian coalition Publi.ca (https://www.coalition-publi.ca/) that was created in 2017. As Seneca said: it’s not because things are difficult that we do not dare, but because we do not dare that things are difficult.

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