Open Access – The Business of Scholarship

At Erasmus University we attended the European premiere of Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, preceded by interesting key notes by Pearl Dykstra, Robert-Jan Smits and Jason Schmitt. Some observations:

  • Robert-Jan Smits answered questions by a Springer representative and Leo van der Wees, project manager of Stichting OpenRecht, concerning the role of publishers. He acknowledged the contribution of publishers to the dissemination of research and wants them to be part of the change. But he also made it clear that the Academic Community should set the conditions (and they have done so in Plan S), not the publishers.
  • Again, on Green OA and plan S, Smits emphasized that Plan S only sets the conditions for the immediate open access under a CC-BY license with copyright for the author. The plan does not aim for one specific model but can include Green, Gold and Diamond.
  • There will be an implementation plan for plan S (including the proverbial devil and details) by the end of the year.
  • Jason Schmitt gave a passionate introduction to his movie Paywall: The Business of Scholarship. His view on the pace of change was very different from plan S, talking about the OA communities work for future generations (in contrast to 100% OA in 2020). He referred to  the Ford Model T, which hadn’t changed significantly 10 years in production (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Model_T#Gallery for proof of this).
  • Side note: after reading the Wikipedia lemma on the Ford Model T, it offers other desirable analogies with Open Access, not pursued by Jason Schmitt. For instance with the increase in the numbers of Model T’s produced every year the price for a single car dropped significantly. Also the resistance to change the Model T (being all the car a person could ever need) eventually led to the loss in market share to other manufacturers.

You can also read the report on the meeting at Science Guide (in Dutch)

Jan de Boer / Sandrien Banens

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