28 September 2007

Thoughts on the Berlin 5 OA conference

The presentations from the Berlin 5 conference on open access (held not in Berlin but in Padua, Italy) are now online.

I haven't read all of them yet, and probably won't, since, as far as I can tell they are all Powerpoint presentations without the accompanying paper. As a result, some elements of practically all of the presentations are unintelligible without the context and in one or two cases the presentation as a whole seems to bear little resemblance to the title of the paper or to the abstract.

By and large, it looks to have been a pretty humdrum affair, with the same old issues being debated, wheels being reinvented and nothing new emerging.

Repositories and the 'author pays' models seems to be the only models discussed and mention of the collaborative, no-money-changes-hands model of Information Research (and of other journals covered in our Case Studies series) is non-existent.

Fred Friend of UCL and JISC tells the audience that JISC (the UK's Joint Information Systems Comittee of the Higher Education Funding Councils) "is now working with other organizations on models which fund gold OA publication charges as part of the research process and budget" having experimented with spending £384,000 to persuade publishers to adopt author-charges and finding that it 'did not scale' - i.e., it would cost to much to continue.

I wonder if JISC has any idea of how many OA journals, operating on a subsidy and collaboration basis, that amount of money could have funded? With a £10,000 start-up subsidy, JISC could have got 38 OA journals under way - or 15 journals could have been given a £5,000 a year for five years with the same amount of money (or, rather, a little less). That could have made a very significant impact on the development of open access in the UK and could have persuaded a number of small-circulation, scholarly journals to have converted to the OA route. As it is, £384,000 has gone into the pockets of shareholders. Great thinking, JISC!

No comments:

Post a Comment