We’ve started the @ccess resource and community to make more and hopefully all scholarly material fully BOAI- and OKD-compliant. Anyone can use it for any legal purpose and do anything with it without permission or fear of being sued by publishers. There are probably 101 reason why @ccess is valuable – and most of them I haven’t even dreamed of. So one thing @ccess will do is collect examples of why @ccess-compliance is essential. (Note that I shall never use the words Open and Free in a meaningful sense because they aren’t precise). So here’s an example from the list http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/openaccess/
On Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 6:40 PM, Douglas Carnall <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> Especially for scientists access to complete articles and data
>> is compulsory, but I guess that for “laymen” illustrative pictures and
>> abstracts would be sufficient.
>I always get nervous when I see this sort of scientist/layman
>distinction, and I think we should work to eradicate such a boundary
>as much as possible. (I was a layman myself until a few years ago,
>and would have hated to be fed a watered-down version of research
>while an elite priesthood of scientists got the Real Stuff.
I’d like to reinforce this point. As a translator and editor I very
often deal with unfamiliar topics and need to get up to speed quickly
with the language and jargon typical in a field. It is a major
frustration in my work that the most authoritative work is locked up
behind paywalls. Typically I need to briefly access one key term in a
handful of articles to understand how it is used in the field. As the
prevailing rate for technical translation is around $0.12-0.20/word,
accessing 3 or 4 articles at $30 each to check a single term is
completely unfeasible. But that would be the best way to ensure high
quality. I find paywalls vexing precisely because dumbed down
popularizations are useless to me.
PMR: This is a brilliant example of how people don’t realise the different uses to which articles can be put. What percentage of a domain do translators need? For example if we got 10% of all papers is that likely to be enough.
Another similar requirement is my own field of computational linguistics. To train machines to interpret text you need a marked up corpus. For that you absolutely have to have BOAI material – reading free through a paywall is useless. It needs to be redistributable
DC: The point more generally is that neither the author nor the publisher
can possibly conceive of all the potential ways that a scholarly work
might be useful when it is freely available. If the scholarly
literature could be treated as one vast linguistic corpus, I am sure
that interesting developments in scientific communication,
terminology, and translation would follow, for example.
PMR: So let’s collect more examples on the list. What have people wanted to do with scholarly publications and not been able to?