All That Glitters

Everything that Bob Campbell writes in his Wiley Exchanges article “Open Access in the UK ? will Gold or Green prevail?” — where he puts the emphasis, and how he spins it — is entirely predictable. As a publisher, Bob’s paramount concern is in ensuring that the cash keeps flowing, whether from subscriptions, hybrid Gold, or pure Gold. This is understandable.

The research community’s paramount concern, in contrast, is with giving and getting Open Access to their refereed research. That means mostly Green OA self-archiving, and Bob has no particular interest in Green (“repositories” — why should he?), except to conflate no-embargo publishers with one-year embargo publishers as both being “one-year-or-less embargo-publishers.”

And to conflate subscription journals that offer hybrid Gold as an option with pure-Gold journals as both being “Gold-or-hybrid-Gold” journals: 70% already! We’re almost there?!

Except that it’s nothing of the sort (and I rather suspect that the 70% refers to publishers that offer hybrid Gold, not journals). And that means that even if only one (or not even one) of the articles in one of a publisher’s fleet of (say) 2000 journals offering the hybrid option is actually paid/made hybrid Gold, then all those 2000 journals are part of the happy 70%…

Bob also slips and slides on double-dipping, saying that if publication costs are paid for via subscriptions, for institutional access, and then some of those same articles are again paid for via hybrid Gold fees, for worldwide access, then that’s not double-dipping: that’s just fair payment for two different products!

To be fair, though, the impatient rights-rhapsodists — who scorn mere Green and insist instead on re-use rights, at all costs (CC-BY-all-means), right now — do provide Bob with the ideal pretext for claiming that hybrid Gold is indeed paying for a further product after all (82%!)…

(The self-serving calculations are somewhat reminiscent of a beleaguered MP seeking re-election in a faltering constituency.)