No Sweat

Richard Poynder and I are apparently both OA “Old Sweats“: Richard has been banging on about OA’s needing an open umbrella organization about as long as I’ve been banging on about OA’s needing Green OA mandates.

Now Richard is blaming OA’s slow progress on his recommendation’s not having been heeded; I do much the same.

So what is the difference between us?

I just keep banging on about the need for Green OA mandates, but Richard is now beginning to suspect that some secret conspiracy (because of the failure to create an OA open umbrella organization) is going on.

Richard is no doubt right that publishers are up to something, and it has to do with Gold OA and prospective deals with institutions and funders. The dealing is not open, but the fact that it’s going on is no secret.

But it’s trying to squeeze journalistic fodder out of a stone to seek anything of substance with these breath-takingly silly suspicions about BOAI and EOS.

Lampoon my own efforts all you like, Richard, but the one whose credibility is being retroactively eroded is yourself, if you don’t resist taking the tabloid track in lean years.

And please de-conflate OA (open access to published research) from (FOI) freedom of information. Published research is already “free information” (in the FOI sense). It’s the access to it (in the OA sense) that’s not cost-free. FOI covers a lot more sinister territory, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with OA.

It wouldn’t hurt to de-conflate OA from yet another sexy topic too — “academic freedom”: No, neither mandating nor providing OA is an assault on or threat to academic freedom, quite the opposite.

If you do decide to branch off into FOI and academic freedom, Richard, that will be splendid. There’s much to do and learn there. — But then forget about OA. There’s no interesting connection whatsoever.

Now peer-review reform (if there were anything new and interesting to say about it) would certainly be relevant to peer-reviewed research publication ? hence indirectly relevant to open access to peer-reviewed research publication. But only very indirectly. OA?s goal is already ambitious enough (and still far-away enough) without enlarging it to include peer-review reform (let alone feeding the planet, curing disease or redistributing wealth). But peer-review reform would certainly be a useful journalistic topic ? if only there were something more than the already well-known speculations and failed experiments to report about it…