The Affirmability of the Sensible -or- On Leading the Academic Cavalry to Water?

In an entertaining posting, “The Deniability of the Blog,” David Worlock chides me for (amongst other things) failed predictions, hoping that I (and Derk Haank) stick around long enough to keep providing entertainment.

Stay tuned. Dunno about Derk but I?m still around for the long haul.

But I do want to point out that I haven?t the slightest interest in journal publisher revenues (though they will of course plummet sooner or later); never had.

There are two problems for journal article users: articles’ unaffordability and their inaccessibility. And I?m interested solely in the latter. OA is the solution to that; the former problem will then take care of itself.

Yes, eventually peer review will die, journals will die, research will die and the universe will devolve into heat death. But OA will come before all that.

If David wanted to pillory me with having been taken by surprise by events, he could easily have found many genuine examples of my stupidity:

Yes, I had sincerely believed that within a year or two of my 1994 Subversive Proposal, all researchers would be self-archiving. I never dreamt they would keep ? so to speak ? sitting on their fingers for at least another two decades.

Nor did I imagine that if they got free software in 2000 to create interoperable institutional repositories, their posteriors would stay put, their digits still immobile.

Taken by surprise again that once their institutions and funders began in 2003 to mandate their fingers into action where the sun does shine, all of them ? the researchers, their institutions and their funders ? would instead be blinded (and blindsided), beginning about 2006, by gold-dust, tempted to heed instead the siren call of journal publishers to ?leave the keystroking to us ? for a fee.?

What I did anticipate all along, however, was that if authors didn’t hurry up and do the stroking, publishers would and could make their offer look like an un-refusable one, trying to gild the lily by embargoing the green option of authors flexing their own fingers.

But now there?s still the Button to buttress the mandates and save the day for digital self-help, with immediate Almost-OA, immune to publisher blackmail.

Moral: One cannot second-guess human nature; only what is feasible, sensible and optimal. The rest is in the hands of the gods.

But do stay tuned?