Public awareness of the OA movement

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Fri Aug 24 01:42:51 EDT 2012

Dear Subbiah, 


Originally I was enthusiast about the OA idea, but more recently two things
happened which made me aware that there are disadvantages which tend to turn
my opinion around. First, I met an editor of an established journal in the
social sciences who had discussed this at length with the publishing house
and they had decided not to move in this direction because young scholars in
his country would not always have the funding to pay the author fees or they
would have to sacrifice other research expenses (such as conferences). He
(and I agreed) found it more important that there would be no financial
thresholds to contributing to scholarly discourse. (I know that it is never
for free, but this adds easily a thousand dollar to the expenses).


Secondly, I became aware that the funding agencies in my (and other) country
are actively championing for OA. Of course, OA shifts power balance into
their direction. A lab group in the medical sciences, for example, easily
publishes 25 papers/year and this would add appr. 25k to their budget. In
the social sciences smaller amounts of money are already substantial (and
thus issues of policy making and research management). Those without an
institutional affiliation (such as some PhD students and retired scholars)
may be excluded from access to publishing. When there is much demand the
agencies (and universities) may under pressure to develop policies on who
can be granted publication and who not.


Let me hasten to add that I several times received a generous contribution
from a funding agency for publishing a book in non-English languages. (I had
not expected that.) In summary, it seems better to me that Editors and
referees decide on who can publish for intellectual reasons rather than
funding agencies for (potentially) policy reasons. 


#Steve: I am aware that institutional repositories is very different issue.


Best wishes,




Loet Leydesdorff 

Professor, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR), 
Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam. 
Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-842239111
loet at  <mailto:loet at> ; ;
<> &hl=en 


From: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics
[mailto:SIGMETRICS at LISTSERV.UTK.EDU] On Behalf Of Subbiah Arunachalam
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2012 3:32 AM
Subject: [SIGMETRICS] Public awareness of the OA movement




Please see the Economist debate on academic journals

It has not attracted many comments from readers - a clear indication that
the general public (at least the segment that reads high quality news
channels like The Economist) is least interested in, if not indifferent to,
what we consider is of paramount importance. All our advocacy has not
reached them. I think, instead of spending our time talking about refining
and redefining the most appropriate way to bring about universal open access
amongst ourselves (and that too with some amount of rancour) we should
devote our attention now to take the message to the citizenry at large. We
should promote Students for OA, Alliance of Taxpayers for OA and similar
initiatives in a large scale. In the end, public awareness and taxpayer
acceptance are the keys to the success of the OA movement.






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