Public awareness of the OA movement

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Fri Aug 24 11:35:36 EDT 2012

And designing a selection process guided by quality within the OA context does not appear particularly difficult to achieve. It already exists.

Jean-Claude Guédon

I did not wish to doubt this. The problem is not the editorial control, but the additional threshold for groups or individuals who do not have the means to pay their way into the system. For example, PhD students without an institutional base. I would like to know, for example, what a journal like PlosONE does if a paper is accepted, but the payment is not made. (Or is the procedure so organized that this is prevented from occurring? One has to pay upfront?)


Perhaps, I trust the academic library more than the funding agencies in making informed choices of journals than of applicants. Someone will have to make choices.


Best, Loet


Le vendredi 24 août 2012 à 07:42 +0200, Loet Leydesdorff a écrit :

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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