The Paradox of Open Access

Vaughn Cooper makes an excellent point about open access (boldface mine):

The paradox is therefore that the students at an institution that can most benefit from OA, and complain about lack of access, don’t appear to want to publish in OA journals because 1) of a lack of perceived value or impact 2) of a lack of resources to support the article or 3) their advisors don’t publish in OA journals, or recommend publishing OA, so why should they? Moreover, those of us at smaller institutions need the visibility of publishing in well-read, “higher impact” journals more than those at larger institutions with greater “traffic” of visiting speakers, meeting attendance, colleague networks, etc. This has been debated in many of the comments following Randy Shekman’s piece, with many saying that it’s easy to occupy the moral high ground in OA publishing when you’ve already made it. I would argue then that the need to strive for top-tier non-OA journals is greatest for research-active faculty at institutions that are actually most harmed by predatory scientific publishing structures (see the list above).

While I’ve always thought the ‘pay-to-play’ criticism of open access was a cheap shot, the reality is that many research budgets don’t have adequate funds for publishing: the irony is that if you’re more prolific than expected, you won’t have the money to pay for open access fees. Seems like a problem; Vaughn has a solution.

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1 Response to The Paradox of Open Access

  1. Rajiv says:

    See also – Trials and tribulations of getting Borrelia biofilms accepted for publication

    Publication is also replete with politics.

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