Dorothea Salo on NPG versus the University of California (or Make Tomorrow “Thank a Librarian Day”)
Compelling commentary on Nature Publishing Group versus the University of California by Dorothea Salo can be found here. The recent counter-reply by the UC leadership is awesome–careful and compelling.
While there are prominent pro-OA voices that are critical of boycotts and various other “wake-up people” approaches to changing scholarly communications, particularly as these efforts are deemed as ineffective and distracting relative to the full-steam-ahead implementation of green OA, I am personally gratified by the level of attention that faculty and researchers are paying to the NPG-UC dust-up. I think that this can only help on numerous fronts–serials crisis, budget crisis, enclosure, open access, IP, tax-payer awareness, administrator awareness, politician awareness, etc. If nothing else, it is revealing to new audiences how unbelievably hard and well academic librarians work on behalf of faculty, researchers, students, and staff. They deserve free, delicious, homemade cookies everyday simply for going regularly– on our behalf–into negotiation meetings with the representatives of NPG and the other mega-publishers. I know that that work is about as dispiriting as it gets.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON THE UC/NPG PRICING KERFUFFLE
The University of California (UC) dispute with Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is about journal pricing — an important topic, but one on which I have no expertise, hence take no position. It needs to be pointed out, however, that there are two points in UC’s latest response to NPG’s response that are incorrect:
(1) It is incorrect that “NPG has been a leader in adopting the ‘green’ publishing policies.”
A green publishing policy on open access (OA) means explicitly endorsing authors providing OA to the peer-reviewed final drafts of their papers (“postprints”) immediately upon acceptance for publication (as 63% of journals do, including the counterpart of NPG’s Nature, AAS’s Science). NPG was once, in 2003, a leader in green OA, but it backslid in January 2005 to declaring that its authors should wait six months after publication before making their postprints OA.
(2) It is incorrect that “UC… libraries… pay… fees to get access to their own work.”
UC libraries (like all other libraries) pay fees to access the work of other universities. If UC is concerned about providing access to its own work, it should mandate Green OA. When other universities do likewise, UC will gain access to their work too (though for the first six months, that access to Nature articles in particular may have to be “Almost OA” rather than OA, owing to Nature’s regressive embargo…)
American Scientist Open Access Forum