Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 15, 2003

John Ewing, Predicting the Future of Scholarly Publishing, Mathematical Intelligencer, Spring 2003. The online version of the article is not freely available through the journal, but is available at Ewing's web site (Version 2.5, December 9, 2002). This is an update to Ewing's skeptical views about FOS. Thanks to John Dupuis for the lead. Ewing thinks that the open access revolution is possible, but that the evidence doesn't support the confidence of its proponents. In general he's persuaded that FOS will drive out the independent journals with the thinnest profit margins, leaving the giant commercial publishers to dominate the field more than today.

When Ewing published a version of this argument in the 10/12/01 Chronicle of Higher Education, I responded with a letter to the editor (published 11/16/01). His latest version of the argument, 2.5, doesn't reply to my counter-arguments. (Unfortunately, these last two links only work for Chronicle subscribers. You can find a free version of my response in FOSN for 10/12/01.) The latest version of Ewing's argument puts the accent on the distinction between hope and prediction. Here's a brief response limited to that point. FOS proponents aren't merely hoping or predicting. The future of scholarly communication is within the control of scholars. If we make the right choices, there's a fairly short and direct path from here to FOS. We're advocating that scholars and their institutions make these choices. We're trying to engineer a good future, not just argue that it's good or predict its arrival independently of the choices we make.