Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, June 22, 2007

John Willinsky's talk at JCDL

Judith Bush has blogged some notes on John Willinsky's keynote ("Sorting and Classifying the Open Access Issues for Digital Libraries") at JCDL 2007 (Vancouver, June 18-23, 2007).  Excerpt:

John Willinsky’s talk, an acknowledged “preaching to the converted,” was lovely and inspiring. It was not just his enthusiasm for the mission of libraries, access and preservation, but also his faith in the result of democratic access, his faith in humanity to — in general — do the right thing....

“We have not yet begun to plumb the depth of public interest in research”

Why are Open Journals, Open Data important? JW provides three rights which open access supports, the principles on which we should rest our support.

(1) The Right to Know, a human right included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Open publishing online makes information available to everyone. He describes a discussion with policy researchers in Ottawa: what resources had they used in the past? They’d call the faculty members they had in the past — research by cronyism is how JW referred to it. (And i suggest that there’s evidence that journalists essentially have their network of folks they call.) Now though, the Ottawa policy researchers search on-line finding the open access research. Building on a poster from last night, he refers to the “fingerprints” of ideas (as opposed to citation “impact”) and notes as motivation to researchers that if they wish to leave their fingerprints on the future they improve the possibility by publishing openly.

(2) The Right to Participate, more journals filling out the spectrum of authority and audience opens the possibility for more participants in scholarly discourse. It’s hard for me to pull out particular issues here — i am such a convert to the value and process of open participation. Influenced by my thoughts about the participation of women in physics, from the value open software development has brought to me, to the education and pleasure reading openly published blogs, novels, graphic novels, articles, movies…. I do what i can to give back in that economy....

(3) Academic Freedom....The story JW tells is of a Canadian medical journal and the run of events where the journal published an examination of how Plan B prescriptions were handled by pharmacists (somewhat critical review), the protest from the professional association of pharmacists, the medical association’s firing of the editors. JW notes, who would have thought that one would need to have academic freedom protected from an academic society? ...

Someone spoke up about the proceedings — they should be open. Oh, ACM and IEEE would never allow it....

Not — we *are* the ACM (or IEEE). We need to carry Willinsky’s call back to our professional societies. We need to take on that model he offered, where libraries support journals (not purchase them) and have our societies work to transition to a different publishing model.

I suppose i should write a letter.

Update. Also see Carol Minton Morris's notes on the same talk.

Update. Also see Deborah Kaplan's notes.