Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, June 11, 2007

New review of Chanier's 2004 book on open archives

Jean-Claude Bertin reviews Thierry Chanier's book, Archives ouvertes et publication scientifique. Comment mettre en place l'accès libre aux résultats de la recherche? (Paris: L'Harmattan, December 2004) in the May issue of ReCALL (accessible only to subscribers).  (Thanks to Stevan Harnad.)  Excerpt:

...What is at stake here is the dissemination of scientific information among researchers and the new opportunities open to them to make knowledge available to more people, more rapidly and more efficiently, as well as the opening of new horizons for scientific evaluation especially in social sciences and the humanities. In this book, Thierry Chanier militates so that these social upheavals which are underway will primarily benefit researchers and not only commercial publishers.

The central topic is that of “open archives” ....

The book is structured along seven chapters that gradually build up the case:

  • an overview of the present situation of scientific publication, featuring a market mainly controlled by commercial publishers who derive high profits from an activity based on monopolistic strategies. The main point made is the reluctance of these actors to abandon their privileged situation in favour of better working conditions for researchers (more rapid exchange of knowledge by reduction of costs and publication delays);
  • a study of the specific case of social sciences and the humanities, best described as a fragmented community (numerous small publishers, heavier influence of university press companies, diversity of readership) which makes it difficult to generalise any model;
  • a review of research communities and publication uses: Thierry Chanier describes a model of the publication process, the place of the various actors and shows how ICT influences the model. He advocates a new set of relationships between authors, middlemen (editors and publishers) and readers which better answer the needs of the scientific community who should take advantage of new technologies to take control of the editorial / publication process;
  • in order to defend his thesis, the author analyses the financial structure of the editorial / publication process. His rigorous identification of the various costs involved, as well as of copyright issues, enables him to discuss the new “paying author” philosophy which he thinks should make open archives workable; ...
  • the last chapter moves on to a more global description of the place of open archives within the field of scientific information creation, storage, indexation and dissemination, as well as the place of the various actors (publishers and university libraries) in the new model....