Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More on Pat Schroeder's comments on the NIH policy

William Walsh, Schroeder follows Dezenhall's script, Issues in Scholarly Communication, July 24, 2007.  Excerpt:

There's a nice story on the NIH proposal this morning in Inside Higher Ed. (See Peter Suber's comments on it.) In it, Pat Schroeder, president of the AAP, seems to be following the script laid out for publishers by pricey consultant Eric Dezenhall.

Schroeder, of the publishers’ association, acknowledged that opinion in higher education has shifted in favor of open access. But she said that was based on a lack of knowledge. “Any time you tell somebody they are going to get something for free, they think ‘yahoo.’ ” The problem, she said, is that “no one understands what publishers do.” If academics realized what publishers did with the money they charge — in terms of running peer review systems — they would fear endangering them.

You'll recall that the January 2007 Nature article on the relationship between publishers and Dezenhall stated:

[Dezenhall] hinted that the publishers should attempt to equate traditional publishing models with peer review, and "paint a picture of what the world would look like without peer-reviewed articles".

As for Schroeder's other claims: 1) Saying that increased support for OA in higher education is based on lack of knowledge seems silly. Is she really calling these academic leaders ignorant? 2) I don't think anyone thinks they are getting something for free here. 3) I think most people understand what publishers do and are aware of the value they add. The most important thing they do--as Schroeder points out--is organize the peer review system. As she is aware, however, OA is compatible with peer review.