Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The PISD Coalition

The Partnership for Integrity in Scientific Dis-semination is PISD.  From the FAQ:

Peer reviewing doesn't cost journals anything—scientists usually referee papers for free. Isn't that a little unfair?

It is indeed a source of consternation to many in the publishing industry that current publishing conventions provide scientists with the opportunity to referee papers at no cost. Consider all the benefits reviewers accrue: (a) they get to read potentially important manuscripts several months or years before they're officially published and become popular; (b) they're afforded an easy opportunity to silence or scoop competitors by stalling their publications; (c) they might learn something, and you know how scientists are always saying you can't put a price on knowledge! Given all these benefits, it's pretty clear that peer reviewers are taking advantage of publishers' goodwill in a way that publishers never intended. Fortunately, the current outdated model will soon give way to a new, auction-based model currently under development at one of the larger publishing companies....

But why are the subscription fees charged by journals so high? Couldn't publishers get by while charging much lower rates and possibly encouraging wider readership?

We don't believe it's a publisher's place to make the value judgment that dissemination of scientific information is a greater social good than the increase in capital associated with charging higher subscription rates. That judgment should be made by politicians, ethicists, economists, and other valuable members of society. If you would like to know more, we suggest you consult review articles on the theory of utility or the laws of supply and demand. If your institution doesn’t provide access to such articles, we'll be happy to sell them to you at a reasonable price....