Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, September 21, 2007

Another parallel between open source and open access

Glyn Moody, Defending Openness, Linux Journal, September 21, 2007.  Excerpt:

...Unfortunately the parallels between the two movements [open source and open access] even extend to the realm of FUD. The Prism Coalition is funded by a group of academic publishers who see their business models - and hefty profits - threatened by this new approach (sound familiar?), and is designed to discredit open access in the eyes of policy-makers and the general public.

What's interesting is that the Prism Coalition uses the same tactics as those seeking to undermine open source. For example, it uses insinuation - in this case, that open access is somehow incompatible with peer review, and hence threatens the very basis of science: even the name "PRISM", which stands for "Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine", tries to imply this. Open access is actually about how papers are distributed, not about the process of selection, which is just as rigorous as that of traditional scientific journals.

Prism also invokes that old red herring "innovation" in its attempt to prevent open access being required for government-funded research....

According to this view, government mandates that require free online access for all are somehow inimical to innovation, as if open access were not itself highly innovative. This is the same argument that a government preference for open source is unfair and detrimental to innovation, as if open source were never innovative, and even though it has clear advantages for governments in terms of transparency, competition and code re-use. It also employs the same redefinition of what constitutes diversity and choice as when Microsoft argues against competition based around a single, open standard - like ODF - in favour of multiple, competing and incompatible standards....