... The pressure to communicate is all-encompassing, and this is also one of the (often overlooked) dangers of the open-access philosophy. The pressure to publish is intensified, almost like an eleventh commandment. In an excellent essay in Gegenworte, the magazine of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the renowned philosopher Volker Gerhardt from Berlin recently wrote (and we translate here):
There is nothing wrong with the basic idea of open access. But for the researcher, who not only searches but also finds, open access is less of an offer but rather a norm to be executed immediately. Once a result is obtained, it needs to be published immediately if there is to be no harm to the public interest. At the same time you cannot fool yourself into believing that you are helping science with open access' pressure to publish. Science has long suffered from confusing quantity with quality. Ratings are replacing reason, and this is a sure indication that science is no longer judging itself by its own criteria.
The pressure to publish the results of publicly funded research immediately and without restriction will promote publication of the lowest publishable unit (LPU), and this will need to be kept in check ...
The pressure to publish - publish or perish takes on a different meaning - which is implicit in the idea of open access, does not only apply to authors, but also to editors and publishers, and they are subject to this pressure in more than just one sense. Firstly, they will be more than ever committed to expedite the publication of results. Should editors still insist that authors take the "nit-picking criticisms" of referees seriously and thereby delay publication? In addition to this pressure to more quickly provide the public with research results - a pressure that is already omnipresent today - there will, secondly, be financial pressure. In the open-access business model, it is widely accepted that authors (or their funding agencies or universities) pay. This means that that the earnings of the journal are directly dependent on the number of articles published. Only fools believe that editors wouldn't then tend towards acceptance of a manuscript in the many borderline cases. And if the well-being of the paying reader is no longer paramount, then there is also no need to invest in readability - to pay attention to the quality of images and language. ...
Gavin Baker at 1/06/2010 04:00:00 PM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.