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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2012
    • (edited Oct 26th 2012)

    I attended a talk by Alex Holcombe, co-creator of the great “Scientist meets Publisher” video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMIY_4t-DR0, among his many other activities. I talked to several librarians and was surprised at how much infrastructure we have available at my institution to enable open access. It seems to me that the key problem now is not technical or economic, but essentially political: those who have the power in our profession are disproportionately older, conservative and in many cases directly benefitting from the status quo. Until incentives for professional advancement shift away from publishing in famous closed journals, it will be hard to get where to we ought to be.

    For example, I still find it absolutely scandalous that so few editorial boards have resigned and/or set up new competing journals. The only two reasons I have heard given are 1) it may damage the reputation of the journal (too late, many are already badly damaged by the actions of their commercial publishers and the secrecy around peer review) and 2) the publisher is extortionate, but they make my life as an editor easier (honest, but clueless about the variety of open source tools that could do the same job). I recommend that every mathematician raise the issue at least once with the editorial board of every journal (s)he is interested in publishing with but is run by a for-profit publisher.

    Apparently the slogan for this year’s OA Week is “Set the Default to Open Access”. It seems from my reading that the general idea has caught on widely, with more and more funders (Ireland and Hungary this week) mandating some kind of open access. How we navigate through the problems of predatory publishers, author charges, the shift away from journal brands, ways in which math differs from biomedicine… will be very interesting, but despite what some of my older colleagues think, we can’t just ignore the whole issue any more.

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2012

    those who have the power in our profession are disproportionately older, conservative and in many cases directly benefitting from the status quo

    Nicely put, Mark !