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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2013

    I saw this mentioned by Tim Gowers on Google+ (is that where all the action is these days?). The AMS is considering open access versions of some of its journals. I didn’t quite understand all the details, but maybe they don’t yet either. Overall, it seems a good thing, although I am even more of the opinion now that (for mathematics at least) access is very close to a solved problem, and quality/review/attention allocation/filtering is the main issue.

    http://www.ams.org/notices/201303/rnoti-p347.pdf

  1. Well, this seems little more than hybrid journals, I must say I am a bit disappointed. Yet, they think further than other societies…

    As a side note, let me react on this : “for mathematics at least access is very close to a solved problem”. If this is true, our libraries should not spend so much on subscription. Either we have to cut that down, or the gratis access we have is insufficient. I am inclined to believe the latter.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorHenry Cohn
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2013

    I like the variants on hybrid journals (calling them separate journals to avoid the qualms some funding agencies have about hybrid journals, and avoiding concerns about double dipping by keeping the yearly size of the subscription journal fixed), and I think this may play an important role in helping the AMS transition to an OA future with article processing charges rather than subscriptions. That’s a critical transition, since math societies play a big role in the profession using the modest profits they get from journals, and these journals provide excellent value for what they cost. It would be sad if learned societies were collateral damage in the struggle against the problems of big commercial publishers.

    As for whether access is close to a solved problem, it depends on the definition of “close”. If we manage to come together as a community, I can believe it will be pretty well solved over the next five years, but I don’t expect to be able to declare it solved in 2013.

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2013

    Of course, I didn’t define “close”! There is still a substantial struggle ahead. Many of us can see how the system is likely to evolve, and some saw it much earlier. But there is much resistance from the big publishers, so we certainly can’t give up. I meant that conceptually we understand a reasonable solution, not necessarily how to get there, and the solution is so much better for almost everyone than the current situation that pressure to implement it will be very strong. On the other hand, I am not sure how many people realize that the current peer review system is headed on an unsustainable path.

    It is hard to blame the AMS for being conservative. There are very many conservative mathematicians. This step seems like a clever way to ease into the OA world without scaring too many people.