[LINK] InnAus: 'Chief Scientist plan for free research access for all'

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Sat Nov 5 17:16:42 AEDT 2022

[ Unfortunately, the Chief Scientist is being far, far too friendly to
commercial publishers.

[ She's kow-towing to them by pretending that they offer something
significant to academic publishing, and is asking the Australian
government to gift those publishers vast sums of money, and take that
koney out of the budgets of the universities.

[ The value-add by publishers is desperately small:
-   The vast majority of the work is done gratis by volunteers - not
    just the authors, but also editors and reviewers
-   The layout work is mostly done by the authors dropping their content
    into a template
-   The changes that are made during the production phase are no longer
    done by trained editors but by untrained people in cheap-labour
    countries.  (And, in many cases, authors who care about the product
    have to waste a lot of time correcting their errors).
-   In my own case, the publisher's layouts tend to look a *little* more
    pleasant than mine, but not enough to be of any great value.  (And
    some are *less* readable, because the poorly-trained staff work with
    fixed recipes, which are a bad fit in various circumstances)
-   And, after all that, I get more hits on my papers directly than I do
    from journals' own websites.

> Dr Foley and her office believe the new model should not cost more
than is currently being spent across the system on research publishing

[ In your dreams!!   Read the literature on the economics of academic
publishing! ]

> Publishers are warming to the new open access approach

[ Precisely because they'll both make a massive windfall from this
naivete, and have their monopoly power enthrenched as part of the bargain. ]

Chief Scientist plan for free research access for all
Joseph Brookes
Innovation Aus
3 November 2022


Dr Foley ... estimates the Australian government invests $12 billion
annually in science, research and innovation, while academic libraries
are paying between $350-to-400 million to publishers every year for
research access.

This payment to publishers comes after the research has been funded
elsewhere, often by taxpayers, after a peer review process that relies
on experts donating their time, after the work has been given to
publishers for free, and after experts like Dr Foley have provided
editorial work in publishing it.

A “green” open access model — which makes research available through
institutional repositories, without publishers or with them playing a
much lesser role — was considered for Australia but is not being pursued.

“One of the options is that you put a version of your paper into a
repository or a local library,” Dr Foley said. “But the thing is, you
don’t know if it’s the submitted paper, the accepted paper or the
published paper. You don’t know whether it’s been retracted, you don’t
know whether there’s been commentaries around it, or agendum,
corrections or those sorts of things.”

Publishers fulfil an important integrity role in managing the peer
review process, data basing, and because of their vast existing
libraries effectively make them the “custodians of knowledge”.

Dr Foley has instead opted for a “gold” open access model, where
publishers maintain the functional role they play and are paid for it,
but must permanently and freely make research literature available
online for any Australian to read.


Roger Clarke                            mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
T: +61 2 6288 6916   http://www.xamax.com.au  http://www.rogerclarke.com

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law            University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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