Israel Scholar Communication Scrolls

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February 17, 2006

Israel Scholar Beware: Open Access Nature Distorted by Major Publicher CEO

Elsevier CEO Erik Engstrom gave a presentation on Open Access at the Reed Elsevier Investor Seminar 2005 last November 21, 2005. (Scroll to p. 39 of the seminar report.) Since the slides are not easy to cut and paste, I'll link to William Walsh's excerpts, since he's already done the work. (Thanks, William.)

Comment by Peter Suber (Open Access News Blog, 14 February 2006):

I see no signs of animosity in the talk. But I do see several misunderstandings: (1) Engstrom frequently refers to the "author pays" model, even though this is an inaccurate label for the business model he has in mind. (2) He repeats the inaccurate observation that OA journal launches peaked in 2001 and have declined since. (3) On author attitudes, he cites the CIBER 2005 report, which seems to have asked authors whether they'd be willing to pay a fee out of pocket, and does not cite the Key Perspectives reports, which better understand the way that OA journals actually operate. (4) He relies on the discredited Cornell calculation, which assumes that all OA journals charge author-side fees and that all fees would be paid by universities. (5) He relies on the discredited assumption that OA journals exclude indigent authors, unaware that most OA journals charge no fees at all and most of the others waive them in cases of economic hardship. (6) He cites the Kaufman-Wills report for its retracted conclusion about weak peer review, but seems unaware that the same report also showed that fewer than half of OA journals charge processing fees, and that a greater percentage of non-OA journals charge author-side fees than OA journals.

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