Archive for March 18, 2013

Before life and after

Posted in Poetry with tags , on March 18, 2013 by telescoper

A time there was – as one may guess
And as, indeed, earth’s testimonies tell –
Before the birth of consciousness,
When all went well.

None suffered sickness, love, or loss,
None knew regret, starved hope, or heart-burnings;
None cared whatever crash or cross
Brought wrack to things.

If something ceased, no tongue bewailed,
If something winced and waned, no heart was wrung;
If brightness dimmed, and dark prevailed,
No sense was stung.

But the disease of feeling germed,
And primal rightness took the tinct of wrong;
Ere nescience shall be reaffirmed
How long, how long?

by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Open Confusion

Posted in Open Access with tags , , , on March 18, 2013 by telescoper

Catching up yesterday evening with the Times Higher, I found yet another article about the confusion generated by RCUK‘s plans for Open Access publishing. Apparently pressured by the powerful Publishers Association, RCUK has adopted the following “decision tree” to explain how its proposal will work.

As you can see, this basically says that if you have any money from RCUK  for Open Access you have to spend it on the Gold Open Access which means you have to hand it all over to a publisher. Only when you’re skint can you go Green, and even then you have to tolerate a lengthy embargo.  This is as transparent a scam as you could ever hope to find. The Academic Publishing Industry is clearly out to fleece us for as much as it can get away with, bleeding our block grants dry before allowing us to do the right thing and publish our research the only sensible way, i.e. via Green OA repositories such as the arXiv.

There’s more:

An RCUK spokeswoman confirmed that even when funding for gold is still available via universities’ RCUK-provided block grants, researchers could still choose the green option with its shorter embargo periods.

But this reading of the decision tree was disputed by a spokeswoman for the Publishers Association. She insisted that if funds and gold options were available, researchers should choose gold.

It is obvious from this exchange that the agenda is not being generated by researchers or the research councils, but by the Publishers Association, who have hijacked the entire Open Access debate for their own ends.  Clearly the Academic Publishing Industry doesn’t live in the austere economy the rest of us inhabit – their profits are protected by generous dollops of cash from the taxpayer via RCUK.

And the government seems happy to go along with this hefty backdoor subsidy. I wonder why?