Archive for Publishers’ Association

Yes, academic publishers are greedy (and dishonest)

Posted in Open Access, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 22, 2016 by telescoper

I saw a blatant piece of propaganda in the Guardian the other day, written by the Chief Executive of the Publishers Association.The piece argues that the academic publishing industry benefits the academic community through “innovation and development” and by doing so “adds value” to the raw material supplied by researchers. This is nonsense. The academic publishing industry does not add any value to anything. It just adds cost. And by so doing generates huge profits for itself.

I was annoyed by several other things relating to this item:

  1. It’s written by a vested interest but is presented without a balancing opinion, which makes one wonder why the Guardian is allowing itself to be used as a mouthpiece by these profiteers;
  2. It has been tweeted and retweeed by the Publishers Association several times, as if it were a piece of reporting instead of what it actually is, essentially a commercial;
  3. Some of the claims made in the piece are so risible that they’re insulting.

However, the most annoying thing for me is that I’ve been too busy marking examinations to let off steam by writing a riposte.

I should have worried however, because scrolling down to the comments on the article you can easily find out what academics really think. Moreover, there’s an excellent rebuttal by Mike Taylor here, which I shall reblog.




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?