[Humanist] 26.938 open access

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Apr 4 07:23:59 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 938.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2013 11:43:11 -0400
        From: "Holly C. Shulman" <hcs8n at virginia.edu>
        Subject: Re:  26.933 open access
        In-Reply-To: <20130403051952.D52FF2C86 at digitalhumanities.org>

Dear Mr. Dacos, Some thoughts in response to your interesting email (and
with thanks to you for taking the time to do so).  Pleases read below.

On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 1:19 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 933.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>   [1]   From:    Marin Dacos <marin.dacos at openedition.org>
>  (218)
>         Subject: Re:  26.930 open access
>   [2]   From:    Norman Gray <norman at astro.gla.ac.uk>
>  (18)
>         Subject: Re:  26.930 open access
>   [3]   From:    "Zafrin, Vika" <vzafrin at bu.edu>
>  (136)
>         Subject: Re:  26.930 open access
> --[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>         Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2013 09:17:59 +0200
>         From: Marin Dacos <marin.dacos at openedition.org>
>         Subject: Re:  26.930 open access
>         In-Reply-To: <20130402062446.C0FF82CFD at digitalhumanities.org>
> Dear Holly Shulman,
> There a lot of different business models for open access journals.
> You will find more informations in the Open Access Directory created by
> Peter Suber, one of the most respected specialist in these matters. There
> are pages about different models there :
> http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Main_Page
> In few words, I would say that there are three main models :
> - "pay to say", i.e. author pays, i.e. "article processing charges", which
> are often between 1000$ to 5000$. I am reluctant concerning this mode,
> because there are a lot of drawbacks : the publisher was paid to create
> scarcity, but with APC, the more he publishes, the more he earns. Moreover
> : rich will have more publishing opportunities, without relation with the
> quality of the research. There are poor scholars everywhere in the World,
> even in Europe, and new ideas often come from the fringes, which are poorer
> and less integrated in the scholarly system (do you remember Philippe
> Ariès, which was a "sunday scholar", because he was not a professionnal
> scholar during more than 20 years?). Please note that Bernard Rentier
> proposes to create a Three-Digit Moratorium for APC :
> http://recteur.blogs.ulg.ac.be/?p=880

PAY TO SAY:  I have a great deal of trouble with this model, which I have
heard discussed a fair amount.  It assumes that someone, somewhere, will
pay, and do so according to merit (at least to the extent that peer review
reflects merit).  But the world we live in is one of growing disparities
between rich and poor on every level.  Let's start with rich universities.
Will they pay?  Will they equally pay along the lines of rank, from adjunct
to graduate student to assistant to star chaired full?  Then there are the
poorer colleges, universities and community colleges.  Will they have the
funds to pay at all?  Then there are scholars who either are independent or
work for institutions that today are hard pressed financially, such as
historic houses and small museums, or young scholars trying to break in.
From my perspective, $1,000 can be a great deal of money just to cross a
threshold to be considered -- and I am assuming the article still has to go
through peer review.  If it is simply pay to play, then that raises a whole
new bunch of questions about what constitutes published scholarship, it's
meaning and it's weight. In addition, NONE of this pays for the costs of a
journal producing an essay beyond pdf.  Does PAY TO SAY imply a simple pdf
model, or some sort of e-book publication model, where online publication
become simply a delivery mechanism and not an opportunity for interactive
querying?  Moreover, your examples come from Europe, not the United
States.  It is my impression that while the US economy is probably in
better shape than much of (albeit not all of) Europe, the political
philosophy that currently dominates our budget discourse discourages
federal money from supporting scholarship, especially in such abstract
areas as the humanities, where there is no clear product that will help
every day problems such as medicine or urban planning. Of course I remember
Aries, and I am old enough to personally remember much of the period during
which he was writing.  Whatever I feel about his background in action
francais, which may be forgiving, it does not alter the difference in
political culture between now and then.  After all, there was a time when
the United States Government created the National Endowment for the
Humanities, which is now being nickled and dimed and I'm sure worries about
its very existence.  (If you will excuse me, there is something that to me
is slightly Orwellian about "pay to say", but maybe that's simply me.)

> - direct fundings : considering that research is publicly funded by
> salaries and facilities, we could consider that the end and the result of
> the process could be funded by regional, national or international
> infrastructures. Give a look to Redalyc and Scielo, for example. But there
> are thousands of journals which are made by scholars in OA. There are also
> journals funded by private funds, such as foundations. See for
> exampleSAPIENS Surveys and Perspectives Integrating Environment and Society
>  http://sapiens.revues.org/  and Facts reports <
> http://factsreports.revues.org/>, Field ACTions Science Reports.

DIRECT FUNDING: This simply picks up from above.  I am an American and a
scholar of American History, and so will confine myself to what goes on in
the United States.  When I began working in the area of digital publishing
there was University financial support.  Today there it is largely gone.
So have faculty positions disappeared.  So may NHPRC or NEH.  Rice
University tried to start an OA publishing house -- and it failed.  The
University of Virginia Press is often criticized for costing money to
purchase products, but it also has a staff to pay that perform a whole
range of functions.  Do I want that kind of staff to help my project moved
past the pdf or self-made (aren't a great techie) stage to where other
historians can think about electronic archives and products without
becoming deeply enmeshed in problems of language and tagging and markup and
so on.  If we limit digital historians to those with technical background
and who enjoy the process, then professional recognition or not, this line
will create a barrier, and on one side of that barrier there will be some
very smart historians who have tons to say that we, as academics, need to
hear, both as articles and books.  As time goes on, of course a certain
amount of this will be simply a matter of means of delivelry, but we're not
there yet as nook does not use the same eproduction system as does kindle,
etc. etc., and in which every press has to upload its own materials to
Amazon to get it listed there, which in itself takes work, which means time
and money.  In my world, there are not only government funders (now
threatened) but foundations.  But foundations are subject to trends and
whims.  As I understand the philanthropic world in the United States today,
to get something done most museums or hospitals or whatever are
increasingly searching for individuals who are very wealthy and who would
make a big commitment from both sides of the grave.  So we ask the
superwealthy to make up for the problems of federal poverty imposed by
ideological commitments and perpetuate the problems of the distribution of
wealth, at least in the Unite States.  Note that we are even having trouble
maintaining public schools.  If you've missed this, go to the NY Times.

> - freemium : in OpenEdition Freemium, the texts are free to read, the
> services are paid. This idea is not new, it is the business model of a lot
> of online services, such as dropbox or Skype, it is also the business model
> of the New York Times, and also of MOOCs, massive open online courses :
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course

FREMIUM:  Here in fact someone is paying.  But skype exists within the
universe of for-profit business.  The New York Times is fremium in the most
limited of ways: you can get ten articles in a month and then you have to
pay.  With the collapse of advertising, ESPECIALLY the collapse of
classified ads in newspapers, the problems of running newspapers has
skyrocketed, and certainly does not offer a vision for the future of
scholarly publications.  When did you last purchase a paper copy of the
NYTimes.  It costs $2.50.  I have no idea what the cost structure of the
NYTimes is, but I would go toe to toe on this with you as the Times spends
a great deal of money on improving its online reporting, and that may bring
in readers, it may make readers prefer digital to print, but it costs.  And
what about journals.  A fremium for the American Historical Review?  One
copy free per year but you have to pay for the other 3?  What about the
relationship between how professional organizations get financial support
and their journals.  How many people payed to belong to the AHA in order to
get the AHR?

I won't go on.  I've probably bored the whole readership of this thread to
death.  But as far as I can see, NOTHING IS FREE. And scholarship, at least
in the Humanities, at least in the United States, is not very highly
valued. We have a crisis here over the cost of post-secondary education.
We could, of course, turn every course into a MOOC and only hire graduate
students (the few left) and adjuncts and put a life term on a MOOC of s ay
ten years so that we can get our money's worth out of it (even if it is
outdated by 7 or 8 years on).  I sure hope that is not the future of my
grandchildren's education!  I am betting on the people of New York City,
where they live, to make sure it doesn't happen, but then most of the IT
and scholarly types I know there work for a living in which the company or
institution gets paid for its product.

Holly C. Shulman

Holly C. Shulman
Editor, Dolley Madison Digital Edition
Founding Director, Documents Compass
Research Professor, Department of History
University of Virginia
hcs8n at virginia.edu

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