Open Access as IP Communism
Great piece by Moshe Vardi on the ills of open access (something I’ve written about). I agree with him — the open access movement is not sustainable in its current form. There are advantages to forms of capitalism.
It is regrettable, I believe, that the open access OA movement found itself in the IP communist camp. OA advocates unrestricted online access to peer-reviewed scholarly research. On the face of it, this idea is seductively attractive. Who can object to unrestricted access to research? Furthermore, after seeing the price of scholarly publications escalate in the 1990s, open access seemed like a perfect solution; no more escalating subscription fees. But just like any other intellectual property, online publishing has fixed costs, which must be covered. OA advocates often ignore or minimize this issue, but this reality cannot be ignored forever and the dominant business model that has emerged to support OA publishing is “author pays,” whereby authors pay article-processing fees to cover publishing costs. This model is not new, but in recent years it has gained a strong foothold in science publishing, both with for-profit commercial publishers and non-profit societies like ACM, which now offers such an option for any and all articles in its Digital Library DL.