Scholarly Open Access
heart of Beall’s argument is that “The OA movement is an
anti-corporatist movement.” (Perhaps you are reaching for your
dictionary, as I did, and have concluded that Beall really means
“anti-corporation.”) No doubt there is some truth to this; you
can find strong feelings against corporate America just about everywhere
and maybe with greater frequency in the academy. There
are extremists among those supporting OA, but there are also moderates and
even conservatives who speculate about the social benefit of openly
available research material. They may all be wrong, but the charge
of collectivization, especially in a country that is only beginning to
awaken from the nightmare of the Cold War, is a naked appeal to emotion,
and not the best of emotions. Let’s dial this back a bit.
error is a common one, and that is to characterize a group by its most
extreme elements. This is an old and easy rhetorical trick; read the
columns of David Brooks in the Times, for example, or the
highly entertaining, but over-the-top essays of Evgeny Morozov. What
this does is enforce an excluded middle, an us-against-them frame of mind.
part of my disappointment in Beall’s latest is that much of what he says
seems to me to be correct, but simply overstated and stuffed inside a
political wrapper. There are in fact predatory publishers, and Gold
OA is more likely to produce them than will traditional publishing. The
traditional form of peer review seems to me to be superior to the
“methodology-only” policy of PLoS ONE. The economics of
Gold OA shuts out some researchers. The measure of the value
of research is its value to other researchers, not the general public.
And citations are the coin of the realm, which are captured in
journal impact factor, not in altmetrics. In opposing Beall’s
argument, I am not opposing all of it. But his outrage clouds his
judgment and expression and undermines his best arguments.
there must be a way to talk about scholarly communications without having
MSNBC on one side and Fox News on the other, something more reflective
than a broken dialogue between Stevan
Harnad and Jeffrey Beall. I have to pinch myself and remember:
this is scientific publishing we are talking about.
Esposito is a management consultant working primarily in the world of
digital media, software, and publishing. His clients include both
for-profits and not-for-profits. A good deal of my activity concerns
research publishing, especially when the matter at issue has to do with
the migration to digital services from a print background. Prior to
setting up my consulting business, he served as CEO of three companies (Encyclopaedia
Britannica, Tribal Voice, and SRI Consulting), all of which he led to
successful exits. Typically he work on strategy issues, advising CEOs and
Boards of Directors on direction; he also have managed a number of sticky
turnarounds. Among other things, he has been the recipient of grants from
the Mellon, MacArthur, and Hewlett Foundations, all concerning research
into new aspects of publishing.
Posted by Friends of Open Access
Original article initially published on http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2013/12/16/parting-company-with-jeffrey-beall/