“The American publishing industry invests billions of dollars financing, organizing, and executing the world’s leading peer-review process in order to ensure the quality, reliability, and integrity of the scientific record,” said Maria A. Pallante, President & CEO of the Association of American Publishers. “The result is a public-private partnership that advances America’s position as the global leader in research, innovation, and scientific discovery. If the proposed policy goes into effect, not only would it wipe out a significant sector of our economy, it would also cost the federal government billions of dollars, undermine our nation’s scientific research and innovation, and significantly weaken America’s trade position. Nationalizing this essential function—that our private, non-profit scientific societies and commercial publishers do exceedingly well—is a costly, ill-advised path.”
Yes, well, this is true! It is bad for publishers, like Elsevier, it is bad for some learned societies which sign this letter, like the ACM.
But it would be a small step towards a more normal, 21st century style of communication among researchers. Because researchers do no longer need scientific publishers of this kind.
What is more important? That a useless industry loose money, or that researchers could discuss normally, without the mediation of this parasite from an older age?
Obviously, researchers have careers, which depend on the quantification of their scientific production. The quantification is made according to rules dictated by academic management. The same management who decides to buy from the publishers something the researchers already have (access).
So, no matter how evil the publishers may be, management is worse. Because suppose I make a social media app which asks 1$ for each word one types into it. Would you buy it, in case you want to exchange messages with your colleagues? No, obviously. No matter how evil I am by making this app, I would have no clients. But suppose now that your boss decides that the main criterion of career advancement is the number of words you typed into this app. Would you buy it, now? Perhaps.
Why, tell me why the boss would decide to make such a decision? There has to be a reason!
Who is the most evil? I or the boss?
There was a coincidence that the same day I learned about the letter against open access, I also read Scott Aaronson post about the utmost important problem of the name “quantum supremacy”.
The post starts with a good career news:
“Yay! I’m now a Fellow of the ACM. […] I will seek to use this awesome responsibility to steer the ACM along the path of good rather than evil.”
Then Scott spends more than 3100 words discussing the “supremacy” word. Very important subject. People in the media are concerned about this.
The answer has a 100 words, the gist being:
“Anyone who knows the ACM better than I do: what would be some effective ways to register one’s opposition to this?”
A possible answer for my question concerning bosses is: OA is still bad for the career, in 2019.