Posted by: bluesyemre | June 26, 2014

What Societies Really Think About Open Access by Alice Meadows @alicejmeadows #openaccess

Society Attitudes Towards Open Access

  • Open access (OA) presents somewhat of a dilemma for many scholarly societies. On the one hand, it aligns directly with what is typically a core goal – the dissemination of knowledge – but on the other, it potentially threatens their financial viability and, therefore, their ability to fund other important activities, such as outreach, support for young and early career researchers, advocacy, and so on. This challenge was highlighted by the UK Finch Group in their 2013 progress report, which stated that, “The potential damage to learned societies that may result from moves to OA – by whatever route – remains a matter of great concern to the Group.” Others are less sympathetic, however. I was recently told by a US librarian that he doesn’t want to pay for societies’ “vacations” (referring to their annual meetings), and by an EC funder that “if learned societies are a casualty of the move to OA then so be it.” As a result of this dilemma, many (perhaps most?) societies have been perceived as not being as enthusiastic about OA as they perhaps should be. Up to now, there has been little real analysis of societies’ attitudes towards OA, but a recent study by TBI Communications, carried out on behalf of EDP Sciences, provides some initial data. Although small – just 33 societies responded to their survey* – it highlights some of the key issues of concern, as well as going some way towards counteracting this idea that scholarly associations are somehow anti-OA.

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