Open Access

Description. Open Access is a movement which tries to make scientific work free available for everyone.

Gold road. Especially in de U.K the discussion on Open Access has been focusing nowadays on the so called Gold road to Open Access.  This policy focusses on peer-reviewed journal articles. The core idea of Gold Open Access is that the author (his/her institution or a research funder) pays the charges for the services of the publishers in organising the peer review process and does not transfer his/her copyright, which would enable the publisher to exploit it based on exclusivity.

Green and other colours. Different other degrees of open access have been discussed.  A summary of the different forms can be found here

Who pays? Many scientists do not realize how much their respective institutions pay to publishers, either the University Libraries, paying high subscription fees, or Research departments paying for publication. As employees of these institutions they are free to read and upload articles from the computer on their desk. Scientific work can also be published in the context of private associations of scholars, which pay for their own journals on the basis of the membership fees.

Exclusion by rating system. The public policies however to ameliorate and raise the production of scientific works have created a rating system, which resulted in the rise of an economic market for scientific works. Journals that have acquired a high status, can ask very high prices for publications.  Many scholars are thus excluded from the public forum of scientists. Not only scholars living in third world countries are excluded this way, but also scholarly practitioners, who in previous times, could easily join the discussions in their discipline by publishing in the Journal of their associations. Telling in this respect is for example the story of a professor in Psychology, after his retirement still very active in for example the Roal Academy of Sciences, who had to pay €4000 to get his article published. Before, he had not realized this, because his institutions had payed it for him. Scientists, working at universities do not have much choice however. They have to publish in high rated journals or will perish as scientist. 

Diamond road as new development. Recently a new aspect has been added to the discussion. The high costs have as effect that the editorial positions of highly qualified journals represent an enormous power, which is completely non-controlled although it can have a great impact on society. These high costs also hinder the development of scientific discussions, because the data cannot be exchanged easily and fastly.
The development of open source software has shown an approach of scientific discussion which differs completely from the traditional one, that focuses on the end result of an article. As if all that matters in research is to produce an article, that shows the scholarly quality of its writer as best as possible. When different scientists collaborate on the solution of certain problems, freely commenting on and using the ideas which are proposed, it becomes very difficult and unnecessary to trace back which scientist contributed exactly which part of the resulting product. This approach could be called the Diamond road to Open Access. Read more. On the diamond road one shows to be a good scientist by the way one takes part in research. A clear and nicely written article says more about the ability to write than about the ability to do research.

Diamond and Humanities. The Digital Paul Scholten Project uses the concept of the diamond road but adjusts this to the needs of the humanities. In technical sciences, such as the development of software, the collaborative process is guided by the facts of what is effectively working and what proves to be useless. In the humanities there are no such clear instrumental criteria. The research in the humanities is primarily guided by shared ideas about methods which sustain careful reasoning. This is why DPSP organizes a selective moderation of the discussions on the web by open peer review and by editorial notes which give the arguments for the editorial decisions. Not primarily the individual comments or articles are important but the process as a whole. 

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