“We need to motivate policy makers to mandate Open Access for all scientific publications at short notice”Benjamin A. Ward / HiOAName: Curt Rice
Position: University President
Expertise: Philosophy, General linguistics, Generative grammar, Phonology, Gender Equality, Open Access Leadership
Institution: Oslo and Akershus University College
ORCID ID: 0000-0003-0936-4030
An interview with Curt Rice on 28 November 2015
Why the interest in Open Access (OA)?
What still needs to be done? What is your key hope or vision?
“It’s just a matter of having the political courage.”
This is rather easy to envisage. In Norway, for example, we have a government economic incentive for scientific publishing. If this were to be restricted, such that it was given only to publications that were Open Access, every Norwegian researcher would immediately switch to Open Access publications – so the policy challenge is trivial. The entire system is in place to change Norwegian research to Open Access overnight. It’s just a matter of having the political courage to do so – or not.
And what are still the challenges?
“Obscene profits … are breaking the backs of publicly financed universities.”
The total cost for SciELO Brazilian articles are estimated at US$200 and $600. To make an article in an Elsevier journal open – in an otherwise traditional journal – generally costs about 3,000 dollars. In my opinion, Elsevier thereby takes advantage of its monopoly position, and the prestige that it has acquired – all to make profits that go far beyond the level of oil companies, for example. The problem here is that an idealistic and important development, namely Open Access, is about to be turned into yet another money-making machine for publishers.
Elsevier, for example, has a huge foundation that supports all sorts of work that is important to me as a scientist, for example in the areas of gender equality. I ask myself where the money for that foundation comes from. To my mind, it’s tens of millions of Euros a year that come from one place, namely the profit they make on journals. Publishers are going to continue to make profits with Open Access journals. Actually, we need to radically change our conception of the appropriate vehicle for distribution, and – I could go on …
What’s essential advice for other champions?
Copyright: Tanja Strøm, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. Creative Commons CC-BY Licence.
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