Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Update: Andrew Stammer's response to my notes from his presentation at the APSR Open Access Publishing Workshop

On Monday, 8 December 2008, I blogged my notes from the Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR) Workshop entitled, Open Access Publishing: A PKP User Group Workshop, which I attended in Sydney on Thursday 4 December 2008.

In my notes, I focused on the presentation given by Andrew Stammer, Journals Publishing Director at CSIRO Publishing. Today I received an email from Andrew, responding to my post. Andrew has kindly permitted me to post his comments in full:

There are two points I’d like to explore further with you.

1. I did not say it was part of a publisher’s role to lobby. I did say that in response to the challenges presented by Open Access this publisher is doing the following:

  • Striving for quality in content
  • Striving for quality in delivery
  • Promoting what we do
  • Nurturing the relationships
  • Offering OA options
  • Lobbying
  • Engaging in the dialogue

Publishers do lobby to gain influence, just as proponents for OA lobby to gain influence. It’s how the game is played.

2. Costs of producing a journal also astonish me. You may be sure that if we could publish more cheaply, without compromising quality, we would. Your suggestion to try printing on demand is sound – indeed that is what we do. It is just that the demand it great, so we have to print a lot of copies. Our journals are available online as well as in print. Subscribers pay a significant premium to receive print in addition to the online version. I wonder why they keep ordering print, but they do, and so we supply it. Some publishers have forced the issue by stopping print versions. The American Geophysical Union is an instance of this, they will cease print in 2010. I know of another publisher that ceased print and suffered an erosion of subscriptions as a result. Our approach has been to let the subscribers decide. Perhaps difficult economic times will force this issue.


Brendan_N said...


Thks for providing that recap on PKP last dec08 - particularly interested is stammers views - and was interested to see his response.

I want to put a couple of observations forward. I don't think I am as convinced as you are of the importance, now or in the future, of copyright protection of academic work. Would you not agree that most academics work towards a lifelong cause, passion or interest rather than being driven by copyright? Perhaps they, like me don't fully understand copyright importance, but in resect to Rowlands and Nicholas research I would confirm that the higher order 'wants' seem correct. I am not a baby-boomer either. Why? because research publications, whether os or print, need to reach your peers. The top tier 'wants' are consistent with power, reputation, deliverables ect ect

Anyway, I would be interested to watch your blog and see if you have any further thoughts on why copyright is or should be a higher level 'want' for academics.

ON another point, I think as a commonwealth research leader, CSIRO has a responsibility to provide print until the government can confidently proclaim that all australians have efficient and equitable access to internet.

Kylie said...


Thanks for your comments. My concern about academic's lack of emphasis on retention of copyright is only because I wish to facilitate those "wants" at the higher end of the list, and indeed, those that you yourself support. Copyright retention and then open licensing (eg through Creative Commons) can facilitate sharing of academic work, and thus improve authors' citation rates and reputations. Simply signing over copyright to another party (usually a publisher) without so much as a second thought, is not the answer. The new copyright owner can then restrict use of the work, including the author's own use of the work. It can be rather a shock to many academics to discover they cannot use their own work in subsequent publications, teaching etc without permission of the new copyright owner and often without paying a licence fee. I want academics to be more aware of these consequences and to manage their copyright more effectively to enable greater sharing and reuse. That is why I rate copyright retention as important. Hope this helps.