Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Finch Closed Eyes to Open Alternatives

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Finch Closed Eyes to Open Alternatives

Article excerpt

The evidence from Simon Lilley et al. of publishers earning excessive profits while reducing their tax bills raises further questions about the credibility of the Finch proposals for supporting open access ("Firm chose haven, let's give it hell"; "How publishers feather their nests on open access to public money", 1 November).

The failure of the Finch group to extract information on the returns gained by academic journal publishers (up to 50 per cent a year in some cases) while recommending that the government contribute to meeting the costs of article-processing fees displayed remarkable disregard for other approaches. The extra Pounds 60 million suggested as recompense to publishers for implementing open access via the "gold model" enables them to gain further at the expense of researchers whose cost-free exploitation is the source of their huge profits in the first place. This cannot be in the public interest.

The Finch committee ignored an important alternative to the gold and the rejected "green" (repository-based) model - cost-recovery journal publication by academics. And much as we applaud the logic of Lilley's case for transparency and control, he too bypasses it. The journal Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, of which we are editors, is now in its 10th issue and has 1,200 registered readers. …

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