My submission for the SSP annual meeting’s panel discussion
May 30, 2012
Back on 15th May, on the Scholarly Kitchen blog that the SSP hosts, David Smith posted a brief article soliciting questions for the annual meeting’s panel discussion:
Please keep it decent and above the belt. A good question gives plenty for the panel and the audience to chew on. We have about 90 minutes, so hopefully we’ll be able to get through a broad spectrum of debating points on the value of publishing organisations as part of the scholarly ecosystem and hopefully some of broader points about an industry in flux from the impact of the digital age.
The panelists are Scholarly Kitchen regular David Crotty, altmetrics guru Jason Priem and Elsevier vice-president Tom Reller, so I thought it would be good to get a question before such an interesting group. So I submitted the following question a week ago today:
When funding bodies impose funding mandates such as those of the NIH and the Wellcome Trust, they are conditions of a contract between funder and researcher. Yet we read statements like this one by Graham Taylor of the Publishers Association: “What publishers would not accept, Mr Taylor made clear, was Research Councils UK’s suggestion, in its draft new open-access policy, that authors could choose instead to deposit their papers in open-access repositories within an “overly short” embargo period of six months after publication” http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=419870
What makes publishers think they have a say in what contract funders and researchers make between themselves? If publishers are to have a say on how grant money is spent, shouldn’t laboratory equipment manufacturers have a say, too?
For anyone who’s been following my contributions to the ongoing scholarly publishing discussion, this won’t be a new question: I posed it in rather more confrontational terms on this very blog, in See, this is why publishers irritate me so much, and then included it in a milder form in my most recent Guardian article. But to the best of my knowledge, no-one in publishing has offered an explanation yet. So that’s why I was keen to get it in front of the panel.
I really hope they don’t dodge the question.
Here’s a screenshot of my submission — a sort of receipt for sending the question, if you like:
If anyone who reads this is fortunate enough to be at the SSP panel, maybe they could report back on what treatment this question gets?