Scientific publications have never really been classified information.

Anyone could borrow them from libraries, which some see as a detour as digitization progresses.

The name Open Access is therefore misleading.

He recalls the ideological origins of the eponymous movement, which once believed that every scientist on the Internet could be their own publisher and everything would be offered for free there because production costs were close to zero.

That turned out to be a mistake.

Thomas Thiel

Editor in the Feuilleton.

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In the coalition agreement, the federal government has committed itself to Open Access as the standard format. The Science Council has now presented a position paper that also advocates a complete change. The argument put forward is that publications can be received, checked and used more quickly if they are available in a matter of seconds. This has undoubtedly proven to be an advantage in the pandemic. In addition, scientific results would become more readily available to society. The third advantage mentioned is that no exclusive rights would be transferred under Open Access and publishers would compete with other publication service providers. Unfortunately, it is not said who could be meant by that. Science has failed to build a competitive alternativeand at the same time sawing off the branch of medium-sized and small publishers. It could take revenge on her.

Viewed soberly, open access means a change in the payment cycle.

The libraries no longer pay for the journals and articles, but the scientist pays the publisher a publication fee.

He has to raise the money from committees.

In terms of power politics, Open Access means a redistribution from the scientists to the functionaries who determine the funds.

In return, the scientists are allowed to feed in metadata, i.e. to take on a new non-remunerated administrative activity, because in order for the electronic information to flow unhindered, the data must be converted into a machine-readable format.

Progressive formation of monopolies

The previous subscription model is considered to be a phased-out product in the major digital transformation of the publishing industry, in which information should flow unhindered. Where necessary, the authors believe, articles can also be printed. In principle, however, the Science Council says goodbye to the printed word. In the long term, they even want to abolish printed monographs. Do you read a book on the screen?

That this conversion can be cost-neutral can only be believed by those who remain silent about the storage and processing costs for digital products.

It also contradicts the finding that the publication fee has risen constantly to an average of 1660 euros so far.

Elsewhere, the authors come to the sobering prognosis that cost increases cannot be ruled out and that monopoly formation will probably increase.

In the meantime, the three large monopoly publishers Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley, whose extortionate pricing policy has been criticized for years, have discovered Open Access for themselves.

which have been flatly defamed by the Open Access movement for years as an obstacle to digitization.

The fact that the authors do not even discuss what legal recourse the scientific organizations have to dictate the publication process to researchers does not leave the impression that they take scientific freedom seriously in this regard.