Journals becoming commercial products and the target of takeover

Leslie Chan: I noticed this line from Eve about the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) as being the wrong turn (repasted in full below). Well, for me, I was interested in making sure that journals from the global South could participate in OA and finding sustainable models, and many like Ruth [Oniang'o]’s journal did, so I don’t think it was a wrong turn. It was a transition period. But of course we didn’t know a lot about the “architecture” of the internet that we do now, and about the consolidation of the big publishers. Also, repositories and self-archiving was a big part of BOAI, and one I pushed for over the years, so it was not purely just focused on “journal culture”. And as Ruth also pointed out, a journal is only the front facing part, there are lots of mentoring going on in the background, so a “journal culture” is not all bad. The bad part is that commercial publishers turned journals into products, and the processes of review, etc. became highly impersonal and anxiety making. Of course we made what in retrospect were mistakes, and I said some of them in this "Confessions of an Open Access Advocate" piece. One thing I still regret is how the journals that became visible became the target of takeover and with that the decimation of local capacity. So how to avoid takeover or capture is something that we should have planned for, and that requires first and foremost open and shared infrastructure.


Eve Gray 15:40:

"So to me, the Budapest Initiative turns out to be the wrong turning. And I said this at the time, and I was given a curt two-word response and thrown out because the Budapest Initiative talks about journals and the journal culture. And I think that was a fatal mistake, because the journal culture is Robert Maxwell. It's the purposeful commercialization of everything. And it was the wrong move. We don't want commercial journals; we want I think that vision of open discourse and communication with one another. So that's just some of it. But that's the way my thinking was going. But we had an excitement of real openness and real Creative Commons. And then it was slowly throttled back commercial interventions. So Budapest Initiative turned out to be the low point I think, and the throwing out of Larry Lessig from Creative Commons, he was very embittered by that. So in an African context, it's also a seesaw between something that comes naturally to us which is communicating openly and the European imperative to be profitable and commercial, and ambitious and climb ladders."


Analytic (Question)





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