Open Access is not the answer?

Daniel Allington doesn’t think so. I think he’s off-base on a number of his points, but the Scholarly Kitchen finds his arguments compelling, fair, and articulate.

A point by point rebuttal isn’t necessary, but many of the ideas expressed, it seems to me, lack an appreciation for the scale of the problems we face in libraries (and for those in the Global South). Scholars sending article pdfs via email isn’t an appropriate level of access for those outside the author’s circle of scholarly acquaintance or institutional peers. Do scholars in underdeveloped countries find this acceptable?

Also, the idea that most journal prices are “affordable” and that Open Access advocates only cite extreme cases in support of their argument is simply untrue for many scholars and librarians. Institutional prices are much higher than individual subscriptions and these inflate at rates well above average, while the number of titles an academic library needs to acquire in support of academic programs (especially with the now normal conditions of flat or reduced budgets) is untenable.

One thing he says I do agree with: one of the problems is that library budgets are too low. But I don’t see institutions throwing budget increases our way any time soon. If they did, it wouldn’t slow subscription inflation or increase our buying power for loing. What do you think?

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