18 July 2007

More Parallel Universes

Some while back I wrote a piece called "Parallel Universes" looking at the surprising similarities between the world of open source and open access. So I was interested to see that there's trouble 't mill over the use and misuse of the term "open access":

I don't know and I don't care what [Nature editor] Maxine means by "open" or "free". I care what the BBB [Budapest-Bethesda-Berlin] Declarations mean. Peter is not defining terms however he likes; he is working with published, widely accepted definitions. He is well within his rights to expect that other people will indeed use the same definitions: that is, after all, the point of having developed and published them. Nature does NOT have "many open access projects and products", it has one (barely) OA journal and the excellent Precedings, together with a number of commendable free-to-read initiatives (blogs, Nature Network, the various free-to-read web special collections, etc). "Open Access" is not a fuzzy buzzword that Maxine is free to define as she sees fit, and if she is going to start abusing it as marketing for Nature then she most certainly does need telling off.

Which is all rather similar to a discussion taking place in the computer world about who has the right to call themselves "open source".


Bill Hooker said...

I'm at work so can't update that entry right now, but this is the gist of the update I intend: Peter Suber has put together a list of Nature's OA/OA-related ventures. Not only is it more extensive than I indicated, PS seems happy to call most of it Open Access. So I may have some crow to eat. I want to ask PS to clarify as this is confusing to me, but he's incredibly busy so I'm reluctant to bother him. I figure I'll blog my confusion and he'll see it (not a sparrow falls in the OA world but PS knows about it!) and can comment if he has time/inclination.

glyn moody said...

Well, I wouldn't feel too bad about this: as I indicated, it's a real problem with open source, and I'm it is/will be with open access.

As Borges once wrote: the story is true, only the facts have been changed.