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Should I click the button?


Last year I wished you all a Happy Open Access day and wondered if I should accept an invitation to write an article for a toll-access publication. The few comments I got on the blog and in person basically said go ahead and get my stuff out there, which I did, now all I have to do is wait. And wait. You can read the blog post about OAI-ORE that inspired the offer, though.

This year I was asked to write an article for another publisher. The paper has been written and submitted and accepted. As they charmingly put it:

A final disposition of "Accept" has been registered for the above-mentioned manuscript.

I have been invited to complete a few administrative tasks, including agreeing to the Journal Publishing Agreement. Basically this gives the publisher my copyright. I get the right to use my version for scholarly purposes, which means that I can post it here and stick it in ePrints at USQ and put it in a thesis, and even turn it into a book if I follow some conditions. Fair enough, I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to write the thing. I have to do it Elsevier's way to get the prestige that goes with their brand.

Hang on! Elsevier?

The same Elsevier which published fake journals?

Will they use my, sorry their, paper to sell drugs? Or Microsoft Word?

I'm inclined to go ahead and click the button, because this is a chance for me to go through the process and see what it's like. See how much value the editors add. See what the final product looks like. Use what I learn to work on Journal 2.0.

I don't expect that toll-access journals are going to be at all relevant to the kind of work I do before too long, so this will be something to tell the grandkids about, how I wrote something for nothing and then gave the exploitation rights to a large corporation.

On the other hand, maybe I should stage a sit-in.

So, should I or should I not click the button that says Accept Agreement? Comments open below.

They do have a detailed explanation about why they need exclusive rights which is all about how people trust them. Right.

I think that the model where academia pays multiple times for their own work is so patently absurd, and the alternatives are working so well that this way of doing business will die.