Meeting Open Access versus Commercial Publishing in Mathematics and Information Science

15 May 2013 from 14:30 to 17:30 hrs
KNAW, Kloveniersburgwal 29, 1011 JV Amsterdam.
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Open access is on the rise. A number of commercial publishers and professional societies - Elsevier, Springer, IEEE, and SIAM - have secured a solid position for themselves in mathematics and information science by producing subscription journals.

Many believe it would be a huge step to turn their backs on such long-standing and valued parties in order to pursue a new ideal: giving everyone in the world free online access to all published material.

To cover the cost, the authors themselves are being asked to make a substantial contribution to publishing their work – a contribution that could be prohibitive for many potential authors.

It is not reassuring that an author is obliged to purchase his own publications after his employment contract ends or if his employer cancels its subscription to the relevant journal. The impression is one of a chaotic situation, with new open access/“author pays” journals being rolled out on an almost weekly basis and requesting submissions. Disappointingly, not a single university in the Netherlands is anywhere close to offering its staff total access to the relevant literature through its own library. It should be much easier to purchase access to papers that a library is unable to deliver directly, and brief inspections (without a print option) should be much less inexpensive.

Opinions in the fields of mathematics and information science are sharply divided in the Netherlands. That may be unavoidable, but perhaps interim solutions can be found that appeal to a larger group of researchers. It may be possible, after consultation and discussion, to arrive at a shared viewpoint with the established publishers concerning the most desirable route in the years ahead. Our purpose in organising this afternoon seminar is to table the various ideas and explore whether there is common ground.


2:00 p.m.

Arrival of participants

2:30 p.m.

Opening remarks by Henk Broer (RUG), Chairman of the Academy’s Mathematics Section

2:40 p.m.

Paper by Wan Fokkink (VU University Amsterdam): Publish(ers come to your senses) or Perish

Researchers would like to continue their symbiosis with the major publishers, but the latters' cost model and the shrinking library budgets are forcing researchers to take control when it comes to their publications. I will explain why and how, from the vantage point of information science.

3:10 p.m.

Paper by Laura Hassink (Elsevier): Perspectives on Open Access and the Role Commercial Publishers Can Play

Commercial publishers embrace the developments in open access and at Elsevier we want to ensure that every author can continue to publish in their preferred journals regardless of any government or institutional requirements. I will explain the position of Elsevier with regard to open access and also explain how we work with the community to optimise the value we add.

3:40 p.m.


4:00 p.m.

Paper by Tom Koornwinder (UvA): Open Access, Maybe not the Hottest Issue for Math Publishing

I will present the results of a mini-survey of directors of Dutch math institutes about their willingness to pay article-processing charges for members of their institute. I will discuss in more detail the role of arXiv:math and the various models applied by the journals Compositio Math., Indag. Math. and SIGMA. The proliferation of new commercial open access journals and the unethical behaviour of authors and referees may be a bigger threat to the world system of math publishing.

4:30 p.m.

Paper by Krzysztof R. Apt (CWI/UvA): Open Access vs Commercial Publishers

We argue that open access journals should supersede commercial journals. This is feasible because of the advances in Internet technology and changes in the attitudes of researchers and funding bodies, and desirable because of the profit oriented attitude of commercial publishers. The speaker has been involved in a number of successful open access initiatives.

5:00 p.m. Discussion moderated by seminar chairman Jan Bergstra (UvA)

5:30 p.m.


The language of communication is English.