"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
June 22, 2006

My Name Is Fernando Gros Not Greg Restall’s Reader

Sorry Greg, not that I don’t dig your work and blog, but amazingly I have a life beyond those! OK, now I have that out of my system. It seems that the Charlie Rapple over at All My Eye (Ingenta) have picked up on my comments about Greg’s use of iTunes to organise academic papers. […]

Sorry Greg, not that I don’t dig your work and blog, but amazingly I have a life beyond those!

OK, now I have that out of my system. It seems that the Charlie Rapple over at All My Eye (Ingenta) have picked up on my comments about Greg’s use of iTunes to organise academic papers. I take some objection to the way they strawman’d my comments, but far objection ot not being named. Being misquoted or misunderstood is par for the course, but being called “this reader” or “Greg Restall’s reader” just seems plain, well if not rude then at least odd.

In case it gets missed, here is the full text of my comment over there.

Not sure that I missed the point as much as you make out. My main interest was in publishing areas related to vocational studies. While I was working at King’s in London I saw two separate groups investing quite some time in small scale academic journals but having a long term view to influence practical professions. Part of the intended readership of those journals would have found it costly to access those materials via sites like Ingenta, or difficult to access them physically due to the limited distribution of the readership. Although I did not lay that out in my simple blogpost, that is the context of my thinking.

As for the so-called confusion; what can I say? iTunes is not a platform for metadata and free content, it is a platform for metadata and content free or paid. The suggestions you make about linking metadata distribution to a wider and easier to access paid platform is exactly the kind of thinking I was alluding to.

By the way, why did you mention Greg by name, but relegate me to the title of “Greg Restall’s reader?” That seemed a little odd.

[tags] iTunes, Journal, Academic, Ingenta [/tags]

Responses
Greg Restall 16 years ago

Yes, that was a very strange comment — it struck me as the way someone might write if they were in a rush and taking no care to do the 30 seconds research required to track down your name.

Charlie Rapple 16 years ago

Hi Fernando,

Sorry, no offence intended — I’ve amended the blog to refer to you personally. It wasn’t that I hadn’t found your name or didn’t think it worth mentioning! I was trying — obviously misguidedly — to keep my post from becoming a confusing mesh of names as when reading postings I often find myself missing the point due to the referencing. I apologise for causing you such consternation.

For completeness, here’s the comment I posted at All My Eye in response to your input:

I appreciate your feedback — we do seem to be on the same page when it comes to distributing metadata to facilitate discovery. I suggested that you had missed the point (an unfortunately accusatory phrase, sorry) because I felt that the core issue is the underlying business model of the journal(s), rather than its distribution/visibility.

The cost of accessing a journal’s full text is determined by the publisher’s business model. Whilst there is great debate (to which I referred) about moving towards some form of Open Access, the majority of scholarly publishing is currently User Pays, i.e. a library or end user must have a subscription to a journal, or purchase individual articles via pay-per-view.

Thus increasing discoverability will not change the price at which the content can be accessed. Ingenta’s “model” is simply to enable users to buy individual articles for a price which equals the copyright fee + a delivery (handling) fee. The ensuing “far too high” cost is simply the cost at which we are instructed to sell the content by the publisher; it’s the cost of peer reviewed content when bought under a “just in time” pay-per-view model (as opposed to the “just in case” subscription model). No matter how widely the metadata is available, and in what portal (whether it’s iTunes or PubMed), full text access in most cases will still be subject to payment of a copyright fee.

The groups you refer to at King’s could enable increased visibility of their journal by depositing metadata in a variety of places, but the critical issue will be the business model they adopt. If their intended readership is unlikely to afford “user pays” costs, they will need to come up with a feasible “open access” model which enables users to access full text without payment. I wish them luck — it is certainly easier to do this from the outset (rather than switch the business model of an existing journal), but no scholarly publisher has yet found a successful (i.e. sustainable) way to do this.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Charlie,

Thanks for your reply. I’ve been thinking about this a little and will blog some more thoughts at some future stage. For now, thanks for amending your blogpost and taking the time to reply.

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