Hiatus continues, and an onion

Apr 23 2010 Published by under Metablogging, Open Access

My husband and I have been stranded by the ash cloud from Iceland. We are well-housed thanks to good friends and the strength of weak ties, so there is no need to worry about us. With luck, we'll be able to get home Tuesday the 27th.

Blogging will continue to be sporadic until we're home.

I couldn't let Yale's shortsighted decision to free-ride on open access pass without comment, however. This has always been a danger for gold open access: that libraries would protect their toll-access collection budgets by choosing to free-ride on others' support of open-access journals.

It is wrong for any library considering itself a major research library to free-ride. Choose your publishers, yes, certainly; it's hard to impossible to participate in every worthy open-access membership program. But Yale isn't doing this; it's just dropping every membership it can, offering stunningly weak rationalizations, and not replacing those memberships with anything by way of other open-access support that I can see.

It would be nice if accreditors and library organizations took up the burden of naming and shaming free riders: ARL and ACRL could include open-access support in their library rankings, and I strongly believe they should. Until that day, however, the only weapon open-access advocates have against free-riders is public opprobrium, as best I can tell.

Therefore I say to the Yale University Library: this was a foolish, shortsighted, and unworthy decision. I think considerably less of you because of it. Please see fit to support the best hope we have of escaping the serials crisis.

I suggest that my Yale-affiliated readers contact the Yale University Library directly to express their opinions about this decision.

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