We've failed: Pirate black open access is trumping green and gold and we must change our approach

This is a fascinating read

Abstract, Key points:

  • Sci-Hub has made nearly all articles freely available using a black open access model, leaving green and gold models in its dust.
  • Why, after 20 years of effort, have green and gold open access not achieved more? Do we need ‘tae think again’?
  • If human nature is to postpone change for as long as possible, are green and gold open access fundamentally flawed?
  • Open and closed publishing models depend on bundle pricing paid by one stakeholder, the others getting a free ride. Is unbundling a fairer model?
  • If publishers changed course and unbundled their product, would this open a legal, fairer route to 100% open access and see off the pirates?

Also, love this comment via HN:

The content distribution problem is capital-s Solved. The reason why publishers are floundering is because their product doesn’t add value anymore.

As a group they have slowly been cutting out all the value-adds and buckling down on only one thing: distribution. Distribution is not valuable anymore because distribution has no marginal cost. This is classic rent-seeking. Cut your costs so far that your business does nothing, nothing except extract rent out of a pre-existing monopoly. This lasts exactly as long as it takes the market to make a competitor.

How do you win against free? Be better than free.



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