Talk about the Public Domain

David Prosser at the CSA party tonight

CSA/Bowker’s shindig tonight was at Shakespeare’s Globe—a reconstruction of the original London theatre on the River Thames where the bard’s plays were once performed for the first time. “To be, or not to be . . .” it’s all in the public domain now.

Appropriately enough, in the dimly lit exhibits, I ran into an open access advocate, David Prosser, Director of Sparc Europe, who talked my ear off about new journal publishing models.

Like its counterpart in the States, Sparc Europe, an alliance of European research libraries, library organizations and research institutions, advocates change in the scholarly communications market and encourages new publishing models that “better serve” the international research community.

What will probably happen, he said, is that a “hybrid model” will be adopted. It will not be and/or, but rather either/or. Authors will have the choice between publication in traditional big-name journals or the emerging pay-to-be-published alternatives that promise wide-open distribution. A leading factor, he said, will be the conditions that research funding agencies apply to grant money.

In brief after dinner remarks CSA’s Jim McGinty proudly called attention to the organization’s new strategic partnership with BioOne–itself a Sparc initiative–announced last summer. Under the deal, CSA is indexing research papers in the journals available through BioOne’s fulltext service and also functions as BioOne’s exclusive distribution agent in all areas outside the U.S. and Canada.

Who was it said, all the world’s a stage? After all this partying, I can’t remember, but it’s clear the savvy players, like CSA, are jockeying for prime position.

The open access movement is gaining support around the world., especially in Europe. See my editorial, "The Politics of Open Access," in this month’s issue of Information Today, at

Dick Kaser
V.P. Content, Information Today, Inc.

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