Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Access vs. Control

Hugh Rundle, in an interesting piece entitled When access isn’t even access reporting from the Australian Internet Governance Forum writes about librarians:
Worst of all, our obsession with providing access ultimately results in the loss of access. Librarians created the serials crisis because they focussed on access instead of control. The Open Access movement has had limited success because it focusses on access to articles instead of remaking the economics of academic careers. Last week Proquest announced it had gobbled up Ex-Libris, further centralising corporate control over the world’s knowledge. Proquest will undoubtedly now charge even more for their infinitely-replicable-at-negligible-cost digital files. Libraries will pay, because ‘access’. At least until they can’t afford it. The result of ceding control over journal archives has not been more access, but less.
As Benjamin Franklin might have said if he was a librarian: those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little access, deserve neither and will lose both.
From the very beginning of the LOCKSS Program 17 years ago, the goal has been to provide librarians with the tools they need to take control and ownership of the content they pay for. As I write, JSTOR has been unable to deliver articles for three days and libraries all over the world have been deprived of access to all the content they have paid JSTOR for through the years. Had they owned copies of the content, as they did on paper, no such system-wide failure would have been been possible.


David. said...

Today, JSTOR announced that they had fixed their problem, after being mostly unable to deliver content for most of five days - we first detected the problem at Stanford last Sunday.

David. said...

As of today, we are into the second week of major delivery problems at Taylor and Francis. So the list of major delivery problems in the past year is now JSTOR, Taylor & Francis, Elsevier, Springer, Nature, HighWire Press and Oxford Art Online. Not to mention the outage at dx.doi.org.

David. said...

Today, Aberystwyth and Huddersfield are both reporting that OUP is unable to deliver content.