Are the Parasites Worried?

The REF29 inclusion of an OA requirement is meeting resistance, as is the resistance — because the parasites are worried

Last week, I wrote about how Oxford University academics were calling for REF29 to drop an expensive OA requirement, enforcement of which could cost £20M in direct costs and more in opportunity costs. Rick Anderson — writing in “The Scholarly Kitchen” — penned a great line about this and other enforcement bureaucracies and their drive to make people go OA:

Effective coercion is expensive.

In short order — so short it smacks of panic — cOAlition S shot back a few days after the Oxford missive with a call for REF29 to retain its expensive and redundant OA requirement bureaucracy.

We have been witnessing the rise of the bureaucrats in publishing via OA policies, and now that there is some resistance, they appear to be worried.

  • How did we ever do this without them?
    • Simply, via norms of scientific inquiry, integrity, peer-review, relevance, novelty, and the pursuit of quality and excellence.
      • It was “publishing by scientists, for scientists,” with each community a self-contained and meaningful zone of shared values, jargon, and knowledge
      • Now, we have “publishing by bureaucrats, for bureaucrats,” with no sense of the various communities and their borders or specific needs

About a decade ago, administrators rose to outnumber faculty at US universities, causing costs to spiral ever faster for higher education in the US and elsewhere. Administrators prefer — and often are in the position to grant themselves and their ilk — high salaries.

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