Necessity is the Mother of Innovation

Velterop, Johannes (Jan) JM Necessity is the Mother of Innovation. Neuroinformatics, 2005, vol. 3, n. 1, pp. 11-14. [Journal article (Paginated)]


Download (57kB) | Preview
[img] Microsoft Word

Download (33kB)

English abstract

In the debate about the National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposals, we have seen and heard much concern expressed for the health of the publishing industry and the health of societies with a publishing program. Most arguments seem to center on these issues. And they are very important, of course, especially to the publishing organizations concerned, be they scholarly societies or commercial publishers. They fear for the demise of their subscription-based model and the seemingly secure income streams it generates. Societies argue that they need the income from publishing to sustain the other important activities that they are engaged in, such as the awarding of scholarships, the organizing of conferences, public outreach, and educational programs. Commercial publishers cannot argue that losing revenue means having to stop charitable activities, but they gratefully regard societies as a convenient bulwark behind which they can safely shelter from the effects of any criticism. Societies, after all, are part of the scientific community and will, as such, be treated with much more care than commercial publishers by those who want to change the way of scientific publishing, or so the theory goes. And of course, there is some justification for that. But curiously, there is something missing from the debate. We heard little about the health and effectiveness of science. Yet that has to be the prime concern. Publishers and scholarly societies derive their raison d'être from serving science. It is the obligation of all participants in this debate to put science first. That does not seem to happen, however. If the concerns of science were put first, and the business of providing a service to the world of research were to follow rather than take pole position, we could take the discussion further, and debate as to how science is best served. There will be different ideas about that, of course. The vantage point of a scholarly society, including its perspective on business, is bound to be different from that of a commercial publisher. But a rich and frank exchange of those ideas can only benefit the outcome. Alas, an opportunity seems to have been missed by many in the furor surrounding the NIH proposals.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: open access, scholarly societies, publishing, NIH
Subjects: E. Publishing and legal issues.
Depositing user: Johannes (Jan) JM Velterop
Date deposited: 23 May 2005
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:01


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item