Doing Better With Open Access Advocacy

Jill O'Neill, Dec 28, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Jill O'Neill argues that Open Access advocates shouldn't casually appear to the needs of the visually impaired as an argument in favour of open access. It never bothered them before, she says - "such incompatibility hadn’t surfaced in earlier open access manifestos — Budapest, Berlin, Bethesda" — and now seems a convenient issue to use to make the point. This comes in response to criticisms of Nature's new 'open access' policy, which allows reading but disallows downloading or printing or even simple cut-and-paste for quotations. The criticisms, she said, "were terse notations, lacking explanations as to whether this was due to incompatibility issues on the particular platform or caused by some other flaw in the system." Well open access can't change the past and revise the documents she quotes. And it's false that access for the visually impaired is a recent issue for OA advocates. Here is Michael Geist making the argument, for example. Image: Odori.

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