It’s your taxes that fund the research, you should have access to the results without me or anyone else being a mediator.
That one is from Kevin at We, Beasties. When I protested that this argument omits indie science, Kevin replied that it’s such a small amount as to be not even worth considering.
Here’s how I see arguments going for people who try to link open access to tax dollars.
Open access advocate: American tax payers have paid for this research, so it should be freely available.
Unconvinced person: How will you do that? Put it on blogs? In library archives?
OAA: Oh, no! Real science has to be published in peer-reviewed journals for quality control purposes.
UP: Who runs those journals now?
OAA: Mostly private businesses.
UP: So you want to put those publishers out of business? You’re a socialist who wants to kill private sector jobs.
OAA: Wha...? No! Open access doesn’t mean a journal can’t be for profit.
UP: How are journals supposed to turn a profit if all that intellectual property is given out for free?
OAA: The authors will pay fees to the journal if their paper is accepted.
UP: How much?
OAA: One of the most successful open access journals charges $1,350 for each paper.
UP: And that comes out of the authors’ own pockets?
OAA: Oh, no! That money is budgeted by the researchers into the government grants we get.
UP: So you want even more of my tax dollars to fund your research? You’re a greedy pig at the trough who’ll leave a bankrupt country to my grandchildren.
OAA: Wha...? No! Open access means that scientific progress around the world can progress faster. Scientific research grows economies.
UP: So everyone could read this science funded by our tax dollars?
OAA: That’s right.
UP: You want to give away our best knowledge to countries competing with us in the global economy. You want to destroy our way of life and replace it with a global world government.
OAA: Wha...? No! Open access means that you personally will be able to delve into the world’s best new science!
UP: But I don’t care.
Photo by soukup on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.