More on Pat Schroeder's comments on the NIH policy: William Walsh, Schroeder follows Dezenhall's script, Issues in Scholarly Communication, July 24, 2007. Excerpt:
There's a nice story on the NIH proposal this morning in Inside Higher Ed. (See Peter Suber's comments on it.) In it, Pat Schroeder, president of the AAP, seems to be following the script laid out for publishers by pricey consultant Eric Dezenhall.(Via Open Access News.)Schroeder, of the publishers’ association, acknowledged that opinion in higher education has shifted in favor of open access. But she said that was based on a lack of knowledge. “Any time you tell somebody they are going to get something for free, they think ‘yahoo.’ ” The problem, she said, is that “no one understands what publishers do.” If academics realized what publishers did with the money they charge — in terms of running peer review systems — they would fear endangering them.
My experiences with the peer-review systems of the open access journals JMLR, BMC Bioinformatics, and PLoS Computational Biology are all much better than those I've had with many closed access journals over the years. The quality of a peer review system comes from the commitment and skill of the scientific editors and from a well-chosen workflow system, not from paper pushers at headquarters, who in some cases serve mainly to slow down the process.