No, not a tattoo… I spoke to a reporter from the Daily Tar Heel yesterday who was writing (was writing at the time; has written now, of course) an article for today’s paper on open access journals. He spoke to Paul last Friday & Paul directed him to me on account of my having been on the planning committee for the Scholarly Communications Convocation.

Here’s the article: Faculty touts online journals

This was my first time talking to the press, even if it was only the DTH. So it was actually quite a thrill. I of course made a huge deal out of it: I prepared talking points, I asked Yvonne for advice, since she’s so experienced in dealing with the press. I actually even called the Davis reference desk to get help with background data. Mike, sadly for him working a Saturday shift, pointed me to the 2004 U. S. Periodical Price Index. I didn’t actually pass that along to the DTH (sorry Mike!), but it really helped me come up with some of my talking points. Which then didn’t get used in the article. Oh well.

I gave the reporter some figures on the rising cost of journals & told him to look at the charts in Judith Panitch & Sarah Michalak’s whitepaper from the Convocation, & talked some about why it’s happening. I talked about the business model of open access (for example, PLoS) versus the business model of commercial publishers. I talked about the issue that since a lot of research is federally funded, there’s an argument is that it should be free to the public. I talked about copyright & the faculty council’s resolution to encourage faculty to retain copyright. Jeez, when I put it like that, no wonder he didn’t use most of my talking points.

Paul always seems surprised by what he ends up having said when he’s interviewed, & now I understand why. Here’s what I apparently said:

“The costs of printing have risen, and they have a captive audience. It is not like an academic library cannot subscribe to the journals they need to do their research,” Pomerantz said. “So to a certain extent, they’re taking advantage of the library.”

I did say that commercial publishers are taking advantage of academic libraries, because they’re a captive audience. I didn’t really say that the costs of printing have risen; what I said was publishers’ costs have risen. But I can see how that might not have been clear.

By comparison, how quotable is Paul?

“You don’t have to be a Marxist to figure out that the workers are getting screwed.”

I wish I’d come up with that line.