CHORUS: It’s actually spelled C-A-B-A-L

CHORUS is another attempt by subscription publishers to defeat Open Access. Probably no better writeup than Michael Eisen’s of how deceptive the intent and logic of this plan is.

CHORUS claims that it will save the US govt money if implemented, as part of the plan calls for the shuttling of PubMedCentral. The fallacy of course, is that costs to the govt (i.e. taxpayers) will actually INCREASE as publishers now have control of the “Open Access” content via a CrossRef like dispatching service. To maintain this dispatch service requires passing on the costs to their journal subscriptions — that ultimately means the libraries and agencies foot the bill.

If this is really going to save taxpayers money, then why have the publishers that are part of CHORUS not provided a cost break down? Let’s see the expected operating costs, charges to publishers to join this new organization, and the details of the API restrictions and practicality of retrieving the full-text for data mining. Then let’s compare that spreadsheet to the cost of running PubMedCentral. But that’s just the financial cost; more concerning is the cost of giving control of Open Access content to organizations whose business model is counter to the principles of OA.

Are these APIs truly open? What happens if I decide to build an aggregator with this content that is supposed to be Open Access? Will I be restricted or charged for high volume access, because publishers are now losing eyeballs as researchers go to my aggregator search engine? Do we really want publishers in charge of the key to the only source of all embargoed Open Access content? How gullible do they think the Obama Administration is? 

CHORUS is a patronizing plan to researchers, libraries, and the American taxpayer. It’s a coordinated effort to sustain subscription-based publisher revenue streams and falsely paint PubMedCentral as a waste of taxpayer money. It is not about innovating on Open Access content and expanding its accessibility.