Publishers are understandably concerned about piracy, but the STM/NISO initiative RA21 “to align and simplify pathways to subscribed content across participating scientific platforms” has scoped its problem the wrong way. Simply put: It’s not about security. It’s about identity. Every individual should be in control of their own identity. Can RA21 realize its potential to serve the broader interests of scientists and academia, not just the understandable objectives of publishers and vendors?
Roger Schonfeld is Director, Library and Scholarly Communication Program, for Ithaka S+R. In this role, he leads studies of academics’ and students’ attitudes, practices, and needs, as well as research on the changing role of the academic library, learned society, and scholarly publisher. In recent years, Roger has spearheaded the development of Ithaka S+R’s local survey service, helping individual colleges and universities to examine and more effectively serve the practices and needs of students and faculty members. He also consults on strategic and business planning for libraries and library consortia, digital humanities projects, distinctive collections and centers of excellence, and scholarly publishers. Roger has served on the NSF Blue Ribbon Task Force for Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access and NISO’s Open Discovery Initiative. Earlier, he was a research associate at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where he worked on projects related to college athletics and scholarly communication. Roger has a degree in English Literature from Yale University. His Ithaka S+R projects and publications are freely available online, and he is active on Twitter as @rschon. Ithaka S+R is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also operates Artstor, JSTOR, and Portico, but the views shared here are solely Roger’s.