As a long-established educational developer without an institutional subscription or a local university library, I am a strong supporter of open access (“Fools’ gold”, 14 February). However, in an age where electronic access is becoming the norm, it is extremely disappointing to see the direction it is taking, dominated by arguments based on the commercial publication of paper-format journals. It is easy enough to publish papers freely and accessible to all online: the main added value of journals is the rigour and feedback provided by the free contributions of peer reviewers and academic editors. However, it would not take a lot of imagination to put a system in place to provide the benefits without recourse to the conventional publishing process.
The papers I write are based on development projects and personal investigations rather than funded research, and I (like many others outside the universities who take the time to write up their work) will find alternative outlets to journals that seek to charge publication fees.
Stan Lester Developments