Re: Interview with Derk Haank, CEO, Elsevier

From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 21:59:58 +0200

The one important point I read there is:

You can put your paper on your own Web site if you want. The only
thing we insist on is that if we publish your article you don't
publish it in a Springer or Wiley journal, too. In fact, I believe we
have the most liberal copyright policy available.

  Is that what the Elsevier copyright form says ?

  Furthermore, he did not say anything about putting it on another web
site. On an open archive managed by someone else ?

But the question was not asked. Unfortunately.


On Mon, Apr 01, 2002 at 03:58:57PM +0100, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> On Mon, 1 Apr 2002, Richard Poynder wrote:
> > interview... with Elsevier Science chairman Derk Haank...
> > in April's Information Today:
> >
> >
> >
> The interview is interesting and shows the Elsevier chairman to
> be very reasonable, open and well-intentioned.
> I think that this confirms yet again that it is and always has been a
> waste of time and energy to demonize and vilify publishers like
> Elsevier, who really are not any better or worse than any other
> company, but just happen to find themselves in an anomalous business,
> with large profits but an unusual confluence of interests, including
> conflicts of interest, in a radically changing technological setting.
> Instead of misdirecting more time and energy into trying to portray
> Elsevier as venal, it would be infinitely more constructive -- and more
> likely to help resolve the large and growing conflict of interest
> between what is best for research and researchers and what is best for
> research journal publishers in the online era -- to focus instead on the
> empirical points Derk Haank makes in the interview. Two of these are the
> most relevant ones:
> (1) What are the products and services that research and researchers
> want and need from research journal publishers in the online era, and
> what are their true costs?
> (2) Will researcher/institution self-archiving, in providing free
> online access to the full texts of all existing 20,000 research
> journals (over half science/tech/medicine, and 1500 of them Elsevier
> journals) eventually alter the current system (its products, services
> and costs), or will it simply exist in parallel to it?
> This is a very reasonable question. It is clear that Elsevier is not
> trying or intending to block the freeing of access to the entire
> research journal literature through self-archiving. Elsevier is simply
> assuming that either self-archiving will not take place on any
> significant scale, or, if it does, it will have no appreciable effects
> on the overall structure of research journal publishing.
> And this is all very reasonable and welcome! It confirms that the Budapest
> Open Access Initiative (BOAI) should
> proceed with vigor in reaching its goal of Open Access. As soon as BOAI
> succeeds the goal of open access is (by definition) attained: it is
> no longer true that any researcher, anywhere, fails to have online
> access to the full corpus of 20,000 research journals because his
> institution cannot afford the access tolls.
> The further question of whether or not the research journal system
> will remain more or less as it is now under these new open-access
> conditions is an empirical question -- and one on which [NB!] nothing
> urgent or important for research and researchers worldwide depends! Once
> online access to it all is free for all, any continuing journal price
> rises will become an irrelevant side-show for research and researchers,
> for they will have free access to it all. The conflict of interest will
> be resolved.
> Regarding BOAI Strategy 2
> (the establishment of alternative, open-access journals --
> self-archiving is BOAI Strategy 1), it is quite understandable that
> established journal publishers like Elsevier should hope that there
> will be no success: To hope otherwise it to wish success onto one's
> competitors! But here too it is an empirical question whether the
> research/researcher side of the PostGutenberg conflict-of-interest --
> the side that is increasingly pressing to have, at long last, the lost
> research impact that access-denying toll-barriers have cost them for
> 350 years, now that access-barriers are no longer necessary -- will
> resolve the conflict of interest not only by self-archiving its
> refereed research online, but also by creating new open-access journals
> (and converting established ones) for that research, and preferring
> those journals to the established toll-based ones for submitting to and
> publishing in.
> The way to answer such empirical questions is not for researchers to
> continue to sit and deprecate Elsevier and the status quo, but to go
> ahead and implement BOAI Strategies 1 and 2. At the very least, the
> outcome will be Open Access at last. The rest remains to be seen (but is
> far less urgent or consequential).
> Stevan Harnad
> NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing free
> access to the refereed journal literature online is available at the
> American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01):
> or
> Discussion can be posted to:
> See also the Budapest Open Access Initiative:

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Received on Mon Apr 01 2002 - 21:12:03 BST

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