Re: ALPSP statement on BOAI

From: Sally Morris <sec-gen_at_ALPSP.ORG>
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 11:41:47 +0100

Let me try again:

Publishers acknowledge that authors want to make their work as widely
available as possible. However, we are also convinced (and the ALPSP
research bears this out) that publishing can add considerable value (rated
by authors and readers, not just by publishers!) over and above peer review.
We are concerned that moves which undermine the current model for funding
that added value before having found a sustainable alternative model may
destroy the ability to add that value.

Developments will, indeed, make it possible to access all the contents of a
journal without paying the publisher, if authors archive their final
versions in a sufficiently searchable/retrievable way. This is why we are
convinced that the most urgent need is to ascertain (a) what is sufficiently
valuable to authors/readers to be worth preserving and (b) how to pay for


Sally Morris, Secretary-General
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK

Phone: 01903 871686 Fax: 01903 871457 E-mail:
ALPSP Website

Learned Publishing is now online, free of charge, at

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stevan Harnad" <>
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2002 10:58 PM
Subject: Re: ALPSP statement on BOAI

> On Wed, 10 Apr 2002, Sally Morris wrote:
> > Stevan, why not wait to criticise our new questionnaire until you have
> > it?
> > > The full results of the study, Authors and Electronic Publishing, will
> > > be available for sale very shortly and details will appear on our
> > > website,
> Because (a) ALPSP is selling the results, and I have no intention of
> buying them to see them, and because (b) the advance conclusions you
> announced in your own postings were sufficient to sustain my comments,
> comments very much like the ones I made about the prior ALPSP
> questionnaire. If you wish to put on your website anything that shows
> that my comments have missed their mark, and how, I will be very happy
> to read, and answer, if I can.
> "ALPSP statement on BOAI"
> > Your earlier question was about our attitude to OAI. Briefly, the
> > is this. While DISorganised self-archiving, or even institutional
> > archiving, need not threaten the survival of the journals on which (as
> > agree) it parasitizes, organised cross-searchable archives are
> > more alarming.
> Let me repeat this, so I am sure I understand: Institutional author
> self-archiving is ok as long as it's DISorganized?
> I'm afraid I don't know what that (or its negation) might mean! The Net
> and the Web are, in a sense, fundamentally DISorganized systems, anarchic,
> in fact: Everyone puts on their own content. Then services like Google
> harvest the contents. And in the case of the OAI
> it is a protocol that facilitates, indeed
> helps organize that content disclosure and harvesting.
> So are you saying that it is alright to self-archive as long as the
> Archive is not OAI-compliant?
> It really will be useful to get a clear and unambiguous statement of
> ALPSP policy. Because whereas I was personally unbothered (and am still
> unbothered) by the hedges in the ALPSP copyright recommendations --
> unbothered enough to list them as models that might be used by others
> in the BOAI Self-Archiving FAQ
> -- I recall that
> there were others, some time ago, when the ALPSP recommendations were
> first publicized, who were not at all happy with the hedges,
> and would have liked to see them clarified:
> "Re: ALPSP creates model Grant of Licence for journal articles"
> The passage in question is:
> "You... retain the right to use your own article (provided you
> acknowledge the published original in standard bibliographic
> citation form) in the following ways as long as you do not sell it
> [or give it away] in ways that would conflict directly with our
> commercial business interests. You are free to use your article...
> mounted on your own or your institution's website; [posted to free
> public servers of preprints and/or articles in your subject
> area]..."
> Let us call a spade a spade. It is very possible that sooner or later
> the existence of free online self-archived versions of peer-reviewed
> research papers may be preferred by users over the publisher's
> toll-access versions, and this might in turn eventually "conflict
> directly" with the publisher's commercial business interests (in the
> sense that it might diminish subscription/license revenues, and might
> eventually force cost-cutting, downsizing, and transition to
> open-access publishing, which means probably means scaling down to
> little more than author-institution-end peer-review service-provision
> instead of the provision of the article itself as a product to the
> reader-institution)
> Anyone who denies this possibility is either being obtuse or untruthful
> -- despite the fact that over 10 years of self-archiving in physics has
> not yet had this effect.
> Now let us continue in this spade-is-spade vein: Why are publishers not
> fighting against self-archiving? There are 3 factors, and I will list them
> in order of importance (although in reality, any one of them is decisive).
> Factor 1. The awkward conflict of interest inherent in trying to oppose
> self-archiving publicly:
> To oppose author self-archiving of their own give-away research --
> i.e., of papers that are given away by the author to the publisher as
> well as to the reader, without seeking or receiving any royalty income
> in exchange, purely for the sake of reaching as many potential users as
> possible, and thereby maximizing the research's impact -- would be to
> bring directly into the public eye a very unflattering fact, namely,
> that there is a profound conflict of interest between what is best for
> researchers, their institutions, and for research itself, hence
> society, on the one hand, and what is best for publishers' current
> revenues streams and current way of doing things.
> This conflict of interest is not new. What is new is that the new
> possibilities opened up by the online medium have now made it possible
> to resolve the conflict in favor of research, through self-archiving.
> Hence, to try to oppose self-archiving would simply be for publishers to
> declare openly that what is best for their revenue streams takes
> precedence over what is best for research.
> I don't think any publisher would be eager to publicly imply anything
> like that, for it would not only look very bad, but it would only serve
> to hasten the exact opposite outcome (which is in any case optimal and
> inevitable). So publishers all have to portray themselves as friends
> (or at least not foes) of self-archiving, but... [and then the "buts,"
> and not any direct opposition to self-archiving, have to do the work of
> trying to hold self-archiving at bay] We will return to some of these
> "buts".
> Factor 2. The legality of self-archiving:
> Whereas a lot of legal-sounding things are said about copyright and
> self-archiving in the same breath, there is in fact no legal way to
> prevent authors from giving away their own give-away work, even if,
> despite Factor 1, publishers were tempted to try to stop them from
> doing it. It is not like napster, where consumers are stealing and
> giving away the work of others; authors are giving away their own work
> when they self-archive it. And at the time when authors publicly
> self-archive their pre-peer-review preprints, there is not yet any
> publisher at all! So if the publisher tries to impose an
> over-restrictive copyright transfer agreement on the author at the
> (later) time of acceptance of the final, peer-reviewed draft, the
> author need only sign the agreement and append a list of corrigenda (if
> any) to the already publicly archived pre-refereeing draft.
> "6. How to get around restrictive copyright legally"
> But because of (1), and because of the growing recognition that
> publishers do not have any need or justification for asking authors for
> the transfer of anything more than all the rights to sell or lease
> their article, on-paper and on-line, more and more publishers are now
> making the more convoluted preprint+corrigenda strategy for
> self-archiving unnecessary, by instead formally allowing the refereed
> postprint to be self-archived too. (This is what the highly hedged
> ALPSP text is trying to do, but the hedging is so thick that it
> obscures the view!)
> Factor 3. The sluggishness of researchers in self-archiving so far:
> The 3rd reason publishers do not try to oppose self-archiving despite
> the potential risk to their eventual revenues is that it is a (sad)
> fact that few researchers have yet begun to self-archive, and that what
> self-archiving there has been has not affected publishers' revenues at
> all.
> I think it is this third fact that ALPSP are both banking and hedging on,
> with this incoherent constraint that "you may self-archive as long as it
> does not affect our revenues."
> Of course, as a legal constraint on a copyright transfer agreement, that
> clause is ludicrous, which is why I wasn't bothered by it, and put it in
> among the models. But this is where the "buts" come in: Authors, already
> sluggish at best, are certainly not going to be reassured by it, if they
> are worried about self archiving. ("So, if people use my self-archived
> version, and that makes the publisher lose money, they're going to sue
> me?" These are the silly ideas that such incoherent hedges put into
> would-be self-archivers minds.)
> Never mind. That is where open-access advocates come in. For every bit
> of textual obfuscation that publishers formulate that might confuse
> authors, we can dispel the smoke, trim the hedges, and show that the
> way is clear.
> It's just that all this willful obscurantism still leaves publishers with
> egg on their face.
> I invite Sally to wipe clean the albumen, and give an unequivocal ALPSP
> recommendation on self-archiving and open access. The double-talk in
> the current ALPSP policy recommendation, and the arbitrary distinction
> between "DISorganized" and "organized" self-archiving is not useful or
> informative.
> > Thus the development of OAI is actually making a number of
> > publishers, who were previously relatively relaxed, considerably more
> > concerned. If search tools in effect allow a user to emulate the
> > journal without having to pay for it, then all the added value - which,
> > we have shown, authors and readers do in fact value highly - will
> > because it will no longer be paid for.
> What on earth does "emulate the original journal" mean? We're talking
> about authors providing free access to their refereed research papers
> by publicly self-archiving them online, for use by anyone and everyone
> whose institution cannot afford to pay the access tolls of the original
> journal.
> > Hence our emphasis on developing robust new economic models (and a
> > path towards them) before, and not after, damaging or even destroying
> > is valuable about traditional journals.
> Unfortunately, this apocalyptic talk about damage and destruction is
> unhelpful too. We are talking not about damaging or destroying what
> is valuable about traditional journals, but about providing free online
> access to it to anyone and everyone whose institution cannot afford to pay
> the access tolls, now that they are no longer necessary. The "damage
> and destruction" is just a piece of hyperbole to refer to that risk
> already mentioned (which no can or should deny) to journals' current
> revenue streams, that might eventually result from user preference for
> the free online versions.
> But the free online access for all would-be users is already feasible, and
> indeed vastly overdue. It is certain that any revenue pressure from the
> growing free-access use will hasten us toward "developing robust new
> economic models (and a migration toward them)"; but where is the pressure
> toward these new models going to come from with the growing pressure from
> free access? Free access is already within reach; that means all research
> impact that has been lost because of access-barriers since it has been
> possible to get around them has been needlessly lost research impact. How
> much more of it should continue to be sacrificed, while we wait for
> publishers to get around to developing and migrating to new models? And
> why?
> > However, perhaps this will turn out to be a non-problem given the
> > total ignorance of eprint and preprint archives which we have found
> > the very specific world of physics!
> (The alert reader may recognize here another old friend, namely Factor 3,
> above.)
> 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:
> and the Free Online Scholarship Movement:
> n
Received on Sat Apr 20 2002 - 13:13:23 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:46:30 GMT