Re: Ingenta to offer OAI eprint service

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002 18:39:15 +0100 (BST)

My friend and ally Chris Green's alarm is understandable, in view of
several notable instances in which open-access has been betrayed by
erstwhile advocates' defecting to the toll-access camp!

But that hasn't happened here, with Eprints and Ingenta:

On Tue, 2 Jul 2002, Christopher D. Green wrote:

> Are we to understand, then, that ePrints is to become a commercial
> product that is sold to institutions for profit rather than continuing
> as an important tool in the (authentic) open access movement?

No. Eprints continues to be available free to any and every

In addition, over and above that, it has now been licensed to Ingenta
so they can develop a commercial version for a fee that will provide
universities with additional services, including installation and
maintenance. This is only for those institutions who have so far been
held back from adopting the free version because they felt they could
not install and maintain the archives by themselves. Now that obstacle
is gone.

Any proceeds Southampton Univerfsity receives from Ingenta's commercial
version will be used to continue developing and supporting the free

In my opinion, the free version is enough. It's not my opinion that
counts, however, but the opinion of universities who are prosepctive
adopters. If some of those feel that the commercial version fulfills a
need, so be it. Our objective was not to go into the software business
but to help hasten the freeing of the refereed literature through
author/institution self-archiving! We're happy to facilitate whatever
it takes to get that happening.

> Ingenta's announcement would have us believe that their latest move is an
> extension of the open access movement

It is: They are providing software and support (for a fee) so that
universities can have Eprint Archives in which to self-archive their
research output. Many universities are using the free software to do
this for themselves; yet some would apparently feel more confortable if a
commercial company set up and maintained their Eprint Archives for them.
Either way, the CONTENTS of the archives are open-access.

Don't confuse access-tolls with archive-installation/maintenance

> but if their licensing arrangements
> turn out to be such that many adacemic institutions find it difficult
> or impossible to purchase and use the software, they've simply moved
> the tollgates to another location on the same road, and the desire for
> truly open access has been subverted again.

No, the free option is still there, as it always was. This is for the
universities that not only can afford to have someone else install their
open-access archives for them, but prefer to.

I think it is a very welcome complement to the do-it-yourself option.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Jul 02 2002 - 18:39:15 BST

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