Re: Draft Policy for Self-Archiving University Research Output

From: Picciotto, Sol <s.picciotto_at_LANCASTER.AC.UK>
Date: Sat, 11 Jan 2003 17:27:34 -0000

A response to Stevan Harnad's reply.

Unless I have seriously misunderstood Open Archiving, it entails making a
separate copy of a work available for access without charge, and not merely
providing a google-type link to the article on the commercial publisher's
website (which would be subject to access tolls). It is therefore a form of
publication, both legally and in practical terms. That is why commercial
publishers are reluctant to allow authors to retain the right to self-archive,
especially in an eprint archive which would be fully searchable, and hence
would directly compete with their journal. That is why Nature says it would be
a breach of their licence (i.e. the rights they require authors to transfer to
them) to publish/archive a paper in an institutional eprints archive.

That is why open archiving inevitably comes into conflict with existing
commercial publishing models, and there is a debate here and elsewhere about
alternative business models. I think a good case can be made that open
archiving would not seriously damage commercial publishing, but I can see why
commercial publishers are reluctant to take the risk.

It is no doubt easier to make a case for open archiving of works for which the
author receives no payment, which Stevan characterises as Giveaway, but the
publishers merely respond that they bear all the remaining costs, which are
substantial. Stevan is wrong to characterise some authors as giveaway and
others as non-giveaway. Many academic authors in many fields list among their
research publications items for which they have received some form of payment,
as well as others where this is not so (both in journals and not infrequently
books). I assume we support moves such as the decision by UC Press to make many
of its books available online?

An important reason open archiving has been slow to take off is that academic
authors are generally reluctant to oppose publishers who ask for exclusive
publication rights. It would be easier to do this collectively and with
institutional support or leadership. That is the importance of the claim by
universities to retain the right to authorise free publication in archives. I'm
glad that Stevan accepts that this can be done in parallel, but sorry he is so
reluctant to concede that it is an important complementary step.





Sol Picciotto
Lancaster University Law School
Lonsdale College
Lancaster LA1 4YN
direct line (44) (0)1524-592464
fax (44) (0)1524-525212

Received on Sat Jan 11 2003 - 17:27:34 GMT

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