Re: STM Talk: Open Access by Peaceful Evolution

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2003 01:15:53 +0000

On Sat, 1 Mar 2003, David Goodman wrote:

> there will be an interval until the
> scientists see the light and make their articles available by true open
> access. In the interim, there is value in continuing some
> system of scientific communication that will include the contribution of
> those less-enlightened in this regard, but who may be doing good science
> in other respects.

*Of course* refereed-research must continue to be published, as it has
been. Open access is not about changing anything about that except its
accessibility to all potential users.

> This does require people who will work to provide as much access as
> possible to as many members of the community as possible, who will negotiate
> with publishers over not merely affordable tolls, but access to unaffiliated
> users, access by interlibrary loan, stability and permanence of access,
> and access in the third world.
> We do not work for ourselves: we are the agents of those who wish to
> obtain information. I think both Jean-Claude and Stevan would want to
> have some means of accessing the work of those who still publish in
> monetarily restricted ways.

All well said, and I could not agree more! Until open-access is here,
and while we are working on hastening it, the best toll-access deals
still have to be worked out from day to day and year to year, and it
is the long-suffering and dedicated library community who continue
to do this on our behalf. This no doubt entails give-and-take with
publishers. But this struggle for the best toll-access deal, even if it
gets heated sometimes, should not spill over into the open-access arena,
as there confrontation with publishers is not only futile, but also
irrelevant, distracting and counterproductive.

The quest for open access to research output, and the
means of attaining it, are entirely between researchers and
researchers. Librarians can help (and are helping) in many important
ways -- -- and publishers can
make things easier too --
-- and they are:

But it is only researchers who can fill those Open-Access Archives and
Open-Access Journals. Librarians and publishers cannot; and, a fortiori,
neither can quarrels between them do so! They only divert attention from
what really needs to be done.


Received on Sun Mar 02 2003 - 01:15:53 GMT

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