Re: Elsevier's self-archiving policy

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 13:02:52 +0100

> Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 15:02:19 +0100
> From: Barry Mahon
> To: ICSTI-L list <ICSTI-L_at_DTIC.MIL>
> Cc: Stevan Harnad, Pieter Bolman
> Subject: This may become valuable!!
> Dear all,
> Attached is a photo of Pieter Bolman of Elsevier and Stevan Harnad of U of
> Southampton, taken at the OA Meeting in January.
> Archive it, it might become a unique item!!! one never knows.....
> Bye, Barry Mahon

I appreciate the irony (in light of the sinister coverpage of a popular
newsmagazine about a decade ago) but, if we are being serious:

First, there is no reason someone who has done nothing unkind, unjust,
or illegal should be treated in anything but a friendly way.

Second, Elsevier is on the side of the angels insofar as self-archiving is
concerned. If the annual ~236,400 articles published in Elsevier's 1682
journals have not yet been made openly accessible by being self-archived
by their authors, that is certainly through no fault of Elsevier's!

On the contrary, Elsevier's policy is clearly challenging the research
community to put its motion where its mouth is, insofar as open access
is concerned: If open access is really so important to us (and it is!),
then let us now show it by making at least our Elsevier papers openly
accessible (as all Elsevier authors can now do -- no more pretext here
for "Zeno's Paralysis" on the grounds of "worries" about copyright,
peer-review, preservation, etc. ).

If we instead continue for another decade jousting with publishers
instead of taking matters into our own hands -- as the physicists did
over a decade ago -- then posterity will rightly judge that we got no
more nor less than what we had coming to us. Open access is the optimal
and inevitable outcome for research and researchers but how long do we
intend to delay grasping it when it is clearly within our reach?

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02 & 03):

Discussion can be posted to:
Received on Wed Jul 16 2003 - 13:02:52 BST

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