Re: On the Need to Take Both Roads to Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2003 04:05:38 +0100

On Fri, 12 Sep 2003, [Identity Deleted] wrote:

> Stevan,
> [Identity Deleted], our electronic resources coordinator, was inspired by
> your quote of 55% of journals allowing self-archiving to ask why we don't
> just go back and retrospectively add that 55% to a University archive.
> [ ]
> I have been pushing [Ivy League University, identity deleted] to establish
> such an archive. I thought it was a great idea to get a collection of
> content immediately. Do you know of other Universities that are doing
> this and if not, why not?

Thanks for your message.

(1) The 55% figure comes from the Romeo sample of 7000+ journals, of
which 55% already officially support author/institution self-archiving.
(Many more journals will agree if asked.)

(2) In most cases the support probably extends to the retrospective legacy
literature as this is not a great source of potential revenue and many
more journals (e.g., Science) already support self-archiving after an
interval -- from 6 months to three years -- after the publication date.

(3) Although making a university's past research output openly
accessible is very valuable and desirable (and doing it is to be
strongly encouraged), making its *current* research output openly
accessible is even more valuable and desirable (and even more strongly
to be encouraged!).

(4) The 55% figure is actually an estimate of the *minimum* amount of
*current* research output that universities can already self-archive
immediately, without the need to make any further request of the
publisher, or any change in the copyright transfer of licensing

(5) The challenge with self-archiving (whether current or legacy research
output) is not, and has never been, publishers or copyright. Publishers
will cooperate, in the interests of science and scholarship.

(6) The real challenge is establishing a systematic institutional
self-archiving policy that will ensure the speedy self-archiving of
research output. The library can help
especially by offering a proxy self-archiving service
but it is the university and its departments that need to strongly
encourage or even mandate self-archiving by its researchers
their policy backed up by the research funding agencies

But going after retrospective research is a good idea too. I hope
universities that have been implementing this will reply and share their

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 Sat Sep 13 2003 - 04:05:38 BST

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