Re: JHEP will convert from toll-free-access to toll-based access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 15:27:52 +0100

On Thu, 9 Oct 2003, Kjellberg Sara wrote:

Thank you for your suggestion about [adding JHEP
to the Directory of Open Access Journals ]
but we think that JHEP is no longer an open access journal? On
their website it says:

> "This financial support started in January 2002. JHEP has remained
> freely accessible throughout this year, while, as of January 2003,
> it will be made available on a very reasonable subscription basis,
> managed by IoPP. JHEP will thus no longer be free of charge, as
> in the first pioneering years but an exception will be made for
> developing and low income countries. Since the journal is not
> cost-free users libraries will now be asked to contribute in a
> fair and distributed fashion by paying annual fee for the new JHEP
> archive. The archive from 1997 to 2001 will remain freely available to
> the community." []
> Do you have any other information regarding their present solution? I
> think it is sad that a journal, that have been free for so long, choose
> this way to continue.

I'm afraid I know no more. You are right: JHEP cannot be listed as an
open-access journal.

My interpretation is the following: This is a sign that Open Access
Publishing may be premature. JHEP used to be an open-access journal --
and one of the most important, fast-growing, and highest-impact
open-access journals. But then it found it could no longer make ends
meet and became a toll-access journal. What I would recommend to JHEP is
that phsyicists join forces with the biologists' Bethesda Statement
and the Wellcome Trust Statement which both
propose funding to cover the costs of open-access research
publication. NSF should be urged to do the same for Physics research,
and then maybe JHEP will become able afford to become open-access
again. (It had relied on subsidy rather than publication charges in its
previous open-access incarnation.)

But the situation with JHEP is brighter than it seems: Although JHEP is
no longer open-access, it is nevertheless "green", i.e. it supports
author self-archiving:
And not ot not only does JHEP support self-archiving, but its contents,
high-energy physics, are the ones that are by far the most advanced in
self-archiving -- so much so that the HEP sector of the Physics ArXiv is
virtually complete. That means that every HEP article (including all
those in JHEP) *is* openly accessible, because they have all been

This demonstrates, yet again, that one can have open-access even without
open-access publishing. It also demonstrates that open access can
co-exist with toll-access: Far from preventing JHEP from converting to
toll-access, the fact that all the self-archived open-access
versions of its full-text contents were freely available online probably
helped it both to achieve its prominence and to find a willing
toll-access publisher in IOP when it needed them to make ends meet.

I think this is still just a local phenomenon, though; we have to be
cautious about whether it will scale: It is unlikely that 100% open-access
for the entire refereed research literature (all 24,000 journals worth,
across all fields) will co-exist indefinitely with toll-access as the
means of cost-recovery.

But the important lesson is that *it does not matter* now! All researchers
who want open-access for their work can have it, now, without having
to worry or wait. It does not depend on transitions in journals'
cost-recovery models. It depends only on what the research community
elects to do for itself!

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:

it, bia self-archiving
Received on Thu Oct 09 2003 - 15:27:52 BST

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