Re: The Green and Gold Roads to Open Access

From: Steve Hitchcock <>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 16:21:27 +0000

A glib response to the STM publishers' statement (below) as far as open
access is concerned would be: "so no news there, then." But it raises more
important issues.

First, it is right to recognise the remarkable progress that journal
publishers have made in becoming digital in the last decade or so, as is
outlined. The statement welcomes the new open-access publishers, as it
should (although it conspicuously avoids the term open access, referring
instead to 'wide and continuous dissemination'). But that is just the
starting point for where we are now.

The statement is a response to the open-access movement as a whole, even
though it never mentions open-access author self-archiving directly. Now
this element of the open-access model is not predicated against journals or
even against toll-access journals, as has often been stated in this forum.
It recognises the important role of high quality peer reviewed journals,
which the archives supplement. What is needed in response from publishers
in statements like the one below is how they can support open-access
archiving even if they do not offer open access themselves. Simple measures
such as writing into all agreements with authors the right to self-archive
their published papers would be a start.

Instead, the shortcoming of the statement is encapsulated in its use of the
term 'widely accessible' rather than openly accessible. In other words,
toll-access publishers want to compete with open-access archives in terms
of access, when they could deploy resources more efficiently by focussing
on other services that would benefit authors and readers.

Open-access publishers such as those we have now focus resources on e.g.
peer review, high production values and the production of preservable
formats, qualities that are accessible to all. Subscription journals have
the same values, but competing in terms of access without offering open
access must by definition be wasting resources on effectively preventing
access to the majority. It is no longer necessary for this to happen.

This statement is an opportunity missed for toll-access publishers
to recognise the critical role of open access and of open-access
self-archiving and to begin to adjust their business models gradually
even if they choose not to be open-access publishers.

Steve Hitchcock
IAM Group, School of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3256 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 14:42:11 +0100
>From: Lex Lefebvre <>
>The Hague, 5 November 2003
>Following the current discussions in our industry concerning the topic of
>Open Access, STM issued today the attached press release: "Publishers
>Reaffirm Mission to Make Research Information Widely Accessible".
>The document was produced in close consultation and with the approval of the
>STM executive board.
>With best regards,
>Lex Lefebvre
>Secretary General
>International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers
>Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5
>2595 BE The Hague, The Netherlands
>Tel: +31 70 3140930
>Fax: +31 70 3140940
>Publishers Reaffirm Mission to Make Research Information Widely Accessible
>The Hague, The Netherlands, 5th November 2003 - The International
>Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM)
>announced in a statement today that it believes that "broadening and
>ensuring continuity of information access for researchers, scholars, and
>practitioners is a critical mission for all publishers." Issued on behalf
>of its twelve-member Executive Board, the statement continued:
>"Scientific research has never been more accessible than it is today. In
>recent years, STM publishers have been working closely with scientists,
>researchers, and librarians to lead the ongoing revolution in the
>dissemination of scholarly information. We have leveraged emerging
>technologies and invested hundreds of millions of dollars to make more
>scientific research information more accessible to more people than ever
>before. In the process, we have developed - and continue to develop -
>innovative and accessible business models to broaden information access.
>Recent developments such as flexible subscription licensing arrangements
>customised to meet the needs of libraries and consortia; "pay-per-view"
>article access at prices within reach of non-subscribing individuals; and
>implementation of standards such as cross-linking protocols (such as
>CrossRef) and enabling technologies (such as the digital object
>identifier) have made seamless navigation and discovery possible across a
>growing web of published resources. The HINARI and AGORA initiatives are
>examples of how publishers are bringing current research information
>within the reach of those who need it in low-income nations worldwide."
>"Scientific disciplines differ in their scholarly communication practices.
>Journals differ from one another in their editorial content, features,
>sales models, and how they serve the needs of their specific research
>communities. STM applauds the multiple journal business models that have
>successfully emerged to serve the needs of authors and customers by
>ensuring the wide and continuous dissemination of consistently
>high-quality, independently validated research. We welcome additional
>publishers to our markets. As publishers of science, we naturally look
>forward to any new experiments in our field."
>"Abandoning the diversity of proven publishing models in favour of a
>single, untested model could have disastrous consequences for the
>scientific research community. It could seriously jeopardize the flow of
>information today, as well as continuity of the archival record of
>scientific progress that is so important to our society tomorrow."
>"It is the competitive and well-functioning market, and not governments,
>that must choose which business models and which publishers are best
>equipped to stay apace of the ever-increasing demand for information
>About STM
>The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical
>Publishers STM is a global organization of over 100 scholarly and
>professional publishers. STM's membership includes both commercial and
>non-commercial publishers from North and South America, Asia, Australia,
>and Europe. Founded in 1968, STM has its headquarters in The Hague, The
>Netherlands. Its website can be found at
>STM Executive Board 2003/2004
>Eric Swanson (Chairman), John Wiley & Sons, USA
>Peter Hendriks (Treasurer), Kluwer Academic Publishers, NL
>Stella Dutton (Vice-Chair), BMJ Publishing Group, UK
>Stefan von Holtzbrinck, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, Germany
>Timothy Ingoldsby, American Institute of Physics, USA
>John Jarvis, John Wiley & Sons, UK
>Arie Jongejan, Elsevier, NL
>Arnoud de Kemp, Springer-Verlag, Germany
>Ted Nardin, The McGraw-Hill Companies, USA
>Mark Robertson, Blackwell Publishing, Asia, Australia
>Hugo Setzer, El Manual Moderno, Mexico
>Reinhold Tokar, Walter de Gruyter, Germany
>For further information contact:
>Lex Lefebvre
>STM Secretary General
>T. +31 70 3140930
Received on Tue Nov 11 2003 - 16:21:27 GMT

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