Re: Open access gaining momentum

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 19:45:28 +0000

As long us the press as well as open-access supporters continue (as in
the outsell/e-briefs summary below) to think of and describe open access
only or mostly in terms of open-access PUBLISHING, most of the very real
potential for open access to the annual 2,500,000 articles in the 24,000
peer-reviewed journals will keep being lost.

Open access should be thought of and described as open access PROVISION,
by one of two complementary means -- (1) open-access publishing OR (2)
open-access self-archiving (of toll-access articles). Since (2) has far
more scope for providing immediate open access today, the current
widespread and simplistic focus on (1) simply means that the lion's
share of the access to the annual 2,500,000 will just keep being lost --
now more needlessly than ever, in view of the growing consciousness of
the desirability and benefits of open access:

    "(1) Publish your article in an open-access journal if a suitable one
    exists, (2) otherwise publish your article in a suitable toll-access
    journal and also self-archive it."

> Outsell's e-briefs December 12, 2003
> Critical mass for the Open Access movement is starting to build
> - The Science and Technology Committee of the British House of Commons will
> conduct an inquiry into public access to journal publishing in the
> scientific community,

Should be: "... inquiry into the provision of public access to journal
content in the scientific community by authors, their institutions and
their publishers"

> with the goal of ensuring that researchers, teachers,
> and students have access to the content they need. The committee is seeking
> input on the effects of current pricing policies, and possible government
> action to support access.

Should be: "...action to support public access provision by authors, their
institutions and their publishers."

> - The United Nations' World Summit on the Information Society underway this
> week in Geneva is endorsing Open Access as a publishing strategy.

Should be: "... is endorsing the joint strategy for open-access provision:
open-access publishing and open-access self-archiving of toll-access articles."

> The group's follow-the-money strategy will be to persuade those paying the
> bills for scientific information - governments, research agencies,
> foundations and companies - that publication in open-access journals is in
> their interest.

Should be: "...that open-access provision -- either by publishing in an
open-access journal or by self-archiving toll-access articles -- is in their


These are not quibbles. They are absolutely fundamental conceptual and
strategic distinctions on which how many of the annual 2,500,000
we will actually provide open access for, and when, critically depends.

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 Open Access Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02 & 03):
    Post discussion to:

Dual Open-Access-Provision Policy:
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a suitable open-access
            journal whenever one exists.
    BOAI-1 ("green"): Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable
            toll-access journal and also self-archive it.
Received on Sun Dec 14 2003 - 19:45:28 GMT

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