Re: Free Access vs. Open Access

From: Jan Velterop <jan_at_BIOMEDCENTRAL.COM>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 11:11:59 -0000

It would be helpful if self-archiving enthusiasts would see and present
self-archiving as an important step towards achieving open access at the
root of scholarly communication, by eventually having all peer-reviewed
research articles published with full open access from the outset. It is
fully acknowledged that publishing new open access journals is not likely to
change science publishing overnight (although the momentum is growing fast),
and self-archiving can potentially be a very important and effective
catalyst. For that, focus needs to be on commonalities rather than on
differences. To describe self-archiving and open access publishing as
somehow opposite solutions to the debilitating effects of toll-access to
both the optimal dissemination of research results and the (related) budget
crises in libraries, is not doing the movement any good. It should not be
"free VERSUS open", but "free AND open" or at the very least "free AS A MOVE
TOWARDS open".


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stevan Harnad []
> Sent: 15 December 2003 03:23
> Subject: Re: Free Access vs. Open Access
> I've changed the subject thread because the focus seems to
> have returned to
> the free vs open access distinction, which I will argue is
> both spurious and
> a retardant on progress toward free/open access.
> The point is extremely simple. According to Mike Eisen, my definition
> of open access as
> supposedly misses three things:
> (1) "right to reuse"
> (2) "right to redistribute"
> (3) "licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution License"
> (
> What is meant by "reuse" that being able to freely find, search, read,
> download, process computationally online or offline, store, and print
> off -- anywhere in the world, any time -- does not already
> cover? For that
> ONLINE means. That is what we can do with any freely
> accessible text on
> the web.
> And what is meant by "redistribute" when the text is already
> distributed
> all over the planet on the web, and freely available to anyone who may
> wish to find, search, read, download, process computationally
> online or
> offline, and print off anywhere in the world, any time?
> Could this "reuse" and "redistribute" right perhaps be a spurious
> holdover from another medium -- the Gutenberg medium,
> print-on-paper --
> where "re-use" of a printed text meant re-use in *another*
> printed text
> (i.e., republication), and "redistribution" meant the distribution of
> that other printed text? But why on earth would anyone want to bother
> doing that in the PostGutenberg era, when *everyone* already
> has access
> to the text, and each can print it off directly for himself?
> Collected works? That's just a list of URLs in the PostGutenberg era.
> And that's where it stops. My text is not like data or software, to be
> modified, built upon, and then redistributed (perhaps as your
> own). You
> may use its content, but you may not alter it and then distribute
> the altered version, online or on-paper.
> But that protection from text-corruption -- along with protection from
> plagiarism or nonattribution -- is already inherent in conventional
> copyright, whether the author retains copyright or assigns it to the
> publisher. So a no new Creative Commons License is needed either. Just
> ordinary copyright assertion (whether retained or assigned) -- plus
> open (sic) access provision through self-archiving. (The publisher's
> blessing on the self-archiving is welcome, but not necessary either:
> ).
> Now some comments:
> On Sun, 14 Dec 2003, Michael Eisen wrote:
> > Your definition of open access
> >
> >sh> "OA means
> >
> > leaves out a crucial component - namely the rights of reuse and
> > redistribution. This is clearly spelled out in the BOAI definition:
> >
> > By 'open access' to this literature, we mean its free
> availability
> > on the public internet, permitting any users to read,
> download,
> > copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts
> > of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as
> > data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose,
> > without financial, legal, or technical barriers other
> than those
> > inseparable from gaining access to the internet
> itself. The only
> > constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role
> > for copyright in this domain, should be to give
> authors control
> > over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly
> > acknowledged and cited."
> >
> As I said, the reuse and redistribution capability is already
> inherent in
> the free online access to the full text. The BOAI definition
> -- which I
> signed on to, just as you did -- spells out these redundant
> capabilities
> in order to make explicit all the benefits inherent in
> toll-free online
> full-text access.
> (I do agree that gerrymandered "ebrary"-style
> access -- in which software tricks see to it that you can
> only view the
> text onscreen and cannot download, store, print or process it -- would
> not be open access. But such tricks are irrelevant here, as
> self-archiving
> is something that authors do for themselves, and they are not
> interested
> in imposing ebrary-style restrictions on the usage of their work: It's
> for the sake of freeing their work -- and hence its potential uptake,
> usage and impact -- from such restrictions that they are providing the
> open-access version in the first place!)
> >sh> I think it is Mike's spurious free/open distinction that
> allows him to
> >sh> fail to make [the] absolutely fundamental distinction
> between the two
> >sh> complementary components of the unified OA strategy [OA
> provision through
> >sh> OA journal-publishing vs. OA provision through OA
> self-archiving of TA
> >sh> articles]
> >
> > You may think this is free/open distinction is spurious,
> but in doing so you
> > have to acknowledge you are redefining open access in
> contrast to the way it
> > is defined in BOAI, Bethesda, Berlin, etc... And you are at
> odds with many
> > open access supporters who feel that reuse and
> redistribution are as, if not
> > more, important than free access. There rights are a
> critical part of open
> > access - otherwise we would just call it free access.
> We could have called it "free access" but we chose to call it
> "open access"
> and to spell out the capabilities that are inherent in
> toll-free online
> access to the full-texts of journal articles on the web.
> Nothing substantive
> whatsoever is at issue here.
> > So, I would like us to use a more accurate definitions:
> >
> >
> And FA = OA, as I have just shown. So this is a spurious distinction.
> > This is not simply a semantic distinction.
> It is not *even* a semantic distinction. It is a lexical
> distinction with
> no underlying semantic distinction. It is like saying:
> "A bachelor is an unmarried man."
> "A "single man" is a human being who is a male and has no spouse.
> > I would also like to point out that this has some
> ramifications for how we
> > think about self-archived content. Placing something in an
> institutional
> > archive may make it freely available, but it doesn't make
> it OA. In most
> > cases copyright on the self-archived work remains with the
> authors and/or
> > journal, and permission must be obtained to reuse or
> redistribute the works.
> As you know, (1) 55% percent of journals ("blue/green/gold") already
> explicitly agree to author self-archiving, (2) many of the remaining
> 45% of journals ("white") will agree if asked, (3) the preprint +
> corrigenda strategy will achieve the same outcome (less conveniently)
> for those journals who don't agree if asked and (4) physicists have
> happily self-archived 250,000 papers since 1991 without asking.
> 20Publisher%20Policies.htm
> So full open access can be provided to all journal articles (2,500,000
> per year, published in 24,000 journals) whether the copyright remains
> with the author or the journal. Permission is needed only to
> republish.
> There is no difference between what a user can do (or would
> want to do) with
> an online full-text that is OA because it has been published in an OA
> journal and what a user can do (or would want to do) with an online
> full-text that is OA because it has been published in a TA journal and
> then made OA by being self-archived by its author.
> The FA/OA distinction is functionally empty -- and to imply that OA
> self-archiving is somehow not really OA would serve only to discourage
> the largest potential source of OA provision available today.
> lide0024.gif
> > I in no way mean this to be an argument against
> self-archiving - just a
> > recognition that the way we define OA is important, and
> that self-archiving
> > is not sufficient to provide OA unless the copyright
> holders also grant
> > potential users redistribution and reuse rights.
> Until and unless you say precisely what redistribution and
> reuse rights
> you think self-archived article full-texts lack and users need (and
> why), you are making a functionally empty distinction that
> can only add
> to confusion about open access and hesitation about self-archiving --
> instead of the opposite.
> > Maybe we need to distinguish self-archiving as currently
> practiced from
> > open-access self-archiving in which works are placed in
> self-archives AND
> > the copyright holders license them with the Creative
> Commons Attribution
> > License (
> Definitely not! Both components of the unified OA provision
> strategy --
> publishing articles in OA journals and self-archiving TA
> articles -- are
> underutilized, and the last thing they need is more needless burdens
> on the author! Just as it would not enhance the submission rate to OA
> journals if authors were told they must submit their papers in XML,
> it would not enhance the self-archiving rate in OA archives if authors
> were told they must license their papers with the Creative Commons
> Attribution License. In both cases these would be gratuitous
> deterrents
> on a form of OA provision that needs hastening today, not handicaps.
> 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.

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Received on Mon Dec 15 2003 - 11:11:59 GMT

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