Re: Free Access vs. Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003 01:05:07 +0000

On Mon, 29 Dec 2003, Sally Morris wrote:

> I think it is perfectly reasonable (and in no way a denial of Open Access)
> for a publisher to wish to retain the right to sell derivative copies of a
> work, even if in its original form it is made freely available.

This is indeed perfectly reasonable and correct, and in no way a denial
of Open Access.

(But if the original form of a work is freely available online, it is
not clear what market there would be for derivative copies...)

> After all, they've got to recover their costs somehow - and if they
> recover more from other sources, they will not need to ask authors to
> pay so much.

This sentence is far less clear than the prior one, and appears to be conflating
the case where open-access to the work is being provided by self-archiving
an article that has been published in a toll-access ("green") journal with
the case where open-access to the woork is being provided by publishing
it in an open-access ("gold") journal.

If the sentence referred to self-archiving green journal articles,
then the authors are not paying anything (the green journals are still
charging access tolls).

If the sentence was referring to publishing articles in gold (open-access)
journals, then author/institution publication fees are paying the costs.

There might conceivably be additional revenue to be made from
selling derivative works, which could then lower the gold journal's
author/institution fees, but (as noted) who would want to pay for
derivative works if the full-text was already available free for all

Many gold journals are using or planning to use the "creative commons"
license, which (as I understand it) allows anyone to publish derivative
works from the open-access work. That would of course include its gold publisher
too. So no further right needs to be retained by the gold publisher in that

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:

Unified 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 Tue Dec 30 2003 - 01:05:07 GMT

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