Re: Draft Policy for Self-Archiving University Research Output

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003 12:00:17 +0000

On Tue, 30 Dec 2003, [iso-8859-1] Subbiah Arunachalam wrote:

> ...although the Indian Institute
> of Science has set up an institutional archive, hardly
> any faculty or student is keen to submit their papers
> to the archive! Prof. N Balakrishnan, chairman of
> Information Division at IISc and India's leading
> authority on digital libraries, felt that researchers
> do not submit papers to archives because they would
> like to submit them to high-impact journals.
> Please write to Prof. Balakrishnan and Prof. M S
> Valiathan, president of INSA, explaining the ROMEO
> project and its findings that most journals do not
> mind accepting papers deposited in institutional
> archives.

Dear Prof. Balakrishnan and Prof. Valiathan,

Here is a list of the 10 most relevant facts as far as I know them:

(1) There are 24,000 peer-reviewed journals, across all disciplines
and languages, publishing 2,500,000 articles per year.

(2) About 85-90% of those 2.5 million articles are not yet openly
accessible (i.e., their full-texts are not accessible toll-free online).

(3) This percentage is not just true in India, but worldwide: Most
researchers are beginning to understand the benefits of open access,
but their understanding of the immediate feasibility of providing open
access still lags far behind their grasp of its potential benefits.

(4) Nevertheless, 10-15% of those articles *are* openly accessible, and it has
been shown that the research impact of those open-access articles is
dramatically higher than those that are not open-access. (Lawrence's estimate
in computer science is 336% higher; Kurtz reports similar findings in
astrophysics; further studies are on the way.)

(5) Three factors are holding back open access. In order of importance they are:

    (5a) Groundless and easily answered worries about the
    author/institution self-archiving of articles published in toll-access

    (5b) Insufficient awareness of the benefits and feasibility of
    providing immediate open access, today

    (5c) The still-small number of open-access journals (<1000/24,000)
    and a tendency to wait and hope for their number to grow, instead
    of immediately self-archiving in the meanwhile.

(6) That it is simply an error not to provide immediate open access through
self-archiving because of copyright worries is already demonstrated
for at least 55% of articles by the UK survey of the top 7000 journals'
copyright policies on self-archiving: 55% of journals already formally
support author/institution self-archiving (and many of the remaining 45%
will agree if asked).

(7) There is also a legal solution for the minority of journals that
do not agree to author/institution self-archiving (self-archiving the
pre-refereeing preprint and linking it to a later corrigenda file)

(8) Many of the highest-impact journals are among the 55% that already
support self-archiving (e.g., Nature) -- so the failure to self-archive
for impact reasons, too, is merely a consequence of being uninformed.

(9) There are at least 30 other groundless worries about which the
research community is still uninformed or underinformed, each of them
slowing down the progress of self-archiving and open access:

(10) A successful institutional or national open-access provision policy
requires systematically informing the research community about (i) the
benefits of open access (impact-maximisation), the (ii) invalidity
of the 31 prima-facie worries, and (iii) the tested and
demonstrated means of providing immediate open access:

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 - 12:00:17 GMT

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