Re: Free Access vs. Open Access

From: Jan Velterop <>
Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2004 15:07:18 +0000


You're absolutely correct in your observation that our differences are
minute, in the scheme of things. Nonetheless, I think I disagree with
you that we have Open Access if just the price barrier is lifted. I
don't think it's a question of archiving and OAI-compliance (or other
sure-fire findability-tools) making OA more useful, but these things
making OA useful and worth having at all. To take your medicine analogy:
the drug may be safe and effective, but it's useless if the patient
can't even find it, let alone obtain it (even if it is free).

Anyway, I do accept that there is perhaps more than one way to ensure
permanent findability and that 'OAI-compliance' and 'archiving'
may need to be made more generic in a definition. As my colleague
Matt Cockerill pointed out (though not on this list), "the point is
that *some* programmatic means to allow article data to flow between
different sites is needed. If the structured content is trapped in the
context of a specific website and cannot be reliably programmatically
extracted and worked with, then one of they key potential benefits of
open access is lost."

He is right here. The *benefits* of Open Access are the issues the
definition should follow. Otherwise Open Access is something for its
own sake, like l'art pour l'art.


Received on Sat Jan 03 2004 - 15:07:18 GMT

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