Re: Op Ed piece to use to promote Open Access

From: Leslie Chan <>
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 22:00:06 +0000

[Barbara forwarded me your reply to Arun as I was not on you cc list. Feel
free to re-post my reply on the AmSc Open Access forum or BOAI if you think
it is appropriate.]

1. OA journals listed on DOAJ <>
I share Arun's concern that readers need to be told that not all open access
journals collect author-charges. Indeed the majority of the OA journals
listed in DOAJ do not charge for processing fees and rely instead on other
modes of funding. Perhaps it is worth emphasizing that input pay is only one
of several economic models. A comprehensive study of the various funding
models currently in place is badly needed.

No one really knows the true number of open access journals out there and
the listing of OA journals (672 as of today) on DOAJ are self-identified
journals that submitted data to DOAJ. As far as I know DOAJ does not
actively sort out all open access journals but rely on self submission.
(Sara Kjellberg from DOAJ could shed some light for us). Note, for example
that of the 115 open access journals in SciELO, only two are listed in DOAJ.
So the number of "gold" journals world wide may well be under estimated.
This in no way serves to undermine the powerful argument for immediate open
access through institutional archiving. It does illustrates however, that
the wave of conversion from "green" to "gold" journals is gaining rapid
momentum and we need to acknowledge that.

2. Bioline International and Open Access <>
You were correct that Bioline International contains a mix of toll-access
and toll-free journals. However, as of Jan. 1 2004, we are converting to a
portal for open access journals only and the transition should be completed
by the end of the month. There was no mixing of agendas as you implied, as
our goal has always been the maximization of visibility, accessibility and
impact of research from the developing world.

Over the last several years we have been able to collect important user data
that clearly differentiate the usage of open access publications relative to
the toll-based material. We are able to validate the not so surprising
conclusions that users are unwilling or reluctant to pay for publications
from developing countries, regardless of their quality, and so open access
is the only viable option for many journals from developing countries if
they wish to remain in publication. Journal publishers and scientific
institutions from developing world need to rethink why they publish and to
develop funding models that do not rely on cost recovery from subscription.
Our publishing partners have clearly learned that the gains from open access
far out-weight the minute toll return from readers. We think funding and
aids agencies (e.g. UNESCO, World Bank, WHO) that fund many of these
journals need to better understand open access and that was what Arun and I
tried to get across at the recent WSIS in Geneva.


on 1/6/04 5:06 AM, Barbara Kirsop at wrote:

> Leslie, this seems not to have been cc-ed to you, so you may like to
> responde re Bioline.
> Barbara
> --- Stevan Harnad <> wrote: >
> Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 03:29:12 +0000 (GMT)
>> From: Stevan Harnad <>
>> To: Subbiah Arunachalam <subbiah_a_at_YAHOO.COM>
>> Subject: Re: Op Ed piece to use to promote Open Access
>> Dear Arun,
>> Thanks for the suggestions: I know not all 1000 OA journals
>> recover costs from author-charges, but this is a very simple
>> general-public article, and I did not want to add
>> needless complications.
>> (People seem to have enough trouble understanding as it is!)
>> Also, Bioline is a very worthy organization, but it is not
>> a no-toll service but a low-toll (and sometimes no-toll) one.
>> Again, this mixes two agendas, and for this article, I wanted
>> to keep it simple: open-access only!
>> Don't worry, I will promote Bioline in the appropriate places!
>> Best wishes,
>> Stevan
Received on Tue Jan 06 2004 - 22:00:06 GMT

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