Re: The Green and Gold Roads to Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 22:02:48 +0000

On Mon, 22 Mar 2004, David Goodman wrote:

> Though it is obvious that SH and I misunderstand each other on some
> things, we do not disagree (I think) on the basic issue: that no matter
> how it is done, the publication should not be at the cost of the reader;
> the readers' access should be open.

We don't quite agree on that either. OA is not defined by who pays the
publication costs, how. It is defined (on an article by article basis)
by whether or not the article is OA, i.e., accessible toll-free.

So it is *not* that:

    "no matter who pays the publication costs, the publication should
    not be at the cost of the reader"

but rather:

    "no matter who pays the publication costs, the *access* should
    not be at the cost of the reader"

OA is not defined by a publication model or a cost-recovery model.
It is defined by *access provision*.

> I would even add, that if the readers' access to research is not open,
> it should no longer be considered ethical scientific publication.

I would suggest that any toll-access (TA) journal that, in the interests
of OA, gives the green light to author self-archiving today is every
bit as ethical as an OA journal today.

In contrast, any green-journal author who does not take his journal
up on it today -- failing to provide immediate OA to his article by
self-archiving it, but instead just continuing to call the journal
unethical for failing to make the immediate sacrifice and to take the
immediate risk of converting into an OA Journal at this time -- is,
I would suggest, either not sensible, or no longer to be considered
serious in his calls for OA.

Notice that I said "author." Librarians have other ethical and
practical battles to fight, having to do with journal pricing (but not
OA). OA provision is in the hands of the research community.

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2004)
is available at the American Scientist Open Access Forum:
        To join the Forum:
        Post discussion to:
        Hypermail Archive:

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 Mon Mar 22 2004 - 22:02:48 GMT

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