Re: The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition

From: Frederick Friend <>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 12:44:58 +0100

Stevan Harnad wrote:

> Ebs Hilf provides a good summary of the 4 forms of self-archiving
> and their growth, but he betrays his biasses when he keeps talking
> about *preprint* self-archiving, and relegates journals to performing
> an optional, post-hoc service on preprints.

Eberhard's description of the various forms of self-archiving is indeed
useful. I cannot dispute Stevan's factual comments on the different forms,
but I wonder if Eberhard's distinctions could be valuable in increasing the
number of papers self-archived. Many authors are currently wary of
self-archiving because they believe that the practice will harm their
publication opportunities. They may be wrong in that belief but it is a
widely-held perception. Although some publishers allow self-archiving, many
are wary of saying that it is OK, and even those who allow it say they may
withdraw the right if it begins to damage their business. As with authors,
this may be a mis-perception, but it is a reality. The mis-perceptions
arise - in my view - because currently people tend to lump all forms of
self-archiving together, either approving of it or dis-approving.

Where Eberhard's distinctions could be useful is in setting out for authors
and for publishers the various forms self-archiving might take. While I
agree with Stevan that repositories do contain many post-prints, I would
rather see a pre-print self-archived than nothing at all. So my suggestion
is to set out for authors and publishers a two-stage process, that
publishers should be asked to state publicly that archiving pre-prints is no
threat to their business and will incur no penalties for authors doing this,
and that archiving post-prints should be a matter of negotiation, some
publishers allowing it, maybe others not.

Fred Friend


[Moderator's note: To reduce the number of postings, my reply follows:
I fully agree with Fred (and say so repeatedly) that "I would rather see a
pre-print self-archived than nothing at all." But apart from that, I very
strongly disagree: There is no purpose whatever served by rehearsing and
reinforcing myths and misperceptions that have been needlessly inducing
paralysis for years. And that includes the myth that authors should be
awaiting, seeking, or negotiating any sort of permission to self-archive: The physicists have been
wise enough not to give such senseless scruples a moment's thought or
weight since they began self-archiving in 1991. Publishers' green lights
are very welcome as signs that they support what is optimal for their
authors and for research, as encouragements to self-archive. But
they are certainly not prerequisites! And to keep implying -- let
alone formally enshrining -- that they are prerequisites is merely to
compound the myths and misperceptions that have been delaying the
optimal and inevitable for far, far too long already. Posterity
will chide us for it in hindsight. Our only concern should be
with cutting our needless, cumulative losses, as soon as possible:
-- Stevan Harnad]
Received on Tue Mar 30 2004 - 12:44:58 BST

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