Re: Is Embarged Access Open Access?

From: Steve Hitchcock <>
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2004 13:47:37 +0100

   [Moderator's note: Below are three postings, by:
    (1) S. Hitchcock, (2) D. Goodman, (3) B. Quint]

(1) Steve Hitchcock:

I endorse the need to remove delays and for papers to be made open access
upon publication, or even earlier, either by self-archiving or by
publishing in gold journals. But since open access is a property of the
article rather than the publication, there is a practical issue here: is a
paper open access if it is openly accessible now and will be openly
accessible in perpetuity, regardless of its prior history and whether it
was open access at publication? Or should it continue to be labelled
"Delayed Access" or "Embargoed Access" once the delay period has expired?
That seems to be one interpretation of the discussion below.

The obvious example here is PubMed Central, an archive of openly accessible
papers based on non-open access journals because open access to these
archived articles is delayed after publication. So what is the practical
import of labelling an article open access or not in this case, and in the
cases discussed?

What has to be emphasised is that authors have the opportunity in every
case to provide open access before or at publication to maximise potential
impact, and what has to be avoided is the misuse and obfuscation of the
term 'open access' by publishers, particularly wrt authors. But from a
user's point of view, and from that of OA service providers, what matters
is whether is an article is openly accessible now and for all future use.

Steve Hitchcock

    [Moderator's Note: Steve Hitchcock's posting correctly points
    out that OA is a property of an *article,* where the only thing
    that matters is whether or not the article is (and remains)
    OA *now*. The terminological issue hence only comes up when we
    are trying to define OA *journals*, because immediacy or delay
    is a property of journal policy across time. The original BOAI
    definition seems to be perfectly adequate there: A journal is *not*
    an OA journal if it does not make all of its articles OA immediately
    (and permanently) upon publication. Whatever *article* is OA now is
    indeed OA now. And it remains OA if it remains OA. This also confirms
    that this terminological issue is exclusively about the golden road
    to OA (what counts as gold? are there degrees of gold?), which is
    to provide OA for an article by publishing it in an OA journal
    (BOAI-2). The terminological issue is *not* about the green road
    to OA, which is to provide OA for an article by self-archiving it
    (BOAI-1). Hence it is also not about whether or not green (BOAI-1)
    and gold (BOAI-2) describe, accurately and exhaustively, the roads to
    OA. They do, until someone describes yet another road to providing
    (immediate, permanent) OA. The posting below by David Goodman, with
    its call for including more alternatives, does not actually provide
    any, and seems to be straying from the topic of OA altogether.]


(3) David Goodman

There are three topics here:

    First, are there many roads to open access?

    Second, what shall we call them?

    Third, is embargoed access one of them,
    or is it illegitimate altogether as OA?

1. I think everyone agrees, or at least says they agree, with Stevan Harnad that

> There are many approaches to "opening" access to the research literature.

and most would say, with George Porter, that

> I, for one, am a mite frustrated by the strait jacketed insistence
> that there are only two approaches to opening access to the research
> literature

Stevan proceeds to list only five. He also refers repeatedly to

> both roads to OA

which is perhaps a little over-simplified.

I suggest we have mostly been talking primarily about specific schemes,
or alternatively in broad generalities. Neither gives an understanding of
the range of possibilties open to us, and that it is this that gives the
impression that only a limited number need be cosidered. It is difficult
to describe structures that have not yet been conceived, much less
designed in detail or built. It might be possible to be more systematic
about the potential field; I am not ready to make a real proposal, but
I for the moment see it with multiple axes, including Composition and
editing, Quality control, Format, Payment, and Mode of dissemination. In
that 5-dimensional space, not all regions may be accessible in practice,
and there may be a severely limited number of stable positions. Obviously
it is necessary to proceed to implement some models, without a full
analysis of everything possible. This is of course a familiar problem
to anyone dealing with information and particularly to librarians. One
can not wait for a perfect classification before arranging the books.

2. I agree with George when he asks

> does the Open Access
> movement need to development new terminology/coloration to acknowledge
> and embrace this concept and the hundreds of journals, hundreds of books,
> and thousands (perhaps millions) of articles and chapters which are
> already openly available?

and disagree when Stevan says that there is

> No need to develop new terminology or color codes

More precisely--we do need to develop new terminology that has some
relation to the proposals, and no need to develop color codes at all. It
is however hard to develop a nomenclature for a rapidly changing field,
and perhaps international conventions for the purpose should follow,
not preceed, the establishment of some consensus. Linneaus would not
have succeeded had he used numerical codes, or color, or arbitrary signs,
instead of words bearing some relationship to the organism.

3. I think access limited by time delays (as with many of the
PubMed/Highwire titles), regardless of what definition one uses, cannot
possibly be considered open access journals (note the lower case--it is
not open to all the users who want to access it during the time period
of greatest interest.) Yes, it is slightly better than nothing, and it
was useful as a way of getting started, but we are past that point. To
me it indicates a retention of outworn limitations rather than a look
to further progress.

In this case, Stevan's terms of

> "Delayed Access" (DA) (or "Embargoed Access") (EA)

do reflect how this type of access has been generally known for some time
in related connections, as with provision of material by aggregators,
or by archives.

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University

(and, formerly: Princeton University Library)


(3) Barbara Quint:

On the DC principles, this newsbreak might offer some clarification:

    [Moderator's Note: This article -- like so many these days -- is
    solely about the golden road, making no mention of the green road.]
Received on Fri Apr 02 2004 - 13:47:37 BST

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