Re: On not conflating the give-away and non-give-away literature

From: Richard Poynder <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 17:31:34 +0100

    Re-directed from thread:
    "Apercus of WOS Meeting: Making Ends Meet in the Creative Commons" (2004)

    To prior AmSci Thread:
    "On not conflating the give-away and non-give-away literature" (2002)

> > It is my belief that the boundary between give-away and non-give-away
> > is not as clear-cut as you imply Stevan. I, for instance, have been
> > paid by peer-review journals for articles I have contributed to them.
> A small minority of peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Nature and Science) are
> hybrid: they have a peer-reviewed section as well as a
> non-peer-reviewed newsmagazine/review section.
> OA is only intended for their peer-reviewed section.

Actually, I was referring specifically to peer-reviewed articles. My point
is that, based on my own experience and the experience of academics I have
spoken to, some articles that have been peer-reviewed are also paid for -
thus blurring the clear line between give-away and non-give-away papers that
you say exists.

> > Academics tell me that it is also not unknown for them to receive
> > payment for publishing in peer-review journals.
> Anyone can write for the newsmagazine section, even academics!

Exactly, and sometimes journalists write articles as give-aways. For this
reason new, more flexible, licenses are useful, and of relevance both in the
give-away and in the non-give-away environments.

> No one is paid to publish in the peer-reviewed section;
> indeed, it is the peer-reviewers who must decide whether such
> articles should be accepted at all (95% of them are rejected
> by Nature and Science!).

That's the principle, and I have no reason to doubt that it works in
high-impact journals like Nature and Science. However, you say that this
same principle applies to all the 24,000 peer-reviewed journals that exist.
While I cannot say for certain that the journals I was paid to publish in,
and the journals academic friends say they were paid to publish in, were
counted in that figure of 24,000 I can say that the articles in question
went through a peer review process, and a cheque was paid to the author on
publication. Maybe such instances are rare but it suggests to me that saying
no one is paid to publish works that have been peer-reviewed is not strictly
accurate, and thus the absolutely fundamental line between give-away and
non-give-away texts you refer to is not quite that.

> It would be a *great* strategic mistake, however, to conclude that
> negotiating a CC license for one's non-OA journal articles is
> a necessity or a prerequisite for making them OA by
> self-archiving them.

Absolutely. On that we are in agreement.

> Yes, but OA publishing does not = OA! In fact, it represents
> only a small portion of the actual total annual number of
> peer-reviewed articles, as well as of the immediate potential
> for OA today:

Agreed. That is why I referred to them as separate things.

> We are now piling speculation upon speculation here, when the current facts speak
> (theory-independently) for themselves.

Speculation is not a sin. Moreover, if people did not allow themselves to
speculate most of the peer-reviewed literature we are discussing would not
Received on Fri Jun 18 2004 - 17:31:34 BST

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