Re: Elsevier Gives Authors Green Light for Open Access Self-Archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 2004 13:45:51 +0100

    Prior Topic Thread:
    "Elsevier Gives Authors Green Light for Open Access Self-Archiving"

On Sat, 24 Jul 2004 [identity deleted] wrote:

> I'm reading about your green light model of self-archiving.
> If you have a moment, where is a review of why some publishers
> are not averse to self-archiving of *post-print* items?
> Seems counterintuitive that any of them would allow this.

Asking for a review of why publishers are "not averse" to the
self-archiving of the refereed postprint rather gets the wrong end of the

It is spectators and speculators who have simply *assumed* that publishers
would be opposed. Publishers, more sensibly and practically, saw that
there was no point or possibility in opposing OA itself: that would create
far too great and obvious a conflict of interest between themselves and
their authors, given the growing empirical evidence for the dramatic
benefits of OA for research and researchers.

So publishers sensibly and benignly gave OA self-archiving the green
light, partly to demonstrate that they are not trying to oppose the
benefits of OA for research and researchers -- and partly also because
enhanced article impact also means enhanced journal impact, which sells
more journals and attracts more authors.

Most publishers have, however, understandably been "averse" to converting
to gold (OA journal) publishing, because of the risks and uncertainties
of this still untested cost-recovery model. They prefer to wait and see;
and supporting green is a sensible and natural way to resist pressure
to convert to gold:

    "See, I support OA: If authors want it, they can go ahead self-archive
    their own individual articles. But please don't ask me to make all
    the sacrifices and assume all the risks: if you want OA so much,
    you have the green light: Your move!"

One can speculate about what will happen *after* there is 100% OA
(and I too have speculated about the possibilities in the past )
but it is now clear that far too much precious time (and access, and
impact) has already been lost speculating and counter-speculating, while
doing nothing: What is needed now is self-archiving, not speculation.

Your own question is merely inviting me to do some more speculation: 84%
of journals are green. Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth and worry
about whether it might not be Trojan: You have the green light. Cross
the street!

Stevan Harnad

P.S. The difference between pale-green (preprints) and full-green
(postprints) is trivial, as the authors can always post the corrections
after the preprints. Moreover, no green light is needed to post preprints,
so even the green/gray distinction is merely a psychological matter:
Received on Sat Jul 24 2004 - 13:45:51 BST

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