Re: Public Access to Science Act (Sabo Bill, H.R. 2613)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 16:06:21 +0100

    Prior Topic Thread:
    "Public Access to Science Act (Sabo Bill, H.R. 2613)"

> From: sathya AT
> To:
> Subject: Re: The Sabo Bill and Open Access
> Question-1
> Do Chemists world over subscribe to [the] view that Databases like Chemical
> Abstracts will become superfluous as OAI initiative matures covering a large
> part of journal content?

It is not only premature to speculate about what may or not become
of secondary publisher indexes and databases once OA prevails, but to
speculate about it now only provokes needless (and groundless) resistance
to OA's prevailing.

Here are the facts: Self-archiving can bring 100% OA overnight. That
night is long overdue. Let us focus *all* of our efforts on making that
night arrive at last, and not waste more time speculating about the
many things -- and their opposite -- that might or might not eventually
follow 100% OA.

> Question-2
> Sabo bill is a threat to the academic freedom of the scientists which gives
> them benefit of copyright for their published research works even though
> money is spent by their respective institutes for doing research (be it
> federal funding or others)? Are the scientist-authors willing to lose this
> academic freedom? This issue which is at the heart of freedom of expression,
> a very fundamental individual rights. If a scientist desires to publish a
> book out of his research work, will any publisher be willing to pick it up
> once the Sabo bill is passed as an act?

This point is made a bit obscurely here, but if I understand it
correctly, it has some validity:

(1) Journal articles are -- and always have been -- author give-aways,
written only for research impact, not royalty income.

(2) Books are not author give-aways, and are often written with the hope
of royalty income.

(3) The current version of the Sabo Bill is not only unacceptable to
research authors, it is also unnecessary for OA.

(4) For OA,

    (a) the give-away text need not and should not be put into the public
    domain by the author (as recommended by the Sabo Bill);

    (b) nor is it necessary for the author to adopt a Creative-Commons
    copyright agreement,

    (c) nor to retain copyright,

    (d) nor to renegotiate copyright with the publisher.

(4b-4d are welcome, but not necessary, and seeking them should not be
allowed to hold up OA.)

(5) OA applies primarily to journal articles for now, and all that is
required is that those should all be self-archived.

(6) Only about 10-20% of the 2.5 million articles published annually in
the world's 24,000 peer-reviewed are being self-archived today.

(7) 84% of journals have already given their official green light
to author-institution self-archiving.

(8) There are simple, legal ways to self-archive articles even in the
case of the remaining 14%

(9) The Sabo Bill should be amended to bring it in line with the recent
recommendations of the US House Appropriations Committee and the UK
Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee, so as to mandate the
OA self-archiving of all journal articles resulting from US-funded

(10) The goal is 100% OA, as soon as possible. The reason for the urgency
is cumulative, needless loss of research usage and impact, which in turn
means loss of research productivity and progress:

Stevan Harnad

UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional
policy of providing Open Access to your own research article output,
please describe your policy at:

    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.

A complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion of providing
open access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2004)
is available at:
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Received on Wed Jul 28 2004 - 16:06:21 BST

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