Re: Archivangelism

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 2004 19:30:55 +0100

Just three small but important points about Joseph Esposito's essay in
First Monday: "The devil you don't know: The unexpected future of Open
Access publishing"

> Harnad is careful not to drag non-research publications... into the OA fray

This is correct. The primary target literature for OA is not the "esoteric"
literature, as I first inchoately thought 10 years ago:

It is the author give-away literature, written by authors only for impact,
not for royalty income or fee income:

And the one literature that fits this description without a single exception
is the 2.5 million annual articles published in the world's 24,000 peer-reviewed
journals. *That* is the literature that the "OA fray" is about, and the reason is
that until it is made 100% OA, its authors and articles continue to lose research
impact, needlessly, at a cost to them, their institutions, their funders, and to
research itself.

> Harnad's self-archiving strategy does not mandate peer review.

How can a strategy for self-archiving peer-reviewed journal articles
"mandate" peer review?

It is for the employers and funders of researchers to mandate peer-reviewed
publication (and they do), and for peer-reviewed journals to provide it
(and they do). What needs to be mandated now is self-archiving itself
(and the US House Appropriations Committee as well as the UK Parliament
Science and Technology Committee have very recently recommended
exactly that:

Self-archiving is intended to provide OA to 100% of the annual 2.5 million
peer-reviewed journal articles, in order to maximize their usage and
impact. It is a good idea to self-archive research before and after
peer-review, but not *instead*! And self-archiving is not primarily
preprint self-archiving but postprint self-archiving. It is providing
OA to the refereed version that is the fundamental goal of the OA
movement, for 100% of the annual 2.5 million articles.

> For purposes of this essay, the importance of Harnadian self-archiving
> is that it belongs to the author-pays OA universe:

There is no "Harnadian" self-archiving, there is just self-archiving
(of each author's own peer-reviewed journal articles, after, and,
optionally also before, peer review). This certainly does not belong to
the "author-pays OA universe" in the sense that the other road to OA --
publishing in OA journals -- does.

OA journals recover their costs by charging the author-institution instead
of the user-institution. I was, and still am, one of the proponents of
that cost-recovery model:

    Harnad, S. (1995) Electronic Scholarly Publication: Quo Vadis? Serials
    Review 21(1) 70-72 (Reprinted in Managing Information 2(3) 1995)

But publishing in OA journals is the "golden" road to OA, and I have
never believed that that road can or will get us to 100% OA anywhere near
quickly or surely enough to invest our hopes and efforts in it alone, or
even primarily. It is the "green" road of self-archiving that I advocate,
and it is erroneous and misleading to describe this road as part of the
"author-pays OA Universe". Self-archiving is no more "author-pays" than
author web-pages are. The only thing the author pays is a few keystrokes!

    Harnad, S., Brody, T., Vallieres, F., Carr, L., Hitchcock,
    S., Gingras, Y, Oppenheim, C., Stamerjohanns, H., & Hilf,
    E. (2004) The green and the gold roads to Open Access. Nature Web

Of the 24,000 peer-reviewed journals, 5% are OA and 95% are non-OA.
OA is provided to that remaining 95% by individual authors self-archiving
the articles they publish in them. The peer-review costs are still
born by those non-OA journals, and recovered in the usual way: through
institutional subscription/license fees.

I am not sure Joseph Esposito quite understands this green road to OA,
or even that where it leads is indeed OA, 100% OA. He seems instead to
devote a good deal of imagination to speculating about why on earth 84%
of the over 8000 journals surveyed have already given their official
"green light" to self-archiving!

I recommend reading the relevant portion of the Self-Archiving FAQ,
the "Poisoned Apple" worry:

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sat Aug 07 2004 - 19:30:55 BST

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