Royal Society of Chemistry is Now Green (Green reaches 92%)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 00:56:59 +0100

More good news on the progress of Open Access:

Peter Gregor, the Director of Publishing of the Royal Society of Chemistry
(RSC) -- -- publisher of 28 journals, announced at the
American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia August 22-26,
2004 -- -- that
as of 6 weeks ago the RSC is officially green on author self-archiving
of articles they publish in RSC journals.

The page has not yet been
updated to reflect this and other recent changes, but this
brings the total number of green journals so far to:
        8272/8996 = 92%
(71% postprint self-archiving (FULL-GREEN); 21% preprint
self-archiving (PALE-GREEN); 8% neither yet (GRAY))

Among the green Learned Society publishers are:

American Mathematical Society (18 journals)
American Physical Society (14 journals)
American Physiological Society
Royal Meteorological Society (531 journals)
Royal Society (7 journals)
Royal Society of Chemistry (28 journals)

Among the green University publishers are:

Cambridge University Press (186 journals)
Johns Hopkins University Press (58 journals)
Rockefeller University Press (3 journals)
Yale Law School (9 journals)

Among the green Commercial publishers are:

Blackwell Publishing (698 journals)
Elsevier (1951 journals)
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (378 journals)
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. (89 journals)
Springer Verlag (Germany) (502 journals)

(Perhaps there is some hope that the American Chemical Society (ACS),
which hosted these two days of symposia on Open Access (OA) will soon
become green too!)

Other (selective, annotated) highlights of the ACS sessions on OA:

Lorrin Garson, electronic publishing pioneer for the ACS,
provided a history of online journal publishing.

Donald King (Pitt.) presented data on the journal article reading
practises of chemists and other researchers across the years,
on paper and online.

Julia Blixrud of SPARC summarized SPARC's role in trying to lower
journal prices, encourage OA journal publishing (gold) and
encourage institutional self-archiving (green) across the years.

In a full afternoon session on peer-review in the online era, most
participants agreed that classical peer review was essential to
research publication and that the online era has made it possible to
implement classical peer review in a more efficient, timely, equitable
and cost-effective way. Although OA was often mentioned in the session,
no actual connection was made between peer review reform and OA
inasmuch as OA is about providing Open Access to peer-reviewed
journal articles! Only one paper -- on a new journal called the
interactive scientific journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics -- actually discussed an alternative
to classical peer review: They called the alternative "open access peer
review," although the reason was not apparent. The journal is online-only
and open-access (hence it is a "gold" OA journal), but its being OA has
nothing to do with its reviewing system, which is to post the paper,
solicit open (signed and unsigned) reviews from anyone, then to allow
revision, and then decide whether or not to publish. It was agreed that
the experiment had not been going long enough to determine what should
be the status of unpublished papers and their reviews -- whether they
do or don't remain online -- nor to answer the question of whether such
a public review system is equitable, sustainable, or scalable. It was
unclear what this experimental review system has to do with OA!
(The online, open-access, open-peer-commentary journal, Psycoloquy,
seems to have almost all the same advantages (fast, multiple review,
followed by open peer commentary following revision and acceptance)
but without tampering at all with classical peer review!

Bill Town gave an excellent overview of OA as well as OA Publishing.
(Unlike many other participants, he did not confuse the two, and gave
both OA self-archiving and PA publishing their due.)

Michael Leach of Harvard presented some futuristic models for how
things might look if/when (1) 100% OA has been reached and if/when (2)
all journals convert to OA (gold) publishing. (But first there is that
100% OA to reach! Promise rests with the UK and US mandates as well
as the empirical demonstrations of the impact-maximising effects of OA.)

Peter Gregory, RCS Publications Director, explained very clearly why the
Royal Society of Chemistry is not considering converting to OA (gold)
publishing even though it has converted to green (green light to OA

Robert Bovenschulte, ACS Publications Director, explained very clearly
why the American Chemical Society if not considering converting to OA
(gold) publishing but did not explain very clearly why it has not yet
converted to green! Moreover, in his arguments against converting to OA
publishing, he consistently took them to be arguments against OA.
(One hopes that a little reflection may soon straighten out this
misunderstanding, and that the ACS will then join the RCS in going green!)

Karen Hunter of Elsevier presented the results of an interesting user
survey that confirmed what we already alas knew, which is that most
authors and readers do not understand OA at all! The remedy for this
is obvious: A concerted campaign to inform them, both about the gold
and green roads to OA and the demonstrated impact-enhancing effect of
OA. (Elsevier too is a green publisher.)

I (Stevan Harnad) gave a talk on the green and gold roads to OA, and how
important it is (1) not to conflate OA with OA gold, (2) not to confuse
journal pricing/budget problems with article access/impact problems,
and (3) not to forget about the green road to OA (which alas did not prevent
each of these things from happening over and over during the meetings!)

Erja Kajosalo of MIT presented an overview of the DSpace institutional
software and programme
but said next to nothing about how DSpace could or should be used to
provide OA to institutional journal article output!
With a little imagination, however, one can fill in the missing pieces:
The institutional needs to adopt a self-archiving policy for its
faculty journal article output, perhaps aided by the self-archiving
mandates that have recently been recommended by the UK and US governmental
This archive-filling mandate, of course, is the key to success
along the green road to OA, but it is completely indifferent to
which archiving software is used: It could be DSpace, or Eprints
or any of the other of the other ones currently available.

Marie McVeigh of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)
presented some interesting comparison data on the citation impact of
OA and non-OA journals indexed by ISI. Although the numbers are still very
small and there are problems with equating journals to make them strictly
comparable, the results show that the new OA journals are doing at least as
well as non-OA journals and in some cases perhaps even better. Complementary
data comparing OA and non-OA articles within the same journal
using ISI citation data are showing the OA advantage at the article level.

David Goodman of the Palmer School, NYU, presented some hypothetical
curves on various possible future trajectories that might be taken
by OA self-archiving (e.g., when they might reach 100% OA) and OA publishing
(when/whether/how there might be conversion from non-OA publishing to
OA publishing). Meanwhile, what would seem to need the most immediate
attention is the acceleration of the *actual* curve to 100% OA rather
than the extrapolation of the hypothetical ones. Let us hope that the
recommended US and UK mandates will soon be implemented so they can
do just that.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Aug 25 2004 - 00:56:59 BST

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