Re: How To Support Institutional OA Archive Start-Up and OA Content Provision

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2004 15:51:55 +0100

On Sun, 3 Oct 2004, Jean-Claude Guedon wrote:

> OSI is not subsidizing OA journals. It is subsidizing authors from
> disadvantaged countries and institutions so that they may submit to OA
> journals. OSI has also supported the setting up of repositories and of guides
> to help doing so.

(The posting to which you replied was about both OSI and JISC, which *is*
subsidizing journal conversion to OA publication.)

Perhaps it would be a good idea if OSI subsidized authors from disadvantaged
countries and institutions to provide OA to their articles by self-archiving
them in their institutional archives: Then the subsidy might generate more
OA articles from the same author and institution for the same amount of
subsidy money!

My recommendations would extend substantially OSI's current efforts on behalf
of setting up and filling institutional OA archives.

> > (1) The cost of subsidising the conversion of an institution to OA
> > self-archiving is far less than the cost of subsidising the conversion
> > of a journal to OA-publishing.
> OSI does not do the latter.

Maybe it would be a good idea -- per OA subsidy dollar spent -- to consider doing
so, then. The subsidy could be reserved to the Developing world, if preferred.

> > (2) The return -- in annual number of OA articles -- on subsidising
> > the conversion of one institution to self-archiving is far greater
> > than the return on converting one journal, and far more likely to
> > propagate to other institutions of its own accord.
> Again, OSI does not do the latter.

Always worth keeping an Open Mind on such matters...

> > (3) Converting one institution to OA self-archiving (unlike converting
> > one journal to OA publishing) propagates over all institutional
> > departments/disciplines.
> > (*This is also the reason why it is so important that the national
> > self-archiving mandates should be for distributed institutional
> > self-archiving, as recommended by the UK Select Committee, rather
> > than for central self-archiving, as recommended by the US House
> > Committee.*)
> This is an interesting hypothesis, but it is only a hypothesis.

And your pending posting, to which I shall reply shortly, is likewise a
hypothesis. And rival hypotheses must be weighed on the basis of the supporting
and contrary evidence and reasons, as I will try to do in a later posting.
The data on the rate of both actual and potential growth in central archives,
institutional archives, and OA journals tends to support my hypothesis. So
does logic, if one thinks through the possibilities, probabailities, and
practicalities. (And so does a forthcoming analysis by Rowland & Swan,
commissioned by JISC.)

> Result of this exchange: I have one interesting idea that I shall look into;
> for the rest, I see hypotheses and statements that do not apply to OSI's
> present policies.

Try to keep an Open Mind on policy: The Open Access landscape is changing,
and so is the Open Society's potential contribution to it! And we have to keep
thinking until we get it right...

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sun Oct 03 2004 - 15:51:55 BST

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