Priorities: OA Content Provision vs. OA Content Preservation

From: Brian Simboli <>
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004 12:38:22 +0100

Re. the emails copied below:

Let us say that one is concerned with the good of preservation and places it at
least on par with the good of open access, and perhaps even trumps the latter.

That person, according to the account below, would be advised to focus efforts
on preserving the stock of subscribed journal articles that is the foundation
for those self-archiving efforts.

The argument is apparently that once a critical mass of green self-archived
articles hangs out on the web, attention will then somehow turn to preserving
open access to those freely available versions. The assumption here is that
people will be so enamored of their free availability that they'll want to
continue that status quo.

This to me is a quite significant speculative leap about the future
behavior of thousands of institutions and individuals. The readers of
those free articles will be happy that they exist freely, but will their
free availability supply the motivation for them to devote funds and
energy to preserving the items?

Maybe they will be so motivated, maybe not. It may well depend on the
perceived value, to research, of any given article. And we know that not
all articles are of equal interest from a preservation standpoint, since
articles vary greatly in their perceived contribution to the advancement
of knowledge. It is true, too, that an article that now appears to be
of little value may later spark a scientific revolution. That is the
very article that might have disappeared from view, given that lack of
interest in preserving its free status quo makes it likely that it will
*not* be preserved.

For one concerned about preservation, there are more organized and
predictable routes than green, from an infrastructural standpoint.

Brian Simboli

> From: Brian Simboli <>
> Date: October 4, 2004 4:12:56 AM PDT
> Subject: Re: Central versus institutional self-archiving
> Reply-To: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> How does this follow?
> "...the very presence of all that OA content will be the single
> strongest driver
> for preservation."
> Brian Simboli
> [MODERATOR'S NOTE: In the interest of speed and traffic control,
> here is my reply: Because the incentive to preserve contents that
> exist is far greater than the incentive to preserve contents that
> do
> not exist. Because as OA moves closer to 100% than to 0%, and daily
> expectancy of and reliance on it moves closer to 100% than to 0%,
> the concern will be to guarantee that it does not go away. Right
> now the concern is getting it to come, not getting it to not go
> away. Attention and energy focussed on getting it to not go away
> are
> merely distracting and deterring from efforts to get it to come. In
> short: OA Preservation Efforts are grotesquely premature; it is
> OA Provision Efforts that are needed today. OA Provision Efforts
> alone. Any preservation efforts today should be directed at their
> proper targets -- the journals' official proprietary versions of
> 100%
> of published articles -- not at the 10-20% of them that are already
> blessed with an author self-archived OA supplementary version --
> S.H.]

This mail sent through IMP:
Received on Tue Oct 05 2004 - 12:38:22 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:47:36 GMT