Re: Drubbing Peter to Pay Paul

From: David Goodman <>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 18:47:13 +0000

Charles Oppenheim wrote:

> [W]hat annoys me is that the Government conflates OA journals with OA
> repositories and I do think it needs educating on that matter. It would
> have been so much better if the Gov't had encouraged Universities and
> the like to set repositories up and encouraged funding agencies to
> make OA agencies to make OA *provision* (by either (1) publishing the
> article in an OA journal OR by (2) publishing it in a non-OA journal
> and self-archiving it in an OA repository) a condition of grant.

Charles raises the implied question of whether it is more advantageous
to have a governmental mandate specify the form of open access, or give
a variety of choices.

The possible virtues of selecting s single method is the it
a/ sets a clear course for authors, and publishers to follow
b/ provides a firm basis for estimating funding needs
c/ provides possibly a single point of access, or multiple points easily
searchable together
Among the possible virtues should _not_ be included
x/ that the government might select the best plan.
Even if we knew beyond doubt what the best plan was, even were we all
agreed upon it,
that would not guarantee that it would be the one chosen.

The possible virtues of offering a range of methods is
a/ provides a range of choices for authors and their institutions,
depending upon local needs and limitations
b/ provides a range of possibilities at different expense levels
c/ avoids premature selection of a method which roves not to be the best
It is not a significant fault that it provides no single point of
access; the available data harvesters and related systems are even now
adequate, as long as appropriate metadata are supplied.

However, a possible fault, as Charles says, is that it confuses the
political authorities.

It is not just the UK government that is confused; the majority of news
stories, even by professional science writers, the majority of press
releases, the majority of discussions, all show this. I do not think
those apparently confused always have the best intentions: one can
easily select the weakest features of several plans and build a
completely false negative argument.

We have by now succeeded in educating the great majority of librarians,
information workers and concerned scientists about the differences: this
was not the case a year ago. I think we have come a long way towards
educating the scientist/authors and, to some extent, the users.

I suggest it would help if discussions of the subject began and ended
with a clear statement of what is being discussed, and what is not being
discussed. It would be especially useful if we all shared-and
expressed-- Charles' ecumenical views.

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor,
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University, Brookville, NY
Received on Fri Nov 12 2004 - 18:47:13 GMT

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