Re: Critique of STM Critique of NIH Proposa

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 2004 22:20:28 +0000

On Sun, 21 Nov 2004, Dr. James J. O'Donnell wrote:

> The item cited below makes this point repeatedly:
> "To repeat, what is being proposed is not an alternative business
> model but that access to journal articles reporting the results of
> NIH-funded research should be supplemented with free public online
> access for all those would-be users who cannot afford paid access."
> Do I interpret this correctly as meaning that *only* those who cannot
> afford paid access should be given free access? On the model of proposals
> to reform U.S. health care?

No, it means that only those who cannot afford paid access to article
X *need* free access to article X (for each article X).

And the analog analogy with health care fails because open access means digital
online access, free for all. Whatever is free on the web is free for all (on
the web). One does not have to furnish a certificate of indigence in order to
access a fee website!

Don't confuse (1) why, and for whom, and for what the free access version
is *needed* with (2) the effective consequence that the free access
version is free for anyone, whether they need it or not.

Having said that, however, the publisher's proprietary version may have
many value-added online enhancements that the author's self-archived
vanilla version lacks: the self-archived OA version is merely the
peer-reviewed, accepted, final draft of the paper that the author has
written. So there are plenty of reasons (not the least of these
reasons being the continuing market for the paper version). why those
institutions that can afford the publisher's version will want to keep
subscribing/licensing it, even when OA reaches 100% (for those who need

Stevan Harnad

> That's very different from what I've been
> understanding as Open Access, but interesting to explore. There seems to
> be progress in that direction:
> Jim O'Donnell
> Georgetown U.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 12:13:47 -0500 (EST)
> From: Stevan Harnad <>
> Reply-To:
> To:
> Subject: Critique of STM Critique of NIH Proposal
> Full text of critique is at:
> Excerpts:
Received on Sun Nov 21 2004 - 22:20:28 GMT

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