Critique of J-C Guedon's Serials Review article

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 23:34:59 +0000

I have written a critique of Jean-Claude Guedon's recent Serials Review

    The "Green" and "Gold" Roads to Open Access:
    The Case for Mixing and Matching
    Jean-Claude Guédon, Serials Review 30(4) 2004

My critique is entitled:

    Fast-Forward on the Green Road to Open Access:
    The Case Against Mixing Up Green and Gold

Its full text is at:

(There is also a full-context version of the critique that quuotes his article
in entirety: )

Comments are welcome.

Here is a summary from the introduction to my critique:

    Open Access (OA) means: free online access to all peer-reviewed
    journal articles.

    Jean-Claude Guedon (J-CG) argues against the efficacy of author
    self-archiving of peer-reviewed journal articles -- the "Green" road
    to OA -- on the grounds (1) that far too few authors self-archive,
    (2) that self-archiving can only generate incomplete and inconvenient
    access, and (3) that maximizing access and impact is the wrong reason
    for seeking OA (and only favors elite authors). J-CG suggests instead
    that the right reason for seeking OA is so as to reform the journal
    publishing system by converting it to OA ("Gold") publishing (in which
    the online version of all articles is free to all users). He proposes
    converting to Gold by "mixing and matching" Green and Gold as follows:

    First, self-archive dissertations (not published, peer-reviewed
    journal articles). Second, identify and tag how those dissertations
    have been evaluated and reviewed. Third, self-archive unrefereed
    preprints (not published, peer-reviewed journal articles). Fourth,
    develop new mechanisms for evaluating and reviewing those unrefereed
    preprints, at multiple levels. The result will be OA Publishing

    I reply that this is not mixing and matching but merely imagining:
    a rather vague conjecture about how to convert to 100% Gold,
    involving no real Green at all along the way, because Green is the
    self-archiving of published, peer-reviewed articles, not just
    dissertations and preprints.

    I argue that rather than yet another 10 years of speculation
    what is actually needed (and imminent) is for OA self-archiving
    to be mandated by research funders and institutions so that
    the self-archiving of published, peer-reviewed journal articles
    (Green) can be fast-forwarded to 100% OA. The direct purpose of OA
    is to maximize research access and impact, not to reform journal
    publishing; and OA's direct benefits are not just for elite authors
    but for all researchers, for their institutions, for their funders,
    for the tax-payers who fund their funders, and for the progress and
    productivity of research itself.

    There is a complementarity between the Green and Gold strategies for
    reaching 100% OA today, just as there is a complementarity between
    access to the OA and non-OA versions of the same non-OA articles
    today. Whether 100% Green OA will or will not eventually lead to 100%
    Gold, however, is a hypothetical question that is best deferred until
    we have first reached 100% OA, which is a direct, practical, reachable
    and far more urgent immediate goal -- and the optimal, inevitable
    and natural outcome for research in the PostGutenberg Galaxy.

Stevan Harnad

A complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion of providing
open access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2004)
is available at:
        To join or leave the Forum or change your subscription address:
        Post discussion to:

UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional
policy of providing Open Access to your own research article output,
please describe your policy at:

    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a suitable open-access
            journal whenever one exists.
    BOAI-1 ("green"): Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable
            toll-access journal and also self-archive it.
Received on Mon Dec 27 2004 - 23:34:59 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:47:45 GMT