Re: Please Don't Copy-Cat Clone NIH-12 Non-OA Policy!

From: David Goodman <David.Goodman_at_LIU.EDU>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 01:32:01 -0500

I find I am able to agree with Stevan, word for word, though what we
agree about is in many respects a very disappointing situation.

In particular I agree that "If I had known it would come to this,
I would never have defended it."

That's the way I feel too (though I would like to think I saw --or at least remarked on--
 signs of excessive compromise a little earlier than Stevan.)

There remain at least the same reasons for OA that there were before;
there remain at least the same routes to OA that there were before-- perhaps we shall now
be a little more sophisticated, having had the benefits of extensive
though unproductive discussions.

I will even end on the optimistic reminder that OA has during this period attracted sufficient attention
that researchers and readers know what is involved. Perhaps they will now, on their own, take the
actions they should have taken long before.

And there is at least one interesting possibility: I quote on the authority of Ray English of Oberlin,
>Under the previous plan researchers
>could make their results openly accessible earlier that six months only
>with the publisher's permission.  The revised plan will evidently allow
>researchers to do this on their own, without publisher sign-off.

If by any chance this actually remains in the adopted plan, we may actually have rescued something.

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Stevan Harnad
Sent: Wed 1/19/2005 5:04 PM
Subject: Please Don't Copy-Cat Clone NIH-12 Non-OA Policy!
Although the original NIH-6 mandate -- that the authors of all journal
articles reporting NIH-funded research must make their articles freely
accessible on the Web within 6 months of publication -- would already have
been a compromise (because Open Access (OA) to research findings needs
to be immediate), NIH-6 was nevertheless stoutly defended in the
American Scientist Open Access Forum.

But it now looks as if the NIH-6 mandate has mutated under pressure into
the "NIH-12 invitation" -- that all authors of journal articles reporting
NIH-funded research are invited to make their articles freely accessible
on the Web within 12 months of publication.

NIH-12 falls far short of what both the House of Representatives and
the Senate recommended. NIH-12 does not provide Open Access (OA, which
is defined as immediate, permanent, free online access). It is OA that
research, researchers, research funders, and the funders of the research
funders (the tax-paying public) need. It is OA that maximises the usage,
impact, productivity, progress and benefits of research for everyone.

In biomedical research especially, 12-month-delayed access is not Open
Access, it is Legacy Access, to the old, back-volume literature, not
to the growth region of biomedical science. The main purpose of OA is to
make the cutting edge of research available to all its would-be users
worldwide, not just to those users who happen to be at institutions that
can afford to subscribe to the journal in which the research happened
to be published. NIH-12 will make very little difference to research
progress, particularly as more and more journals are making their legacy
back-volumes freely accessible online already anyway.

Hence it is now more important than ever that other research-funders,
institutions, universities and governments worldwide should resist the
inevitable tendency to copy-cat clone the NIH-12 policy as the answer
to their OA needs, just because the NIH did it. NIH-12 is not an answer
to OA needs. It is not OA at all. If I had known it would come to this,
I would never have defended it.

Much more promising OA policies are being formulated this month and
next at two important meetings, one for UK OA policy, one for worldwide
OA policy:

    "OA Institutional Archives Workshop in Southampton 25-26 Jan 2005"

    "Berlin 3: Implementing the Berlin Declaration on Open Access"

Consider rationally, don't clone reflexively! There are far better
examples to follow than the ill-fated NIH-12.

History of NIH-12:

    "E-Biomed: Very important NIH Proposal" (1999)

Received on Thu Jan 20 2005 - 06:32:01 GMT

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