Re: Critique of J-C Guedon's Serials Review article on Open Access

From: jcg <>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 16:53:34 -0500

Having been on the road for a while and having just extricated myself from a
fair number of papers to mark, I have not had time to study Stevan Harnad's
critique of my paper published in Serials Review last December. However,
having now downloaded it and printed it, I can say that I am flattered, if
only by its length.

Having also read only the first two paragraphs, I can only say that Stevan
Harnad is a little like this French (actually Belgian) cowboy cartoon
character called "Lucky Luke": Lucky Luke is famous for "shooting faster than
his shadow": Stevan is increasingly becoming famous for being able to write
faster than he reads.

I will only take the very first sentence as witness:

"Jean-Claude Guedon argues against the efficacy of author self-archiving of
peer-reviewed journal articles... etc"

I have not argued against the "efficacy of author self-archiving"; I have
argued that OA self-archiving is good in and of itself, but insufficient,
incomplete, etc... and I have ventured to see how to complete self-archiving.
Incompleteness of function and lack of efficacy are quite different matters.
However, when you write faster than you read, these distinctions may actually
get blurred...

Once again, I have not rejected self-archiving; on the contrary, I have said
it should be done, and I repeat again if only to slow down Stevan's writing
speed for the sake of keeping closer to reality, it SHOULD REALLY BE DONE;
but WE SHOULD NOT STOP THERE. And I tried to indicate how we should move
beyond simple self-archiving.

With regards to dissertations, this is not a necessary first step and was
never meant to be an absolutely necessary first step; it was introduced on
pragmatic grounds. In effect, I was saying: if you think my scenario holds
some water and if you want to try it with materials that are interesting,
that you pretty well control and which are functionally similar (not
equivalent, Stevan, similar and the similarity lies in the way they are
circulated, used and cited, nothing more), then dirty your institutiona and
technical hands with theses. Then move on to articles, holding the results
already achieved with articles: this might help convince more members of the
faculty to come aboard.

One point Stevan fails to mention in his somewhat idiosyncratic summary of my
paper as portrayed in the first two paragraphs of his somewhat lengthy
rebuttal is that I spend a fair amount of time showing how refereed papers
that are self-archived open the possibility of enriched evaluation methods. I
specifically argue that this ought to attract some attention. As a result, we
should see authors testing the possibility of submitting papers directly to
these archives, once they demonstrate that they can impart "symbolic value"
or "branding" onto articles that have already been refereed and branded
through journals titles. It is only at that stage that we reach true gold

And the "should" here is not "imagining"; it is the basis of a hypothesis
which, like any hypothesis, ought to be tested. I am presently trying to find
the ways to do such tests with various colleagues in various contexts.

In fine, all I was arguing in this paper is that it would be important to see
how to make the green and gold roads work in tandem, one preparing the way
for the other; I was also working toward reuniting these two strategies
within a wider, more encompassing vision of their respective roles. Nothing
was rejected, except perhaps Stevan Harnad's pretention that self-archiving
by and of itself is the sure path to scholarly bliss, bliss being conceived
in his vision as mainly enhanced visibility (as measured by impact).

I could go on and on and on like this, and I may still do so at some later
point, directly or in the course of other papers. However, for the moment,
let me recall that my point was NOT to disparage self-archiving - we greatly
need to do it and do more of it -, my point was to improve our Open Access
strategies by stopping viewing the green and gold roads as necessarily
separate, or worse as competitors for rare resources.

Pace Harnad!

Jean-Claude Guédon

On Wed December 29 2004 10:27 pm, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> I have written a critique of Jean-Claude Guedon's recent Serials Review
> article:
> 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 quotes J-CG's
> article in entirety:
> )
> Comments are welcome -- preferably posted to:
> 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
> (Gold).
> 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
Received on Sun Jan 23 2005 - 21:53:34 GMT

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