Self-Archive the Refereed Draft: Not the Publisher's PDF!

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 21:44:00 +0000

       Self-Archiving is Supplementary Access Provision
                   OA = TA + SA

It is neither (1) necessary nor (2) advisable to seek to self-archive
the publisher's proprietary PDF version of your article (except in the
special case where your publisher explicitly encourages you to do so).

(1) Self-archiving the publisher's PDF is not necessary (except where
encouraged by the publisher) because the self-archived version is a
*supplement* to the official toll-access version, not a *substitute*
for it. It is intended for all those potential users worldwide whose
institutions cannot afford access to the toll-access version. The
publisher's PDF (or XML) version remains the official version of record
and should always be linked from your self-archived supplement.

    Open Access (OA) = Toll Access (TA) + Self-Archiving (SA)

(2) Self-archiving the publisher's PDF is not advisable (except where
encouraged by the publisher) because it only leads to needless confusion
and delay in the provision and growth of OA:

    (2a) It encourages the profoundly incorrect idea (which entirely
    misses the point of OA) that the burden of preserving peer-reviewed
    journal articles falls on the self-archived version. (It does not:
    it is the official publisher's version that is the version of record
    and that needs to be preserved.)

    (2b) It discourages publishers from giving their green light to
    author self-archiving, on the mistaken assumption that what needs
    to be self-archived is the publisher's official proprietary PDF, and
    that it is intended as a substitute for the publisher's toll-access
    version (rather than the supplement that it is in reality intended
    to be).

    (2c) It encourages groundless worries about "version control" and
    "scholarly rigor" which have absolutely nothing to do with OA and
    are again based on a profound misunderstanding of the purpose and
    grounds for seeking OA: The official version of record remains the
    publisher's proprietary PDF. Scholars who need to confirm the exact
    wording of quotes, etc., will still need to consult the official
    version of record. But researchers who need to use the (peer-reviewed)
    research itself but do not have access to the publisher's PDF will
    now have immediate access to the self-archived supplement.

I beg enthusiasts to *think* before they start posting (again) the
short-sighted and pedantic objections that this simple principle has kept
inspiring for the past decade: We are today *here*, at <20% OA, with
substantial amounts of cumulative research impact and progress
consequently being lost daily, needlessly, as long as this persists.

The goal (long overdue) is 100% OA (= TA + SA). Before you voice a
reservation about the sufficiency/adequacy/safety of the self-archived
supplements -- "How can I be sure the text is authentic?" "How can I be
sure which version it is?" "Who will make sure that it perdures?" --
remind yourself again of the continuing ongoing *problem* that these
self-archived supplements are intended to remedy! 80% of articles are
still accessible only to a fraction of their potential users. The official
toll-access version is currently providing access to that fraction. But
meanwhile all those articles are needlessly losing the rest of their
potential impact daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, because of the fraction
of their would-be usership that *cannot* access them! Self-archiving
provides the access for that other fraction; without it, they have
*no access*.

It makes no sense whatsoever to keep delaying access to 80% of refereed
research and keep losing its research impact in order to keep waiting
either for permission to self-archive the publisher's PDF or -- worse,
because even more remote and unlikely -- waiting for publishers to
convert to the "gold" open access publishing model.

Only 5% of publishers are gold, but over 90% are green (i.e.,
they have given their green light to author self-archiving):

Forget about gold, and forget about self-archiving the publisher's
PDF: Researchers should self-archive their refereed drafts now,
and their institutions and funders should require it, in order to
maximize the usage and impact of their research output.

Stevan Harnad

A complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion of providing
open access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2004)
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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 Fri Feb 18 2005 - 21:44:00 GMT

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