Re: Proposed update of BOAI definition of OA: Immediate and Permanent

From: Barbara Kirsop <barbara_at_BIOSTRAT.DEMON.CO.UK>
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 10:49:47 -0000

At the risk of sounding repetative, may I remind those of us from very rich,
very information-rich countries, that these discussions are a luxury. A
necessary luxury in the longer term, but I worry that they will currently
divert attention from what we should all be using our energies doing -
getting the research literature into institutional OA archives, or published
in OA journals. Out there, most libraries in the world have a handful of old
journals only, and meantime there is malaria, AIDS, environmental
catastrophes.... and our research information is urgently needed. Can we not
focus our energies on what matters right now?

We are all debating a very complex revolution and there will always be many
points of view. Please don't let this detract from the very positive outcome
of Berlin-3.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Stevan Harnad" <harnad_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 3:39 AM
Subject: Re: Proposed update of BOAI definition of OA: Immediate and

> On Sun, 13 Mar 2005, Leslie Chan wrote:
>> I am against updating the BOAI definition of OA because I think the
>> current definition is more than adequate
> Leslie, do you think it is more than adequate that (1) 12-month
> delayed-access (NIH Back Access) is being offered in place of immediate
> access (and that if the BOAI definition of OA is not updated, this
> could even be offered in the *name* of OA), (2) that this is being
> used as a pretext for publisher Back-Sliding on Green (e.g., Nature),
> (3) that these policies now risk being copied and cloned, and (4) that
> this this could lock in Back Access in place of (and in the name of)
> Open Access for many years to come?
> "Shulenburger on open access: so NEAR and yet so far"
> "Please Don't Copy-Cat Clone NIH-12 Non-OA Policy!"
> "Open Access vs. NIH Back Access and Nature's Back-Sliding"
> And would you think it adequate if funders were to seek -- and publishers
> to offer -- free access for a fixed period, subsequently withdrawn, in
> the name of OA (as they could, technically, based on the current BOAI
> definition of OA)?
>> the proposed update is needlessly confusing...
>> No one knows what "permanent" means in the digital realm,
>> so why add that level of uncertainly.
> Would it be confusing to say instead that free online access must be
> immediate
> (upon acceptance for publication) and must not subsequently be withdrawn?
> That captures the practical objective without asking for any clairvoyance
> or
> omniscience on the subject of failsafe digital preservation.
>> The current definition is sufficiently clear and sufficiently flexible to
>> allow a broad range of approaches to OA
> But the current definition is also sufficiently flexible so that I could
> claim I publish an OA journal (gold) if it makes its articles freely
> accessible online 24 months after publication for one day (only)!
> I could also claim I publish an OA-friendly green journal if I give
> my authors the green light to self-archive their articles for one day
> (only), 24 months after publication.
> If we are not ready to allow that an article to which you can have access
> only if you (or your institution) pay an access-toll is either OA or
> "partially OA" (or more OA the lower the access-price), then, by exactly
> the same token, we should not be ready to allow that an article to which
> you can have free access for only one day is either OA or "partially OA"
> (or more OA the sooner or longer it is accessible free).
> To allow either would immediately introduce a potential slippery slope
> that
> would reduce "OA" to an absurdity.
>> Let's agree that there are multiple flavours of OA (to use John
>> Willinsky's term) and that there are no one-size-fits all solution for
>> all
>> circumstances.
> But there *aren't* multiple flavours of OA: There are multiple *roads*
> to OA (mainly the golden road of OA publishing and the green road
> of OA self-archiving, plus combinations and variants thereof).
> An article that is freely accessible online comes in only one flavour:
> *freely accessible online*. But if it is obvious that an article that
> is freely accessible online only for one day (or only a century after
> publication) is no more OA than an article that is freely accessible to
> me because my institution has paid the access-tolls, then it should be
> obvious why immediacy and permanence need to be part of the definition
> of OA.
> One-day free access is no more a mere variant "flavor" of OA that merely
> differs from the "flavor" of two-day free access than two-dollar toll
> access is a different flavor of OA from one-dollar toll access: None
> of these are OA, and our definition of OA should make this quite explicit
> by specifying that OA must be immediate and permanent.
> This does not imply that $1 toll-access is not preferable to $2
> toll-access,
> or 2-day free access to 1-day free access. It just makes it clear none of
> these is OA!
> Stevan Harnad
Received on Mon Mar 14 2005 - 10:49:47 GMT

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