Re: Dlib Report on Berlin 3 on Open Access to appear today

From: Jean-Claude Guédon <>
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2005 15:14:58 -0400

I do not have all that much time to respond to Stevan's theses, but I
should respond to some of his statements. Please, see below.

Jean-Claude Guédon

Le mardi 15 mars 2005 à 20:42 +0000, Stevan Harnad a écrit :
> On Tue, 15 Mar 2005, guedon wrote:
> > In his very recent dlib posting, Stevan harnad is defining OA in too
> > constraining a fashion for me.
> >
> > By limiting OA to "all refereed research journal articles", Stevan
> > harnad forces to look only at journals as they exist now and prevents us
> > from imagining other venues, other possibilities for refereeing.
> (1) Here is a quote from the Budapest Open Access Initiative:
> "The literature that should be freely accessible online is that which
> scholars give to the world without expectation of payment. Primarily,
> this category encompasses their peer-reviewed journal articles, but
> it also includes any unreviewed preprints that they might wish to
> put online for comment or to alert colleagues to important research
> findings."
> (Note also, at the bottom, who and signed the above statement.)

Interesting: we are now at the point of quoting scriptures. The "Open
Access Church" is taking shape ... :-)

Joking aside, I feel free to support BOAI, but I also feel I have the
right not to limit my thinking to this text drafted over three years
ago. I suspect this is good enough to put me in the category of
> (2) To resolve all further ambiguities, I quote here also from a
> recent posting by my colleague, Les Carr, which is perfectly
> on-target:
> "As a Computer Scientist, I automatically read "peer reviewed journal"
> as 'peer reviewed (journal/conference/workshop/symposium)',
> because that's the convention of my discipline, where a
> conference/workshop/symposium is a "peer review service provider".
> I believe that Stevan does not mean to bar this reading, as he
> himself used it in public at the Berlin-3 conference."
> (My endlessly reiterated mantra "the 2.5 million articles published
> in the world's 24,000 peer-reviewed journals" of course includes these
> other forms of peer-reviewed article publication as well -- and their
> pre-refereeing precursors too, if/when the author so wishes.)

So, let us think a little more flexibly, please...
> No one is being prevented from "imagining." But OA is intended to provide
> free access, today, to the actual articles that actually exist today,
> not to imaginary ones that may or may not exist in some hypothetical
> future system. One is always free to imagine till doomsday, but what
> needs to be freed today is what there *is* today, and not the contents
> of one's imagination.

Sorry about that, but strategizing about OA, IMHO, also requires
imagining the near-future a little.
> This point has been made in great and painstaking detail in a
> recent line-by-line critique in Ariadne of Jean-Claude Guedon's own
> recent Serials Review article "Mixing and Matching Green and Gold"
> Harnad, S. (2005) Fast-Forward on the Green Road to Open
> Access: The Case Against Mixing Up Green and Gold. Ariadne 43

You mean the text that mis-represents my position so badly (for example
by making me say that e-theses are a necessary pre-condition of
institutional repositories)... No need to spend much time on this
"painstaking" effort.
> > I disagree strongly with this constraint.
> >
> > The definition should simply aim at "refereed research results" without
> > excluding a priori various forms of publication that are emerging or
> > will emerge soon.
> Nothing is excluded a priori. The problem is not a priori exclusion but
> actual access-denial -- access not to what *might* be but to what *is*.

Sorry, once again: thinking about the what might be can be useful to
understand the "what is", especially when the "what is" is approached
with a strong "what ought" attitude.
> > I know about Stevan Harnad's arguemnt that he want to stick with what
> > exists now. I have already dealt with this in an earlier message:
> > claiming to want to change and, at the same time, claiming to stick
> > strictly with the "what is" appears somewhat bizarre to me, to say the
> > least.
> The change I want is Open Access, now, to what there is, now. What change
> does Jean-Claude Guedon want?

JCG wants a *viable* strategy toward an open access objective that is
still eluding us, alas... and not a repetitious mantra that begins to
sound like a slogan barely good enough to be chanted in a street
demonstration: open access to everything for everyone NOW!!!!
> > The important point here is "refereed" as it marks the procedure - or
> > call it ritual, if you want - that clearly demarcates the scientific
> > communication system from the non-scientific. The status and evaluation
> > of scientists rests on this clearly demarcated border. However, once the
> > procedure is clearly identified - i.e. it is a peer-review procedure -
> > it can be applied to a variety of research results, whatever their
> > format, venue, etc...
> Amen.
> Now back to work providing free online access to it all for those
> would-be users who do not now have it (and who are not musing about
> borders but looking for access).


Let us also remember that free online access "to it all" is not quite
enough. The accessed document must also be citable (down to the right
pagination). One way to do this would be to decrete that the reference
document for citation purposes should be the open access document in
archive(s) x (y, y,...).

Jean-Claude Guédon
> Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Apr 05 2005 - 20:14:58 BST

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