Re: A Prophylactic Against the Edentation of the RCUK Policy Proposal

From: David Goodman <David.Goodman_at_LIU.EDU>
Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2005 21:47:52 -0400

 Agreed that the main reason for authors to adopt OA is about access,
 and that it is current the authors who are the bottleneck. However,
most libraries see themselves as responsible primarily to the readers,
--even the same researchers want different things in these two roles.

If OA advocates on the author side expect support from the
libraries or their readers, they will have to learn to see it from their
perspective as well. Thus:

No library has the funds for toll access to all the journals
its users need, and Arthur confirms the pressure to increase subscriptions.
Unfortunately, no library is in the least likely to obtain sufficient funding.
The librarians are asked by the readers to obtain material they do
not have and cannot afford.

For a librarian, the attractiveness of OA is in being able to provide for
the user the articles in the whole range of journals that are not held
otherwise. The same, I suggest, is true for the user, even the author
when he is a reader or user.

The library has an additional consideration that the individual user does
not: the method of providing OA must not interfere with the funding and
existence of publications. I do not know whether or not "green" OA
will eventually do so, and I think neither does anyone else.

Even if OA were to harm the publication chain,
we don't know the time scale. The usual argument is that
it will not possibly have any effect until the amount of OA reaches 100%.
I do not know if this is true--but whether or not this is true depends
not on our arguments, or any data now available.
I can imagine many different ways libraries
(and authors and readers and publishers and funding agencies)
might behave, and I do not know what any of them
will actually do. I think I know what I would like them to do, but
that's not the same thing.

I myself think it perfectly reasonable to work for 100%OA and deal
with the consequences, confident that libraries can improvise
adequately as they always have, but I am not sure how many of my
colleagues would agree.

As for details, all any of us can do is speculate, and i will not try to do so in
this list.

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 Arthur Sale
Sent: Sat 7/9/2005 2:54 AM
Subject: Re: A Prophylactic Against the Edentation of the RCUK Policy Proposal

I'd like to repeat Stevan's message from Australia and as an active
researcher myself: open access (OA) is about maximizing research impact, and
providing access to publications for all relevant researchers, while
preserving the value-adding aspects of refereeing and quality-certification.

This is a view that should have a very high appeal for all librarians, for
it lies at the core of what librarianship is all about: making access to
knowledge easy. However as Stevan says the bottle-neck in this process at
the moment is the researchers, and librarians can best help by encouraging
their researchers to make their research output accessible in an OA
repository, in their own personal interests.

Some forward-looking professional society publishers have partly recognized
this as well. For example, the Australian Computer Society Incorporated
grants a blanket OK to OA archiving, and
also places all articles in the Journal of Research & Practice in
Information Technology on the ACS website at and also all papers
presented at the multi-conference Australasian Computer Science Week at This is all long-standing practice of many years.
Unfortunately the ACS website is not yet OAI-PMH compatible, but it is
harvested by the search engines.

I have active support and understanding of this view from my local Library
and librarians. They understand that OA is not about saving Library
subscription funds (indeed there remains pressure to increase them) but
about positioning the University of Tasmania's research in the global arena
and making it widely accessible.


Arthur Sale
Professor of Computing (Research)
127 Tranmere Road, Howrah, Tasmania 7018, AUSTRALIA
Phone (03) 6247 1331 (International replace '(03)' by '+61-3-') or Mobile 04
1947 1331

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> Sent: Saturday, 9 July 2005 01:04
> Subject: Re: [AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM] A Prophylactic Against
> the Edentation of the RCUK Policy Proposal
> On Fri, 8 Jul 2005, Sally Morris (ALPSP) wrote:
> > Stevan, I don't know what planet you live on (;-) but on Planet Earth
> > problem librarians are trying to address - and the reason for any
> > enthusiasm for repositories or any other means of OA - is a shortage of
> Sally, that might be the reason for librarians' (and library funders')
> for OA, but it is not the main reason for OA. The reason for OA is to
> research impact, hence research progress and productivity. And the
> of OA are not and cannot be librarians (be they ever so enthusiastic): The
> only providers of OA are the researchers themselves. And the only reason
> will persuade them (and their funders) to provide it is that it manximises
> research impact.
> So whereas both the publishing community and the library community
> are marginally implicated in OA (each can either help or hinder it)
> OA-provision itself is 100% in the hands of the OA-providers: the research
> community. It can and will be done only by and for them.
> It is to the research community that the RCUK mandate is addressed.
> Stevan
Received on Sun Jul 10 2005 - 02:47:52 BST

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