Re: Leading academics back UK Research Councils on self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 08:16:06 -0400

On Tue, 23 Aug 2005, Sally Morris (ALPSP) wrote:

> I don't think it's at all true that publishers are actively fighting Open
> Access. A very large number of our members, and others, are experimenting
> with different forms of OA publishing, including Delayed Open Access.

Dunno about HM's plaint but mine is with the fact that in the ALPSP
open letters to RCUK you are actively fighting Open Access Self-Archiving --
which plaint (before you say it) is not answered or even addressed by
reminding me that many ALPSP publishers are green on Self-Archiving.

To give a green light to do something and then actively fight to
prevent that something's being done is (at best) a symptom of a touch
of ambivalence!

And (before you say it) it will not do to say "We are not trying to prevent,
just to defer, so as to discuss": Publishers have had their say now (and
they just keep saying the same thing over and over, with no new evidence)
since the 1999 Varmus proposal, since the 2003 UK Select Committee
Call, the 2003 NIH Call, and now the RCUK Call. This is a filibuster,
not information exchange, and I very much hope the RCUK will not allow
itself to be dragged into yet another round of it.

Nor will it do to try to trade off the experiments with OA publishing
by way of discharging the debt for actively fighting OA Self Archiving.
They're not the same, and they trade in different currency (gold and green).

And Delayed Access is no more Open Access than Paid Access is. Research
is funded and conducted and reported in order to be used, immediately,
by all would-be users, including those who cannot afford paid access,
not in order to be embargoed from the latter -- for 3, 6, 12 months --
in order to allay publisher fears about "dire consequences" for which
there does not exist a shred of evidence.

> the research on OA journal publishing that we, AAAS and HighWire have
> commissioned from Kaufman WIlls Associates is absolutely rigorous.

I don't doubt it. Equally rigorous is all the research that wants to be
made accessible to all its would-be users, immediately after it has been
peer-reviewed and accepted for publication (and often even before). What
is urgently needed now is OA to all research -- not more research on OA
journal publishing, and more delay.

> What many of us are 'fighting', though, is any move which we think is
> logically likely to damage the business model we have got, before it has
> been satisfactorily established whether or not there is a better one!

Please carry on with researching your business model; and stay in
touch. But meanwhile, let the research community carry on with
self-archiving our own research output.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Aug 24 2005 - 13:39:30 BST

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