Re: Paper: Digital goods and the concept of the commons, By Sabine Nuss

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 20:47:09 +0000

On Sun, 13 Nov 2005 Imre Simon wrote:

> we need to address the copyright issues of scientific papers
> before we can establish the utopian libraries I referred to. And then
> (and only then) will we be ready to tackle the open access problem.

The problem is not utopian libraries, it is research access and
impact. And we have been ready (and able) to tackle this open access
problem for well over a decade now. The proof (yes, proof!) of this is
all those articles that have already been successfully self-archived by
their authors to date (15%). The problem is the 85% that have not.

Copyright is not and has never has been the obstacle, but for those who
do not see that clearly already (as the 15% of researchers overall, and
especially the larger concentration of them among computer scientists,
physicists and mathematicians have seen already), over 90% of journals
have now given their official green light to self-archiving.

So the suggestion that we need to address "copyright issues" before
we can "tackle the open access problem" is simply incorrect.

The only real problem is a keystroke inertia problem: Sluggish researchers
need to be induced to do (or delegate) the few keystrokes that stand
between us all and 100% OA. That is the problem the Research Councils UK
self-archiving mandate is proposing to solve; and that (not copyright
or utopian libraries) is what the research community worldwide should
be addressing too, without further needless delay or distraction:

    RCUK Position Statement on Access to Research Outputs

    Keystroke Economy: A Study of the Time and Effort Involved in

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sun Nov 13 2005 - 20:55:54 GMT

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