Published vs. Unpublished Research

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 16:25:24 +0000

The primary, announced target of the OA movement since the outset has been
articles published in peer reviewed journals, and the goal has been to make
them freely accessible to all potential users, webwide.

Universities encourage their researchers to publish (or perish). Academic
CVs for performance review list a researcher's publications. (They often
also contain a category "unpublished works".) If anyone has any doubt
about the academic meaning of "publication" try listing a text that
you have merely posted to the web as a "publication" (rather than an
"unpublished work).

The difference (for OA and academic purposes) between publishing and
access-provision (to both published and unpublished work) is, it seems to
me, crystal clear (whether the access-provision is done by distributing
paper journals or paper reprints, by licensing electronic journals,
by emailing eprints, or posting eprints on the web).

One might have other ideas about what should be given academic credit (I
certainly do). But those are hypotheses or hopes about the future course
that universities might or might not take. They have nothing to do with OA
(though OA may one day help facilitate them).

There are two ways to reach 100% OA. One ("BOAI-2," "gold") is to reform
publishing, by converting to OA publishing. This is mostly in the hands
of publishers, though researchers can encourage it too, by publishing in
OA journals, increasing their demand for OA journals, and diverting research
funds and/or library cancellation savings toward paying OA publishing costs.

The other way ("BOAI-1," "green") is by self-archiving articles published
in non-OA journals. This, researchers and their institutions can do entirely
for themselves.

BOAI-2 is publishing reform. BOAI-1 is not (though it might possibly
lead to it).

Although I was one of the first to propose and advocate BOAI-2/gold
publishing reform earlier on, I could not help noticing after a time
that it was the more exciting but also the slower and more uncertain way
to 100% OA and that it often got in the way of the faster, certain way,
specifically by giving still largely uninformed researchers and their
employers and funders the wrong impression that OA *is* publishing
reform, rather than what it really is: 100% free online access (to
published journal articles, in the first instance), which they can do
for themselves, without waiting for publishing reform.

A university is in a position to do the doable. In OA space, researchers
and their institutions are the primary content-providers. They provide
the content to their publishers, who then provide it to those who
can afford access. Universities can supplement this by providing OA
directly, through self-archiving.

As they have with many others, in the case of the University of
California, the two OA wires, green and gold, have gotten crossed, to
the great disadvantage of green, and hence of OA. The other two wires
that have gotten crossed at UC are the university as the primary content
provider and the university as publisher.

It would be good to got the wires uncrossed, for the sake of OA.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Thu Jan 19 2006 - 16:29:57 GMT

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