Re: OA and Academic Freedom

From: Arthur Sale <>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 12:08:44 +1100



The problem is in your formulation of the policy, as Stevan Harnad
correctly identifies. As you describe it, the policy is badly drafted and
has caused this confusion. Let me tease this out:


 1. Researchers have an unfettered right to publish wherever they like,
    as they always have. That disposes completely of the prescribed
    doctrine sentence and argument. It also disposes of the
    self-exemption clause..


 1. Athabasca encourages (but no more) publication in Open Access
    journals, of which many researchers are unaware. This is because Open
    Access journals do a better job of dissemination, and an equally good
    job at quality control (there are comparable big quality spreads in
    both OA and toll-access journals). There is no compulsion.


 1. Athabasca requires that every researcher deposit their own manuscript
    of the research paper (as elsewhere accepted for publication) in the
    repository as soon as possible after acceptance. This is not
    publication, and it remains a requirement without regard to the
    particular publisher. The contract with the publisher only determines
    whether the article is restricted (lives in the repository as a
    record of the University&#8217;s research but is not accessible
    online by searchers) or open access (accessible online by searchers).
    The University is capable of making this decision by reference to
    databases of journal policies, or the academic can pre-choose it on
    the basis of the contract they signed.


End of story. No problem, no quarrels, no reason why not.


I wouldn&#8217;t attempt to refute your academic. I think that he is
right, since the policy you have described conflates publishing (OA
journals) with non-publishing (self-archiving). Any lawyer would have a
field day. Change the policy formulation, even at this stage.


For more information see AuseAccess


PS Of the clauses above, (2) is optional if it still causes problems. My
guess is that Athabasca would encourage faculty to publish in Nature,
Science, New England Journal of Medicine, etc, but it isn&#8217;t written
down policy. Clauses (1) and (3) are not negotiable.


Best wishes with the policy &#8211; you are nearly there! Let me (or the
list) know how it goes.


Arthur Sale

Professor of Computing (Research)

University of Tasmania



From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Terry Anderson
Sent: Monday, 13 March 2006 08:15



I am new to this list and am seeking some advice. My apologies if this
issue has been discussed previously.


At Athabasca University we are in a debate to have our Academic Council
(senate) approve a strong OA requirement. It prescribes publishing in
either or both of OA Journals or self archiving through our University
repository. In the policy we allow an individual faculty member to exempt
themselves from the requirement if they have negotiated with publishers
and feel there is no alternative but to publish in a restrictive journal
or monograph.


We have been challenged by an opponent of this proposal who quotes the
collective agreement with our faculty that states:

 "Members of the university community are entitled, regardless of
prescribed doctrine, to freedom in carrying out research and in
publishing the results thereof..."


He is arguing that requiring faculty to publish formal research in one of
the two OA ways above is &#8220; a prescribed doctrine&#8221; and forcing
faculty to adhere (even with the self-exemption clause) infringes their
academic freedom.


I would be grateful for any arguments I could use to refute this


Terry Anderson


Terry Anderson, Ph.D.

Editor, International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Distance Education

Athabasca University

#1200 10011 109 St

Edmonton AB Canada  T5J3S8

Ph. 780 497-3421          Fax 780 497-3416

Received on Tue Mar 14 2006 - 03:43:34 GMT

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