Re: European Commission recommends Open Access archiving of publicly-funded research

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 13:25:11 +0100


> European Commission "Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of
> the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe" policy recommendation:
> agencies have a central role in determining researchers' publishing
> practices. Following the lead of the NIH and other institutions,
> they should promote and support the archiving of publications in open
> repositories, after a (possibly domain-specific) time period to be
> discussed with publishers. This archiving could become a condition for
> funding. The following actions could be taken at the European level:
> (i) Establish a Europea policy mandating published articles arising
> from EC-funded research to be available after a given time period
> in open access archives, and (ii) Explore with Member States and
> with European research and academic associations whether and how
> such policies and open repositories could be implemented.

The press is picking up on this, but, as usual, it's focussing on the
(pseudo-)sensational and completely missing the point:

The point is that the EC too -- along with the UK Select Committee,
the RCUK, Berlin 3, the Wellcome Trust and NIH (among others) -- is
moving toward the (inevitable, optimal) decision to mandate Open
Access Self-Archiving in order to maximise research access and
impact. A splendid thing, and a long overdue boost to research,
researchers, and the tax-payers who support them.

But what are the newspapers going on and on about? Publishing, journal
prices, and supposed threats to big, bad Reed-Elsevier and others!
Utter nonsense and a foolish, distracting, time-wasting side-show.

Research publishing and author author self-archiving of published
research will of course co-exist peacefully. But I suppose that this
sort of empty sensationalism is the inevitable accompaniment of every
event and pseudo-event in our opine-media age...

(In reality, Reed Elsevier and most of the other major publishers are
being progressive and constructive on self-archiving, with 93% of the
top 9000 journals having already given it their blessing: )

But look what the press is instead prattling about:

    Guardian Unlimited, UK -
    "The move by the European commission to free up access to scientific
    research is the latest challenge posed by the internet to the way
    Reed Elsevier does...",,1756428,00.html

    Guardian Unlimited, UK
    "Scientific research funded by the European taxpayer should be freely
    available to everyone over the internet, according to a European
    commission report...",,1756426,00.html

    Hindu, India - London,
    April 19 (GUARDIAN NEWS SERVICE): "Scientific research funded by the
    European taxpayer should be freely available to everyone over the
    internet ... "


                like moths and drunks,
                seem attracted,
                where the light
                shines, not
                where the key lies"
                István Hesslein

But the EC itself is in part to blame, because it too goes on and on and
on about irrelevancies that are not under its control (and shouldn't be),
such as publishers' economic models and authors' choice of journals.
This sort of empty ideological venting also accounted for most of the
needlessly bloated verbiage of the UK Select Committee's, RCUK's, Berlin
Declaration's, Wellcome Trust's and NIH's policy proposals and statements,
but most of those at least contained the all-important self-archiving
mandate (which is all they really needed to have said, along with why
and how to implement it).

And the EC repeats the major flaw of the the NIH policy, which is
to build in a delay, instead of mandating immediate deposit and restricting
any delay only to the access-setting. (Meanwhile the visible
bibliographic metada would allow users to request and authors to send
the full eprint by email during any delay period.)

    Perinent Prior AmSci Topic Thread:
    "The UK report, press coverage, and the Green and Gold Roads to
    Open Access" (started Jul 2004)
Received on Wed Apr 19 2006 - 13:54:55 BST

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