Open Access first, then, if/when necessary, Open Access Publication

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2006 14:00:55 +0100

Re: Butler, Declan (2006) Open-access journal hits rocky times.
    Nature 20 June 2006

I've posted this reply to Declan's Blog:

    Open Access First, Then, If/When Necessary,
    Conversion to Open Access Publication

    Stevan Harnad

The reason Open Access Journals are having trouble making ends meet is
quite obvious: The funds for paying author-institution publication costs
are already tied up in paying user-institution subscription costs.

Open Access (OA) itself is urgent, for research, researchers and the
public that funds the research, because every day without OA means
another day of needless loss in research usage and impact. But
conversion to OA publishing is not urgent, indeed it is premature, while
funds are already tied up in subscriptions.

What needs to be done now is for researchers? funders and institutions
to mandate OA self-archiving ? i.e., require their researchers to
deposit their published articles in their own OA Institutional
Repositories, for the sake of maximizing the uptake, usage and impact of
their research output.

If and when OA self-archiving should ever generate cancellation pressure
on institutional journal subscriptions, then, and only then, need there
be a conversion to OA Publishing. For then the institutional windfall
savings from the cancellation of incoming subscriptions will be
available to pay the costs of outgoing publications.

Right now, however, there is no sign of any cancellation pressure from
self-archiving, even in the fields that have been practising it the
longest (15 years in physics) and the subfields that already reached
100% OA some time ago. What is urgent now is to mandate OA

Stevan Harnad
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Received on Wed Jun 21 2006 - 14:15:57 BST

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