Re: Forthcoming OA Developments in France

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 03:20:45 +0100

On Wed, 28 Jun 2006, Richard Feinman wrote:

> I don't understand self-archiving.

Please let me explain it to you: It is researchers making the final
refereed drafts of their own published articles freely accessible on the
web for those would-be users who cannot afford access to the publisher's

    Self-Archiving FAQ

> Isn't that another bizarre practice of having the author assume a task
> which should be done by the publisher.

Not in the least. The publisher implements the peer review, performs the
copy-editing, markup, composition, printing and distribution, in print
and on paper. In exchange, he receives subscription revenue. It is not
the publisher's task to provide access to those who cannot afford his
product. If the author wants those potential users to have access too,
he needs to provide it. But all it costs is a few minutes and keystrokes
per paper, and what it brings is substantially more usage and impact:

    Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2005) Keystroke Economy: A Study of the
    Time and Effort Involved in Self-Archiving.

    Bibliography of Findings on the Open Access Impact Advantage

> Does it not highlight the intent of publishers to reduce access to the
> author's article. Are they not saying: sure we'll publish it but if you
> want everybody to be able to read it you have to take care of that.

Nothing of the sort. The head-shaker is not that publishers won't do it for authors.
(It's more than enough if publishers simply give author self-archiving their green
light, as the publishers of 94% of journals already do -- and if they do not lobby
against research-funder self-archiving mandates.)

The real head-shaker is that, despite the substantial benefits to them, only 15% of
researchers self-archive spontaneously. This is why self-archiving mandates were
needed. Fortunately, the mandates are coming, at long last:

    Swan, A. (2005) Open access self-archiving: An Introduction. Technical
    Report, JISC.

    UK (RCUK):
    US (FRPAA):

Stevan Harnad

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UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional
policy of providing Open Access to your own research article output,
please describe your policy at:

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Received on Thu Jun 29 2006 - 03:46:46 BST

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