Re: Definition of Open Access

From: Velterop, Jan Springer UK <Jan.Velterop_at_SPRINGER.COM>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 14:35:23 +0200

What I recall is not that we coined the term open access, since we
already used it at BioMed Central and others at the Budapest meeting
were clearly already familiar with it before, but we did give it a clear


-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
Sent: 30 June 2006 13:13
Subject: Re: Definition of Open Access

Dear Matt,

I certainly don't want to compete for priority for such a banal thing as
the name coined to designate toll-free online access, but I am surprised
by your suggestion that PLoS or BMC had coined OA before BOAI! Jan
Velterop of BMC and Mike Eisen of PLoS were there at the Budapest
meeting in December 2001, and part of the drafting group that coined the
term "Open Access" in the December-February drafting period, but I don't
recall any suggestion that the term already existed and was in use.
(That doesn't mean it wasn't, of course; indeed, it's almost certain
that others -- including electricity grid and telephone companies, had
been using "open access" in other senses before.)

I have checked my archive of the drafting of the BOAI, and I note that
Peter already used the term "Open access" in his first draft of December
6 2001,
4 days after the Budapest meeting. I also vaguely remember that we
deliberately chose "Open Access Initiative" in order to resonate with
the "Open Archives Initiative," which had already generated the
all-important OAI metadata harvesting protocol, and the very notion of
interoperable "Open Archives" that, along with the Internet itself, is
what made OA possible.

There is also an archive of the moment when the Open Archives Initiative
first settled on "Open Archives" (in place of "UPS") in 1999 (the term
was coined by Herbert van de Sompel).

Peter: Do you have a better recollection of how we settled on OA, and
Was it perhaps during the Budapest meeting itself? (Perhaps Jan and Mike
can recall?)

It's probably of some (minor) historic interest how "OA" came to be
called OA.

Chrs, Stevan

On Fri, 30 Jun 2006, Matthew Cockerill wrote:

> The Budapest meeting no doubt helped the term 'open access' to achieve

> wide currency, and provided a definition for it.
> But, for what it's worth, the Internet Archive confirms that the term
> open access was already being used in early 2001 by BioMed Central
> (amongst others?) to describe:
> (a) journals
> 1472-2091/1/2
> (b) PubMed Central
> whatis.asp
> I'm with Humpty Dumpty on this one though:
> Matt
> On 30 Jun 2006, at 0:15, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> > Rick Anderson is unhappy with "my" definition of OA:
> >
> >
> >>>>> SH:
> >>>>> OA means free online access to published, peer-reviewed journal
> >>>>> articles.
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> RA:
> >>>> No, Stevan, that's _your_ definition of OA. It is by no means
> >>>> the only one.
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>> SH:
> >>> No, Rick, that's the BOAI definition, and that was where the word
> >>> OA was coined:
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >> RA:
> >> Actually, the Barcelona definition departs significantly from
> >> Stevan's.
> >> It does not require content to be either peer-reviewed or formally
> >> published in order for it to be considered OA, nor does it share
> >> Stevan's narrow focus on self-archiving. More significantly, the
> >> BOAI definition is itself not the only one.
> >>
> >
> > To repeat, the term "Open Access" was introduced into the language
> > between December 2001 and February 2002 by the co-drafters of the
> > Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) (Peter Suber, principal
> > drafter).
> >
> > Language being what it is, once coined, the term was of course free
> > to take on any other meaning anyone wished to assign to it, but
> > there is much to be said for the co-drafters' original intention and

> > initiative: It was, after all, what launched the Open Access
> > movement.
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Received on Fri Jun 30 2006 - 14:14:58 BST

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