Re: Forthcoming OA Developments in France

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 22:33:31 EDT

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 version.

     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
Received on Sat Jul 01 2006 - 03:51:21 BST

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