Re: The Geeks and the Irrational

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_Princeton.EDU>
Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2006 19:36:05 -0400

I encourage Stevan to take a more optimistic view of his
inimitable efforts.

None of us can now know whether

 "the spontaneous author uptake
rate for the "hybrid gold open access" option -- i.e., journals that
give authors a choice between either conventional subscription-based
publication or paying to make their own article open access --
significantly exceeds the spontaneous author uptake rate for "green
open access"
(I think it will depend on the continuing willingness
of funders to support it)

This, however, should not cause any of us to feel

"defeat and dismay, at having wasted a
decade and a half on trying to maximize the impact of human

Just the opposite. It from the beginning was recognized there were
many possible roads; it could not be predicted in advance which would prove successful,
 or how and when the change would occur.
It certainly could not be predicted what arguments would appeal to scientists or
administrators, or legislatures.

Nor could it be predicted what would not work. We all certainly knew the
general indifference of authors about everything that happened to their article
after it was accepted and published. None of us would have thought
it would be so profund, that it would be impossible to convince our own
university colleagues of the improvement.

Perhaps it was observer bias: we understood, and found it incredulous that others did
not see it the same way, once it was made known to them.

But the success of OA will be the effect of the cumulative arguments, the action of
all the interest groups, the repeated efforts, and particularly the diversity of plans proposed.
It may even be the case that a combination system may work: the different scientific
fields may best arrange in differently. It is already clear that the optimum solution for
physics will be very different from biomedicine, and psychology may be different from both.

I reword Stevan's conclusion slightly:
If Green OA makes for instabiliy, then Gold OA will be available. Those interested
primarily in Green should be glad of the provision. A few months ago we might reasonably
have doubted that the OA Journals would develop quickly enough, that the conventional journals
might cease before the new ones were matured. We may now have less doubt. That the
practical application of this should have come from the publishers is a reminder that
everyone benefits from OA: authors and readers, the scholars and the public, the
universities and the funers, the libraries and the publishers.

In the meanwhile, those who can not afford the publishers' OA continue to have the
responsibility to publish OA, preferably via an adequate repository.

David Goodman, Ph.D.

Bibliographer and Research Librarian
Princeton University Library

----- Original Message -----
From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Monday, September 4, 2006 4:34 pm
Subject: [AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM] The Geeks and the Irrational

> The Geeks and the Irrational
> (For the fully hyperlinked version of this posting, with figures see:
> )
Received on Tue Sep 05 2006 - 11:55:01 BST

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