Re: When is a Journal Open Access?

From: peter murray-rust <pm286_at_CAM.AC.UK>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 23:26:28 +0000

At 21:25 01/12/2006, Stevan Harnad wrote:
>On Fri, 1 Dec 2006, Peter Murray-Rust wrote:

Thanks for the reply.

> > (a) Is Molbank an Open Access journal?
> > (b) If yes, who has made this decision? (b1) the publisher or (b2) DOAJ?
> > (c) Has DOAJ reviewed Molbank's license(s) and
> > other statements and deemed them to be compatible with its own criteria
> > (d) Does the DOAJ consider its declaration to be
> > equivalent to the BOAI? Do readers of this list?
> > If so, why are significant parts omitted and can
> > they now be explicitly replaced?
>The DOAJ definition of OA is better than the BOAI one (which contains
>too many unnecessary as well as redundant requirements).

If there are multiple definitions of Open Access it makes it
difficult to operate. For science we need an operational definition
of whether a given journal (sic) is Open Access or not. If all
members of this list feel that the BOAI definition (to which you are
a signatory :-) ) has unnecessary and redundant requirements, then
Open Access should be redefined.

Personally I feel the phrase "crawl them for indexing, pass them as
data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without
financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable
from gaining access to the internet itself. " is absolutely essential
for the definition of Open Access in a Scientific context. Unless I
am guaranteed this explicitly, then publishers will deny us access to
this right, whatever the journal (sic) is labelled.

I use the word journal as I need to be able to access and re-use tens
of thousands or articles automatically. That has to be done on the
assumption that either (a) all "OA" articles (sic) have a
machine-readable contract online (or else how do we know they are
OA?) or (b) are published in journals that assert that all their
articles (sic) are Open Access. As an example I can take the
statement from the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry:

  Articles with this logo are immediately and permanently available
online. Unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium
is permitted, provided the article is properly cited. See our
<>open access charter.

Anyone is free:
    * to copy, distribute, and display the work;
    * to make derivative works;
    * to make commercial use of the work;

Under the following conditions: Attribution
    * the original author must be given credit;
    * for any reuse or distribution, it must be made clear to others
what the license terms of this work are;
    * any of these conditions can be waived if the authors gives permission.
to give me the rights that I and my robots need to access and re-use
any article in the journal. Conversely I take the statement from
Molbank to mean I have almost none of these rights.

Statutory fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above.


>The best definition of an OA article (sic) is one whose full text is
>free online
>immediately and permanently upon publication.


This is useful. I assume that by "free" you mean that the reader
and/or their institution do not have to pay, not that any rights are
transferred to the reader.

> The rest comes with the
>(free online) territory and does not even need to be specified. No
>special extra license needed.
>And it is a mistake to conflate article
>archiving and its needs with data archiving and its needs.

I have not conflated anything. I have asked a simple question - is a
particular journal "Open Access"?

If I understand your position an article is Open Access if a human
can access and read it without payment and in perpetuity even if it
is accompanied by the following statement:

"users are NOT permitted to copy, NOR to distribute, NOR to search,
NOR to link to the full texts of these articles, NOR to crawl them
for indexing, NOR to pass them as data to software, NOR to use them
for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical
barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the
internet itself. The authors MAY NOT retain copyright of this work"

If this is your position, then we understand each other and can make
useful progress. I assume that you would argue that since we can read
Molbank it is Open Access.

However if some authorities take your definition of Open Access as
definitive and others take BOAI then it possible there may some
confusion in future.


Peter Murray-Rust
Unilever Centre for Molecular Sciences Informatics
University of Cambridge,
Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK
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Received on Sat Dec 02 2006 - 00:36:46 GMT

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