Re: When is a Journal Open Access?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2006 18:06:38 +0000

On Sat, 2 Dec 2006, peter murray-rust wrote:

> ...with my group yesterday. We agreed that we would deposit the
> final version of all manuscripts before publication in our
> archive/repository. These would then be made public at the
> appropriate stage (probably final acceptance). We note, however, that
> this is the pre-review manuscript in most of our discipline.

The earlier the deposit the better; the earlier the OA access-setting,
the better.

Pre-peer-review preprints are of course also useful and welcome, but the
specific target of OA is the final, peer-reviewed, accepted draft.

That is the postprint. That is what should be deposited immediately upon
acceptance; and it is access to *that* that should be set as OA as soon as
possible (with the EMAIL EPRINT button tiding over users in the interim).

> It was interesting to note that at the recent Digital Curation
> Conference the reasons for loss of pre-review manuscripts (quite a
> high percentage) were reviewed (I'll expand on this in my blog).
> These included (a) crash of machine (b) forgetting where it was (c)
> another author took responsibility (d) author moved institution (e)
> another institution managed the submission and so on. All of these
> have happened to me. So from a purely utilitarian point of view
> self-archiving will be very valuable to us.

The optimal locus for all self-archiving -- of preprints, postprints,
and even post-publication updates and revisions -- is the author's own
Institutional Repository (IR):

An institutional self-archiving policy will take care of any
uncertainties about who needs to do what, when, and where.

> Finally I shall be retrospectively active in self-archiving of Closed
> Access articles. To be fair it has not been easy to self-archive CA
> up till now as the escrow facility was not originally in place. It
> meant that you had to keep the final pre-review manuscript somewhere
> and then, at the time the paper appeared, self-archive. Since in some
> cases not only did I not know when the article appeared but was
> actually forbidden to read it (as the University had no online
> subscription) it was sufficiently tedious that it didn't get done.

The EPrints software -- which any individual, department, or institution can
download for free, and any unix-capable sysad can set up in a half a day --
has had the Closed Access (CA) option since it was first released in 2000:

So I won't take ignorance as an excuse! But, being a benign
archivangelist, I am quite happy with repentance -- if backed up by
tachydactylographic evidence of sincerity and contrition: Do the few
keystrokes it takes to atone for all past sins of omission:

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

And upgrade to GNU EPrints v3 (release date Dec 8). It can do anything the
other IR softwares can do, but there is absolutely nothing else that is
as well as adapted, customised and dedicated to OA self-archiving.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sat Dec 02 2006 - 18:11:49 GMT

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