Re: When is a Journal Open Access?

From: peter murray-rust <pm286_at_CAM.AC.UK>
Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 23:58:55 +0000

Thank you very much Matt,
This coincides largely with my own understanding. A few comments...

At 18:19 03/12/2006, Matthew Cockerill wrote:
>Hi Peter,
>We need to recognize that there is a spectrum of opinion as to what
>is covered by the term open access, and the degree of importance to
>attach to different aspects of it.

I agree completely with this. Just as in Open Source (Software) and
Creative Commons Licenses there are gradations.


>Rather than expecting everyone to agree on a precise definition of
>open access, I think that as with open source software, there will
>continue to be different approaches with different emphasis.
>Is that such a bad thing?

It would appear to be unavoidable and therefore important to
formulate. I think it is only operable if there are a very small
number of different approaches, at least as far as the labels are
concerned. I can understand the small number of CC licenses, I can
understand the difference between GPL/LGPL/BSD/Artistic. We need no
more than a very few such divisions for OA or it will be impossible
for people to understand. A starting point is OA(SH) and
OA(SH)+CC(Attribution 2.5). I see no disadvantage in funders
requiring adoption of CC licenses as well as stating "Open Access".

>Matt Cockerill
>Publisher, BioMed Central

My growing understanding is therefore that:

It seems clear that "Open Access" is not sufficiently precise to be a
all-embracing label to require funders, authors, readers/users and
publishers to agree on procedures. It also seems that all SH's
concerns are encompassed in any operational practice of "Open Access"
but are not sufficient for many of the above people. One the other
hand we do not wish a plethora of different conditions for every
publisher or repository. So perhaps there are ways of describing one
or a very few additions to the OA(SH) definition to represent the
concerns that Matt (and I and many others) raise. I think it will be
important that these are promoted to funders, etc. to make it easy to
assess the rights and obligations.


Peter Murray-Rust
Unilever Centre for Molecular Sciences Informatics
University of Cambridge,
Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK
Received on Mon Dec 04 2006 - 12:38:05 GMT

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