Re: Green OA is no threat to grants: Only Gold OA, today, might be

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 17:35:46 +0000

On Tue, 30 Jan 2007, Prof. Tom Wilson wrote:

> Perhaps I did not express myself clearly. I support self-archiving - which is,
> by the way, a publication model (to 'publish' is to make publicly available),
> albeit a somewhat informal one.

But we are researchers and academics. And for research and academic purposes, it is
articles accepted for publication by peer-reviewed journals that we list under
"PUBLICATIONS" in our CVs, not preprints that we have merely posted on the Web: Those
we list under "UNPUBLISHED."

Nor do we list the posting of a published postptint on the web as yet another
publication. It is merely access-provision, just as mailing reprints is.

So, I repeat, self-archiving is not a form of publication, nor a publication model: It
is a(nother) way of providing access to one's published (and unpublished work): Open
Access (OA).

> I fully support mandating, etc., although I am
> dubious about the ultimate success of top-down urgings from any authority.

To settle doubts, please consult first the results of the (repeatedly confirmed)
author surveys, which (correctly) predicted 95% compliance with self-archiving
mandates. Then consult the actual data on the compliance rates with actual
self-archiving mandates, which fully confirm the survey results:

        Swan, A. (2006) The culture of Open Access: researchers'
        views and responses, in Jacobs, N., Eds. Open Access: Key
        Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects, chapter 7. Chandos.

        Sale, A. The Impact of Mandatory Policies on
        ETD Acquisition. D-Lib Magazine April 2006,

        Sale, A. Comparison of content policies for institutional
        repositories in Australia. First Monday, 11(4), April 2006.

        Sale, A. The acquisition of open access research
        articles. First Monday, 11(9), October 2006.

        Sale, A. (2007) The Patchwork Mandate
        D-Lib Magazine 13 1/2 January/February

        Harnad, S., Carr, L., Brody, T. & Oppenheim, C. (2003) Mandated
        online RAE CVs Linked to University Eprint Archives: Improving
        the UK Research Assessment Exercise whilst making it cheaper and
        easier. Ariadne 35 (April 2003).

> My argument is not about archiving vs. OA journals but about the difference
> between author-payment journals (which is still toll-levying and, therefore,
> not true OA) and no-payment journals, subsidized and collaboratively produced
> by the scientific community. The community will continue to be held to ransom
> by an increasingly oligarchic publishing industry until no-payment journals
> become a serious economic threat to its existence.

Being held to ransom to journal prices in a world where 100% of published
articles have been "freed" by OA self-archiving mandates does not seem
too worrying a prospect! Yes, journals will still be subscribed to,
within the limits of affordability, as before, but is it not evident
that journal affordability will no longer be a life/death decision,
once there is the safety net of the author's self-archived postprints
for the articles in the journals that are unaffordable?

> Just as there has been a strong technological rationale for self-archiving since
> the emergence of the World Wide Web, so that same technological rationale
> exists for no-payment journals.

But self-archiving depends only on the author (and his university and funder), and is
motivated by interest in maximising research impact. Conversion to OA publishing depends
on the publisher; it is not in the author's hands, as self-archiving is.

> But archiving assumes the existence of a
> publishing system as a quality control mechanism for publications:

Of course. To repeat: Self-archiving is not self-publishing: It is the provision of Open
Access to an author's own published articles.

> with properly peer-reviewed no-payment journals, self-archiving of papers published
> in such journals would become unnecessary, since the papers would be freely
> available in any case.

Yes, if there *were* such no-payment journals for all or most of the
research literature. But there aren't, so why are we talking about
hypothetical possibilities, when actual self-archiving mandates are already
within sight, and reach?

> A small point - there is no behavioural change in submitting to OA journals: the
> same actions must be engaged in as when submitting to toll-journals.

Indeed. But the no-payment OA journals must exist, in sufficient quality and quantity.
Today, they do not.

> By all means mandate self-archiving and encourage it as much as possible, but it
> is only a half-way house to the genuine open access system.

I don't know what a "genuine open access system" means, but self-archiving
mandates have already been shown to lead to full, genuine OA.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Jan 30 2007 - 17:50:11 GMT

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