Pitting Petitions Against Pit-Bulls: Sense Versus Sensationalism

From: Velterop, Jan, Springer UK <Jan.Velterop_at_SPRINGER.COM>
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2007 15:58:29 +0100

(1) The "open access movement" is not the "open access journal movement",
but that doesn't mean there isn't something that can be described as an
"open access journal movement" among publishers and editors (a growing
number of sensible ones offering 'Gold' open access);

(2) At least one of the two 'Gold' publishing organisations (BMC) came
*before* the BOAI and both BMC and PLoS were constituents of the BOAI
(PLoS was not yet a publisher, but an open access advocacy group before
the BOAI and arguably started the whole movement off);

(3) The need for access to medical literature and in developing countries
is not "just" a small portion of the need for OA, but an important
portion, especially given the fact that a very high proportion of
scientific research is medical, relevant to the entire world population
(not just scientists and medics) and intellectually accessible to a
rather wide range of well-educated people (again, not just scientists and
medics), and a very low proportion of any research reaches developing

Jan Velterop

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Stevan Harnad
Sent: Sat 2/10/2007 1:39 PM
Subject: Sense Versus Sensationalism: Pitting Petitions Against Pit-Bulls

    Sense Versus Sensationalism: Pitting Petitions Against Pit-Bulls

    A CRITIQUE OF: Goldacre, Ben (2007) Open access and the price of
    knowledge. "Badscience.net" The Guardian, Saturday February 10, 2007

            like moths and drunks,
            seem attracted,
            where the light
            shines, not
            where the key lies"

(1) The Open Access movement is not the "Open Access Journal movement."
Converting non-OA journals to OA journals is only one of the two ways to
make articles OA ("Gold OA"), and the slower, more resistant way. The
faster, surer way is to convert authors to depositing their own articles
(published in non-OA journals) on the web to make them OA ("Green OA").

It is Green OA that can and will be required by researchers' funding
councils and employers (universities). The research community has just
signed a petition in support of the European Community's proposal to
mandate Green OA (20,000 individuals, 1000 institutions):

Similar movements are afoot in the US:

(2) It is not "two [Gold] OA publishing organisations" that have led the
fight for (Gold) OA, but one (Green and Gold) organisation, the one that
first coined the term OA in 2002: The Budapest Open Access Initiative:

(3) The need for access to "medical literature", and in "developing
countries" is just a small portion of the need for OA, which concerns
all forms of research, and researchers all over the world.

(4) The primary need for OA is to make research (most of it specialised
and technical) freely available not only to "part-time tinkering
thinkers, journalists and the public" but to the researchers worldwide
for whom it was written and who can use and apply it to the benefit of
the public that paid for it.

(5) To demonize non-OA publisher Reed-Elsevier as the "sponsor of the
DSEI international arms fair [that] needs police, security, wire fences,
and the pitbull of PR [Dezenhall] to defend it" is to sink into the very
same pit-bull tactics.  Reed-Elsevier journals are Green on OA: It is
research funders and universities that now need to mandate Green OA:

Journalists and tinkerers should think more carefully before opining
about OA: Good science needs more sense, not more sensationalism.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Received on Sun Feb 11 2007 - 01:40:21 GMT

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