Impressions from Brussels EC Meeting

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 07:52:09 +0000

My impressions of the Brussels EC Meeting

(1) The petition demonstrating the very broad-based support for the proposed EC
OA Self-Archiving mandate was presented to the EU Commissioner for Science and
Research, Janez Potocnik.

(2) The conference itself (which was organized before the petition) then
proceeded with its programme, heavily weighted toward publishing and publishers'
concerns rather than the access concerns of the research community.

(3) Predictably, most time and energy was spent on publishing revenues rather
than on research access and impact.

(4) Nevertheless, the overall impression (from the minority research and
researcher representation at the meeting) was that the relentless focus on
publishing finances was not their primary concern, Open Access was.

(5) The (rather bland) statement released at the meeting had also been drafted
before the meeting and the petition (and apparently with some involvement of
the publishers, as there was evidence that they had seen it in advance).

(6) But my impression was that the EU Commissioners, Directors-General and
Directors in attendance were favorable to OA and that concrete developments can
be expected as a result of the conference and the petition.

Researcher and industrial support for OA and OA Self-Archiving Mandates will
now be very vigorously consolidated.

Stevan Harnad

PS I think a bit of a storm is now brewing in the physics community over
the CERN initiative to promote a transition to Gold OA publishing. The
concern is that it will divert scarce funds from research. I think the
concern is warranted: that it is indeed premature to push toward gold OA
when most fields [including many parts of physics] don't yet have green
OA. CERN should work to generalise its own admirable and successful
green OA self-archiving mandate to the rest of the world, rather than
needlessly pressing for a transition to gold OA publishing at a time
then it is neither needed -- with publication funded by and potential
publication funds still tied up in subscription expenditures -- nor are
funds available to pay for gold OA without taking them from elsewhere,
most probably research. Gold fever also distracts from the pressing,
immediate basic need for OA itself, as well as from green OA's immediate
availability, at no cost. We need to stop fussing about publishing and
publishing costs, and focus on access, and providing it in the fastest
and surest way available: by mandating green OA self-archiving.
Received on Sat Feb 17 2007 - 09:13:53 GMT

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