Re: Journal embargo periods

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2007 15:45:24 +0100

It is precisely in order to moot this endless and pointless preoccupation
with individual journals' permissions and embargo policies that I
urge everyone to forget about permissions and embargos and adopt the
Immediate Deposit (ID/OA) mandate and practise.

That means always depositing the author's final peer-reviewed draft in
the author's own Institutional Repository, immediately upon acceptance
for publication. Journal publisher policy is completely *irrelevant*
to the timing of that deposit. If publisher policy has any bearing on
anything at all, it is only on the date that the access to that deposit
is set as Open Access rather than Closed Access.

So let all concern with and discussion of publisher embargoes be
transfered, please, to the date of OA-setting, not the date of deposit
itself, which should be immediate. And meanwhile, while continuing to
debate OA embargo lengths, please, authors, deposit immediately, and
funders and institutions, please, mandate immediate deposit.

An embargo and its length are of the most minor importance. Please
don't allow misplaced focus on embargos to delay or displace what is
really urgent, and immediately reachable, which is to ensure that all
articles are immediately deposited in each author's own IR. The rest,
I promise, will all take care of itself (propelled by the palpable
global benefits of OA and, where necessary, by the interim mediation of
each IR's Fair Use Button ["REQUEST EMAIL EPRINT"], which will provide
almost-OA semi-automatically and almost immediately for all would-be
users during any embargo interval).

So keep working to minimise or eliminate embargos, to be sure, but first
make sure immediate deposit is mandated, and done!

Historians will confirm that the only thing that has been standing between
us and 100% OA for years now is KEYSTROKES (not permissions, embargos,
copyright, pricing, or journal economic models). Mandate the keystrokes
and 100% OA will follow soon after. Keep fussing instead about embargos,
without first ensuring that the immediate-deposit keystrokes get done
by everyone, and 100% OA will continue eluding us for years to come.


Stevan Harnad

On Wed, 11 Apr 2007, J.F.B.Rowland wrote:

> Without wishing to defend this particular case, I feel I should point out
> that there needs to be some sort of relationship between the length of the
> embargo period and the frequency of publication of the journal. A journal
> published only twice a year which had an embargo period of six months would
> have only one issue under embargo at any time; a weekly with a six-month
> embargo would have 26 issues protected. Publishers of quarterlies typically
> want a minimum of a year's embargo.
> Fytton Rowland, Loughborough University
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Andrew A. Adams" <A.A.Adams_at_READING.AC.UK>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 6:54 AM
> Subject: Journal embargo periods.
> > While looking at the Journal of Legal Studies for possible submission, I
> > noted the University of Chicago Press is green for its journals. It allows
> > non-commercial deposit, specifically including institutional repository
> > deposit. There is an interesting element in it's embargo period:
> >
> >
> > ...
> > Can I include my published paper in an official institutional repository?
> >
> > You may place your published paper in a non-commercial data repository
> > maintained by an institution of which you are a member, provided that all
> > relevant conditions described in this FAQ and on the journal's home page
> > are
> > met. Your paper may be made publicly available after the appropriate
> > embargo
> > period* has been observed. You are responsible for informing the manager
> > of
> > the institutional repository of the embargo period that must be observed.
> >
> > *Embargo periods are as follows: American Journal of Human Genetics: 6
> > months; Astrophysical Journal and Supplement Series, Astronomical Journal,
> > Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific: 3 years; all
> > other
> > journals: 12 months.
> > ...
> >
> > As has been stated here many times, ID/OA with an embargo period is the
> > minimum "green policy" and allows the eprint capability to produce
> > more-or-less OA even within the embargo.
> >
> > The reason I think this is of interest to the community here is the length
> > of
> > the embargo period for the three astronomy/astrophysics journals. Has
> > anyone
> > else come across a THREE YEAR embargo period before?
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > *E-mail********* Dr Andrew A Adams
> > **snail*27 Westerham Walk********** School of Systems Engineering
> > ***mail*Reading RG2 0BA, UK******** The University of Reading
> > ****Tel*+44-118-378-6997*********** Reading, United Kingdom
> > ****
> >
Received on Wed Apr 11 2007 - 18:41:58 BST

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