Re: On Whether A Viable Journal Should Convert to Green or Gold Today

From: FrederickFriend <>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 11:49:59 +0100

It is a sad reflection upon the current situation in scholarly publishing
when an author (assuming that Stevan's correspondent is an author) feels
that she or he cannot do what many authors want to do with their own work
and open it up to the world. The pressure to publish in high-impact factor
journals and the wish of funding bodies to protect those journals have
created a situation where the benefits of OA to research are only being
realised very slowly. The funding bodies are changing their policies, albeit
slowly. Some publishers now recognise the need to adapt to the new
environment and are looking for support to do so. And the protectionist
control that the big players in the publishing industry exercise over
research dissemination is weakening, despite the lobbying. Substantial
change will come when authors like Stevan's correspondent press for change
and retain the right to do what they want to do with their own work,
together with the realisation by universities and funding agencies that OA
is in their interests. Individual authors or individual institutions may
feel powerless to effect change but collective academic power can be very
powerful indeed.

Fred Friend
JISC Scholarly Communication Consultant
Honorary Director Scholarly Communication UCL

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stevan Harnad" <harnad_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 3:56 AM
Subject: On Whether A Viable Journal Should Convert to Green or Gold Today

> The following query has been anonymized:
>> Journal [JX] has a useful (but declining) revenue stream
>> for the hard copy version. At the moment authors have to wait for 1 year
>> before being permitted to put up their published papers on their own
>> website. I'd like to see JX go OA and was hoping that all the UK Research
>> Councils would insist on this for any papers published as a result of
>> public
>> money distributed in the form of research grants.
> At this point in time it makes much more sense for a journal like JX
> to (1) go Green on OA self-archiving than to convert to (2) OA Gold
> publishing.
> (1) Going Green means endorsing immediate author self-archiving (no
> embargo).
> (2) Going Gold means either
> (2a) making the entire online edition free for all and continuing
> to sell the hard copy edition for subscriptions, as now, or
> (2b) charging an extra fee per article to author-institutions for
> making that article free online (hybrid Gold "Open Choice"), or
> (2c) abandoning the subscription model and the hard copy edition
> entirely, and charging the author-institutions for publishing in
> the online (sole) edition.
> Going Green entails some possibility of risk to subscriptions, but that is
> unlikely to be significant -- it has not caused detectable cancellations
> for the other 62% of journals that are Green, including the physics
> journals
> that have been Green longest (over a decade) and some of whose contents
> have
> been 100% self-archived for years now.
> Going Gold via (2a) would be far riskier, and needlessly so, than going
> Green (1), because Green OA grows anarchically, article by article,
> whereas Gold OA is total and immediate for the journal.
> Going hybrid Gold via (2b) would essentially be to make a gratuitous
> extra author charge for self-archiving -- a highly retrogressive step
> (unless also coupled with going Green), while continuing to sell the
> hard copy edition for subscriptions.
> And (2c) would be to needlessly jettison the hard copy edition and
> subscription revenue for no particular reason.
> JX should go Green and then wait to see what happens. Green might
> eventually propel all journals to (2c), but it certainly won't do it to
> JX alone, nor soon. (Going Green (1) *and* hybrid Gold, (2b), is also a
> reasonable option, though you will not have many takers for optional Gold,
> with or without mandates, unless the fee is negligibly low.)
>> However, I'm told that EPSRC is holding out, for the moment, against OA
>> as
>> a result of protests from [Society SX] and [Society SY] that they'll
>> be in serious trouble if they lose the revenue stream from their hard
>> copy journals (but in the end this is going to happen anyway it seems
>> to me ...)
> It is not entirely clear why EPSRC is holding out against mandating
> Green OA. Whatever the reason, it's a bad and counterproductive one, for
> research, and if SX and/or SY are behind it, all three ought to be
> ashamed, and it ought to be exposed. In any case, I agree that Green
> OA is going to happen anyway.
>> Can you confirm that this is the case? Are EPSRC the only refuseniks?
>> What
>> about MRC?
> Five of the 7 UK research councils have already mandated Green OA
> (including the MRC). The only two holdouts are EPSRC and AHRC (and AHRC
> are considering adopting a Green OA mandate). EPSRC have instead decided
> to wait for the outcome of a long-term "study" of the impact of
> mandating Green. (Nonsense, of course, because the only way to study its
> effects is to mandate it.)
>> As you can imagine UK publicly-funded researchers who want to submit to
>> [JX] are more likely to be getting money from EPSRC than any other of
>> the Councils so this is the one I really need to know about.
> Sorry I don't know any more -- except that there is a chance that the UK
> universities may also mandate Green OA (as a few, such as Southampton
> and Brunel have already done). In that case, whether or not they are
> funded by EPSRC, UK authors will all have to self-archive, no matter
> what journal they publish in.
> And of course there is also the European ERC Green OA mandate, and
> the prospect of more, worldwide.
>> Any other insight(s) gratefully received.
> My suggestion: Urge JX to go Green (and, optionally, also hybrid/optional
> Gold, 2b) and leave it at that for now. Journal embargoes are in any case
> easily defeasible by ID/OA mandates (Immediate-Deposit, Optional-Access)
> paired with the "Fair Use" Button:
> Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed May 16 2007 - 13:10:58 BST

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