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

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 21:18:12 +0100

[Identity deleted] wrote:

> Sorry to bother you again but it's been drawn to my attention that
> that [the publisher (PX) of Journal JX already has a hybrid-Gold
> "Open Choice" policy of selling OA as an option to the
> author-institution, by the article, for a fee, but PX otherwise
> embargoes author self-archiving for a year.]
> As far as I can see this is an attempt by [PX] to do experiments on what
> you call Optional Gold (2b) without at the same time allowing immediate
> Green self-archiving (1)
> I'd be glad of your opinions -- particularly about the fees PX proposes
> to charge for making papers instantly available online on an author's
> behalf.

I think the answer is already implicit in what I recommended below:
Optional Gold (2b) is *only* justified and welcome if the publisher's
policy is also Green on immediate author self-archiving (1) (i.e., should
the author elect not to opt for the Gold OA option). Otherwise, with
a self-archiving embargo, Optional Gold is a Trojan Horse, to be
rejected decisively:

As to the asking price for optional-Gold: this currently varies between
$500 and $3000 and tends to be reckoned by calculating the journal's
annual revenue and dividing it by the annual number of articles. A
self-serving figure, of course.

(If and when Green OA eventually causes subscriptions to become
unsustainable, it will not only release the institutional subscription
funds to be used instead to pay for Gold OA publishing charges, but
it will also drive those charges down to a fair and realistic price --
probably just the cost of implementing peer review. So Caveat

Stevan Harnad

On Wed, 16 May 2007, Stevan Harnad wrote:

> 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 - 23:08:55 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:48:55 GMT