Suggested Action to promote OA: Reviewing boycott

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2007 17:44:33 +0100

      (Posted with permission)

Guillaume Chapron wrote:

> I've just started an assistant professor position. I got recently a
> paper accepted, and the conditions are as followed:
> - Submitted version: You may post the original manuscript of the
> Article, as *submitted* for publication in the Journal, on your own
> personal website (...)
> - Accepted version: *12 months after publication* you may post the
> original manuscript of the Article, as originally submitted for
> publication in the Journal, and *updated to include any amendments made
> after peer review*, on your own personal website (...)
> - Please note that you are *not permitted to post the Blackwell
> Publishing PDF* version of the Article online.
> At the same time, I get call for reviewing more ms. So Blackwell
> Publishing (and others) have me working for free as an author and as a
> reviewer, they get money by charging people who want to access my work,
> and prevents me to distribute my work that has been validated by the
> scientific community. I think that academics are supposedly critically
> minded enough to understand that's not fair.
> I would like to know if there has been an attempt to stop reviewing ms
> until the publisher makes a significant move toward OA.
> Scientists should realize that they have a big stick with the reviewing
> process. Publishers can't do anything without it. Why not put the
> pressure until they change ?
> --
> Guillaume Chapron, PhD
> Assistant Professor
> Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

You are absolutely right in every point you make. Twenty-nine percent
of journals are "pale-green" on author self-archiving, and Blackwell
is one of the publishers in that category: They give their formal
blessing -- superfluous, because it is permissible anyway -- for
their authors to self-archive the submitted preprint immediately, but
they request an embargo on the refereed final draft (postprint) for
12 months. (Sixty-two percent of journals are "full-green," endorsing
immediate OA self-archiving of the refereed postprint -- the publisher's
PDF is definitely not needed for OA -- and a further 9% of journals are
gray, not endorsing any self--archiving at all, or only after an embargo.)

Yes, the policy of the 29% pale-greens and the 9% grays is deplorable, but
it is a losing position, and victory is entirely within the reach of the
research community, if they but grasp it: Universities and funders need
merely mandate deposit of all postprints, without exception, immediately
upon acceptance for publication (the IDOA mandate). The green 62% of
deposits can be made immediately OA and the embargoed 38% can be made
"Closed Access" (only the reference metadata are visible on the web),
but the Institutional Repository's (IR's) semi-automatic "Email Eprint
Request" Button (the "Fair-Use" Button) can provide almost-immediate,
almost-OA during the embargo, until the overall OA pressure makes all
embargoes die their inevitable and well-deserved death.

So, for now, I make three recommendations to you:

(1) SLU already has four EPrints Epsilon IRs (3 for theses and one demo
which I
hope will soon be the SLU postprint IR). You should encourage SLU to launch
research postprint IR as soon as possible.

(2) You should urge the SLU rectorate to adopt an IDOA mandate as soon as
possible too. Three Swedish institutions have registered OA policies, but
has yet adopted a self-archiving mandate. SLU could lead:

(3) For the unrefereed preprints that you make immediately OA (as per
pale-green policy, or even the gray ones), you can always append another
that lists all corrigenda, making them immediately equivalent to the
though somewhat inconveniently. You can mention in the corrigenda file that
reader need merely use the Eprint Request Button in order to receive the
revised postprint.

Stevan Harnad

If you have adopted or plan to adopt a policy of providing Open Access
to your own research article output, please describe your policy at:

    BOAI-1 ("Green"): Publish your article in a suitable toll-access journal
    BOAI-2 ("Gold"): Publish your article in an open-access journal if/when
    a suitable one exists.
    in BOTH cases self-archive a supplementary version of your article
    in your own institutional repository.
Received on Thu Oct 11 2007 - 17:48:15 BST

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