Re: Don't Just Advocate Keystrokes: Advocate Keystroke Mandates

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 21:31:32 +0000

On Wed, 28 Nov 2007, [identity deleted] wrote:

> You might perhaps want to directly address what we know publishers say.
> E.g.
> that OA threatens peer review and will lead to a collapse of the scholarly
> publishing system, and the failure of European businesses and jobs.
> Something like:
> "Publishers argue that xxx, but these claims are untrue and
> unsubstantiated
> because xxx."

(Responding to publishers' objectives pre-emptively is
time/space-consuming, but here's a stab; perhaps someone can compress
it too.)

OA self-archiving mandates generate "Green OA" -- i.e., free online
access to the final, peer-reviewed drafts of articles published in
all conventional, non-OA journals (immediate-OA to 70%,
almost-immediate-OA to the remaining 30%).

"Gold OA" is OA publishing, where the journal itself makes all its
articles OA (sometimes by charging the author/institution for peer

In objecting to OA mandates, publishers have repeatedly made four
objections, each of them untenable:

    (1) that mandating OA will destroy peer review

This is incorrect. Mandating OA means mandating Green OA self-archiving
of peer-reviewed journal articles by authors.

    (2) that mandating OA means imposing Gold OA publishing on publishers

This is incorrect. Mandating OA means mandating Green OA self-archiving
by authors, not Gold OA publishing by publishers. This may or may not
eventually lead to downsizing and conversion to Gold OA publishing
by publishers.

    (3) that mandating OA will reduce journal subscriptions

This may or may not prove true, but there is as yet no evidence for it:
Even in those areas where Green OA self-archiving reached 100% years ago
(parts of physics), publishers report that there has been no detectable
reduction in subscriptions as a result.

    (4) that mandating OA will destroy journal publishing

This is incorrect. Mandating OA guarantees OA for all peer-reviewed
journal articles. If and when Green OA should ever make journal
subscriptions unsustainable, then journals will downsize and convert
to Gold OA publishing in order to cover the costs of peer review,
and institutions will pay for the peer review of their researchers'
articles out of their subscription savings.

OA is a demonstrated, substantial benefit to research, researchers,
research institutions, research funders, the vast R&D industry and the
tax-paying public that is paying for the research and for whose benefit
the research is being conducted.

Mandating Green OA might or might not eventually cause a decline in
journal subscriptions. But even if it does, it should be borne in mind
that research is not being funded and conducted in order to support the
publishing industry's current revenue streams. Research is funded and
conducted in order to maximize research progress and impact.

OA maximizes research progress and impact. If it ever reduces publisher
subscription revenue, publishers can downsize and convert to Gold OA.
Continuing to restrict research access and impact costs Europe far,
far more than what downsizing and converting to Gold OA would cost the
publishing industry.

    Berners-Lee, T., De Roure, D., Harnad, S. and Shadbolt, N. (2005)
    Journal publishing and author self-archiving: Peaceful Co-Existence
    and Fruitful Collaboration.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Nov 28 2007 - 21:43:57 GMT

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