Re: Fwd: Publishers with Paid Options for Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 15:28:54 -0400

On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 12:03 PM, Peter Millington
<> wrote:

It is a pity that Prof. Harnad is only interested in "default"
and "sufficient" options, and not in the best options, or
indeed the most appropriate options.
While author's final post-refereed draft is sufficient and
acceptable for open access and research purposes, it is not the


OA is the best for research purposes. We don't yet have it. And it's
long overdue.

I'm not sure whose purposes the publisher's PDF is best for, but
whoever they are, their purposes are getting in the way of what is
best for research purposes

The best is the published version (publisher's PDF if you
will). At the very least, this is the authoritative version
vis-à-vis page numbers for quoted extracts and the like.

This issue has been much discussed in these pages: OA is needed
(urgently) for all those users who can't afford paid access to the
publisher's PDF. What these would-be users lack is access to the
text, not a means of quoting extracts. Extracts can be quoted by
paragraph number. Pages are on the way out anyway. What is urgently
needed is access to the text. Publishers are far more willing to
endorse self-archiving of the author postprint than the publisher's
proprietary PDF. Hence author postprint self-archiving is the default
option (if maximal OA, now, is the goal).

Also, it significantly expedites deposition to be able to use
the publisher's PDF rather than having to generate your own,
with all the complications that that may entail.


Significantly expedites deposition of what, where, by whom? I have
deposited nearly 300 of my papers in the Southampton ECS IR. It takes
me 1 keystroke and 1 second to generate PDF from TeX or to generate
PDF or HTML from RTF. What complications do you have in mind?

In my view, the publishers who permit the use of their PDFs
deserve to be applauded for their far-sightedness. Other
publishers should be encouraged to do likewise. 

The publishers to be applauded are the ones that are Green on
immediate OA deposit of the postprint, regardless of whether they
specify the author's postprint or the publisher's PDF. That's the
line separating who is and isn't on the side of the angels regarding
OA. The rest is trivial and irrelevant.

SHERPA therefore makes no apologies for having published our
"good list" -

SHERPA ROMEO could do a far, far greater service in informing authors
and institutions, and in promoting OA, if it at long last got rid of
all its superfluous categories and codes (yellow/preprint,
blue/postprint, green/preprint+postprint, white/neither, and now
"good"/PDF) and simply published a clear list of all the journals
that endorse postprint self-archiving, regardless of whether the
postprint is author-draft of publisher PDF and regardless of whether
they also happen to endorse unrefereed preprint self-archiving -- and
call that GREEN. 

That, after all, is what OA is all about, and for.

(Some may concur with Prof. Harnad in regarding the Paid OA
list - - as the "bad
list", but I couldn't possibly comment.)

The only thing authors need to know about these journals is that they
are GRAY (and perhaps also how long they embargo access-provision).

As for where material may be deposited, Prof. Harnad states
that permission to deposit in institutional
repositories should be the default, implying that this would
be sufficient. However, as before, institutional repositories
alone are not the best option. Surely the best policy must be
to be able to deposit in any open access repository -
institutional and/or disciplinary.

No, the best policy is to allow deposit in any OA repository and to
explicitly prefer IR deposit wherever possible. That is the way to
integrate institutional and funder OA mandates to generate a
convergence and synergy that will systematically cover all of OA
space quickly and completely.

In any case, SHERPA/RoMEO has no choice but to reflect/quote
the terminology for repository types used in the publishers'
open access policies, CTAs, and related documentation. These
are often wanting in clarity and are not always fully thought
through. If the publishers do better, it follows that
SHERPA/RoMEO's data will also improve.

Wouldn't it be nice, though, if SHERPA/ROMEO could lead publishers
toward clarity, rather than just following and amplifying their
obscurity (and their often deliberate obscurantism)? 

This is all said in the spirit of unabating appreciation for all that
SHERPA does do for OA -- but with an equally unabating frustration at
what SHERPA persists in not doing for (and sometimes inadvertently
doing against) OA, even though it would be ever so easy to fix. 

This continuing insistence upon amplifying incoherent publisher noise
simply because it is there cannot be described as a service to OA.
And SHERPA does have a choice: It can do better for the research
community without waiting for publishers to improve.

Stevan Harnad 
Received on Wed Sep 03 2008 - 20:29:09 BST

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