Re: Gold Fever: Read and Weep

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 2009 12:11:46 -0400

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Correction for defective "Click here" URL below. It should
On 25-Apr-09, at 12:00 PM, Stevan Harnad wrote:

      On 25-Apr-09, at 9:48 AM, David Prosser wrote:

      Interestingly, the main objection against the
      policy as reported was:
"Open access will kill the journals you need during your
career," women's studies professor and university senator
Claire Moses said. "It's as simple as that."
That is not a gold/green OA misunderstanding.  That?s
just a misunderstanding.  It is not clear to me that this
would have been cleared-up if the Maryland resolution had
removed all mention of journals ? some academics fear
that green OA will destroy journals.

(David, I am assuming that what you meant was "all mention of
Gold OA journals" rather than "all mention of journals,"
because it is impossible to formulate a Green OA self-archiving
mandate at all without mentioning that it is
refereed journal articles that need to be self-archived!)

But, yes, my reply is this: In formulating a Green OA
self-archiving mandate, the requirement itself should be stated
clearly, distinctly, and independently of any ancillary,
speculative or other detail: 

      (1) Publish your articles in whatever refereed
      journal you wish.

      (2) Deposit the final, refereed, accepted draft in
      your institutional repository immediately upon
      acceptance for publication.

That's the core policy. If it is decided that access embargoes
are permitted, add:

      (3) Most journals already endorse making the
      deposited article Open Access immediately. For
      articles published in journals that do not yet
      endorse immediately setting access as Open Acces,
      you may set access to the deposit as "Closed
      Access" for an embargo period of XX months

      (4) During the embargo period, the repository's
      semi-automatic "email eprint request" button will
      allow all would-be users who reach the metadata for
      your Closed Access article and need the full text
      to insert their email address and the reason for
      their request. One click from the requester
      forwards the request automatically to the author,
      who can, if he wishes, authorize the automatic
      emailing of one individual eprint to the requester
      for research purposes, again with one click.

The mandate can be accompanied by a FAQ, which can answer
authors' questions about such things as "will this kill

The answer is definitely not: "No, because we are making
research money available to pay for the publishing fees of
fee-based Gold OA journals."

The correct answer is: 

      All evidence to date is that self-archiving does
      not generate journal cancelations. Self-archiving
      and self-archiving mandates do not affect
      individual journals separately: they affect all
      journals at once. If and when self-archiving ever
      generates enough journal cancelations to make the
      subscription-fee model no longer sustainable for
      cost-recovery, journals will convert to the Gold OA
      publication-fee model for cost-recovery, and the
      money used to pay for it will be the institutional
      windfall savings from the very same institutional
      subscription cancellations that generated the
      conversion to Gold OA. About one-sixth of journals
      are already Gold OA, though only a minority of them
      as yet charge for publication because they are
      still being sustained by subscriptions or

That is all that need be said about Gold OA at this time.

 I know that some feel that all the world?s ills can be
layed at the door of gold OA, but this really doesn?t
look like a case of so-called ?gold fever?.

Not all the world's ills, David, but a goodly portion of the
world's delay in achieving OA.

Click here to see some of the many other instances of gold
fever that have been and are still slowing  the progress of
Green OA (hence OA).

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sat Apr 25 2009 - 17:13:05 BST

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