Heidelberg Humanities Hocus-Pocus

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Mon, 4 May 2009 12:01:44 -0400

                  ** Apologies for Cross-Posting **

Yet another declaration/petition/statement/manifesto concerning OA
has been drafted, this time not one full of pro-OA platitudes (like
the Berlin Declaration) but of anti-OA canards and nonsequiturs:The
Heidelberg Appeal ("Heidelberger Appel"), launched by the German text
critic, Roland Reuss.

(These misunderstandings are intentional when promulgated by
publishers lobbying against OA [e.g., the "DC Principles," the "Prism
Coalition" and the "Brussels Declaration"] but not in the case of
scholars waxing righteously indignant about their rights without
first coming to a clear understanding of what is really at issue, as
in the case of Herr Reuss.)

An article in the 2 May 2009 Zuercher Zeitung seems to catch and
correct a few of the ambiguities and absurdities of Reuss's
singularly wrong-headed argument, but far from all of them. 

Someone still has to state, loud and clear (and in German!), that
Herr Reuss (and the signatories he has managed to inspire to follow
him in his failure to grasp what is actually at issue) is:
      (1) conflating consumer piracy of authors' non-give-away
      texts (largely books) with author give-aways of their own
      journal articles (which is what Open Access is about);

      (2) conflating Open Access with Google book scanning; 

      (3) conflating "Gratis" Open Access (free online access),
      which is what all the Green Open Access Self-Archiving
      and self-archiving mandates are, with "Libre" (free
      online access PLUS re-use rights), which only some Gold
      OA journals are providing, and again, in accordance with
      the wishes and agreement of the author.

The Humanities are more book-intensive than other disciplines, but
insofar as their journal articles are concerned, they are no
different: their authors write them (and give them away) for usage
and impact, not royalty income.

So insofar as OA is concerned, the "Heidelberger Appell" is largely
misunderstanding, nonsense and mischief, and I still hope this will
be clearly exposed and put-paid-to in the German Press, otherwise it
will continue to retard the progress of OA in Germany.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Received on Mon May 04 2009 - 17:02:25 BST

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