Re: Heidelberg Humanities Hocus-Pocus

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 5 May 2009 09:22:11 -0400

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On Tue, May 5, 2009 at 5:25 AM, Hans Falk Hoffmann
<> wrote:

      Apart from the factual reply by Prof. Dr. Eberhard R.
      Hilf, that tells all the necessary facts about what is
      happening in Germany,  you, Stevan Harnard, should have a
      proper look at your own language ?not one full of pro-OA
      platitudes (like the Berlin Declaration) but of anti-OA
      canards and nonsequiturs?.  This is cheap polemics and
      not appropriate to this forum!

Prof. Hilf, who kindly posted his Euroscience reply to the AmSci
Forum at my request, begins his critique (referring to the
Heidelberger Appell), as follows:

      "In essence, it is not serious, trying to understand and
      being concerned about something, but a polemic
      intentional negative campaigning of the Boersenverein in
      charge for defending the policy of publishers, and some
      pseudo-intellectuals like Mr. Reuss..."

To my ears, Prof. Hilf has (quite rightly) elected to combat polemics
with polemics rather than irenics (just as I have done).

My guess is that the reason this sounded factual to Dr Hoffman is
that what he found objectionable in my posting was not what I wrote
about the anti-OA Heidelberger Appell, but what I wrote about the
pro-OA Berlin Declaration.

I regret that I cannot share Dr. Hoffman's patience with solemn,
year-upon-year signings of long, rambling (and often confused) texts
like the Berlin Declaration, declarations of pious principle, but
nothing by way of concrete practice. The OA action documents are (1)
 ROARMAP, in which institutions commit to actually doing something to
provide OA, by mandating OA, rather than just praising the OA
principle, (2) the Petition to the EC in support of mandating OA, and
(3) ATA 's lobbying in support of the NIH and similar mandates).

I also regret that this, too, sounds (and is) polemical. (But sadly
it also happens to be true factually.)

An exception to the passivity of the solemn Berlin signings and
relentless annual follow-up meetings was Berlin 3  (which Dr. Hoffman
co-organized), at which an action recommendation was indeed made --
but it never got incorporated into the Berlin Declaration itself.
Hence signing the Berlin Declaration continues (for 6 long years now)
to be the formal endorsement of a vague piety with no commitment to
any practical policy to provide OA.

Historically, the Berlin Declaration will be seen as having been a
good, timely idea, but also a lost opportunity to make it come true.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue May 05 2009 - 14:23:13 BST

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