Re: The definitive answer from Wiley-Blackwell

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 18:00:36 +0100

On Tue, 9 Jun 2009, Delasalle, Jenny wrote:

> > Derek Law wrote:
> >
> > It is better to seek forgiveness than permission.

> Better than requiring either of these is acting from free will, which
> would mean authors not putting themselves in a position of subjugation
> to the publishers in the first place...

(1) Yes, if and when authors wish to and can negotiate the retention
of their OA self-archiving rights as part of their copyright agreement
with their publishers, they should be strongly encouraged to do so.

(2) But not all authors can successfully negotiate that now, and hence
even fewer authors wish to try, because (rightly or wrongly) they are
worried about antagonizing the high-level journals in which they
are so eager to publish their papers in this publish-or-perish world --
especially when they are early-career authors.

(3) Having an official institutional and/or funder self-archiving
mandate behind them increases their likelihood of successful
negotiation, and hence also their inclination to negotiate.

(4) However, just as on no account should a self-archiving mandate
*require* copyright reservation (it should merely strongly encourage it),
so no self-archiving mandate should make the requirement to deposit
contingent on successful copyright reservation: Mandating deposit itself
is enough for now.

(The rest will all come of its own accord, trust me! If only we could
just stop this needless pre-emptive and paralytic fussing about securing
formal "permission" in advance. This is one of the many reasons the
computer-scientists and physicists now have over 2 decades' worth of
OA before the rest of us: Because they were wise enough to instinctively
adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" policy from the very beginning. You can
count on your fingers the number of take-down notices there have been,
for example, for the half million papers self-archived since 1991 in
the Physics Arxiv.)

(5) Mandating immediate deposit and encouraging but not mandating
immediate setting of access to the deposit as Open Access (rather than
Closed Access) effectively moots the whole permission issue and takes
the publisher out of the loop.

So can we please focus on getting the deposit of 100% of our institutional
research article output mandated, rather than continuing to foster the
Zeno's Paralysis that has left us all two decades behind the computer
scientists and the physicists?

Received on Tue Jun 09 2009 - 18:55:17 BST

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