The Argument Against (Premature) Gold OA Support

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2009 17:13:33 -0400

    [ The following text is in the "windows-1252" character set. ]
    [ Your display is set for the "iso-8859-1" character set. ]
    [ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]

             ** Cross-Posted **

I have written a response to
"The argument for gold OA support" by Stuart Shieber.

The full response is at: "The
Argument Against (Premature) Gold OA Support"

Here is just the summary:

What is needed in order to provide universal OA as quickly and surely
as possible is for universities (and funders) to mandate that their
own researchers provide (Green) OA by depositing their articles in
their institution's OA repository immediately upon acceptance for
publication. It is both a strategic and a conceptual mistake to think
that money has to be spent at this time on paying for publishing in
Gold OA journals. Gold OA journals' time will come if and when
universal Green OA makes subscriptions unsustainable. Then publishers
will cut costs and downsize to just providing the service of managing
peer review, paid for by institutions out of their windfall
subscription cancellation savings. Universities and funders should not
be either distracted or deterred from mandating Green OA now by
thinking that they first need to provide funds to pay for Gold OA.
(Once they have adopted a Green OA mandate, this is no longer a
distraction or deterrent and they can of course do whatever they like
with their spare cash.)

(1) Any needless cost at all associated with adopting and implementing
a Green OA mandate is a deterrent to arriving at consensus on
adoption, not an incentive.

(2) Minimal costs for Harvard U are not necessarily minimal for HaveNot U.

(3) The way to explain the possible eventual transition to universal
Gold OA is via its causal antecedent: universal Green OA.

(4) The way to allay worries about Learned Society Publishers? future
after universal Green OA is to explain the simple, straightforward
relation between institutional subscription collapse and institutional
subscription cancellation savings, and how it releases the funds to
continue paying for publication via Gold OA. (And remind faculty that
if their institutions really want to keep subsidizing Learned Society
publishers' "good works" (conferences, scholarships, lobbying) as they
are now through subscription-fees, they can certainly continue to do
so through publication fees too, as a surcharge, on the Gold OA model,
if they wish.)

(5) Reserve any plans for promoting pre-emptive payment of Gold OA
fees for those institutions that have already mandated Green OA (and
preferably only after we are further along the road from 85 mandates
to 10,000!).

(6) Pre-emptive payment for Gold OA before universal Green OA just
retards and distracts from providing and mandating Green OA. Moreover,
it is incoherent and does not scale ("universalize"): It is like an
Escher drawing, leading nowhere, even though it seems to.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Jun 12 2009 - 22:15:39 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:49:47 GMT