Re: Wrong Advice On Open Access: History Repeating Itself

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2009 10:45:24 -0400

On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 9:09 AM, Sally Morris (Morris Associates)
<> wrote:

> Since when was solar and wind energy free (any more than quality-controlled
> and value-added research literature!)?

Oh dear, metaphor miscegenation again!

Well, no marriage is perfect, but let me try a more targeted -- if
more tortured -- trope (having first ruled out Gold OA as the tertium
comparationis, since Gold OA does pay for itself, through publication
fees, and Gold OA was not what Les had in mind: Green OA was; with
Green OA, subscription fees continue to pay for publication and
authors supplement access to their own articles for nonsubscribers by
self-archiving them -- until and unless there is an eventual
transition to Gold OA; once again, no true cost fails to be paid.)

To stick to the energy theme -- it's as if, in a region where all
electricity use is fee-based, through a collectively paid monthly fee,
individual users pipe some of their (paid up) electricity to power
redirecting the output of (their own, home-based) solar and wind
energy transducers toward supplying electricity to those who cannot
afford the regional electricity fee.

All electricity (publication) paid for by those who can and do
(subscribers), but supplemented for those who cannot.

(What this marriage stresses is the individual users' own "added
value" -- the home-based solar and wind power -- that *they* -- not
the utility company -- are not charging for. What this marriage misses
is the motivation: Why on earth would individuals fund and build
home-based solar and wind power generators only to give away free
green electricity to others for free! I wish they would, but it seems
unlikely. Not so, however, for Green OA. For individual authors have
every reason in the world to give away their own peer-reviewed final
drafts for free -- the peer review having already been amply paid for
via multiple institutional subscriptions -- to all would-be users for
free, in exchange for the enhanced research impact that that

Stevan Harnad Associates,
Imaginary Marriage Consultants

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Leslie Carr
> Sent: 31 October 2009 08:38
> Subject: Re: Wrong Advice On Open Access: History Repeating Itself
> On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 9:45 AM, Noel, Robert E. <>
> wrote:
>> Anyway, others have devoted much more time and energy to this topic
>> than I have, but I'm skeptical of recommendations that bluntly
>> reject other strategies from the outset. ... It's tantamount to
>> engineers and scientists recommending to policy makers that solar
>> and wind energy are viable alternatives that will reduce a country's
>> dependence on oil, but research into biofuels, maglev trains, and
>> clean coal is utter nonsense, and reducing individual energy
>> consumption by changing lifestyles is a sham, and in fact
>> counterproductive.
> Bob's analogy would be more accurate if it were expressed as one group
> of people recommending solar and wind energy versus another group of
> people campaigning for cheaper oil. Open Access is about a fundamental
> shift to non-toll-access literature made possible by the Web; others
> are simply petitioning for less extortionate tolls.
> --
> Les
Received on Sat Oct 31 2009 - 16:15:49 GMT

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