Re: Wrong Advice On Open Access: History Repeating Itself

From: Steve Hitchcock <>
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2009 13:18:27 +0000

On 31 Oct 2009, at 16:05, Prof. Tom Wilson wrote:

> 2, anything that props up the industry will simply delay the
> inevitable and
> institutional repositories prop up the industry - indeed, why else
> would
> publishers give permission for authors' works to be archived?
> Strong advocacy
> of repositories is strong advocacy of the status quo in scholarly
> communication.

There is, ironically, a degree of truth in this. Some see the issue as
OA vs subscription journals, but in fact green OA is pivotal for non-
OA journals in allowing them to participate in OA. Strategically it
has been helpful to both, resulting in services such as Romeo and in

Has it produced enough OA content? Clearly not yet, since the goal is
100% (all published research papers) open access. So the question
becomes how to achieve the objective, bearing in mind that the target
of 100% is quantitatively and qualitatively different from some OA and
should focus minds on a clear strategy rather than the piecemeal
approach that this discussion reveals some people wish for. We have at
least been at this long enough to learn that.

For those that believe IRs are the way forward to OA, the answer is to
increase the primacy of institutional open access repositories by
focussing on the terms institutional and access. The terms I seem to
hear too often in this context are repositories and prices. That is
what's propping up the industry, as Tom Wilson puts it: obfuscation
and unfocussed advocacy, rather than strong advocacy. Focussing on the
former will lead to a clearer analysis of the motivations of
institutions and authors of target papers, to the services they
require, to more OA, and more likely to 100% OA.

The platform to do this is there and waiting.

Steve Hitchcock
IAM Group, School of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 7698 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865
Received on Mon Nov 02 2009 - 15:50:13 GMT

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