Re: Roundtable Press Release (Access to Research Results)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 2010 22:52:07 -0500

The "version of record" (the publisher's proprietary draft) may well
be what librarians prefer, and are willing to wait out an embargo for;
it is no doubt also the version publishers prefer we all wait for.

But I hope it will be understood that the researchers whose
institutions cannot afford access to the version of record would
prefer not to wait, and would be perfectly happy with the author's
final, peer-reviewed, accepted draft (postprint) during any publisher
embargo period, rather than no access at all. Authors too -- if they
think it through (many still don't) -- would prefer that would-be
users had access to their refereed final drafts rather than no access
at all during any publisher embargo period. And so would their
institutions and funders. Which is why an increasing number of
institutions and funders are mandating immediate deposit of the final
draft, rather than waiting for the version of record.

Prominently missing or minimal about this Roundtable of publishers and
librarians were those who represent and understand the needs of
active, access-denied researchers (or the funders and institutions of
the authors of the works to which they are denied access).

Holding out for the version of record is for pedants and
preservationists. What research, researchers, their institutions and
their funders, students, teachers and the general public need now is
access to the refereed research itself, immediately upon acceptance
for publication, free for all, and not accessible only to those whose
institutions can afford the subscription. If there's any point in
publishing the findings at all once they are refereed, revised and
accepted, then there's the same point in making them freely accessible
to all would-users as soon as they are accepted, no later.

Meanwhile, the version of record can wait, and be waited for.

Stevan Harnad

On 15-Jan-10, at 9:29 PM, Sandy Thatcher wrote:

> As Suber surmises, one reason the group did not recommend a
> mandate is that it favors posting of the Version of Record, and
> this naturally means that the length of the embargo period
> becomes crucially important. And as I asked librarians in
> another post here, what length of time would ensure that
> humanities journals made available through Project Muse would
> not find their subscriptions undercut? A mandate that made a
> mistake here could result in the disappearance of a great many
> humanities journals published by smaller publishers like our
> press that have no facility for publishing electronically other
> than through Project Muse. Our press allows Green OA, but I
> believe myself that the VoR is essential for scholarly purposes
> even though the Green OA version may be adequate for classroom
> teaching and for transmitting information to the general public.
> Here Suber and I appear to be in disagreement. Suber says:
> I'm one who agrees that the published edition is generally more
> useful than the final version of the author's peer-reviewed
> manuscript, although I'd add: unless the published edition is
> only available in PDF. But even if all the editions we're
> talking about are in HTML or XML, assured OA to the final
> version of the author's peer-reviewed manuscript is far more
> useful to research than untrustworthy (flaky, selective,
> temporary, late) OA to the published edition. If we can have
> assured OA to the published edition, and in a use-friendly
> format, wonderful; I want it. But if we can't, we should put
> assured OA ahead of OA to the published edition.
> And of course we have hardly begun to talk about OA for
> monographs yet. This report avoids that subject altogether.
> Sandy Thatcher
> Penn State University Press
>> For Peter Suber's critique of this recommendation, see:
>> His criticism (spot-on) is that although the AAU Scholarly
>> Communications report encourages Open Access, it fails to take a
>> position on precisely the concrete policy question that is at
>> issue in the OSTP Public Access Policy Forum, which is whether
> or
>> not federal funders should mandate Open Access.
>> It is quite possible to effect to be as favorable to OA as to
>> motherhood and apple pie without taking, or supporting, the
>> concrete step that would actually ensure that OA is provided...
>> Nothing new. See:
>> "AAU misinterprets House Appropriations Committee
> Recommendation"
>> (Aug 2004)
>> Another opportunity lost (especially for AAU; no surprise from
> AIP,
>> not to be confused with APS).
>> Stevan Harnad
Received on Sat Jan 16 2010 - 04:14:06 GMT

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