Re: Against Promoting Pre-Emptive Gold OA Payment Before Mandating Green OA Provision

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2010 19:43:03 -0400

On Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 2:44 PM, Velterop wrote:

> Any OA to formally published peer reviewed literature, including 'green'
> OA, is only possible if the publishing of this literature takes place in
> a financially sound, sustainable way.


And for the past three hundred and fifty years, this literature has been
published in a financially sound, sustainable way, in subscription-based
journals. For the most part, this continues to be the case today.

But all of these journals are not affordable to all universities and
research institutions today, hence not all of their potential users can
access the research published in them.

That's what OA is about, and for.

If all journals were Gold OA journals today, there would be no problem,
and no objection. But they are not. And OA is definitely not about waiting
for them all to get around to converting to Gold OA (in "a financially
sound, sustainable way" -- and at their own appointed pace and rate). It
is about providing OA today.

And researchers can already do that today. All that's needed is that
their institutions and funders should mandate Green OA.

That takes care of the problem of OA.

The problem of ensuring that peer-reviewed journals continue to be
published in a "financially sound, sustainable way" arises only if and when
subscription-based publication ceases to be financially sustainable.

That is certainly not the case today.

To repeat: What we lack today is OA, not journal sustainability.

> Let's not forget that 'green' OA
> is not 'free', unless the TA publishers that formally publish the
> 'greened' articles in peer-reviewed journals in the first place are
> financially sustainable. 'Green' OA is paid for by subscriptions and
> only as long as there are enough of them and they can command a high
> enough fee.

Correct. And there are enough of them, and they command a high enough

That is not the problem today.

The problem today is the absence of OA.

And the cure for that problem is to mandate Green OA --
not to spend still more money on journals.

> OA to manuscripts and other informal publications can of course be
> 'free' (i.e. at no cost to the reader other than the cost of an internet
> connection), but I've always understood that the 'green' status of an
> article is only achieved when a version or copy of it is formally
> published in a peer-reviewed journal. I have not heard or seen that
> gainsaid.

Nor is it being gainsaid here. (I have no idea why you are even
mentioning it. Green OA and Green OA mandates are about authors' final
peer-reviewed drafts, to be deposited in an OA repository immediately
upon acceptance for publication.)

> In short, it is my contention that anything that informs about or
> enlightens the publishing or community buy-in of OA, of any colour or
> shade, is welcome to those interested in OA and thus appropriate for
> this forum (and OA fora in general). If the moderator doesn't agree, he
> should consider this forum be re-named "Green Open Access Forum" and its
> scope narrowed.

The press release about the commercial publishing deal in question was
not posted in this OA Forum (AmSci) but in two other OA Fora (SOAF and BOAI).

And I did not raise my question as moderator of this or any Forum.

I said: "I wonder if it is a good idea for Open Access forums to become
the publicity vehicles for commercial deals?"

I continue to ask this question, and I have posted my reasons for asking
it: Promoting pre-emptive payment for Gold OA by institutions and
funders without first having mandated Green OA is -- for the reasons I
have stated -- contrary to the interests of OA.

(Once an institution or funder has mandated Green OA, it no longer
matters; the objection is moot.)

The institution in question -- whose press release about the financial
deal with the publisher in question was posted in the two OA Fora in
question -- is not one of the (still small) number of institutions or
funders that have mandated Green OA:

 Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Aug 24 2010 - 00:58:07 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:50:13 GMT