Grasp What's Within Reach: Don't Over-Reach and Grasp Nothing

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2010 10:11:36 -0500

Bernard Lang wrote:

> Is there a distinction between papers that are just openly accessible, and papers that can be freely reproduced on other sites, or other media in your classifications.

Yes, it's the distinction between "gratis" OA and "libre" OA:

And apart from the formal distinction, there is the fact that for OA's
primary target content -- the 2.5 million articles published yearly in
the planet's 25,000 peer-reviewed journals -- every single author of
every single one of those articles, without exception, *wants* gratis
OA for his article. (Alas only about 20% actually *provide* OA at all,
but that's another story: it's why green gratis OA mandates are

But just as it is not true that every single author of every book,
magazine article, audio, video, software (or patent!) wants gratis OA
for their work, so it is not true that every author of peer-reviewed
articles wants *libre* OA for his work.

Hence gratis green OA can be mandated, whereas libre OA cannot.

> I am trying too identify the concept of an open work.  If it is simply something that I can access, that qualifies the whole of the Internet.  But can I make copies, preserve it or present it in some other form.

That much certainly comes with the green gratis OA territory: If it is
freely accessible on the Web, you can print off hard copies (for
yourself -- not for sale or distribution; but why bother, when you can
distribute the URL!); you can also download and store it on your
computer (but again, not to sell or distribute).

> Who has enough rights so that the conditions of work availability can evolve with the state of the art in documents access, presentation, organization. What we do now in not the end of progress in publication. My concern is the future.

The author's institution can see to it that the author's green gratis
OA version is kept accessible in the long term. The publisher's
version-of-record is another matter -- in the hands of the publisher,
subscribers, and deposit libraries, who are working to keep it
permanently (but not freely!) accessible too. (Harvesters like google
can harvest and index gratis OA works too, but not modify or re-sell

But digital preservation is a different matter from libre OA, which
concerns things like republication and redistribution rights, as well
re-use and re-mix rights, in derivative works. (These can all be
specified by adopting the right Creative Commons license.)

> Why do I worry : because I spend much time working on orphan works issues.  I am trying to determine when the rightsholder is needed to ensure adequate life and survival of a work.

The perennity (hence permanent accessibility) of the orphan works of
yesteryear is a genuine problem, but a different problem from the
accessibility of today's works to their intended users when the author
want accessibility and not royalties...

> Being accessible for reading is just not enough.

Yes, but if you ask for more than what authors want to give, you may
end up with nothing at all...

Gratis green OA (to the author's refereed, accepted final draft) is
what all of the authors of OA's target content are already willing to
provide: Their institutions and funders need to mandate providing
that. Not less, and not more.

The rest will come with the (gratis, green) OA territory, including
eventually gold OA, libre OA, copyright reform, publishing reform, OA
to data, and OA to many other kinds of content. But not if we try to
reach beyond what is already within our immediate grasp today.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Nov 16 2010 - 15:49:26 GMT

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