Author Publication Charge Debate

Stevan Harnad harnad at
Fri Feb 6 10:32:58 EST 2004

On Fri, 6 Feb 2004, Suhail A. Rahman wrote:

    [M]y support for author charged open access has waned... and
    now I strongly believe that author charged open access should be
    discontinued. The reason is quite simple... research costs billed
    to authors cannot be borne as in many countries

(1) Publishing one's articles in an Open Access (OA) journal is only
one ("gold") of the two roads to OA. There is also the "green" road of
publishing one's articles in a toll-access journal and self-archiving
them in one's own institutions's OA eprint archives:

    "The Green and Gold Roads to Open Access"

(2) So far as I know, both BMC and PLoS are making arrangements to ease
the burden on authors from poorer countries or institutions.

So there is certainly no reason to throw out the baby (OA) with the
bathwater (inability to pay OA journal publishing costs).

> I would suggest a system [in which] all research after 1 year of 
> publication becomes open access. That within 1 year is not open access. 

That is not Open Access, it is Embargoed Access, with access and usage
and impact denied to all would-be users who cannot afford it especially
in the critical first year which is the growth region for many

Access delays have been proposed and even offered by a number of

    Harnad, S. (2001) AAAS's Response: Too Little, Too Late.
    Science dEbates [online] 2 April 2001.

Late is certainly better than Never, but no substitute for Now --
especially given that OA can already be provided, immediately, via the
other OA road (green) of author self-archiving.

    "Shulenburger on open access: so NEAR and yet so far"

> This should be the face of open access, a way out for both authors
> and researchers.

The way out for authors who cannot find a suitable OA journal to publish
in, or cannot afford to, is to provide OA via self-archiving.

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2004)
is available at the American Scientist Open Access Forum:
        To join the Forum:
        Post discussion to: 
    american-scientist-open-access-forum at
        Hypermail Archive:

Unified Dual Open-Access-Provision Policy:
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a suitable open-access
            journal whenever one exists.
    BOAI-1 ("green"): Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable
            toll-access journal and also self-archive it.

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