On the Need to Take Both Roads to Open Access

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Sun Feb 29 09:01:32 EST 2004


On Sat, 28 Feb 2004, Waaijers, Leo wrote:

> As long as libraries keep paying incredible amounts for their subscriptions,
> publishers will allow self archiving of the published articles in return. In
> that case it is not necessary to change anything. You're quite right.

But what this leaves out is that far from enough authors are
self-archiving yet, whereas all could be, and we could already have 100%
open access. Paradoxically, Leo himself, though a friend of OA, then
goes on to repeat, yet again, one of the many (at least 31) groundless
and easily rebutted worries about self-archiving:

> But, what if libraries cannot afford the subscriptions any longer, break out
> of the Big Deals and have to resume their cancellation policies (as happens
> in the US at the moment)? Do you think that the commercial publishers will
> remain passive and accept that their articles will stay accessible for these
> libraries via self archiving activities of others?

This is pure speculation, not only not based on any evidence, but contrary
to all existing evidence, which is that even in fields (such as certain
areas of physics) where self-archiving has been pracised for 14 years,
and has long reached 100%, there has been no cancellation pressure, and
indeed JHEP, which started as an Open Access ("gold") journal, has since
reverted to a toll-access ("green") journal cost-recovery model even
though its contents always have been and still remain 100% OA through
self-archiving.

See:  http://www.eprints.org/self-faq/#17.Publishers

What the research community needs now is OA, not more paralytic
speculation!

> I don't think so. At the end of the day we will encounter a bifurcation.
> Either self archiving of commercially published articles will be forbidden
> or commercial publishers have to convert to the Open Access model (in which
> case they must foresee serious troubles with their shareholders who expect
> profits of 40% and up).

But first, can we just go ahead and have 100% OA? Then we can watch
in a more leisurely way how things will evolve, with no more research
access continuing to be needlessly lost?

> Consequently, things have to change. And the sooner the bullet is bitten,
> the better.

OA itself will be the needed change, if we can stop waiting passively
for it, self-archiving instead of self-paralysing with counterfactual
speculations!


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: 
http://amsci-forum.amsci.org/archives/American-Scientist-Open-Access-Forum.html
        Post discussion to: 
    american-scientist-open-access-forum at amsci.org
        Hypermail Archive: 
    http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/index.html

Unified Dual Open-Access-Provision Policy:
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a suitable open-access
            journal whenever one exists.
            http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/boaifaq.htm#journals
    BOAI-1 ("green"): Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable
            toll-access journal and also self-archive it.
            http://www.eprints.org/self-faq/
    http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read.shtml
    http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/berlin.htm




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