The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition

Stevan Harnad harnad at
Sun Mar 14 12:17:39 EST 2004

Les Grivell of E-Biosci
has written an article on Open Access:

Les raises some questions about search engines for the open-access
literature. American Scientist Open Access Forum Readers are referred to
prior threads on this topic (at the end of this message). In a nutshell,
my bet is that boolean (google-like) search across Open Access inverted
full-text, citation-linked and ranked, will beat any other form of search
through the journal article literature, hands down. (All we need is to
provide that open-access content, as soon as possible! Stay tuned...)

Les writes:

    "At first sight, self-archiving seems to be the least disruptive of
    the three routes and the most friendly to the world of conventional
    publishing. However, it takes little imagination to see that in
    the longer term a significant degree of self-archiving, coupled
    with efficient systems for search, retrieval and caching could
    have a serious impact on demand for subscription-based content,
    with a consequent decline in incentives for publishers to invest in
    these activities."

This is speculation. But if and when a significant amount of open-access
content is provided, and if and when that content should ever begin to
cause a significant decline in journal subscription revenue, then (and
only then) journal publishers will have to cut out inessential products
and services and downsize to just peer-review service provision alone.
The institutional savings (from that hypothesized decline in journal
subscription revenue) will be more than enough to cover the peer-review
costs several times over.

But what we need now is not speculation about possible eventual
consequences of the success of open-access provision. What is needed is
open-access provision.


    Prior threads:
    "Interoperability - subject classification/terminology"
    "Testing the citation-ranking search engine: Citebase"
    "Open Access and Abstract/Indexing Services"

    "Free Access vs. Open Access"

    "The Urgent Need to Plan a Stable Transition"

    "The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition"

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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