Which Will Be the First Open Access Country?

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mon May 10 17:06:01 EST 2004

   Managing Information 10 May 2003

   "Finland has become the first country to make a nationwide commitment
   to Open Access. All universities, polytechnics and research institutes
   in Finland have become BioMed Central members. The membership
   agreement covers the cost of publication, in BioMed Central?s 100+
   Open Access journals, for all 25000 publicly funded researchers and
   teachers in Finland."

Open Access (OA) Journal Publishing is to be encouraged. BioMed Central is
to be encouraged. "Memberships" in Biomed Central -- whether institutional
or national -- are also timely (even though they resemble institutional
site-licenses, even though it is not at all clear how an institution
or country can commit itself in advance on behalf of its researchers
to publish in a particular peer-reviewed journal or journals, or with a
particular publisher or publishers, and even though it is not at all clear
how a publisher or peer-reviewed journal can commit itself in advance to
publishing articles from an institution, country or individual; and even
though it is not clear how this sort of subscription-like membership
arrangement could scale up once there are more OA publishers and OA
journals for institutions or countries to agree to become members of).

This is all well and good, for the sake of accelerating the growth of Open
Access. But if an institutution or country wishes to help accelerate
the growth of Open Access, then besides agreeing to become a "member" of
some or all of the 1000 OA journals out of the total of 24,000 journals
that exist (which will take care of OA for 5% of that institution's
or country's annual research output) would it not also be sensible to
agree to provide OA for the remaining 95% of its research output --
by self-archiving it?

If Finland wishes "to become the first country to make a (nontrivial)
nationwide commitment to Open Access" it should also commit itself to this:


Norway is coming close...

    Norway: Open Online Access to Research

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 amsci.org
        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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