Open Access vs. NIH Back Access and Nature's Back-Sliding

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Sun Jan 30 12:07:23 EST 2005


>   From: venkatachalam <venkatchalam at sancharnet.in>
>   To: BOAI Forum <boai-forum at ecs.soton.ac.uk>
>   Subject: changes in NIH and nature policies
>   
>   dear members
>   greetings
>   
>   i hear with concern that NIH has increased the embargo period for
>   release of NIH funded research info from the earlier 6 months to
>   1 year.

>   simultaneously, the leading magazine, nature has announced that
>   it is reviewing its policy of granting self archiving privilege to
>   its authors.

>   i believe that both developments, if confirmed, are a blow to further
>   development of our open access movement. these can very well impede the
>   rapid flow of scientific information without barriers or restrictions.
>   
>   i do not have the complete details and i have addressed both
>   organisations about this.

>   i would welcome feedback from our members on these important issues.

>   yours
>   
>   v.lakshminarayanan
>   palani india 

These developments are not a blow to the OA movement, they are merely a challenge,
a challenge that can and will be met in the following way:

(1) The NIH Proposal -- provisionally supported by the OA movement, will
now no longer be supported as it stands by the OA movement: 

NIH's 6-12 month embargoed access is not Open Access but Back Access, and
if it had continued to be supported by the OA movement as a step toward
OA it would have had the exact opposite effect, locking in a 6-12-month
access delay for years to come, and providing a pretext to publishers
like Nature to Back-Slide from their prior policy of giving their authors
the green light to self-archive immediately -- a policy that had been
adopted to accommodate the expressed wishes of the research community to
maximise access -- to a policy of 6-month embargo and mere Back Access.

(2) Nature's Back-Sliding, like NIH's Back Access Policy, will be
portrayed as exactly what it is: 

Nature's is a recent policy change adopted so as to minimize possible risk to
publishers' revenue streams even though all actual evidence is the
opposite: that toll-access and self-archiving can co-exist peacefully for
years to come, with no effect on journal revenue streams. Hence Nature's
back-sliding is entirely contrary to the interests of research and
researchers, minimizing a minimal hypothetical risk, against all evidence,
at the expense of maximal benefits to research and researchers for which
there is a growing body of evidence -- and done on the NIH-supplied pretext
of being in the service of research and researchers and a step toward OA!

Stay tuned.

Stevan Harnad

AMERICAN SCIENTIST OPEN ACCESS FORUM:
A complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion of providing
open access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2004)
is available at:
    http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/index.html
        To join or leave the Forum or change your subscription address:
http://amsci-forum.amsci.org/archives/American-Scientist-Open-Access-Forum.html
        Post discussion to:
    american-scientist-open-access-forum at amsci.org

UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional
policy of providing Open Access to your own research article output,
please describe your policy at:
        http://www.eprints.org/signup/sign.php

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






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