[Journal-notes] Green Party Green on Gold but not on Green

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Sat Sep 10 06:08:26 EST 2005

In their press release http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2166
the UK Green Party announces that it will vote (among other things) to
"require Open Access [OA] publishing for publicly-funded academies."

Since one cannot impose a business model, but only encourage it, and try to
create conditions favorable to it, this vote to *require* OA publishing (the
"golden" road to OA) is at best only a symbolic token and at worst quixotic.

It is also ironic that the Green party makes no mention of support for
the "green" road to OA, which is OA self-archiving, by their own authors,
of all articles published in non-OA (and OA) journals. This, unlike OA
publishing itself, (1) *can* be required, (2) has been recommended as a
UK policy by the UK Select Committee on Science and Technology (but not
implemented by the government), (3) is now the proposed policy of the UK
research funding councils, RCUK (Research Councils UK), with a projected
implementation date of October 2005 if adopted, (4) would result
in 100% OA for all UK research output, and (5) would serve as a model for
the greening of the rest of the research world, as advocated by (6) the
Berlin Declaration on Open Access and the Budapest Open Access Initiative.

The publisher lobby (ALPSP and STM) is arguing for further delay in
implementing this "green" policy on the grounds that (i) it may damage
their revenues and (ii) it is an attempt to impose a change in business
model on them. All objective evidence is contrary to (i); and (ii) is
incorrect (gold is a business model, for publishers; green is merely a
condition on receiving funding, for researchers).

The Green Party should be voting to "require OA self-archiving for
[researchers employed by] publicly-funded academies" -- an implementable
green policy that will swiftly and certainly generate 100% OA -- rather
than tilting (out of "gold fever") at imposed business models that will
only lead to years more of delay and needless wrangling, meanwhile failing
to achieve the desired and reachable immediate result.

Stevan Harnad

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