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anonymous posting on Berlin 3 report [Open and Shut?] 3/21/2005

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mon Mar 21 08:35:38 EST 2005

I will be posting this in Richard Poynder's blog in response to a query
(which, having been posted anonymously, happily allows me to drop all
constraints of politesse!) S.H.

The following quotes from a public posting attest to all the moral
authority and reflective rigour that anonymous opining commands (and
all the courtesy it deserves):

In http://poynder.blogspot.com/2005/03/time-to-walk-talk.html
On Mon, 21 Mar 2005, Anonymous wrote:

> You ask the question "Is it time for OA to walk the talk" My answer is that
> it has already done so, there are research outputs in OA. 

10-20% of them. 


Meanwhile 80-90% of them are not -- and their and needless
daily/monthly/yearly research usage/impact loss is the continuing,
cumulative problem that OA is intended to solve.


> The real question is can OA work? There the answers are less clear. 

They are quite clear for the 10-20% OA there is. 

That non-OA is not working for the remaining 80-90% is also crystal-clear.


> I am disapponted that you only referred to the "series of bad-tempered
> wrangles" you didn't report them or didn't elaborate on their
> implications.

Some people want real progress; some just prefer wrangling, and
hearing about wrangles.

> OA as a concept is fine, the issues around implementation are many and
> varied. After all, libraries, who, up to now, have been the repositories,
> work because of agreements on the form and content of the descriptions
> of the materials.

When we translate this into ordinary english, it says: 

    Until now, print journals have provided the form and content, and
    libraries have provided the storage and access.

Fine; and now, in the online age, it is time to *supplement* this access with
the self-archived version -- whose content is the peer-reviewed final draft,
but not the publisher's official final PDF form -- for those would-be users
worldwide whose institutions cannot afford to access the official version.


> There exist some equivalent agreements for IRs but they are as yet unproven. 

"Agreements" for IRs? What on earth is that? Agreements are made with publishers
(and the publishers of 92% of journals have already agreed on author


Is this just another (anonymous) adumbration of the copyright canards?


> The sort of semi-dismissive reactions to questions about how OA can
> work as a world-wide repository interconnection, such as "indexing and
> interconection are not problems, identifying the materials can be handled
> by the appropriate software" begs the question of how and by whom?

The Web too, shamefully begs this question: a distributed entity:
handled how and by whom?

Here is a glimpse at the answer (for those with eyes to see -- rather
than semi-dismissive hemi-anopia -- and onomatous identities with which
to answer for their casual cavils):


> Change is good, it is essential to innovation, but change for change sake is
> not so good. If OA is to blossom it needs much more than statements of a
> motherhood nature, it needs a plan, agreed and implemented by a number of
> major players, with clear objectives and checkpoints.

Yes, more such otiose platitudes as these are surely what is sorely
lacking today: research access, usage and impact can wait...

> One last point; your description of Stevan Harnad's description of the "nth
> keystroke" seems to me to be an Orwellian approach, are researchers to be
> cowed into OA by virtue of the RAE implications? Don't forget that RAE is,
> as far as I know, a particularly UK phenomenon; questioned by some as to its
> usefulness. I doubt if 'fear' of RAE is sufficient motivation for OA. 

I will leave it to others to debate whether the ubiquitous Publish-or-Perish
constraint that cows researchers into doing and reporting research is Orwellian.

I note only that the Keystroke Strategy is merely a book-keeping matter,
and applicable to all universities and research institutions worldwide,
not just the UK/RAE-bound ones:

    If you wish your research output to be visible, counted, and rewarded
    for grant-fulfillment, performance-evaluation, and institutional
    record-keeping purposes, please deposit the metadata (author, title,
    journals, etc.) plus the full-text in our institutional repository.

    Whether or not you do the Nth Keystroke to make the full-text OA is
    strongly encouraged, but up to you. The only thing that hangs on it
    is your research impact (which we already count, along with your


Stevan Harnad

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