Re: Reed Elsevier initiated with "underperform"

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003 16:45:42 +0100

On Wed, 15 Oct 2003, Richard Poynder wrote:

> Stevan is wrong, by the way, to assume that the aim here is to
> knock RE.

I stand corrected! I didn't actually think you, personally, Richard,
were knocking Reed-Elsevier! But there are some well-intentioned people
who think that whatever is bad for RE is good for Open Access, and that
somehow the success of OA depends on the failure of RE. The truth is
that the two (RE and OA) are almost 100% independent! And the only *tiny*
causal connection between them -- namely, that a "white" self-archiving
policy on the part of a publisher might discourage some naive would-be
self-archivers -- is a positive one, because RE is "blue" (and probably
also "green"):

> ["Open Access"] is about to go through a
> very difficult period in which it will be used to mean all things to all
> men. That will make the work of those who support BOAI etc. far more
> difficult. Analysts and tipsters will start to use it to mean everything
> but what the originators of the term meant by it, companies will start to
> market products using the term open access (intentionally even, as they
> ramp up the tolls while pretending to be something else), and the general
> noise associated with all this activity will doubtless make life far more
> complex for list members (as if their lives were not already beset with
> misunderstandings and confusion!). More importantly, perhaps, the
> researchers (who, we are told, are the people who can make the difference
> here) will be confused, and may turn away from open access thinking it is
> something else.

Everything you say here is true, and an especial head-ache for open-access
publishing (BOAI-2) which is what the look-alikes will try to mimic
misleadingly. It is not a new head-ache for open-access self-archiving
(BOAI-1), because that has nothing to do with analysts, tipsters and
marketeers and is something researchers do for themselves.

Having said that, I am the first to concede that researchers are still
*profoundly* confused about self-archiving -- so we have to keep
on working tirelessly till that confusion is dispelled.

> The analogy with the ongoing confusion between "free" software and "open
> source" software is maybe analogous

Not just analogous! It has made a direct entry into the open-access

Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Oct 15 2003 - 16:45:42 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:47:05 GMT