Re: Petitions, Boycotts, and Liberating the Refereed Literature Online

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 19:07:04 +0000

Again, the reasoning of the following well-informed comment takes one's
breath away: It is so well-intentioned, so near -- and yet so far off
the mark! And alas still so representative of current inchoate thinking
on the subject:

On Thu, 30 Oct 2003, Mike Brown wrote:

> I believe given the
> current climate in the academic world that we will lose this round of
> the [boycott] battle and capitulate to Elsevier.
> Why?
> Impact factor and RAEs here in the UK - few are willing to take up the
> call and boycott these journals for fear of being penalized when it
> comes to grant applications.
> Which looks better to a funding body:
> a) Publishing your [parasitology] work in an open access Journal
> or
> b) Publishing your work in Trends in Parasitology (TiP, Elsevier)
> Sadly it seems the current state of play is that publishing in TiP looks
> better to a funding body
> Is this not crazy!?
> What we need is for more researchers to stop agreeing with us that open
> access is a great idea and start publishing more high-impact papers in
> Journals with open access models - this will make Elsevier sit up and
> listen.

What is really crazy is that we keep expressing our desire for open access
through moratoriums and petitions like this instead of taking matters into
our own hands by self-archiving our own output! All Elsevier journals are
Romeo "blue/green," which means they support author self-archiving. Why
propose to boycott them instead of just takingElsevier up on what can
even be interpreted as a challenge: "Why should I [Elsevier] take you
seriously about your alleged desire for open access if you can't even
be bothered to provide it for yourselves when you are invited to?"

> I realize that open access is not about making research available to the
> developing nations (and yet... ;-)) - but it is my prime concern.

Open access is about making resaech available to *all* would-be users,
worldwide. What on earth is the point of asking researchers to
withold their papers from their preferred journals rather than simply
self-archiving them? That way they can have their RAE-cake and the world
can eat it too!

Quo usque tandem patientia nostra abutere...?

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: Complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02 & 03):
    Posted discussion to:

Dual Open-Access Strategy:
    BOAI-2: Publish your article in a suitable open-access journal
            whenever one exists.
    BOAI-1: Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable toll-access
            journal and also self-archive it.
Received on Thu Oct 30 2003 - 19:07:04 GMT

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