Re: The Green and Gold Roads to Open Access

From: Eugene Garfield <>
Date: Sat, 8 May 2004 02:27:10 +0100

    [Moderator's Note: To save iterations, my reply follows
     below, immediately after Gene's posting -- S.H.]

Stevan Harnad wrote:

> The rate of new OA journal start-ups is not likely to increase
> substantially, because the literature is already journal-saturated,
> and there are few new journal niches. Most OA journal growth is hence
> likely to come from the conversion of existing TA (toll-access)
> journals to OA, in one of three ways: (1) The journal remains TA,
> but makes its online version OA. (2) The journal abandons the TA
> cost-recovery model and adopts the OA (author-end) cost-recovery
> model. (3) The journal's editorial board and authorship -- hence,
> effectively, its title -- defect to an OA publisher.

I am surprised to hear you say this Steve. It flies in the face of
experience. You should re-read Derek Price's statements about the growth
of invisible colleges.

The latest techniques in publishing make it all the more likely that
new journal start ups of all kinds will continue to occur. I have known
dozens of pioneering editors who started new journals because they could
not get a professional society or a private publisher to act. Ironically
it made several of them quite wealthy because neither the slow moving
societies or the conservative publishers could not foresee the potential.

At one time the president of Gordon and Breach told me he could start
a journal with 50 subscribers. And Robert Maxwell jumped in to publish
journals like Tetrahedron because he could find a brilliant editor.

Today any free spirit could start a new journal. Some will fail and
some will succeed. The process of "twigging" as it was once called
is inevitable.

Eugene Garfield

    [Stevan Harnad's reply: I defer to Gene Garfield's far broader
    knowledge and experience on the subject of new journal start-ups
    (though it would be nice to see the actual data on new journal
    start-ups for, say, the past 20 years, perhaps subdivided in terms of
    hybrid vs. online-only -- as well, of course, as a count of how many
    journals, new and old, hybrid and online-only, went belly-up within
    the same period, after what interval). My point, however, was about
    OA (Open Access) journal start-ups. Around 1000 journals (5%) out
    of a total of about 24,000 journals are OA journals today, and the
    question was about how quickly that *percentage* can be expected to
    rise (via either new journal creation or old journal conversion or
    both). I hold by my prediction that it will be very slow, whereas
    self-archiving, which is already at around 20% right now, can rise to
    include at least all the articles in the 83% of journals that have
    already given self-archiving the official green light, or even to
    100%, virtually overnight. I think the potential growth rates via
    these two roads -- gold and green -- differ by at least an order of
    magnitude. -- S.H.]

Eugene Garfield, PhD. email
tel 215-243-2205 fax 215-387-1266
President, The Scientist
Chairman Emeritus, ISI
home page:
Past President, American Society for Information Science and Technology
Received on Sat May 08 2004 - 02:27:10 BST

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