Re: Victory for the NIH open access plan in the House

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 12:53:13 +0100

There is an excellent summary of the NIH self-archiving mandate and
the growing momentum of Open Access (OA) in Information Today, September 15, 2004

    "NIH Requires Open Access for Its Funded Medical Research"
    by Barbara Quint

Information Today is also hosting a Debate on Open Access at the
Internet Librarian Internet Librarian International:

    In London, England
    Monday 11 October 2004

    In Monterey, California
    Wednesday 27 November 2004

Barbara Quint's valuable and informative survey devotes more space
to the speculations about hypothetical negative consequences of OA
than to the actual and growing evidence for the positive consequences
which are the real rationale for OA, but these will become
more widely known and understood with time.

One minor point: I support the proposal to mandate the OA self-archiving
of NIH-funded biomedical research 100%! My suggestion (which has nothing
to do with the speculations about hypothetical negative consequences!) is
only that the mandate's effects will propagate far more widely and quickly
to research in fields other than NIH-funded biomedical research if just
one small implementational detail is modified:

Instead of stipulating that the self-archiving must be done in one
central archive -- PubMed Central --
it would be far better not to stipulate the archive at all, only that it must
be OAI-compliant:

OAI-compliance ensures that the growing network of distributed
institutional archives
is interoperable, and hence functionally equivalent to one global
virtual network:

If the self-archiving is done institutionally rather than centrally,
the practice of self-archiving will spread far more readily
across each institution's other disciplines. Compliance with the
self-archiving mandate can be monitored and the metadata can even
be harvested into PubMed Central, hence nothing is lost, but a
great deal more OA is gained:

The UK self-archiving mandate -- otherwise very much like the US mandate --
got this small but important implementational detail exactly right:

Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Sep 15 2004 - 12:53:13 BST

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