Re: Priorities: OA Content Provision vs. OA Content Preservation

From: David Goodman <David.Goodman_at_LIU.EDU>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 20:48:03 -0400

Dear Stevan,

I'd like to try to clear up one--and just one--of the
points, where there really does seem only a straight-
forward misunderstanding. (And I don't even want to trace how the
misunderstanding arose.)

It is simply not the case that librarians only support "gold OA",
(OA Journals). I think by now we have heard from all librarians who
are taking a public position, and I think I may possibly know
the views of a representative sampling of the others.

There are many librarians who think that OA Journals
will never work. (say, 25%)

There are some librarians who think that OA Journals will work
fairly widely, but only for minor titles such as small subjects
and subsidized third world journals. (say, 25%)

There are some librarians who think they will work, eventually, for
most or all journals, but they all know that it will be a very long
time coming and other forms of OA, such as "green OA", will work much
easier and much faster, and therefore must be emphasized at first. How
long will that be? Until we reach 100%.
(I'm prejudiced, because this is my own opinion, but say 40%)

There undoubtedly are some librarians who think that no currently
proposed form of OA will work, but they don't usually speak
to me about it. (I'm prejudiced, so let's say only 10%; it
might be more. As long as they stay out of the way, it doesn't

There are no librarians at all who think that OA Journals are
an immediately practical way to meet the access problem in general.
(Or at least I haven't heard from them. If there are any reading
this, I'd like to hear from them, but off-list)

There are some people--librarians and others-- who
prefer to work on the OA Journal side of the problem because they
think their abilities can make a better contribution here. I
don't want to quarrel with them, but I hope they understand
they have taken on a long-range problem.

I think most librarians would like the access problem solved in
the fastest way, so we can go on to other things. Personally,
I've spent most of my time on access problems and OA for the last
6 years at least, but I've done so only because access is such
a pressing problem for the users that it must be solved first.
I would like to return to my other professional interests.

I don't want personally to work on preservation, or pricing,
or consortial arrangements, or acquisitions, or licensing, or
improving archives. Most librarians don't. The rest of us are
glad some specialize in these things, so we don't need to.

Perhaps it is better to keep in mind what people agree to support, rather
than the differences. People never agree on all the details. I don't want
to argue with Brian about everything we disagree about, or you either.
If we don't keep emphasizing the agreements, we risk division into
hostile camps, at which the enemies of OA will rejoice.

(Speaking for the librarians, I'll risk one generalization:
access and assisting users are the basic parts of our profession.
We have all always agreed on that, but disagreed about
many of the details.)

Enough about librarians. I know some researchers in
my original subject field who actually oppose OA altogether.
I don't conclude that all molecular biologists do. Are there
any in cognitive science? Keep arguing with them, not me!


Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Brian Simboli
Sent: Wed 10/6/2004 10:00 AM
Subject: Re: Priorities: OA Content Provision vs. OA Content Preservation


You misunderstand the "librarian instinct". I, for one, do not think
that 100 per cent gold will necessarily resolve all problems, nor has
anything I've said suggested that I do. I'd like to see a combination of
low-cost gold and low-cost toll-access. Commercial gold is not going to
cut it; commercial gold, in the long run, is just going to replicate the
unjust pricing practices already prevalent in commercial publishing. So
let us strive for academic gold, and academic (low-cost) toll-access,
and go from there.

Brian Simboli

Stevan Harnad wrote:

> What has to be resisted is librarians' instinct to go all and only for
> gold (OA Publishing), even though 100% gold would of course solve 100%
> of their serials crisis! Yes, the golden road of OA Publishing is to
> be encouraged and supported, but it is an extremely slow, indirect and
> uncertain road to 100% OA, whereas the green road of OA self-archiving is
> a fast, direct and certain one, already fully within immediate reach.
Received on Thu Oct 07 2004 - 01:48:03 BST

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