Re: Self-Archiving vs. Self-Publishing FAQ

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 15:37:46 +0000

On Thu, 11 Nov 2004, Rick Anderson wrote:

> Stevan Harnad wrote:
> > The only major recommendation of the UK Select Committee
> > was to mandate OA self-archiving. Yet no one (MPs, press,
> > publishers or librarians) can stop going on and on about OA publishing,
> > which was *not* what was being mandated!
> This is a distinction without a difference. Whether you place your
> article in an OA journal or deposit it in an OA archive, the result is
> publication either way. In both cases, the article is being distributed
> to the public (i.e., published) on an OA basis. In other words, to
> mandate OA self-archiving is to mandate OA publishing -- by the author,
> in cooperation with whoever manages the archive.

Rick is here making the most fundamental errors of fact, reasoning and
strategy in this area, and he is making them blithely and insouciantly
(as so many others do too!) without so much as an inkling that this
just might call for deeper and more rigorous reflection and greater
informedness than he has seen fit to accord it.

First, there are two senses of publication, and only the second is
pertinent to the academic (curriculum vitae) sense of publication (as in
"publish or perish") that is at issue here. (Note that book-publishing
is *not* an OA issue as yet.) Here is the pertinent FAQ:

    "Is self-archiving publication?"

    "Definitely not. For purposes of establishing priority and asserting
    copyright, anything that is made public, even on a single piece
    of paper, meets the legal definition of "publication." Hence so
    does self-archiving. But for scholarly and scientific purposes,
    only meeting the quality standards of peer review, hence acceptance
    for publication by a peer-reviewed journal, counts as publication.
    Self-archiving should on no account be confused with self-publication
    (vanity press). (Self-archiving pre-refereeing preprints, however,
    is an excellent way of establishing priority and asserting copyright.)"

Second, OA journal publishing is publishing in a ("gold") journal that
makes all of its contents OA (not charging users for online access). OA
self-archiving is publishing in a journal that *does* charge users for
online access, but the author supplements the publisher's toll-access
version by self-archiving a supplementary OA version of his own article,
for those would-be users who cannot afford to access the publisher's version.

Third, research funders *can* (and do) mandate (M1) that their fundees
must publish their funded results in peer-reviewed journals ("publish or
perish"), and they can also mandate (M2) that those *published articles*
must be self-archived to make them OA. But funders *cannot* mandate
(X1) that publishers must become OA publishers, nor can they mandate
(X2) that their fundees must publish in OA journals.

I strongly suggest that (unless they are interested in adding noise
rather than signal to the discussion) Rick and anyone else who wishes to
opine publicly on this matter, so critically important to OA progress at
this juncture, first read and master at least the basics of what has
already been said about it in this Forum (and elsewhere) across the
years, and broadcast their own thoughts only after they are tolerably
well informed. The fact that all of this is monumentally trivial
(and intellectually unchallenging) does not imply that one can do it

Stevan Harnad

Pertinent Prior Amsci Threads:

    "Self-Archiving vs. Self-Publishing FAQ" (2000)

    "Self-Archiving Refereed Research vs.
    Self-Publishing Unrefereed Research" (2001)

    "Garfield: 'Acknowledged Self-Archiving is Not Prior Publication'" (2002)

    "Chronicle of Higher Education Article on 'Self-Publication'" (2002)

    "Don't Conflate Self-Archiving with Self-Publishing,
    or Buy-In with Buy-Back" (2003)

    "On the Need to Take Both Roads to Open Access" (2003)

    "The Green and Gold Roads to Open Access" (2003)

    "The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition" (2004)

    "The UK report, press coverage, and the
    Green and Gold Roads to Open Access" (2004)
Received on Fri Nov 12 2004 - 15:37:46 GMT

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