Re: Critique of J-C Guedon's Serials Review article on Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 22:06:22 +0000

I shall wait till Jean-Claude Guedon manages to get past the first two
paragraphs of my paragraph-by-paragraph critique of his entire lengthy
article, so as not to shoot faster than my shadow... -- SH

On Sun, 23 Jan 2005, jcg wrote:

> Having been on the road for a while and having just extricated myself from a
> fair number of papers to mark, I have not had time to study Stevan Harnad's
> critique of my paper published in Serials Review last December. However,
> having now downloaded it and printed it, I can say that I am flattered, if
> only by its length.
> Having also read only the first two paragraphs, I can only say that Stevan
> Harnad is a little like this French (actually Belgian) cowboy cartoon
> character called "Lucky Luke": Lucky Luke is famous for "shooting faster than
> his shadow": Stevan is increasingly becoming famous for being able to write
> faster than he reads.
> I will only take the very first sentence as witness:
> "Jean-Claude Guedon argues against the efficacy of author self-archiving of
> peer-reviewed journal articles... etc"
> I have not argued against the "efficacy of author self-archiving"; I have
> argued that OA self-archiving is good in and of itself, but insufficient,
> incomplete, etc... and I have ventured to see how to complete self-archiving.
> Incompleteness of function and lack of efficacy are quite different matters.
> However, when you write faster than you read, these distinctions may actually
> get blurred...
> Once again, I have not rejected self-archiving; on the contrary, I have said
> it should be done, and I repeat again if only to slow down Stevan's writing
> speed for the sake of keeping closer to reality, it SHOULD REALLY BE DONE;
> but WE SHOULD NOT STOP THERE. And I tried to indicate how we should move
> beyond simple self-archiving.
> With regards to dissertations, this is not a necessary first step and was
> never meant to be an absolutely necessary first step; it was introduced on
> pragmatic grounds. In effect, I was saying: if you think my scenario holds
> some water and if you want to try it with materials that are interesting,
> that you pretty well control and which are functionally similar (not
> equivalent, Stevan, similar and the similarity lies in the way they are
> circulated, used and cited, nothing more), then dirty your institutiona and
> technical hands with theses. Then move on to articles, holding the results
> already achieved with articles: this might help convince more members of the
> faculty to come aboard.
> One point Stevan fails to mention in his somewhat idiosyncratic summary of my
> paper as portrayed in the first two paragraphs of his somewhat lengthy
> rebuttal is that I spend a fair amount of time showing how refereed papers
> that are self-archived open the possibility of enriched evaluation methods. I
> specifically argue that this ought to attract some attention. As a result, we
> should see authors testing the possibility of submitting papers directly to
> these archives, once they demonstrate that they can impart "symbolic value"
> or "branding" onto articles that have already been refereed and branded
> through journals titles. It is only at that stage that we reach true gold
> status.
> And the "should" here is not "imagining"; it is the basis of a hypothesis
> which, like any hypothesis, ought to be tested. I am presently trying to find
> the ways to do such tests with various colleagues in various contexts.
> In fine, all I was arguing in this paper is that it would be important to see
> how to make the green and gold roads work in tandem, one preparing the way
> for the other; I was also working toward reuniting these two strategies
> within a wider, more encompassing vision of their respective roles. Nothing
> was rejected, except perhaps Stevan Harnad's pretention that self-archiving
> by and of itself is the sure path to scholarly bliss, bliss being conceived
> in his vision as mainly enhanced visibility (as measured by impact).
> I could go on and on and on like this, and I may still do so at some later
> point, directly or in the course of other papers. However, for the moment,
> let me recall that my point was NOT to disparage self-archiving - we greatly
> need to do it and do more of it -, my point was to improve our Open Access
> strategies by stopping viewing the green and gold roads as necessarily
> separate, or worse as competitors for rare resources.
> Pace Harnad!
> Jean-Claude Guédon
> On Wed December 29 2004 10:27 pm, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> >
> > I have written a critique of Jean-Claude Guedon's recent Serials Review
> > article:
> >
> > The "Green" and "Gold" Roads to Open Access:
> > The Case for Mixing and Matching
> > Jean-Claude Guédon, Serials Review 30(4) 2004
> >
> >
> > My critique is entitled:
> >
> > Fast-Forward on the Green Road to Open Access:
> > The Case Against Mixing Up Green and Gold
> >
> > Its full text is at:
> >
> >
> >
> > (There is also a full-context version of the critique that quotes J-CG's
> > article in entirety:
> > )
> >
> > Comments are welcome -- preferably posted to:
> >
> >
> > Here is a summary from the Introduction to my critique:
> >
> > Open Access (OA) means: free online access to all peer-reviewed
> > journal articles.
> >
> > Jean-Claude Guedon (J-CG) argues against the efficacy of author
> > self-archiving of peer-reviewed journal articles -- the "Green" road
> > to OA -- on the grounds (1) that far too few authors self-archive,
> > (2) that self-archiving can only generate incomplete and inconvenient
> > access, and (3) that maximizing access and impact is the wrong reason
> > for seeking OA (and only favors elite authors). J-CG suggests instead
> > that the right reason for seeking OA is so as to reform the journal
> > publishing system by converting it to OA ("Gold") publishing (in which
> > the online version of all articles is free to all users). He proposes
> > converting to Gold by "mixing and matching" Green and Gold as follows:
> >
> > First, self-archive dissertations (not published, peer-reviewed
> > journal articles). Second, identify and tag how those dissertations
> > have been evaluated and reviewed. Third, self-archive unrefereed
> > preprints (not published, peer-reviewed journal articles). Fourth,
> > develop new mechanisms for evaluating and reviewing those unrefereed
> > preprints, at multiple levels. The result will be OA Publishing
> > (Gold).
> >
> > I reply that this is not mixing and matching but merely imagining:
> > a rather vague conjecture about how to convert to 100% Gold,
> > involving no real Green at all along the way, because Green is the
> > self-archiving of published, peer-reviewed articles, not just
> > dissertations and preprints.
> >
> > I argue that rather than yet another 10 years of speculation
> > what is actually needed (and imminent) is for OA self-archiving
> > to be mandated by research funders and institutions so that
> > the self-archiving of published, peer-reviewed journal articles
> > (Green) can be fast-forwarded to 100% OA. The direct purpose of OA
> > is to maximize research access and impact, not to reform journal
> > publishing; and OA's direct benefits are not just for elite authors
> > but for all researchers, for their institutions, for their funders,
> > for the tax-payers who fund their funders, and for the progress and
> > productivity of research itself.
> >
> > There is a complementarity between the Green and Gold strategies for
> > reaching 100% OA today, just as there is a complementarity between
> > access to the OA and non-OA versions of the same non-OA articles
> > today. Whether 100% Green OA will or will not eventually lead to 100%
> > Gold, however, is a hypothetical question that is best deferred until
> > we have first reached 100% OA, which is a direct, practical, reachable
> > and far more urgent immediate goal -- and the optimal, inevitable
> > and natural outcome for research in the PostGutenberg Galaxy.
> >
> >
> >
> > Stevan Harnad
Received on Sun Jan 23 2005 - 22:06:22 GMT

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