Re: Comparing the Wellcome OA Policy and the RCUK (draft) Policy

From: Leslie Carr <>
Date: Sat, 21 May 2005 10:20:29 +0100

On 21 May 2005, at 03:28, David Goodman wrote:
> I'm just commenting on one key part of the exchange,
> where I disagree with both parties:
I think I disagree that we disagree!

>>> The life sciences have already moved beyond the need to read a word
>>> document on a local website
>> I definitely agree with you! And more - it's not only the life
>> sciences. It's all the experimental sciences. And engineering. And
>> social sciences.
> The immediate problem is in fact still just:
> "providing a Word [or other] document to be read on a ... web site."
Absolutely. 100%. Top priority. Access is fundamental.

> I do not think this is a time to be diverted from that priority.
Quite! Completely! Totally!! It would be foolish to be so diverted.
Plain Old Open Access is still too far away to be taken for
granted. None of our plans should divert attention from it nor
should any of our implementations divert resources from it.
Access is fundamental to anything else that anyone may wish
to provide, so to put those extras IN THE WAY of POOA is to be
counterproductive even for an Added Value Open Access
agenda. Don't cut off the branch that you are sitting on! Don't kill
the goose that lays the golden egg. etc. etc.

BUT what about organisations, groups, individuals who do have
an Added Value Open Access Agenda? How should they
proceed or not? Should they stop and repent of their mixed message?
Or should they make sure that they integrate with the OA infrastructure
and current OA policies and activities, and provide their "Added Value"
as a useful "Added Feature" to those who want it.

> The first step in research is to read the literature, and this is
> still
> not possible for all.
<hairsplitting type="severe">Before you can read an article
you have to be able to find it, so that already presupposes
some kind of service on top of the fundamental provision of access.
But the service wouldn't be possible without OA.</hairsplitting>

> I do not think Welcome or RUCK or NIH should be adding features just
> yet. Nor would I delay for improved findability and preservation.
So I disagree with the first sentence and agree with the second -
I think they should add features and improvements to their hearts
BUT I think they ought to take advantage of the technical
infrastructure and
do it in a way that is compatible with and adds value to the existing
For Wellcome to insist that papers from research that they have
funded should be consigned to a different repository, at odds with
the procedures
and mandates emerging from the rest of the community is disappointing.
I believe that it comes from the application of an outdated paradigm
(you have to host and control the data that you use); since the
Open Archives Initiative (or the subsequent development of Web
Services) there is no need to control articles in that way!

> Yes, I'd love to have content tagged in XML that I can repurpose
> according to my own
> concepts.
The point I was making about that was that XML is only really useful
when you have some "re-publishing" scheme to support. For almost all
other purposes (including all the advanced content and citation
analyses you can name) PDF and Word will suffice.

> Yes, I'd love to be able to extract the data underlying a graph so
> I can analyze it.
You should have a look at the work of the EBank project too then - it
allows researchers to deposit their documents in a Plain Old Open
Access Repository, and to deposit their accompanying scientific data
in a Slightly Configured Open Access Repository which uses Plain Old
OAI-PMH to provide scientific metadata to OAI services (both the
Plain Old variety and Slightly Enhanced ones). And that's my point -
we haven't usurped control. We have provided some more functionality
for people who want to buy into it after they have done the job of
providing Open Access to their bit of the Literature in their
Institutional Repository.
Received on Sat May 21 2005 - 10:20:29 BST

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