Re: Open Choice is a Trojan Horse for Open Access Mandate

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 16:27:04 +0100

On Thu, 29 Jun 2006, Rick Anderson wrote (on serialst):

> Subject: Shutting down the Gold Road (RE: Open Choice
> is a Trojan Horse for Open Access Mandate)
> > SH:
> > No, for immediate (and overdue) OA, there is no other valid option.
> RA:
> So much for the Gold Road, I guess. From now on, it's the Green Road or
> nothing? Am I misconstruing your position here?

Yes, you are misconstruing my position:

For immediate OA, today, mandated self-archiving (Green) is the only road.

OA publishing (Gold) is too slow and uncertain, and it cannot be accelerated
by mandating it (except, if, per impossibile, all publishers agree to offer Open
Choice, and funders agree to cover what they charge, in advance).

That doesn't mean OA publishing is not a road to OA. It is just not the immediate
road, to immediate OA, today.

> > SH:
> > OA means free online access to published, peer-reviewed journal
> > articles.
> No, Stevan, that's _your_ definition of OA. It is by no means the only
> one.

No, Rick, that's the BOAI definition, and that was where the word OA was coined:

> > SH:
> > The journals do not have to be OA journals; they
> > just have to be peer-reviewed journals, which they are.
> Right. Let me ask my question again, and let me see if I can
> short-circuit the anticipated evasive response:
> Yes, I understand the difference between self-archiving and what you
> call "OA publishing." In the past, it seemed to me that you were saying
> OA publishing (the Gold Road) is unnecessary; that self-archiving (the
> Green Road) is sufficient. (In fact, in the past you have explicitly
> said that the Green and Gold Roads are "complementary.") But it now
> sounds as if you're saying that the Gold Road is counterproductive,
> because it diverts, etc., from the Green Road. Have you changed your
> mind? Is it now the Green Road or nothing?

I have not changed my mind at all: The Green and Gold Roads are complementary.
Both provide OA.

But only the Green Road can provide *immediate OA,* today, because *all*
authors, this very day, can self-archive their articles, free for all
(i.e. OA) on the web, today. If they do, then tomorrow we have immediate
OA. (If their institution does not yet have an IR, there are plenty of
central archives available; and even a website is picked up by google).

But all authors, this very day, cannot publish their articles in an OA journal,
because there do not exist suitable OA journals for all articles today. (9% of
journals are fully OA; perhaps 30% offer Open Choice.)

And even if all journals offered Open Choice, not all authors could
afford to pay it, today, especially as the institutional funds that
could cover its costs are currently tied up in journal subscriptions, today.

So Gold OA cannot provide immediate OA, today. Green OA not only could,
but would, if all authors immediately self-archived, today. But as they
have not (and say they will not, until/unless their funders or institutions
mandate it, in which case 95% will comply -- and already have, in the few cases
where it has already been mandated) that means mandating Green OA is the
road to immediate OA, today.

And this discussion is about mandating self-archiving -- and about opposing
archiving mandates. It is in that context that I wrote "Open Choice is a Trojan
Horse for Open Access Mandate". Let me spell it out:

    (1) Both OA self-archiving (Green) and OA publishing (Gold) are roads to OA
    (2) The Green and Gold Roads are complementary
    (3) Self-archiving is the only road to immediate OA, today
    (4) Authors will only self-archive if it is mandated
    (5) OA self-archiving mandates have been proposed
    (6) The publishing lobby has opposed OA self-archiving mandates
    (7) The latest ploy of the publishing lobby is to propose Open Choice
        instead: either as a substitute for mandating OA self-archiving,
        or to be mandated (and funded) instead of OA self-archiving
    (8) Open Choice is a Trojan Horse for Open Access Mandate

Stevan Harnad

Berlin 3 Recommendation:

    "In order to implement the Berlin Declaration institutions should
    implement a policy to:

            1. require their researchers to deposit a copy of all their
            published articles in an open access repository


            2. encourage their researchers to publish their research
            articles in open access journals where a suitable journal
            exists (and provide the support to enable that to happen)."
Received on Thu Jun 29 2006 - 16:42:51 BST

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