AAAS (Green), Nature (Pale-Green), ACS (Gray)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2007 13:04:14 +0100

On 19-Oct-07, at 9:30 PM, [identity deleted] wrote:

> Tony Hey made the point that some form of open access to text and
> data would be the norm in about ten years from now in his
> presentation to a panel chaired by Christine Borgman at the AAAS
> 2007 meeting held in San Francisco.
> Ironically, AAAS [along with ACS] is among the few leading
> professional societies which opposes open access tooth and nail!
> What can we do to convince the AAAS management (as well as the ACS
> management) to see the point that is obvious to us?
> Some believe that AAAS opposes OA while commercial publishers such as
> Nature
> Group supports OA in some form...

AAAS is fully Green on immediate OA self-archiving of the
peer-reviewed postprint
hence there is nothing we need to convince AAAS of.

(Indeed, it is Nature that back-slid to pale-Green in 2005:
Nature started out being Green, but then introduced a 6-month
embargo on self-archiving coinciding with the announcement
that the NIH agreed had agreed to embargoes.)

But it is ACS that is Gray

And although it is a good idea to keep trying to convince them, my
own guess is that ACS will be among the very last of the publishers
to go Green. ACS was rumored to be one of the three publishers that
backed PRISM. (The other two were rumored to be Elsevier, which is
fully Green, and Wiley, which is Pale-Green).

ACS is the Learned Society with the biggest and most remunerative
publishing operation. With Chemical Abstracts they make a lot more
money than the American Physical Society, which was the very first of
the Green publishers, and which set the standard for all the rest.

The strongest weapon against the ACS's Gray policy is the movement
for data-archiving. (The two strongest contingents of the movement
for data-archiving are in Biology and in Chemistry; I have branched
this to Peter Murray-Rust, Jeremy Frey, and Michael Hursthouse.)

The chemical research community, accustomed to the status quo, with
Chemical Abstracts and the other ACS products and services, is one of
the most quiescent on the to provide OA to journal articles, but they
can be roused on the subject of data-archiving.

And, ironically, ACS is also the most vulnerable there: Other
publishers, since they do not publish data, have no big stake in
data-archiving, one way or another. But for ACS, data-archiving (just
like article-archiving) represents (or appears to them to represent)
a risk to their revenue-streams.

So chemists are among the most difficult to rally in favor of OA,
but they can definitely be aroused in favor of data-archiving. And in
chemistry, of all fields, the two are very closely coupled, since
many chemical publications (e.g. in crystallography) consist of just
the description of a new molecule. See:

         (1) Southampton Crystal Structure Report Archive/EPSRC
         (2) Mineralogical Society of America/NSF: http://
       (3) RRUF/NSF:
       (4) NCL in Pune (theses)
       (5) Elsevier's somewhat half-hearted (because ambivalent) "Chemistry
Preprint Server":

So NSF is a potential ally in influencing the ACS. So too would be
NIH (if it weren't the victim of ACS's successful anti-OA lobbying at
the moment):

and the UK's EPSRC (which is obviously conflicted on this issue, being
the last of the UK funding councils to still hold out as non-Green!)

One last point: Please do not confuse a publisher's stand on Gold OA
(publishing) with their stand on Green OA (self-archiving). Gold OA is
welcome, but it is Green OA that is urgently needed. In this regard, AAAS
(Green) is fully on the side of the Angels, whereas Nature (Pale-Green)
is not.

The only two differences between AAAS and Nature are that (1) AAAS is
still (nominally) supporting the "Ingelfinger Rule" on prepublication
preprints (but that is not a legal matter, and those authors who wish to
ignore the unjustified and unenforceable Ingelfinger Rule can ignore it).
and (2) Nature has begun to experiment with Gold. This experimentation
can be cynical and self-serving, but it is not, I think, in the case
of Nature.

In the case of ACS, however, which has begun to "experiment" with the
Trojan Horse of "AuthorChoice," it has become the only Gray publisher,
as far as I know, to have the temerity to ask its authors to pay extra
for the right to self-archive: paying for Green!

In my opinion, there is nothing to reproach AAAS with. I'd be somewhat
more inclined to shame Nature, with its 6-month embargo, but the best
solution for that is to adopt the Immediate-Deposit Mandate, which
allows a Closed Access Embargo, but requires deposit of the postprint
immediately upon acceptance for publication (allowing the Institutional
Repository' semi-automatized "Email Eprint Request" or "Fair Use" Button
to provide almost-OA almost-immediately, to tide over any embargo period).

Stevan Harnad

If you have adopted or plan to adopt a policy of providing Open Access
to your own research article output, please describe your policy at:

    BOAI-1 ("Green"): Publish your article in a suitable toll-access journal
    BOAI-2 ("Gold"): Publish your article in an open-access journal if/when
    a suitable one exists.
    in BOTH cases self-archive a supplementary version of your article
    in your own institutional repository.
Received on Mon Oct 22 2007 - 13:08:39 BST

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