Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hybrid OA journals don't change the case for mandated OA archiving

Stevan Harnad, The Geeks and the IrrationalOpen Access Archivangelism, September 3, 2006. Excerpt:

A promise: If it should turn out that the spontaneous author uptake rate for the "hybrid gold open access" option (i.e., journals that give authors a choice between either conventional subscription-based publication or paying to make their own article open access) significantly exceeds the spontaneous author uptake rate for "green open access" self-archiving (currently only about 15%, averaged across all fields, even though 94% of journals have given authors their green light for immediate OA self-archiving), then this weary archivangelist will retire to his tent, in defeat and dismay, at having wasted a decade and a half on trying to maximize the impact of human rationality, only to discover that the sole thing that had been missing all along -- as Thomas Walker had suggested in 1998, in the proposal that launched the American Scientist Open Access Forum -- was the option to purchase the extra visibility at a price!

My guess, though, is that researchers are no more likely to do, spontaneously, for a fee, what they would not do, spontaneously, for free....Most researchers will not bother to self-archive until and unless they are required to do so by their institutions and/or funders: Not for free, and even less likely for a fee!

Hence it is Immediate-Deposit & Optional-Access Self-Archiving Mandates (IDOA) by researchers' institutions and funders that will propel self-archiving rates from their current spontaneous 15% rut into unstoppable growth toward 100%....

(Only IF AND WHEN the urgent question should ever become (1) how to pay publication costs (subscriptions having been cancelled) rather than (2) how to end access-denial and impact-loss (as now), THEN the windfall savings from the subscription cancellations will be the rational source out of which to pay the publication costs. To pay for OA now, in advance, when all the money is all still tied up in subscriptions, when all costs are still being covered, and when catastrophic cancellations are only a hypothetical possibility -- well, you find your own preferred i-word for describing it...)