Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Australia's OA mandate doesn't threaten research grants

Stevan Harnad, Green OA is no threat to grants: Pre-emptive Gold OA, today, might be, Open Access Archivangelism, January 25, 2007. 

Summary:  An article in The Australian -- "Open access a threat to grants" -- has wrongly implied that the Australian Research Council [ARC] OA policy would redirect research grant money toward the payment of OA journal publishing charges. What ARC has mandated is OA self-archiving ("Green OA"). It has definitely not proposed diverting research funds to OA publishing ("Gold OA").

  1. The first OA priority is 100% OA itself, via Green OA self-archiving mandates.
  2. The need to redirect funds toward Gold OA is hypothetical.
  3. Any "Gold Rush" today is premature and unnecessary.
  4. 100% Green OA does not take a penny from research.
  5. But direct conversions to Gold now certainly do.
  6. Most Gold journals don't charge publication fees today, but it is unlikely this will scale to 100% Gold OA.
  7. It is not a bad idea to start thinking about how to prepare for that eventuality. 
  8. But it is misleading to think of and plan for the conversion to 100% Gold OA as a redirection of current research funds toward OA Gold publication charges. 
  9. The "redirection" that needs to be planned is from the (vast) funds that are currently being used to pay for (non-OA) publication -- namely, institutional subscription/license fees, if and when those are ever cancelled. 
  10. Hence pre-emptive redirection of scarce research funds to pay for Gold is premature and unnecessary today; what is necessary today is the Green mandates for which so many are now petitioning the European community.
  11. Once Green OA prevails, we have 100% OA already.
  12. Then, if/when Green OA causes unsustainable subscription cancellations, those very savings will pay the OA Gold publication costs without taking a penny from the current research pot.