Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 31, 2007

More on email access during an embargo period

Stevan Harnad, OA Mandates, Embargoes, and the "Fair Use" Button, Open Access Archivangelism, May 30, 2007. 

Summary:  Authors are entitled, under "Fair Use," to distribute single copies of their journal articles to individual reprint- or eprint-requesters for research use. But misunderstandings are making funders and institutions uncertain about whether to adopt (1) the Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access (ID/OA) Mandate or (2) the equivocal "Delayed Deposit Mandate" (which would leave it up to publishers whether and when authors deposit -- rather than just when they make the deposit OA). 

Mandating immediate deposit -- with the deposit either made Open Access immediately, where feasible, or Closed Access while there is a publisher embargo period (ID/OA) -- is infinitely preferable to allowing the deposit itself to be embargoed, rather than just the access to the deposit. During any access embargo, the deposit's metadata are still visible webwide (author, title, date, journal, etc.), so users can request a single fair-use copy. The "Fair Use" Button is part of the Institutional Repository's interface. Whenever a user reaches a Closed Access deposit, they can cut/paste their email address into a box, and click on the Button, which sends an automatic email request to the author, asking for authorization to email one individual eprint to the requester, for personal research use. The author can then just click on a URL to authorize the emailing of that individual eprint.

The default version that should be mandated for deposit is the author's final draft, not the publisher's PDF. (Many more publishers endorse author self-archiving of the publisher's final draft with immediate, unembargoed setting of access to the deposit of that draft as OA rather than Closed Access.) The difference between the publisher's PDF and the author's final draft means next to nothing for those would-be users who currently have no access at all.