Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Harnad response to Gallagher

Stevan Harnad, OA: Not OK, But Not DOA Either, Open Access Archivangelism, November 7, 2007.  Excerpt:

In "OA, OK?" Richard Gallagher (2007) is quite right to say "we're still waiting" for the "optimal and inevitable" [Open Access]. I was already in full agreement in the previous millennium (Harnad 1999):

"I have a feeling that when Posterity looks back at the last decade of the 2nd A.D. millennium of scholarly and scientific research on our planet, it may chuckle at us....

"For staring us in the face in this last decade has been an obvious new way to augment that already impressive speed and scale by perhaps an order of magnitude, yet we simply haven't twigged on it...

"I don't think there is any doubt in anyone's mind as to what the optimal and inevitable outcome of all this will be: The Give-Away literature will be free at last online, in one global, interlinked virtual library... and its [peer-review] expenses will be paid for up-front, out of the [subscription cancellation] savings. The only question is: When?..." -- (Harnad 1999)

But Gallagher is not quite right that "most scientists became indifferent about Open Access." The syndrome is not quite indifference but a combination of ignorance and indolence (Swan 2005) concerning what is already demonstrably in their own best interests and fully within their reach. I have dubbed the syndrome "Zeno's Paralysis" (">Harnad 2006); the affliction is, fortunately, curable. The medicine is OA self-archiving mandates (Harnad 2001, Harnad et al. 2003; Harnad 2007) by researchers' institutions and funders.

And those mandates are on the way....