Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, July 06, 2008

More on the two-sidedness of OA

Stevan Harnad, The #1 Myth About Open Access, Open Access Archivangelism, July 6, 2008.  Excerpt:

"Just what is open access?... In an open access journal, there's no charge for reading articles... Yes, that's pretty much all there is to the definition."

No, unfortunately that is not the definition of OA (which actual means free online access), it is just the definition of Gold OA publishing, one of the two ways to provide OA (and not the fastest or surest way).

The single most important reason OA is not yet growing anywhere near as quickly as it could and should is this persistent perpetuation of the myth that OA is just Gold OA....

Comment.  Stevan is right to correct the impression that all OA is gold OA (through journals), and to remind everyone of green OA (through repositories).  But "free online access" is itself only part of the story.  Stevan links from that phrase to a more complete discussion.  But because he doesn't elaborate in his post, I'll elaborate a little.  The term "OA" is now used in at least two ways:  (1) to remove price barriers alone ("free online access" or gratis OA) and (2) to remove both price and permission barriers (libre OA, which includes BBB OA).  The gratis/libre distinction is not the same as the gold/green distinction.  The former is about rights or freedoms, and the latter is about venues.  Gold OA can be gratis or libre, and green OA can be gratis or libre.  Just as we can't afford to forget green OA, we can't afford to forget libre OA.