[Open-access] [GOAL] Re: Re: Fight Publishing Lobby's Latest "FIRST" Act to Delay OA - Nth Successor to PRISM, RWA etc.

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at gmail.com
Thu Nov 21 23:25:42 UTC 2013

On Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:32 PM, Bjoern Brembs <b.brembs at gmail.com> wrote:

I find subscriptions too expensive compared to other solutions

Institutional users need access to subscription journals today. Whatever
the solution, if the content is not OA, it means paying tolls. The toll
budget for journal access is handled by the library, not by the users.

> I would expand green mandates to cover not only text, but also data and
> software.

Can we wait, please, until they at least cover (journal article) text,
rather than demanding even more when we don't yet even have less?

> if they don't interoperate and only cover text and not software and data,
> they are as good as useless.

OA to peer-reviewed journals articles may be useless to you, Bjoern, but
not to those who are denied access to them when they need them. (The OA
Button <http://oabutton.wordpress.com> launched a couple of days ago at
Berlin 11 gives a sample of the number of access-denied users for which OA
to journal articles is not so useless…)

> It is technically simple to develop a crawler that harvests every single
> article any institution on this planet has access to (and, perhaps more
> importantly, it is not even illegal :). Placed in a decentralized
> repository, one can make accessible only these articles which were either
> published OA, or are in a repository already, or fall under a green mandate
> but have not been deposited, or where the copyright has expired, or that
> are legally accessible for some other reason.

I don't know about the legality of this harvesting, but I am pretty sure
that publishers that have been feverishly opposing and embargoing Green OA
and Green OA mandates would not hesitate to go after a 3rd-party
service-provider providing access to their proprietary content where and
when it has not been made OA by its author.

The only one who can provide OA to subscription journal content besides the
publisher (Gold OA) is the author (Green OA). Anything else, provided by a
3rd party today, is (according to laws with which I do not agree but which
are here today) considered
and prosecutable.

It would help if suggested solutions stuck to reality, rather than
diverting attention from tried and tested solutions that work (but have not
yet been widely enough adopted) to fantasy solutions that only make sense
in one's imagination.

The properties can be extracted from articles with a reasonably high degree
> of accuracy and should cover so much of the current literature, that
> targeted subscription cuts would hardly be noticed by faculty. For those
> faculty that would notice, it should not be too difficult to explain that
> for a limited period of time, there is a limited reduction in access, which
> will be fully restored as soon as the reform is completed.

In the real world, you are saying something along the same lines as what you've
already said<http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/1053-Pre-emptive-cancellation-costs-far,-far-more-than-it-saves.html>in
support of an unlikely ally (librarian Rick
who proposed cancelling journals that have a higher proportion of Green OA.
That will be an encouraging reward to journals that do not embargo Green
OA, and a useful service to users who can no longer have subscription
access to the balance of such journals' content.

Why, if few people would notice a drop in access, should we not cut
> subscriptions in order to finance much needed reform?

Because reform will come (and the finances will be released) once Green OA
approaches 100% globally, not if we nip Green OA in the bud with *annulatio
praecox *when we're still nowhere near the target.

Green OA grows anarchically, article by article, mandate by mandate, not
journal by journal. So nothing to cancel till we are at asymptote.

> Technically, this is not difficult, but it requires international
> coordination and standards. If you think it is ideology to suggest we
> coordinate ourselves and agree on standards, then we have probably deserved
> the quagmire we're in right now and should abandon all reform efforts
> anyway.

Neither third-party harvesting of subscription-journal, non-OA content, nor
the pre-emptive cancelation of journals with higher Green OA content when
Green OA and Green OA mandates are still far from 100% can be described as
"international coordination and standards": It is remarkably unreflective
and un-self--critical armchair fantasy.

*Stevan Harnad*
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