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RE: Self-Archiving and Journal Subscriptions: Critique of PRC Study

On Mon, 14 May 2007, Rick Anderson wrote:

> First of all, mandated Green OA (according to the Harnadian 
> model) makes subscriptions unsustainable by definition -- in 
> exactly the same way that handing out unlimited free hamburgers 
> on the sidewalk in front of a hamburger stand makes running the 
> hamburger stand unsustainable.

Not quite: Hamburgers don't come in both paper and online 
versions, with only the online version free (and hand-wrapped, to 

Nor are hamburgers institutionally subscribed to in batches, with 
the free online, hand-wrapped versions gradually appearing, 
anarchically, so it is unclear how much of the batch is free, and 

Nor are hamburgers home-cooked by the author, given free to the 
vendor, quality-controlled for free for the vendor, and then 
wrapped and sold for a fee by the vendor.

But never mind; I agree that it is probably true (but not by 
definition) that mandated Green OA will eventually make 
subscriptions unsustainable. (No one knows how soon.)

> "journals will switch to Gold OA" is a breathtakingly breezy 
> and naive statement... The reality, of course, is that some 
> journals will go Gold and some will simply go out of business.

And their titles will migrate to other Gold publishers.

> Gold OA itself presents numerous serious problems...
> Not least among them is the significant amount of money that a
> widespread Gold OA solution would redirect from needed research.

No, Gold OA *now*, when the money to pay for it is still tied up 
in subscriptions, would redirect money from needed research. Gold 
OA after subscriptions are made unsustainable by mandated Green 
OA would redirect money from the subscription cancellation 
savings and leave research money where it is needed.


Stevan Harnad