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Stealth Operations

On 16-Jul-09, at 6:06 PM, Anthony Watkinson wrote:
> I have been away and am therefore slow in replying.
> I am happy with this transparency, Stefan, but I cannot help
> noticing the difference between the words "very likely" i.e
> succesful populating of institutional repositories will make the
> subscription model untenable and the words "might or might not"
> provided subsequently. OK - there is no proof but it is very
> likely. We seem to agree on this. I find it difficult to see how
> there could be a proof.
> The aim of the so-called Green approach is to achieve Open Access
> by stealth - is it not?

I am truly perplexed! What is stealthy about advocating, openly, 
vociferously, that Green OA should be universally mandated by 
research institutions and research funders? If skywriting that 
all over the stratosphere is stealthy ,then what on earth would 
be UNstealthy?

Or is this perhaps just the usual conflation of OA with Gold OA?

(In other words, are you implicitly assuming that what I am 
really aiming for is a conversion to Gold OA publishing, rather 
than just universal Green OA? Well. let me say -- again as openly 
as one is empowered to be, given the available human media of 
expression -- let me say, write, and skywrite, with hand on 
heart, that all I mean or ever meant by OA is immediate free 
online access to all refereed research articles, and that that's 
what Green OA and Green OA mandates provide. I have no intrinsic 
interest whatsoever in journal publishers' cost-recovery models 
and I try to refrain from speculating about them as much as I 
can. I admit lapses now and again, but if no one else mentions 
it, I never do.)

So I repeat: There is no evidence yet that Green OA has reduced 
subscriptions, let alone made them unsustainable. If and when it 
does, journals downsize and convert to Gold OA, and institutions 
can pay out of their windfall subscription savings. Meantime, 
full speed ahead to mandating universal Green OA.

What is the probability that universal Green OA will force a 
transition to Gold OA? I happen to personally think it's high. 
But who am I? I was convinced that the probability of universal 
Green OA -- spontaneous and unmandated -- was so high in 1994 
that it would be with us virtually overnight. Here we are, a 
decade and a half later, in 2009, Green OA is still only at about 
15%, and only 39 of the planet's 10,000 universities have 
mandated Green OA!

Now I would take that as strong evidence that my personal belief 
that universal Green OA is likely to lead to Gold OA (let alone 
the time- scale on which this will happen) is not to be taken too 


PS Anthony does have a point about what could be (mis)construed 
as my "true agenda" based on the infamous 1994 "subversive 
proposal," in which there was a definite lapse (but no stealth!). 
I should not have said a single word about publishing there, just 
about self-archiving. (I've since admitted this, in a 10-year 
retrospective "mea culpa.") But the "subversion" I had in mind 
even in 1994 was not of the publishing model, but of the access 
model. On publishing models, I plead nolo contendere. The 
research community has far greener pastures to harvest.