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Open Access: The Historic Irony

         ** Apologies for Cross-Posting **

[Hyperlinked version of this Commentary:
http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/727-guid.html ]

Historians will look back on our planet's glacially slow 
transition to the optimal and inevitable outcome for refereed 
research dissemination in the online era -- free online access 
webwide -- and will point out the irony of the fact that we were 
so much quicker to commit scarce money to trying to reform 
publishing ("Gold OA") through projects like SCOAP3 and COPE than 
we were to commit to providing free online access ("Green OA") to 
our own research output (by depositing it in our institutional 
repositories, and mandating that it be deposited) at no extra 
cost at all.

Here is just the latest instance:

"SCOAP3 support in the United States almost complete! - So far, 
over 150 U.S. libraries and library consortia have pledged a 
total of over 3.2 Million dollars to the SCOAP3 initiative. This 
is almost the entire contribution expected from partners in the 
United States. Worldwide, SCOAP3 partners in 24 countries 
collectively pledged around 7 Million Euros. These pledges 
represent about 70% of the SCOAP3 funding envelope, and the 
initiative is getting close to its next steps to convert to Open 
Access the entire literature of the field of High-Energy 
Physics." http://www.scoap3.org/news/news77.html

Yet (mark my words) it will be Green OA self-archiving -- and 
Green OA self-archiving mandates by institutions and funders -- 
that actually bring us universal OA at long last, and not the 
limited and ineffectual "gold fever" that is "freeing" 
(already-free) high energy physics (SCOAP3) -- already 
effectively OA for almost two decades now! -- nor the COPE 
commitment on the part of universities to pay to make a small 
portion of their own research output Gold OA -- without first 
committing to make all of it Green OA, cost-free.

[University presidents and provosts especially seem to be quite 
quick to sign open letters in support of their government's 
adopting an open access mandate, yet much slower to adopt an open 
access mandate for their own institutions!


"Never Pay Pre-Emptively For Gold OA Before First Mandating Green 

"On Not Putting The Gold OA-Payment Cart Before The Green 
OA-Provision Horse" 

"SCOAP3 and the pre-emptive "flip" model for Gold OA conversion" 

"Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity [COPE]: Mistaking 
intent for action?" 

"Putting Principled Support Into Practice: What Provosts Need to 

Stevan Harnad