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Re: May issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter

First things first. Once Green OA self-archiving mandates are=20
adopted universally by institutions and funders, the planet will=20
have Green OA (to the refereed final drafts of articles accepted=20
for publication), at long last, to the enormous benefit of=20
research, researchers, their institutions, and the public that=20
funds the research, in terms of research uptake, usage,=20
applications, impact and progress.

As long as subscriptions continue to pay for publication (the=20
print edition, the online edition, distribution, archiving, and=20
peer-review/copy-editing), there is no need for any further=20

If and when universal Green OA should eventually make=20
institutional subscriptions no longer sustainable (because users=20
are satisfied with the Green OA version, so their institutions=20
cancel their subscriptions), then publishers will cancel the=20
print edition and online edition, offload the distribution and=20
archiving to the global network of Green OA institutional=20
repositories, and charge only for the peer-review/copy-editing=20
costs. The institutions can and will pay for that, per paper=20
refereed, out of a fraction of their annual windfall=20
subscription-cancellation savings.

But we are nowhere near that yet. Most of today's Gold OA fees=20
are not only much higher than they would be if users were all=20
satisfied with the Green OA version, but the money to pay for=20
them is still mostly tied up in journal subscriptions.

That's why all this pre-emptive speculation is irrelevant. The=20
only thing missing today is OA itself, and universal Green OA=20
mandates will provide it. After that, publishing will adapt as a=20
matter of natural course.

Stevan Harnad

Harnad, S. (2009) The PostGutenberg Open Access Journal. In: Cope, B.
& Phillips, A (Eds.) The Future of the Academic Journal. Chandos.

On Tue, May 4, 2010 at 7:14 PM, Sandy Thatcher <sgt3@psu.edu> wrote:

> My understanding of why many publishers oppose FRPAA and the=20
> NIH policy is that it mandates the uncompensated appropriation=20
> of the peer review conducted by publishers. Given the retention=20
> of rights involved in the agreements that researchers will be=20
> required to sign, this does not have to raise any copyright=20
> issues per se. =A0But it does mean that the federal government is=20
> requiring publishers to pay the cost of peer review if they=20
> want to continue publishing any articles funded by agency=20
> dollars.
> Because this involves just Green OA, it remains to be seen=20
> whether libraries, especially given the pressures on their=20
> budgets today, will have sufficient incentive to continue=20
> subscribing to high-priced STM journals they know they can=20
> access for free after 6 months just for the benefit of the=20
> final processing that publishers provide.
>>From what I have learned over the past several years about how
> little importance people, including even authors, seem to place=20
> on copyediting, I'm not sanguine that this deal is going to=20
> work out well for publishers.
> In that event, it seems to me that publishers have three=20
> choices:
> 1)start charging fees to cover the cost of peer review and
>  final processing (in effect, becoming Gold OA publishers), 2)
>  accepting for publication only articles not funded by
>  government, or 3) investing their capital in some more
>  promising business. =A0Since FRPPA includes no provision for
>  paying any such fees, that burden will fall back upon authors
>  and their universities. Under scenarios 2 and 3,
>  government-funded research will then need to be peer reviewed
>  in some other way than by publishers. Who will provide that
>  service? =A0FRPPA requires peer review. If government starts to
>  provide peer review, then we are into uncertain territory,
>  with potential politicization of the process and variability
>  in funding levels from year to year. Professional societies
>  are the logical players here, but they are already suffering
>  from financial problems and are loath to raise membership fees
>  much higher to pay for added services.
> FRPAA does not at the moment include the NEH, which funds most=20
> research in the humanities--when government funding is=20
> available at all. But as we all know, it funds only a minuscule=20
> portion of humanities research. =A0If FRPAA is extended to the=20
> NEH eventually, or if the Executive Branch decides to mandate=20
> open access for the NEH via executive order, as Peter suggests=20
> it might do, I would guess that most publishers of humanities=20
> journals will either begin not to accept NEH-funded articles=20
> for review or else require special fees for such articles to=20
> cover costs of peer-reviewing them, in effect instituting=20
> hybrid Gold OA.
> What does seem perfectly clear is that scholars are going to=20
> continue needing their articles peer reviewed because only in=20
> that way can they advance in their careers. If FRPPA does not=20
> pay for peer review, and publishers decide not to consider=20
> articles funded by government research, then some mechanism=20
> will still need to be put in place to have peer review carried=20
> out. Has anyone given much thought to how that will be=20
> accomplished if scenarios 2 and 3 comes to pass?
> Sandy Thatcher
> P.S. Peter says that 60% of publishers now allow "postprints" to
> be posted OA. Is that true? I thought "postprint" meant
> peer-reviewed but not finally processed, but in this newsletter
> he seems to be talking as though "postprints" meant the final
> versions as published. I believe the 60% figure is accurate for
> Green OA. I doubt it is accurate for final versions.