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Sep 29, 2011


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Denis Hancock

It's about time for a major university to take a stand that knowledge is not to be kept from the people, let alone from the researchers who generate the knowledge. The federal government has mandated that the public should eventually have free and unfettered access to the products of sponsored research. Data repositories are being designed for just that purpose.

David Brush

So if everyone does this, what does it do to the academic publishing market? When and how does an academic deserve to prosper from their work? It seems that both the walled-garden and completely open approaches are unsustainable long-term. What's the middle ground here that enables broad learning and fair compensation for work?

Michael W. Kruse

I wonder how much income academics get from article in journals. My guess is very little. But the question of what this might mean for academic publishing companies is an interesting one.




1. First, congratulations to Princeton University (my graduate alma mater!) for adopting an open access mandate: a copyright-reservation policy, adopted by unanimous faculty vote.

2. Princeton is following in the footsteps of Harvard in adopting the copyright-reservation policy pioneered by Stuart Shieber and Peter Suber.

4. I hope that Princeton will now also follow in the footsteps of Harvard by adding an immediate-deposit requirement with no waiver option to its copyright-reservation mandate, as Harvard has done.

5. The Princeton copyright-reservation policy, like the Harvard copyright-reservation policy, can be waived if the author wishes: This is to allow authors to retain the freedom to choose where to publish, even if the journal does not agree to the copyright-reservation.

6. Adding an immediate-deposit clause, with no opt-out waiver option, retains all the properties and benefits of the copyright-reservation policy while ensuring that all articles are nevertheless deposited in the institutional repository upon publication, with no exceptions: Access to the deposited article can be embargoed, but deposit itself cannot; access is a copyright matter, deposit is not.

7. Depositing all articles upon publication, without exception, is crucial to reaching 100% open access with certainty, and as soon as possible; hence it is the right example to set for the many other universities worldwide that are now contemplating emulating Harvard and Princeton by adopting open access policies of their own; copyright reservation alone, with opt-out, is not.

8. The reason it is imperative that the deposit clause must be immediate and without a waiver option is that, without that, both when and whether articles are deposited at all is indeterminate: With the added deposit requirement the policy is a mandate; without it, it is just a gentleman/scholar's agreement.

[Footnote: Princeton's open access policy is also unusual in having been adopted before Princeton has created an open access repository for its authors to deposit in: It might be a good idea to create the repository as soon as possible so Princeton authors can get into the habit of practising what they pledge from the outset...]

Stevan Harnad

Denis Hancock

Another thing that needs to happen is for the "publish or perish" gatekeepers to recognize public-access repositories as a legitimate publishing venue. Some sort of peer review must happen.

My limited understanding of how many journal publishers operate is that they not only charge per page, whey also charge per offprint. The author(s) in many instances cannot make copies of their articles to students unless the journal is compensated -- generally by the author (or a grant). Either way the public is paying both for the research and the right to read the results.

Travis Greene

They do prosper from their work; they get paid to do it. If you think of it as work for hire, then it's "owned" by whoever pays them, i.e, the university. And if a public university, then the public.

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