Open Access: Gratis and Libre 2012-05-08


“Mike Taylor writes (on Nature Blog): ‘BOAI intended OA to mean much more than just the freedom to read an article online, and the term is used in this stronger sense by most of the people writing about open access today.... That’s not to say that ‘gratis OA’ is not a good thing. Of course, it is. But...’ The original BOAI statement -- drafted online collectively by the original BOAI 2001 attendees, but authored mostly by Peter Suber -- was something new that we were improvising as we went along. It became clear, as subsequent years went by, that practical developments since 2001 necessitated some rethinking, revising and updating. The revised, refined definition was formulated in 2008. I might add that I have been working toward (what we eventually dubbed) ‘OA’ since the early 1990's, and for me the first and foremost goal had always been (and still is) immediate, permanent, toll-free online access to 100% of peer-reviewed journal articles, i.e., ‘Gratis OA’. I also have to note that we did not have 100% Gratis OA in 1994, when I made my "Subversive Proposal" for providing it, and we still do not have 100% Gratis OA today, almost two decades later, even though it is fully within reach. We are only at about 20%, except where it is mandated, in which case it jumps to 60% and then climbs steadily toward 100% (if the mandate is effectively formulated and implemented!). Now, to ask for Libre OA (Gratis OA plus some re-use rights, not yet fully agreed upon) today is to ask for more than Gratis OA at a time when authors are not even providing Gratis OA (except if mandated). Libre OA also brings with it numerous unresolved complications, among them the fact that although all authors want users to have free access to their papers (even though they don't bother -- or dare -- to provide it unless mandated), not all authors want to grant users further re-use rights,; nor is it agreed yet what those further re-use rights should be. In addition, publishers, the majority of whom have given their green light to Gratis OA, are far from agreeing to Libre OA. Yes, further re-use rights are important, and desirable, in many (not all) cases. But they are even harder to agree on and provide than Gratis OA, and we have not yet even managed to mandate that in anywhere sufficient numbers. And access itself -- ‘mere’ access -- is not just important, but essential, and urgent, for all peer-reviewed research. Yet 100% Gratis OA is fully within reach (and has been for years): All institutions and funders need do is grasp it, by mandating it. Instead, we have been over-reaching for years now -- for Libre OA, for Gold OA, for copyright reform, for publishing reform, for peer review reform -- and not even getting what is already fully within reach. So I appreciate your point, Mike, that getting much more than Gratis Green OA would be better than getting just Gratis Green OA. But I also think that it's time to stop letting the best get in the way of the better: Let's forget about Libre and Gold OA until we have managed to mandate Green Gratis OA universally. After that, all the other good things we seek will come into reach, and will come to pass. But not if we keep trying, like Stephen Leacock's horseman, to ride off in all directions, while we just keep getting next to nowhere…”



08/16/2012, 06:08

From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.comment oa.mandates oa.libre oa.compliance oa.definitions oa.declarations oa.repositories oa.policies oa.journals



Date tagged:

05/08/2012, 07:31

Date published:

05/04/2012, 23:14