The Name Game: Names Get In Our Way

Stevan Harnad harnad at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Thu Dec 28 03:18:30 EST 2006

    For fully linked version of this commentary:

In "Quantum Game Theory and Open Access Publishing"
Hanauske et al (2006) try to use game-theoretic modeling --
pitting "author-reputation" (in the form of citations) against
"journal-reputation" -- to show that authors will inevitably switch
from "traditional publishing" to "open access publishing." This would
be a welcome conclusion if Hanauske et al's underlying assumptions
and their definition of OA publishing had been valid. But the article
defines "Green OA" as self-archiving in an Institutional Repository,
"Gold OA" as publishing in an OA journal, and "OA Publishing" as a
"third option," with self-archiving in Arxiv (a Central Repository)
as its prime example. In reality, of course, self-archiving in Arxiv is
not OA publishing at all, but simply another example of OA self-archiving
(Green OA). Hence the assumption that "OA Publishing" (in this incorrect
sense) pits "author-reputation" (citations) game-theoretically against
"journal-reputation" (with citations eventually winning) is invalid
too. The correct conclusion, requiring no game-theoretic modeling at all,
is that OA will inevitably win over non-OA eventually (especially once
accelerated by Green OA self-archiving mandates), because more citations
are better than fewer citations. Nothing to do with OA publishing (Gold
OA), which also benefits from more citations, nor with traditional
publishing, which likewise benefits from more citations.

    Harnad, S., Brody, T., Vallieres, F., Carr, L., Hitchcock, S.,
    Gingras, Y., Oppenheim, C., Stamerjohanns, H. and Hilf, E. (2004)
    The Access/Impact Problem and the Green and Gold Roads to Open
    Access. Serials Review 30(4).

    Harnad, S. (2005) Fast-Forward on the Green Road to Open Access:
    The Case Against Mixing Up Green and Gold. Ariadne 43.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

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