Public awareness of the OA movement

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 23 22:49:42 EDT 2012

On Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 9:31 PM, Subbiah Arunachalam <subbiah_a at>wrote:

Please see the Economist debate on academic journals [
> .
> It has not attracted many comments from readers - a clear indication that
> the general public (at least the segment that reads high quality news
> channels like The Economist) is least interested in, if not indifferent to,
> what we consider is of paramount importance. All our advocacy has not
> reached them. I think, instead of spending our time talking about refining
> and redefining the most appropriate way to bring about universal open
> access amongst ourselves (and that too with some amount of rancour) we
> should devote our attention now to take the message to the citizenry at
> large. We should promote Students for OA, Alliance of Taxpayers for OA and
> similar initiatives in a large scale. In the end, public awareness and
> taxpayer acceptance are the keys to the success of the OA movement.


The Economist is mixing up two kinds of fees: subscription fees, charged by
journals to users' institutions in exchange for access and publication
fees, charged by (some) journal to authors' institutions in exchange for
providing free online access ("open access") to all users.

Yes, subscriptions overcharge enormously; so do open-access journals ("gold
open access"). But there is another way for authors to provide free online
access to their journal articles for all users whose institutions cannot
afford subscription access: authors can self-archive the final,
peer-reviewed draft in their open-access institutional repositories as soon
as they are accepted for publication ("green open access").

Researchers' funders and institutions have begun mandating (requiring)
green open access self-archiving, but publishers have been lobbying
vehemently that they should instead be paid even more for "hybrid gold open
access," which is when a journal continues to collect subscriptions but, in
addition, sells gold open access to individual authors who agree to pay a
publication fee (which can be from $1500 to $3000 or more per paper

But now the UK research funder (RCUK), which used to be the worldwide
leader in open access policy has been persuaded by the publisher lobby (as
well as gold open access advocates) to mandate Gold OA payment, paid for
out of scarce research funds, in place of RCUK's historic green cost-free
Green OA self-archiving.

The UK and global research community must now send RCUK a very powerful and
concerted signal that this needless and wasteful new policy must be revised.


Urgent Need to Revise the New RCUK Open Access Policy

How and Why the RCUK Open Access Policy Needs to Be Revised
(Digital Research 2012 Keynote, Oxford, September 11)

How to Repair the New RCUK OA Policy
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