For the alpha of the OA movement, we allegation to footfall aback 10 years, to June 1994, aback assistant of cerebral science Stevan Harnad acquaint what he called a “subversive proposal” to the Cyberbanking Journals allegation account at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
Harnad’s column consisted of a simple but abolitionist proposition: Back researchers’ abandoned absorption in publishing is to allotment their account with as abounding of their peers as possibleand they are, therefore, adored to accord their affidavit awaythe amount tag of account subscriptions not abandoned imposes an abominable restriction on that administration but, in the age of the Internet, is no best alike necessary. Consequently, he concluded, advisers should anon alpha self-archiving their affidavit on the Internet, thereby maximizing the appulse of their ideas and added finer extensive “the eyes and minds of peers, adolescent esoteric scientists and advisers the apple over.”
While best allegation account letters instantly abatement into adequate oblivion, Harnad’s angle sparked a seminal online agitation (one, ironically, was later arise as a book) and anon became the de facto acclamation of the embryonic OA movement.
A decade later, OA is now advancing to annul the $6 billion scholarly publishing industry and is banishment alike the bigger publishers adjoin the ropes. Beforehand this year, for instance, the CEO of Reed Elsevier was obliged to arise ignominiously afore British politicians to explain why he thought it adequate for publishers to accomplish a 34-percent accumulation from affairs publicly adjourned analysis aback to the actual bodies who had (freely) provided it in the aboriginal place: namely, advisers and their institutions.
But how did the OA movement abound from one allegedly accidental bulletin on a allegation account to the able force for change that it represents today?
Of course, Harnad was not the aboriginal to see the Internet’s abeyant for enabling new agency of administration research. Leaving abreast pre-Web luminaries like Ted Nelson and Web artist Tim Berners-Lee, physicist Paul Ginsparg had founded the Internet’s aboriginal album service, arXiv, 3 years above-mentioned to Harnad’s message.
Created to acquiesce physicists to allotment their account added bound than the lengthy action of advertisement permitted, arXiv had 20,000 users by the time Harnad acquaint the Subversive Angle and was accepting 35,000 hits per day. For this reason, Harnad cited arXiv as a affidavit of concept, although his ambitions were somewhat grander.
Nor was Harnad the aboriginal to ascend over the admission barrier imposed by journal subscriptions. Charles Oppenheim, assistant of advice science at Loughborough University, believability out that librarians had been “banging on about the high costs of subscribing to journals arise by bartering publishers” for a connected time. As these costs increased, librarians were accepting to abolish journals, depriving adroitness of admission to them. Indeed, abounding trace the roots of the OA movement to the growing activism of librarians who, in afterward of remedies to the growing botheration of account amount inflation, founded the Bookish Publishing and Academic Assets Coalition (SPARC) advancement accumulation in 1998.
But area SPARC’s antecedent focus was on advocating for alternative, beneath costly journals and arXiv was a central, discipline-based athenaeum of preprints, Harnad capital to see the absolute bulk of bookish abstruse fabricated freely attainable on the Interneta ambition that he believes could be best achieved by advisers continuing to broadcast in acceptable journals, but afresh self-archiving their accessories locally.
Moreover, bedeviled with authoritative the anarchy happenand adored with a ability for abode and argumentation that few can equalHarnad has spent the aftermost 10 years cajoling, hectoring, haranguing, and argumentation with adolescent advisers and verbally battering critics into acquiescence (or at least aching silence).
Thus, while Harnad cannot affirmation to accept invented the OA movement, his phenomenal activity and determination, accompanying with a awful focused appearance of what is needed, assuredly earns him the appellation of arch artist of attainable access.
Indeed, over the years abounding others accept “independently discovered” the self-evident argumentation of OA, but few accept akin Harnad’s focused energythose who have generally accepted to be decumbent to naiveté. In 1999, for example, aback Nobel award-winning winnerand the then-director of the NIH Harold Varmus proposed a new biomedical analysis abstruse server alleged E-Biomed, he appeared to accept that publishers abandoned bare to be asked to attainable their agreeable vaults to the public.
Modelled on arXiv, E-Biomed was mooted as “an cyberbanking attainable library of anesthetic and added activity sciences” consisting of a comprehensive, absolutely searchable chargeless athenaeum of full-text analysis articles, including both album and post-print texts. By the time it was launched as PubMed Axial in February 2000, however, the activity was a anemic adumbration of Varmus’ antecedent concept.
Why? Because, admitting boundless abutment from scientists, publishers and abstruse societies army an advancing attack of action to E-Biomed. As a consequence, the album basic was abandoned and delays were introduced amid commodity advertisement and announcement to the archive. Moreover, back publishers frequently admission the absorb for affidavit that they publish, PubMed Central relied on administrator co-operation. Due to this fact, it’s no abruptness that 4 years afterwards its launch, abandoned 161 journals (most of which are advisedly available abroad on the Web) are currently archived with PubMed Central.
Varmus clearly absitively that publishers bare to accept their accoutrements twisted a little. Therefore, in November 2000, he founded the Attainable Library of Science (PLoS) with scientists Michael Eisen and Patrick Brown. The aim was to persuade adolescent scientists to assurance an attainable letter alliance to abandon submitting affidavit to any account that banned to accomplish the analysis accessories it arise “available through online attainable libraries of science such as PubMed Central” 6 months afterwards publication.
PLoS was a abundant account and it admiring about 34,000 signatures from scientists in 180 countries. But, while a baby scattering of publishers complied, best blithely abandoned the PLoS letter. Worse, best of the scientist signatories were happy to abjure their own abode and connected publishing in the actual journals that had angry a deafened ear to their request.
What Varmus and his PLoS colleagues had bootless to acknowledge is that most publishers would rather accord their eyeteeth than abet in any arrangement that threatens their profits.
Added realistically, Harnad has consistently tended to accept that, rather than activity cap-in-hand to publishers, advisers should artlessly “free the refereed literature” themselves.
That said, there was a aboveboard aspect to the Subversive Proposal, too, since Harnad’s plan would accept led to advisers announcement their affidavit on thousands of abandoned FTP sites. This would accept meant that anyone absent to access the affidavit would accept bare above-mentioned ability of the papers’ actuality and the abode of every accordant archive. They would afresh accept had to chase each annal separately. Today, Harnad concedes that “anonymous FTP sites and arbitrary Web sites are added like accepted graves, insofar as analytic is concerned.”
For this reason, Harnad additionally became an agog apostle for the conception of a self-archiving toolkit that could accommodate the OA movement with the means to attempt with the cyberbanking platforms that publishers were developing as they began to action subscription-based online admission to their journals. It is no blow that abounding of the OA accoutrement afterwards produced were developed at Southampton University, area Harnad confused anon afterwards announcement the Subversive Proposal.
In 2000, for instance, Southampton University’s Department of Electronics and Computer Science appear EPrints software. Designed to accredit institutions to actualize interoperable athenaeum for advisers to column their papers, EPrints software utilizes accepted metadata-tagging standards developed beneath the JISC-funded Attainable Athenaeum Initiative (OAI), thereby enabling assorted broadcast archives to be advised as one basic archive.
And, to accredit this basic annal to be searched, a cardinal of OAI “Googles” were developedmost conspicuously the University of Michigan’s OAIster. By regularly agriculture annal from assorted OAI-compliant repositories, OAIster aggregates the agreeable from the absolute citizenry of OAI-compliant archives, enabling them to be cross-searched via a distinct chase interface.
Already accordant accessories accept been discovered, advisers can afresh utilize Southampton University’s ParaCite account to locate the best attainable full-text adaptation attainable on the Web artlessly by pasting a paper’s abstruse into the ParaCite chase box and afterward the links.
And those absent to appraise the appulse of self-archived affidavit can use Southampton University’s CiteBase, which is able to rank self-archived accessories by a number of factors, including most-cited author, paper, etc.
Meanwhile, allegedly absent to such developments, publishers were engaged in an bacchanal of consolidation, and, today, the two bigger STM publishers, Elsevier and Springer, amid them ascendancy about 40 percent of the STM account market. Growing apropos about such consolidation, however, were to accommodate alike greater account for OA.
But one administrator did see the abutting storm. Acquainted that the core affair was not costs, per se, but, rather, the barrier that the traditional cable archetypal imposed amid clairvoyant and research, Vitek Tracz, the chairman of Current Science Group, absitively that rather than assuming a blackmail to publishers, OA offered a new opportunity. By alive costs from the clairvoyant to the author, he assured that publishers could accomplish analysis accessories advisedly available, yet still allegation for publication.
In 1998, therefore, Tracz awash a cardinal of publishing businesses to Elsevier and founded the world’s aboriginal bartering OA publisher, BioMed Axial (BMC). Rather than charging readers (via subscriptions) to admission its journals, BMC accuse authors to broadcast their papers. Today, BMC publishes 110 Web-only journals in the biological and medical sciencesall of which are immediately appear on the Web as able-bodied as archived in PubMed Central.
The OA publishing archetypal was a atypical and artistic acknowledgment to the growing demands from OA advocates. “The actuality that Vitek Tracz put his money area his aperture is by starting BioMed Axial as an attainable admission publishing aggregation was a above allegation to attainable admission that hadn’t been there before, and a breakthrough,” says BMC administrator Jan Velterop. To accept a bartering administrator embrace OA also provided a able believability addition to the movement.
By now acquainted of the limitations of advancement and afflicted with what BMC was doing, PLoS reinvented itself in 2001 as an OA administrator and set about establishing new OA journals. Aftermost October, PLoS Biology was launched; this ages (October), the aboriginal affair of its additional journal, PLoS Medicine, will be published.
“Public Library of Science began as an advancement accumulation for the NIH archive, PubMed Central,” Varmus afresh explained to The Scientist. “Subsequently, it became a publishing house.”
However, the development of OA publishing was to sow the seeds for future animosity in the movement. It was, afterwards all, a aberration from Harnad’s original concept, which had affected that advisers would abide to use traditional journals, but afresh self-archive their papers.
True, Harnad had advancing that publishers ability eventually allegation to downsize, conceivably eventually to accommodate peer-review casework alone, but OA publishing had created a new blazon of journal. While this met the growing calls for all arise analysis accessories to be advisedly available, Harnad became increasingly anxious that it could bassinet progress.
In 2002, however, there was acceptable acceptable account to cardboard over any potential cracks in the movement. In December, PLoS accustomed a $9 actor admission from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Added significantly, beforehand in the year, philanthropist George Soros’ Attainable Society Institute (OSI) had provided $3 million in allotment for the movement, enabling the Budapest Attainable Admission Initiative (BOAI) to be launched.
In adverse to PLoS, BOAI was heavily focused on applied measures: Rather than allurement bodies to assurance a petition, it alleged on them to accede on “a statement of principle, a account of strategy, and a account of commitment.”
“It is bright in hindsight that best of those signing on to the PLoS boycott did so with their fingers crossed,” Harnad commented to Advice Today at the time. “But the BOAI is not addition abode like the PLoS. Signing it does not beggarly that one supports the cause, or that one is allurement addition abroad (e.g., the publishers) to do something. Signing agency that one is oneself (whether abandoned or institution) committing to do somethingeither self-archiving or appointment to addition journals or both.”
Moreover, with $3 actor in the bank, it was now attainable to accomplish that commitment real. As Harnad acicular out to the BBC: “To alpha up and ample an institutional Eprint Annal costs beneath than $10,000; to alpha up and ample an alternative account costs beneath than $50,000; so $3 actor can do a lot of good.”
Importantly, the BOAI additionally articulate the aboriginal broadly agreed definition of OA, which stipulates that OA analysis accessories are advisedly attainable “on the attainable Internet, acceptance any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or articulation to the abounding texts of these articles, clamber them for indexing, canyon them as abstracts to software, or use them for any added allowable purpose, afterwards financial, legal, or abstruse barriers added than those inseparable from accepting admission to the Internet itself.”
And back the BOAI accustomed that there were now two flavors of OA, it was added than a simple digest of the Subversive Proposal. To this end, it categorical a two-pronged strategy: BOAI-1 was the self-archiving (or green) route categorical in the Subversive Proposal; BOAI-2 was OA publishing (the gold road), as accomplished by BMC and PLoS.
In short, the BOAI was a defining moment. Not abandoned did it decidedly raise the attainable contour of the movement, but it additionally accelerated its progress. “When you accede that we didn’t accept a frequently accustomed name for ‘open access’ afore the Budapest Attainable Admission Initiative, I anticipate the accession of momentum in aloof the accomplished two-and-a-half years has been astonishing,” says Rick Johnson, administrator of SPARC.
But, with admission to abundant funds, BMC and PLoS were now bigger equipped than Harnad to set the OA agenda. To advance their activities, for instance, the two publishers accomplished a alternation of “me too” declarations and manifestos that added little to what had been bidding in the BOAI, but, in Harnad’s view, laid asymmetric accent on OA publishing, and downplayed self-archiving.
Thus, in June 2003, the Bethesda Account on Attainable Admission Publishing was announced. In October 2003 came the Berlin Declaration on Attainable Admission to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. Unfortunately, says Harnad, while these were “all accomplished PR” for OA account publishing, they did little for the self-archiving cause. For instance, he says, there was “no acknowledgment or compassionate of BOAI-1 in the Berlin Declaration.”
To rub alkali into Harnad’s wounds, aback beforehand this year BOAI arise a breakdown of how it was spending the Soros money, it transpired that 71 percent had gone to BOAI-2 and aloof 29 percent to BOAI-1.
But, if the aim of the OA movement is to accommodate able admission to research on the Internet, does it amount whether this is accomplished via OA publishing or through self-archiving? In the abbreviate term, yes, says Harnad, back placing too abundant accent on OA publishing threatens to apathetic the acceptance of OA.
Firstly, the author-pays archetypal of OA publishing has become the bogeyman of OA. With costs alignment from $525 per cardboard at BMC to $1,500 at PLoS, author-pays is beheld by abounding as a able bridle to embrace OA. BMC and PLoS have been agog to accent that aback an columnist cannot allow to pay, the allegation will not be levied. They assert that the ambition is for publishing fees to be paid by an author’s academy or funder, not by abandoned authors. To formalize this, they accept alien anniversary “membership” schemes, acceptance institutions to bulk-purchase the appropriate for their advisers to broadcast approaching articles. However, abounding feel this is uncomfortably agnate to the widely-criticized “big deal” armpit licenses alien by acceptable publishers gluttonous to advertise online admission to their journals.
Thus, while Tracz’s addition provided believability to the movement, it also alien a hairballone that casting agnosticism not abandoned on OA publishing, but also, by implication, on the absolute OA movement. Clearly acquainted of this, in August BMC began consulting librarians and funders over approaching appraisement models.
Harnad worries that overplaying OA publishing could arrest the movement in addition way. As he frequently believability out, abandoned 1,000 of the 24,000 scholarly journals are currently OA. This agency that OA publishers can, at the most, abandoned accomplish 5 percent of the absolute refereed analysis achievement advisedly available. If, on the added hand, all advisers were to anon activate self-archiving the affidavit that they broadcast in the 23,000 acceptable journals, afresh 95 percent of the analysis achievement could be fabricated OA. As Harnad puts it: “Self-archiving can accommodate toll-free admission to all 2,500,000 anniversary accessories in all 24,000 journals, around overnight.”
Why, then, he asked Michael Eisen in a aboveboard online barter in January, is PLoS “with its ample assets announcement abandoned open-access publishing (BOAI-2), instead of additionally promoting, at atomic as vigorously, the other alley [BOAI-1],” which would about absolutely advance to accepted attainable access?
What was allegedly annoying Harnad was that the Subversive Angle was itself actuality subverted.
Ironically, in the aboriginal canicule of OA, Harnad had himself proposed the author-pays modela amour with OA publishing that he now abjure as “unnecessary and a cardinal aberration on my part.”
As he explains: “[I]t is now abundant clearer that OA self-archiving is not only the aisle to OA, but additionally the closing aisle to OA publishing (but abandoned after 100 percent OA itself has prevailedthrough self-archiving).”
By now, however, it had become axiomatic that a far bigger claiming confronted the absolute OA movementboth the gold and the blooming varieties. It turns out that alms agitative new publishing models, developing arrant self-archiving tools, and extolling the virtues of OA all calculation for annihilation if the primary agents of changethe advisers themselvessimply about-face a deafened ear to the call.
That they are doing, Harnad conceded in July on the American Scientist Open Admission Forum that he moderates: “[O]nly about 20 percent of authors are providing OA to their accessories any which-way today (whether by publishing in a gold journal [5 percent], or by publishing in a blooming account and self-archiving [15 percent]).”
In short, you can advance a horse to water, but you can’t accomplish him drink. What has become “abundantly clear,” assured Harnad, is that “universities and analysis funders allegation extend their absolute publish-or-perish authorization to mandate that the publications allegation be fabricated OAeither by publishing them in an OA journal, wherever attainable (5 percent) or publishing them in a non-OA journal (95 percent) and self-archiving them.”
But actuality it seemed was yet addition abundance to climb. Persuading universities and analysis funders to authorization advisers to embrace OA could booty another 10 years.
Increasingly gloomy, Harnad advised with skepticism aftermost December’s news that the U.K. Abode of Commons Science and Technology Board was conducting an analysis into STM publishing. His skepticism abandoned added whendespite his filing a accounting submissionthe board bootless to alarm him to testify. Moreover, as the analysis progressed, British politicians appeared to accept little absorption in or compassionate of self-archiving.
Announcement to his own allegation account in March, Harnad complained that the committee connected “to bear this all-embracing flat beachcomber [in which attainable admission is actuality equated abandoned with attainable admission ‘publishing,’ instead of with open admission ‘provision.'”
Advisers giving affirmation to the analysis accepted the accepted abridgement of absorption in OA, with best arguing that there was no allegation to change the current system. As David Williams, assistant of tissue engineering at the University of Liverpool, told the committee: “I do not see that there is any significant botheration in S&T publishing at the present time. My staff, my post-docs, my acceptance accept immense admission to a advanced array of publications with tremendous facility. Comparing that to 5 years ago, the time adored in technology is very, actual significant.”
But the darkest hour, they say, comes aloof afore the dawn. On July 20, when the Select Committee’s abode was published, it was anon credible that British politicians had absolutely accepted the aberration amid OA publishing and self-archiving. Moreover, while cogent some absorption about OA publishing, they recommended that the U.K. government actualize a arrangement of institutional repositories afterwards adjournment and authorization all about adjourned researchers to drop copies of their accessories in those repositories, thereby authoritative them attainable to all “free of charge, online.”
Harnad, who was accessory a appointment in Barcelona, could not accept wished for more. What bigger way of fast-tracking OA than to accept the government order advisers and their institutions to accept self-archiving? Rushing to an Internet cafe, he triumphantly e-mailed that the account “could not accept been betterthough it could accept arise 10 years earlier.”
But the acceptable account did not end there. The aforementioned month, the U.S. Abode of Representatives Board on Appropriations recommended that NIHthe bigger science funder in the U.S. federal governmentdraw up a plan to ensure that all research accessories consistent from NIH-funded analysis be archived in PubMed Axial 6 months afterwards publication.
At the time of this writing, agnate proposals are actuality discussed in Canada, Scotland, Australia, India, and Norway. What we are witnessing, says Harnad, is “a celebrated chase to see which nation absolutely accouterments the recommendation first.”
Admitting all his frustrations, it seemed that the Harnadian appearance of the universe had assuredly amorphous to prevail. Ten years afterwards announcement the Subversive Proposal, defective the banking assets of all-embracing corporations like Elsevier, or the able PR machines at the auctioning of BMC and PLoS, but possessing all the activity and allegation of a accurate zealot, Harnad had allegedly outgunned them all. “You allegation feel like a astrologer whose time has come!” one of Harnad’s supporters e-mailed from Australia.
Ultimately, of course, the OA movement is a common endeavor, not the work of one man alone, no amount how active that man may be. Afterwards all, disgruntled as Harnad may accept become over the admeasurement of manifestos and declarations, these did auspiciously allure the absorption of politicians. The accuracy is that for OA to accretion the mindshare that it enjoys today, it has taken the efforts of manyfrom the afflatus of individuals like Ginsparg, Varmus, and Tracz (to name a few) to the activism of librarians and the abutment (and funding) provided by a growing army of well-wishers. And, of course, afterwards the Internet the actual raison d’être of attainable admission could not exist.
That said, afterwards Harnad’s focus and energy, a movement that abounding now believe is set to accommodate the action of bookish advice could still be bogged bottomward in a absinthian altercation over account prices.
But has the war absolutely been won? It is, afterwards all, attainable that the U.K. government will abatement to apparatus the recommendations of the Science and Technology Board and the NIH angle may additionally abort or be emasculated. At the time of this writing, publishers and abstruse societies are mounting an alike added advancing attack than the one that they conducted adjoin E-Biomed. Ability we already afresh see a spanner befuddled in the works?
Whatever transpires, it is bright that acceptable publishers can no longer avoid attainable access. In Allotment Two, I will analyze in added detail how publishers are responding and affectation the question: Is the self-archiving roadmap as straightforward as Harnad claims, or alike sustainable?
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