Open Access Allows All the Cream to Rise to the Top

Tenopir & King‘s confirmation of the finding (by Kurtz and others) — that as more articles become accessible, more articles are indeed accessed (and read), but fewer articles are cited (and those are cited more) — is best explained by the increased selectivity made possible by that increased accessibility:

The Seglen “skewness” effect is that the top 20% of articles receive 80% of all citations. It is probably safe to say that although there are no doubt some bandwagon and copycat effects contributing to the Seglen effect, overall the 20/80 rule probably reflects the fact that the best work gets cited most (skewing citations toward the top of the quality distribution).

So when more researchers have access to more (or, conversely, are denied access to less), they are more likely to access the best work, and the best work thereby increases its likelihood of being cited, whereas the rest correspondingly decreases its likelihood of being cited. Another way to put it is that there is a levelling of the playing field: Any advantage that the lower 80% had enjoyed from mere accessibility in the toll-access lottery is eliminated, and with it any handicap the top 20% suffered from inaccessibility in the toll-access lottery is eliminated too. Open Access (OA) allows all the cream to rise to the top; accessibility is no longer a constraint on what to cite, one way or the other.

(I would like to point out also that this “quality selectivity” on the part of users — rather than self-selection on the part of authors — is likely to be the main contributor to the citation advantage of Open Access articles over Toll Access articles. It follows from the 20/80 rule that whatever quality-selectivity there is on the part of users will be enjoyed mostly by the top 20% of articles. There is no doubt at all that the top authors are more likely to make their articles OA, and that the top articles are more likely to be made OA, but one should ask oneself why that should be the case, if there were no benefits [or the only benefit were more readers, but fewer citations!]: One of the reasons the top articles are more likely to be made OA is precisely that they are also the most likely to be used, applied and cited more if they are made OA!)

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Please Don’t Conflate Green and Gold OA

At the Students for a Free Culture Conference, Lawrence Lessig advised students, on “Remix Culture“:

I think the obvious, low-hanging-fruit fight for the Students for Free Culture movement right now is to start having sit-ins in universities where they don?t adopt Open Access publishing rules. It?s ridiculous that scholars publish articles in journals that then charge 5, 10, 15 thousand dollars for people around the world to get access to it.”

It may just be because of the wrong choice of words (“Open Access publishing rules”), but as stated, this does not sound like the right advice to give to students on what to do to help persuade universities to provide Open Access to their refereed research journal article output, nor does it correspond with what is being mandated by the 28 pioneer universities and departments (including Harvard and Stanford, and 30 research funders, including NIH) that have actually mandated OA.

As noted in Larry’s link, OA is

free, immediate, permanent, full-text, online access, for any user, web-wide… primarily [to] research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

But that OA can be provided by two means:

“Gold OA” publishing (authors publishing in journals that make their articles free online, sometimes at a fee to the author/university)

and

“Green OA” self-archiving (authors publishing articles in whatever journals they choose, but depositing their final refereed draft in their university’s institutional repository to make it free online)

The 28 pioneering universities/departments (and 30 funders) have all mandated Green OA (mandatory deposit), but Larry seems to be advocating that students strike for mandating Gold OA (mandatory publishing in a Gold OA journal).

Please see

The University?s Mandate to Mandate Open Access

on the Open Students: Students for Open Access to Research blog, where I have tried to describe what students can do to help persuade universities to provide Open Access to their refereed research journal article output.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

EPrints Demonstration Repository for SWORD protocol: IR to IR Batch Importing/Exporting

The standard EPrints public demo repository has been supporting SWORD for some time now…

     – Leslie Carr


So henceforth “I’ve already done the keystrokes once” is no longer an excuse for not depositing all your research article output in your Institutional Repository (nor an impediment to adopting an institutional Green OA mandate!

Try the demonstrator of Eprints (the first — and, in my opinion, the best — of the free IR softwares!).

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

US’s 6th Green OA Mandate, Planet’s 58th: Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks (US* funder-mandate)

Institution’s/Department’s OA Eprint Archives

Institution’s/Department’s OA Self-Archiving Policy

All researchers who receive an Autism Speaks grant will be required to deposit any resulting peer-reviewed research papers in the PubMed Central online archive, which will make the articles available to the public within 12 months of journal publication.

Copyright Regulation in Europe

Copyright Regulation in Europe ? An Enabling or Disabling Factor for Science Communication

Urheberrechtsregulierung als Ermöglichungs-bzw. als Verhinderungsfaktor für Wissenschaftskommunikation

European Network for Copyright in Support of Education
European Workshop Program
Nov. 14-15, 2008
Location: Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, Berlin-Mitte, Germany

Thursday ? Nov. 13, 2008

21:00 ? 22:30 Chimney talk : Jerzy Montag, MP,spokesman for law politics, BÜNDNIS90/DIE GRÜNEN (Green Party) in the German Parliament

Friday – Nov. 14, 2008

9:00 ? 9:15 Ralf Fücks, Andreas Poltermann, Heinrich-Böll-Foundation
Welcome addresses, Introduction to the conference
9:15 ? 9:30 All participants Introduction

Session 1: Copyright and science ? Demands and objectives
Moderation: Rainer Kuhlen

9:30 ? 10:15 Rainer Kuhlen, University of Konstanz (Germany)
Copyright and science ? Demands and objectives

10:15 ? 10:45 Gerhard Fröhlich, University of Linz (Austria)
Free copying or plagiarism?

10:30 ? 11:00 Panel discussion:
Rainer Kuhlen, Gerhard Fröhlich, Stuart Taylor, The Royal Society (United Kingdom), Florin Filip, Academy of Romania (Romania), Agnès Ponsati, CSIC Library Network, Spanish National Research Council (Spain)

Session 2: Exceptions and limitations or a copyright blanket clause for science
Moderation: Wolf-Dieter Sepp

11:30 ? 12:00 Lucie Guibault, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
A framework for an obligatory system of exceptions and limitations

12:00 ? 12:30 Séverine Dusollier, University of Namur (Belgium)
A systematic approach to exceptions in the European Union

12:30 ? 13:00 Panel discussion:
Lucie Guibault, Séverine Dusollier, María J. Iglesias, University of Namur (Belgium), Jaak Järv, Estonian Academy of Sciences (Estonia), Benjamin Bajon, Max-Planck-Institut für Geistiges Eigentum, Wettbewerbs-und Steuerrecht (Germany)

Session 3: Open Access ? An alternative to or a replacement for copyright
Moderation: Lucie Guibault

14:00 ? 14:30 Stevan Harnad, UQAM (Canada) & University of Southampton (United Kingdom) (via teleconference)
Copyright Reform Should Not Be Made A Precondition For Mandating Open Access

14:30 ? 15:00 Hélène Bosc, Euroscience Open Access Working (France)
Open access to the scientific literature: a peer commons open to the public

15:00 ? 15:30 Panel discussion:
Stevan Harnad, Hélène Bosc, Rainer Kuhlen, Ji?i Rákosník, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (Czech Republic), Jaak Järv, Estonian Academy of Sciences (Estonia)

Session 4: The Green Paper “Copyright in the Knowledge Economy”
Moderation: Gerald Spindler, University of Göttingen (Germany)

16:00 ? 16:30 Rainer Kuhlen, Information Science, University of Konstanz (Germany)
Introduction to Green Paper

16:30 ? 18:00 Workshop:
Green Paper on “Copyright in the Knowledge Economy”; elaboration of a common statement

Saturday ? Nov 15, 2008

Session 5: Science communication and collaboration
Moderation: Michael Seadle, Institute for Library and Information Science, HU Berlin

9:30 ? 10:00 Paul Ayris (UK), UNICA Scholarly Communications Group
The future of scholarly publication

10:00 ? 10:30 Panel discussion:
Paul Ayris, Gerhard Fröhlich, University of Linz (Austria), Ágnes Téglási, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungary), Rosa Nyárády, UNESCO chair in communication (Hungary), Ján Bako?, Slovak Academy of Sciences (Slovakia)

Session 6: Founding of the ENCES network: European Network for Copyright in support of Education and Science
Moderation: Rainer Kuhlen, University of Konstanz (Germany)

11:00 ? 12:00 Workshop:
Green Paper “Copyright in the Knowledge Economy”; common statement and forming of ENCES ( = European Network for Copyright in support of Education and Science)

Alma Swan on “Reasons researchers really rate repositories”

Les Carr has posted a call:

Looking for Evidence of Researcher Engagement with Repositories

“a collection of success stories – anecdotes of how repositories have
been able to improve the lot of researchers – for appealing to
institutional repository nay-sayers and open access agnostics”

and the redoubtable Alma Swan has, as always, responded with data, posting:

Reasons researchers really rate repositories

which is admiringly reproduced in full below:


Reasons researchers really rate repositories

by Alma Swan

As the SPARC repositories conference approaches in Baltimore, repositories are the topic of conversation all over the place. Les Carr will be running an eve-of-meeting session where people can contribute and share evidence or anecdotes about how repositories are benefiting researchers. I’ve had a few whispers in my ear that people are still saying researchers don’t rate repositories. Perhaps they don’t, where they don’t fully understand the picture, or where they’ve not (yet) personally seen the benefits of using one. But they certainly rate them when they do see those benefits. And that shows we must get the right messages to researchers – and, critically, in the right way.

One conduit is an articulate peer. John Willinsky’s lovely tale of how he persuaded his fellow faculty members at Stanford to vote unanimously to mandate themselves to provide OA, greenly, through the repository is illustrative of the power of the peer. It needs a champion who has the arguments marshalled, is respected in his/her peer community, and the right moment. John used a Faculty of Education ‘Retreat’ at Monterey to stand up and speak to his peers. He managed to persuade them of the arguments so effectively that they had time to take a walk on the beach afterwards. That can happen elsewhere, too, though not everyone will have a beach to hand, obviously. But OA advocates who wish to rise to the ‘champion’ challenge can identify events or mechanisms in their own institution that can be used effectively to persuade their peers of the issues. Afterwards they can go to the park or the pub: bonding is location-independent.

The testimony of peers to the effect that using a repository to provide OA has really shown a benefit is also powerful. I’ve long used a quotation from a US philosopher, offered in a free-response box in one of our author surveys, to make a point to researcher audiences. It goes: “Self-archiving in the PhilSci Archive has given instant world-wide visibility to my work. As a result, I was invited to submit papers to refereed international conferences/journals and got them accepted”. Not much to argue with there. One big career boost, pronto.

Let’s look at another such. Last month at the Open Access & Research conference in Brisbane, Paula Callan presented some data from her own QUT repository in a workshop on ‘Making OA Happen’ (all the ppts are up on the conference website). The data pertain to a chemist, Ray Frost, who has personally (yes, please note, all those who say that researchers cannot be asked to deposit their own articles) deposited around 300 of his papers published over the last few years. Now, this man is prolific in his publishing activity and it is the fact that he has provided such a great baseline that means we can really trust the data here. An increase of 100% on nought is still nought, and an increase of 100% on two is only two. What we’ve always needed is a sizeable base to start with, so that we can legitimately say that a certain percentage increase (or whatever) has occurred.

Ray Frost has provided us with one. Look at the charts at the top of this post. What the data show is this: on the left are the papers Frost has published each year since 1992 (the data are from Web of Science). These have been downloaded 165,000 (yes) times from the QUT repository. On the right are the citations he has gathered over that time period.

From 2000 to 2003, citations were approximately flat-lining at about 300 per year, on 35-40 papers per year. When Ray started putting his articles into the QUT repository, the numbers of citations started to take off. The latest count is 1200 in one year. Even though Ray’s publication rate went up a bit over this period – to 55-60 papers per year – the increase in citations is impressive. And unless Ray’s work suddenly became super-important in 2004, the extra impact is a direct result of Open Access.

Now, there’s another little piece of information to add to this tale: the QUT library staff routinely add DOIs to each article deposited in the repository. Would-be users who can access the published version will generally do so using those. The 165,000 downloads are from users who do not have access to Ray’s articles through their own institution’s subscriptions – the whole purpose of Open Access. That’s an awful lot of EXTRA readership and a lot of new citations coming in on the back of it.

The final example of a reason for rating repositories comes from Ann Marie Clark, the Library Director at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. ‘The Hutch’ has a repository built on the EPrints software and is starting to capture the output of the Center as the Library develops an advocacy programme. No doubt individual researchers at the Hutch will in future enjoy the same sort of increase in impact as Ray Frost in Brisbane. Already, though, one other reason for depositing has come to the fore in Seattle. Ann Marie reports that the National Institutes of Health, the major funder for work done by scientists at The Hutch, nowadays require that most grant applications come in electronic form only. Along with this new electronic submission system came new policies. “One in particular,” Ann Marie says, “affects how our researchers think about OA and their own papers. This new rule limits them, when citing papers that support their grant proposal, from attaching more than three published PDFs. Any papers cited, beyond that limit, may only offer URLs for freely-accessible versions. As a result, convincing faculty members to work with our librarians to deposit their papers into our repository has not been difficult at all. The icing on the cake for our faculty is that our repository also offers a stable and contextual home to their, historically orphaned, supplemental data files.”

So there we have it. Or them, rather. Reasons researchers really rate repositories: vast visibility, increased impact, worry-reduced workflow.

Alma Swan
Optimal Scholarship

Gold OA Fees, Whether for Submission of for Publication, Are Premature

Submission fees as a potential means of covering peer review costs have been mooted since at least 1999 and much discussed across the years in the American Scientist Open Access Forum. They are indeed a promising and potentially viable mechanism for covering the costs of peer review.

However, today, when 90% of journals (and almost 100% of the top journals) are still subscription-based, publication charges of any kind are still a deterrent. There is a case to be made, however, that submission charges — for peer review — applied to all submissions, regardless of whether they are ultimately accepted or rejected, are a more understandable and justifiable expense than publication charges, applied only to accepted articles (and bearing the additional burden of the cost of the peer review for all the rejected articles too).

It remains true, however, that at a time when most peer-reviewed journals are still subscription-based — and when Green OA self-archiving is available as the authors’ means to make all their published articles OA — it is an unnecessary additional constraint and burden for authors (or their institutions or funders) to have to pay in any way for OA. While subscriptions are still paying the costs of peer review, the only source for paying publication charges — whether for submission of acceptance — is already-scarce research funds.

It makes incomparably more sense to focus all OA efforts on Green OA self-archiving and Green OA self-archiving mandates at this time. That will generate universal (Green) OA. If and when that should in turn make subscriptions unsustainable, then the subscription cancellation savings can be used to pay for a transition to Gold OA charges to cover the costs of the peer review.

Today, in contrast, such charges (whether for submission or acceptance) are not only a gratuitous additional burden for authors, their institutions and their funders, but they are a distraction from the immediate need for universal Green OA self-archiving and Green OA self-archiving mandates from all research institutions and funders.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Switzerland’s 3rd OA Mandate, Planet’s 57th

ETH Zürich (SWITZERLAND* institutional-mandate)

Institution’s/Department’s OA Eprint Archives

Institution’s/Department’s OA Self-Archiving Policy

It is the policy of the ETH Zürich to maximise the visibility, usage and impact of their research output by maximising online access to it for all would-be users and researchers worldwide.

Therefore the ETH Zürich:

Requires of staff and postgraduate students to post electronic copies of any research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal (post-prints), theses and other scientific research output (monographs, reports, proceedings, videos etc.), to be made freely available as soon as possible into the institutional repository ?ETH E-Collection? (http://e-collection.ethbib.ethz.ch/), if there are no legal objections. The ETH Zürich expects authors where possible, to retain their copyright. For detailed information see the rules of the ETH E-Collection.

China’s First OA Mandate Proposal: Hong Kong, Multi-Institutional

Hong Kong University (CHINA* proposed-multi-institutional-mandate)

Institution’s/Department’s OA Eprint Archives

Proposed OA Self-Archiving Policy

HKU Research Committee Agrees to Endorse [the following policy proposal]:

As the majority of research in Hong Kong is funded by the RGC/UGC, their policies are critical. We would like to propose the following specific actions for the RGC/UGC?s consideration:

a) State clearly that all researchers funded by an RGC grant should aim to publish their results in the highest quality journals or books so as to maximize the influence and impact of the research outcome and that to achieve this when publishing research findings:

i. Researchers should look for suitable OA journals so that, where there is a choice between non OA and OA journals that are equally influential and high impact, the choice should be to publish the results in an OA journal.

ii. When a comparable OA journal does not exist, they should send the journal the Hong Kong author?s addendum (University of Hong Kong, 2008), which adds the right of placing some version (preprint or postprint) of the paper in their university?s institutional repository (IR). If necessary, seek funds from the RGC to pay open access charges up to an agreed limit; perhaps US$3,000, which is the fee agreed with the Wellcome Trust for most Elsevier journals (Elsevier, 2007).

iii. For books and book chapters that are published without a royalty agreement, send the publisher the Hong Kong author?s addendum to seek the right of placing some version in their university?s IR.

iv. Deposit all published papers in their IR, unless the journal refuses in writing. If the published version is refused, deposit the preprint or postprint, as allowed in number ii above.

v. Must provide evidence to the RGC in their progress report that the above steps have been undertaken.

“The Open Access Advantage”

by: John Bacon-Shone, Edwin Cheng, Anthony Ferguson, Carmel McNaught, David Palmer, Ah Chung Tsoi

Hong Kong Baptist University
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
The University of Hong Kong

October 3, 2008

Every day is Open Access Day

Every day is Open Access (OA) Day.

OA means free online access to refereed research.

OA can be provided by self-archiving in the author’s institutional repository all articles published in non-OA journals (“Green OA“) and/or by publishing in OA journals (“Gold OA“).

Green OA self-archiving is being mandated by 56 universities and research funders worldwide so far.

Green OA self-archiving needs to be mandated by all universities and research funders worldwide.

The result will be universal OA (and Gold OA will follow soon after).

OA maximizes research access, uptake, usage, impact, productivity, progress and benefits to humankind.

The best thing you can do for OA is to lobby for Green OA self-archiving mandates.

That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Every day is Open Access Day

Video 1 (intro in French, rest in English)
Video 2
Video 3
PPTs


Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

OA Publishing is OA, but OA is Not OA Publishing

Many silly, mindless things have been standing in the way of the optimal and inevitable (i.e., universal Open Access) for years now (canards about permissions, peer review, preservation, etc.), but perhaps the biggest of them is the persistent conflation of OA with OA publishing: OA means free online access to refereed journal articles (“gratis” OA means access only, “libre” OA means also various re-use rights).

OA to refereed journal articles can be provided in two ways: by publishing in an OA journal that provides OA (OA publishing, “Gold” OA) or by publishing in a non-OA journals and self-archiving the article (“Green” OA).

Hence Green OA, which is full-blooded OA, is OA, but it is not OA publishing.

Hence the many OA mandates that are being adopted by universities and research funders worldwide are not Gold OA publishing mandates, they are Green OA mandates.

It is not doing the OA cause, or progress towards universal OA one bit of good to keep portraying it as a publishing reform movement, with Gold OA publishing as its sole and true goal.

The OA movement’s sole and true goal is OA itself, universal OA.

Whether or not universal OA will eventually lead to universal Gold OA publishing is a separate, speculative question.

OA means OA, and OA publishing is merely one of the forms it can take.

(I post this out of daily frustration at continuing to see OA spoken of as synonymous with OA publishing, and of even hearing Green OA self-archiving mandates misdescribed as “OA publishing mandates”.)

If only we could stop doing this conflation, OA would have a better chance of reaching the optimal and inevitable more swiftly…

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

UK’s 19th Green Open Access Mandate, Scotland’s 4th, Planet’s 56th

University of Glasgow (UK*
funder-mandate)

Institution’s/Department’s OA Eprint Archives

Institution’s/Department’s OA Self-Archiving Policy

The policy policy requires staff to deposit:

— electronic copies of peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings

— bibliographic details of all research outputs, and to encourage staff to provide the full text of other research outputs where appropriate.

Canada’s 4th Green Open Access Mandate, Planet’s 55th

National Cancer Institute of Canada (CANADA*
funder-mandate)

Institution’s/Department’s OA Eprint Archives

Institution’s/Department’s OA Self-Archiving Policy

Effective July 2009, all researchers supported in whole or in part through the NCIC are required to make their published results of NCIC supported work publicly available. Researchers are encouraged to make their work publicly available as soon as possible, but must do so no later than six months after the final publication date.

Brisbane Declaration on Open Access

The Brisbane Declaration on Open Access at last puts some real practical policy content and substance into the Budapest/Bethesda/Berlin series, along the lines of the UK Select Committee Recommendation and Berlin 3. Please read what the Archivangelist of the Antipodes, Arthur Sale, one if its main architects, has to say about the Brisbane Declaration. If this is implemented planet-wide, we have universal Open Access within a year.

Stevan Harnad


From: Arthur Sale
Date: Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 9:16 PM
Subject: Re: Brisbane declaration on Open Access
To: AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM

…May I tease out a few strands of the Brisbane Declaration for readers of the list, as a person who was at the OAR Conference in Brisbane.

1. The Declaration was adopted on the voices at the Conference, revised in line with comments, and then participants were asked to put their names to it post-conference. It represents an overwhelming consensus of the active members of the repository community in Australia.

2. The Conference wanted a succinct statement that could be used to explain to senior university administrators, ministers, and the public as to what Australia should do about making its research accessible. It is not a policy, as it does not mention any of the exceptions and legalisms that are inevitably needed in a formal policy.

3. The Conference wanted to support the two Australian Ministers with responsibility for Innovation, Science and Health in their moves to make open access mandatory for all Australian-funded research.

4. Note in passing that the Declaration is not restricted to peer-reviewed articles, but looks forward to sharing of research data and knowledge (in the humanities and arts).

5. At the same time, it was widely recognized that publishers’ pdfs (“Versions of Record”) were not the preferred version of an article to hold in a repository, primarily because a pdf is a print-based concept which loses a lot of convenience and information for harvesting, but also in recognition of the formatting work of journal editors (which should never change the essence of an article). The Declaration explicitly make it clear that it is the final draft (“Accepted Manuscript”) which is preferred. The “Version of Record” remains the citable object.

6. The Declaration also endorses author self-archiving of the final draft at the time of acceptance, implying the ID/OA policy (Immediate Deposit, OA when possible).

While the Brisbane Declaration is aimed squarely at Australian research, I believe that it offers a model for other countries. It does not talk in pieties, but in terms of action. It is capable of implementation in one year throughout Australia. Point 1 is written so as to include citizens from anywhere in the world, in the hope of reciprocity. The only important thing missing is a timescale, and that’s because we believe Australia stands at a cusp.

What are the chances of a matching declaration in other countries?

Arthur Sale
University of Tasmania


Following the conference on Open Access and Research held in September in Australia, and hosted by Queensland University of Technology, the following statement was developed and has the endorsement of over sixty participants.

Brisbane Declaration

Preamble: The participants recognise Open Access as a strategic enabling activity, on which research and inquiry will rely at international, national, university, group and individual levels.

Strategies: Therefore the participants resolve the following as a summary of the basic strategies that Australia must adopt:

1. Every citizen should have free open access to publicly funded research, data and knowledge.

2. Every Australian university should have access to a digital repository to store its research outputs for this purpose.

3. As a minimum, this repository should contain all materials reported in the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC).

4. The deposit of materials should take place as soon as possible, and in the case of published research articles should be of the author’s final draft at the time of acceptance so as to maximize open access to the material.

Brisbane, September, 2008

Suber/Harnad statement in support of the investigative work of Richard Poynder

Richard Poynder, a distinguished scientific journalist specializing in online-era scientific/scholarly communication and publication, has been the ablest, most prolific and most probing chronicler of the open access movement from its very beginning. He is widely respected for his independence, even-handedness, analysis, careful interviews, and detailed research.

Richard is currently conducting a series of investigations on the peer review practices of some newly formed open access journals and their publishers. In one case, when a publisher would not talk to him privately, Richard made his questions public in the American Scientist Open Access Forum:

Help sought on OA publisher Scientific Journals International

That posting elicited public and private threats of a libel suit and accusations of racism.

Lies, fear and smear campaigns against SJI and other OA journals

Those groundless threats and accusations appear to us to be attempts to intimidate. Moreover, Richard is being portrayed as an opponent of open access, which he is not. He is an even-handed, critically minded analyst of the open access movement (among other things), and his critical investigations are healthy for open access.

He has interviewed us both, at length. While the resulting pictures were largely favorable, he didn’t hesitate to probe our weaknesses and the objections others have raised to our respective methods or styles of work. This kind of critical scrutiny is essential to a new and fast-growing movement and does not imply hostility to the subjects of his investigation or opposition to open access.

Trying to suppress Richard Poynder’s investigations through threats of legal action is contemptible. We hope that the friends of open access in the legal community will attest to the lawfulness of his inquiries and that all friends of open access will attest to the value and legitimacy of his investigative journalism.

Peter Suber and Stevan Harnad