Hybrid-Gold Discount From Publishers That Embargo Green OA: No Deal

I am not at all sure that Kudos are in order for Oxford University Press (OUP), just because they offer authors at subscribing institutions a discount on their hybrid Gold OA fee:

Unlike the American Psychological Association (yes, the much maligned APA!), the American Physical Society, Elsevier, Cambridge University Press and all the other 232 publishers (57%) of the 6457 journals (63%) that are on the side of the angelsfully Green on immediate post-print self-archiving — OUP is among the Pale-Green minority of 48 publishers (12%) of 3228 journals (32%) (such as Nature, which back-slid to a postprint embargo ever since 2005).

OUP’s post-print policy is:

12 month embargo on science, technology, medicine articles
24 month embargo on arts and humanities articles
Pre-print can only be posted prior to acceptance
Pre-print must not be replaced with post-print, instead a link to published [toll] version
Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge

Should we really be singing the praises of each publisher’s discount on their hybrid Gold OA fee for the double-payment they are exacting (from the subscribers as well as the authors)?

I would stop applauding as progress for OA every self-interested step taken by those publishers who do not first take the one essential OA-friendly step: going (fully) Green.

Yes, OUP are lowering fees annually in proportion to hybrid Gold OA uptake, but they are meanwhile continuing to hold the post-print hostage for 12-24 months.

In reality, all the fee reduction means is an adjustment for double-dipping — plus a lock-in on the price of Gold OA, and a lockout of Green OA.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum