Open Disagreement

From Peter Murray-Rust’s blog:

Peter Murray-Rust: “if you post anything [on GOAL] that does not support Green Open Access Stevan Harnad and the Harnadites will publicly shout you down. I have been denigrated on more than one occasion by members of the OA oligarchy (Look at the archive if you need proof). It?s probably fair to say that this attitude has effective killed Open discussion in OA. Jan Velterop and I are probably the only people prepared to challenge opinions = most others walk away.”

Mike Taylor: “I don?t bother arguing with Stevan on the principle that you both get dirty but the pig likes it? He?s made himself the People?s Front of Judea.”

Peter Murray-Rust wrote: “I recently sat through an hour lecture by SH whose subtitle was “What Peter Murray-Rust thinks and why he is wrong”. The thoughts attributed to me were factually incorrect.”

One of the wonderful things about facts is that sometimes one can actually check them, objectively!

The full video of that lecture“How & Why the RCUK Open Access Policy Needs To Be Revised” — is online for all to see, along with a PDF containing my written text and all my powerpoints. I would be very interested to hear if anyone finds anywhere either a subtitle “What Peter Murray-Rust thinks and why he is wrong” or anything that even resembles it.

In that lecture, I did make some references to Peter Murray-Rust, his work and his goals, in what I believe was an entirely respectful and complimentary way, praising his contributions and sharing his goal of machine data-mining rights (CC-BY) over all journal articles where it’s needed (such as in his field).

The only two points on which I diverged from Peter Murray-Rust were points of strategic priority:

(1) I said that the right to do machine data-mining on journal articles (CC-BY) was even harder to get from publishers than the right to make journal articles freely accessible online (Gratis Green OA), so it would be better to first grasp the Gratis Green OA that is already within reach at no extra cost — by mandating it — rather than renounce it in favour of over-reaching instead for what is not yet within immediate reach at no extra cost, as the Finch Report had recommended doing.

(2) And I also said that the Finch/RCUK strategy — of pre-emptively paying publishers extra (over and above paying subscriptions) for CC-BY Gold OA to UK’s 6% of all worldwide research output, in all fields, when very few fields urgently need CC-BY but all fields need free online access — is not only a waste of money, but it does not even produce what the few fields that need CC-BY require, which is data-mining rights for all the worldwide research output in the field, not just the UK’s 6% of it. On the contrary, the pre-emptive payment policy of Finch/RCUK simply makes it harder to get even Gratis Green OA for the rest of the world’s research output (94%) (because it is unaffordable, and because it incentivizes publishers’ offering hybrid Gold OA and increasing Green OA embargoes).

Now if what Peter Murray-Rust thinks is what BIS/Finch/RCUK think, then I was indeed, inter alia, criticizing what Peter Murray-Rust thinks.

But certainly not under the subtitle “What Peter Murray-Rust thinks and why he is wrong”…

My talk was not about Peter Murray-Rust.

Stevan Harnad

Some references on “Open Disagreement”

Harnad, S. (1978) Editorial. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1(1)

Harnad, S. (1979) Creative disagreement. The Sciences 19: 18 – 20.

Harnad, Stevan (1985) Rational disagreement in peer review. Science, Technology and Human Values 10: 55-62.

Harnad, S. (1987) Skywriting (unpublished) Since published as Sky-Writing, Or, When Man First Met Troll. The Atlantic, Spring Issue 2011

Harnad, S. (1990) Scholarly Skywriting and the Prepublication Continuum of Scientific Inquiry Psychological Science 1: 342 – 343 (reprinted in Current Contents 45: 9-13, November 11 1991).

Harnad, S. (1997) Learned Inquiry and the Net: The Role of Peer Review, Peer Commentary and Copyright. Learned Publishing 11(4) 283-292.

Harnad, S. (2002) BBS Valedictory Editorial Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22(1)

Harnad, S. (2003/2004) Back to the Oral Tradition Through Skywriting at the Speed of Thought. Interdisciplines. Retour a la tradition orale: ecrire dans le ciel a la vitesse de la pensee. Dans: Salaun, Jean-Michel & Vendendorpe, Christian (dir). Le défis de la publication sur le web: hyperlectures, cybertextes et meta-editions. Presses de l’enssib.

Poynder, R. & Harnad S. (2007) From Glottogenesis to the Category Commons. The Basement Interviews.

Harnad, S (2012) The Optimal and Inevitable outcome for Research in the Online Age. CILIP Update September 2012