More on the SHERPA list of hybrid OA journal policies

Stevan Harnad, SHERPA/RoMEO: Publishers with Paid Options for Open Access, Open Access Archivangelism, September 3, 2008.  Excerpt:

Summary:  ">SHERPA/RoMEO is listing the paid OA charges of non-Green publishers. On no account should any author have to comply with any mandate to provide Open Access (OA) by having to pay money to a publisher. That would be a grotesque distortion of the purpose of both OA and OA mandates; it would also profoundly discourage funders and institutions from mandating OA, and authors from complying with OA mandates. SHERPA has an outstanding record for supporting and promoting OA, worldwide. The OA movement and the global research community are greatly in their debt. However, SHERPA alas also has a history of amplifying arbitrary, irrelevant and even absurd details and noise associated with publisher policies and practices, instead of focusing on what makes sense and is essential to the understanding and progress of OA. I urge SHERPA to focus on what the research community needs to hear, understand and do in order to reach 100% OA as soon as possible — not on advertising publisher options that are not only unnecessary but counterproductive to the growth of OA and OA mandates.


  • I wholeheartedly agree that "on no account should any author have to comply with any mandate to provide Open Access (OA) by having to pay money to a publisher" and I’ve often criticized publisher policies which would charge authors for the right to comply with their own prior funding contracts. 
  • But it doesn’t follow that SHERPA shouldn’t list publishers who charge for their OA option, including those who require the paid OA option for authors bound by a funder OA mandate.  I want to know who those publishers are, and listing their policies is not the same as endorsing them.  I’m happy to say that I’m the one who wanted the OAD list of Publisher policies on NIH-funded authors to include annotations to identify the publishers who demand a fee for the right to comply with the NIH policy.
  • Note that I’ve only excerpted the summary to Stevan’s post.  In the full body of the post he replies to three objections to his conclusion:  from Charles Oppenheim, Peter Millington, and Andria McGrath.