Communication is the first step in the process of transformation of information (a collection
of facts or data) to knowledge (the state or fact of knowing). The conventional model of
scholarly communication, based on journal publication, has failed to make information
accessible and usable especially for the developing world owing to toll-based access. Only the
richest institutions have been able to afford a small proportion of all the expensive
subscription-based journals. In fact, the researcher, the author of the paper, has to pay to access
his own paper.
Electronic tools facilitate and speed up the process of dissemination of knowledge beyond the
limits of printed volumes of a journal. Electronic publishing also helps to propagate the
knowledge across the world, which becomes especially relevant today with increasing spread of
diseases across the globe. A toll-free access increases the visibility, accessibility, and impact of
research. This tool-free access, open access, is a worldwide movement to disseminate scientific
and scholarly research literature online, free of charge, and free of unnecessary licensing
Many journals in India, especially in the medical-sciences area, are now available free of cost in
electronic form. Unlike the western counterparts, the Indian journals which have adopted
open-access policy do not charge the author or author institution for submission or publication
of their work. Wider accessibility of our journals has helped in increasing the citations of our
research papers. Unfortunately, the best scientific researches in India are usually not published
in the Indian journals. Hence, even if all the journals from India adopt open access, Indian
scientists will not have access to the work of colleagues unless the rest of the world also
follows full open-access publishing. The only way out is to archive our work in our
institutional repositories (open-access archives), enabling long-term preservation and wider
accessibility of our research.
Open-access publishing could help the journals from developing countries to reach the
international level. At the same time, open-access archiving is necessary for the scientists in
these countries to have access to research published in toll-based journals.
Open Access: Why India Should Brace it?
Open Access to Science in the Developing World ..... ..... ..... 3
Peter Suber, Subbiah Arunachalam
Open Access: Briefing Paper ..... ..... ..... 5
Open Access Overview ..... ..... ..... 7
Budapest Open Access Initiative ..... ..... ..... 13
Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing ..... ..... ..... 15
Wellcome Trust Position Statement in Support of Open and
Unrestricted Access to Published Research ..... ..... ..... 17
The Nine Flavours of Open Access Scholarly Publishing ..... ..... ..... 18
Open Access Archiving: The Fast Track to Building Research
Capacity in Developing Countries ..... ..... ..... 23
Leslie Chan, Barbara Kirsop, Subbiah Arunachalam
Open Access Self-archiving: An Introduction ..... ..... ..... 25
Open Access to Peer-Reviewed Research Through Author/Institution
Self-Archiving: Maximizing Research Impact by Maximizing Online Access ..... ..... ..... 29
Self-Archiving FAQ ..... ..... ..... 36
What you can do to Promote Open Access ..... ..... ..... 39
Since the birth of the scientific journal in 1665
scientists have been publishing journal articles without
payment. They may expect royalties for their textbooks
and monographs, but they give away their journal
articles in exchange for a host of intangible benefits,
such as a time-stamp that gives them priority over
other scientists working on the same problem, and the
prestige, citations, and impact that advance their careers.
For more than 300 years, these author-donated works
were distributed in print editions, whose costs were
covered by subscription fees. The rise of the internet,
however, meant that the tradition of free offering by
authors could finally be matched with free distribution
—or open access—to readers.
At about the same time that the internet was born, the
price of journals began to grow sharply. The average
price of a science journal has risen four times faster
than inflation for the past two decades. The result is an
access crisis in which no institutions can afford access
to the full range of journals. Librarians have responded
by cancelling subscriptions and cutting into their book
budgets. Scientists have responded by working out
alternative ways of sharing their research.
Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of
charge, and free of most copyright and licensing
restrictions. It can be delivered through OA journals,
which perform peer review, or through OA archives or
repositories, which do not. One of the achievements of
the worldwide OA movement is to persuade 80% of
non-OA journals to let their authors deposit the peer-
reviewed versions of their work in OA repositories.
OA is gathering momentum around the world. Today
there are over 1,650 peer-reviewed OA journals and
over 500 interoperable OA repositories. In the US, the
National Institutes of Health asks all its grantees to
provide OA to the results of NIH-funded research
within 12 months of publication. The Wellcome Trust
requires OA to Wellcome-funded research within six
months of publication, and the Research Councils UK
are considering a similar policy with an even shorter
delay. Major research institutions in Australia, China,
France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway,
Portugal, Switzerland, the UK, and the US have
committed themselves to provide OA to their research
OA is a matter of special concern in developing
countries, which have less money to fund or publish
research and less to buy the research published
elsewhere. Most libraries in sub-Saharan Africa have not
subscribed to any journal for years. The Indian Institute
of Science, Bangalore, has the best-funded research
library in India, but its annual library budget is just Rs
100 million (about $2.2 million).
There are several programs, like HINARI and AGORA,
in which journal publishers donate electronic
subscriptions to developing countries whose per capita
GDP is less than $1,000. These programs mitigate the
access crisis but do not solve it. India is surprisingly
excluded even though its per capita GDP is less than
$500! Moreover, insofar as they satisfy demand, they
reduce the urgency of deep reforms that will bring
about a superior, OA system of scientific
About half the world’s OA journals pay their bills by
charging upfront fees for accepted papers. The fees are
usually paid by the author’s research grant or employer,
not out of the author’s pocket. The Public Library of
Science and BioMed Central, the two best-known OA
publishers, waive these fees in cases of economic
hardship, no questions asked.
There are many successful OA initiatives in the
developing world. These include Bioline International,
which hosts electronic OA versions of 40 developing
country journals; SciELO, which hosts more than 80
journals published in Latin American countries and
Spain; and African Journals Online (AJOL), which
provides free online access to titles and abstracts of
more than 60 African journals and full text on request.
Peter Suber, Subbiah Arunachalam
Open Access to Science in the Developing World
The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development
(EPT), established in 1996, promotes open access to
the world’s scholarly literature and the electronic
publication of bioscience journals from countries
experiencing difficulties with traditional publication.
India is home to many OA journals that charge no
author-side fees. All 10 journals of the Indian Academy
of Sciences and all four journals of the Indian National
Science Academy are OA journals. INSA has already
produced free-access electronic versions of back volumes
for all its journals, and the Indian Academy of Sciences
has launched a similar digitization project for its back
run. The Journal of the Indian Institute of Science is
also available in this form back to its very first issue,
published in 1914. The Indian Medlars Centre of the
National Informatics Centre is bringing out OA
versions of 33 biomedical journals and has an OA
bibliographic database, providing titles and abstracts of
articles from 50 Indian biomedical journals. Medknow
Publications, a company based in Mumbai, has helped
30 medical journals make the transition from print to
electronic open access and most of them are doing
much better now than before.
OA archiving is even more promising than OA journals.
It is less expensive, allows faster turnaround, and is
compatible with publishing in conventional journals.
For researchers in developing countries, OA solves two
problems at once: making their own research more
visible to researchers elsewhere, and making research
elsewhere more accessible to them. OA, if adopted
widely, can raise the profile of an entire nation’s
research output. When Indian research, for example, is
published in expensive journals, then all too often it
goes unnoticed by other researchers in India. OA
journals and archives help to integrate the work of
scientists everywhere into the global knowledge base,
reduce the isolation of researchers, and improve
opportunities for funding and international
Although developed countries were the first to
encourage OA to publicly-funded research, the model is
very appealing in developing countries and likely to
spread. One direct way is simply to put an OA
condition on publicly-funded research grants. Another is
to have universities and research laboratories set up
institutional archives and adopt policies encouraging or
requiring researchers to deposit their research output
even if they also publish it in conventional journals.
Providing OA to publicly-funded research accelerates
research, gives taxpayers (both lay readers and
professional researchers) access to the research they
funded, and increases the return on their investment in
research. As this argument gets traction in developing
countries, the transformation should be dramatic.
Doesn’t the digital divide interfere with these plans? Yes
and no. First, internet access is improving rapidly in
many developing countries and equipment costs and
connectivity charges are coming down. Second, we
should work now on the content side of the divide in
order to take full advantage of every increment of
progress on the hardware side. Primarily, this means
educating scientists about the benefits of OA and
persuading universities, libraries, funding agencies, and
governments to adopt OA-friendly policies.
OA helps researchers directly, both as authors and
readers. It helps the institutions that fund and supervise
research, from universities and laboratories to
foundations and governments. It widens the distribution
of research literature and lowers costs at the same time,
and does so without compromising peer review,
preservation, indexing, or the other virtues of
conventional publishing. Above all, because OA
enhances research productivity and accelerates the pace
of discovery, it helps everyone who benefits from
research advances. It’s a beautiful solution to a serious
OA in developing world
Open Access: Briefing Paper
The World Wide Web has provided the means for
researchers to make their research results available to
anyone, anywhere, at any time. This applies to journal
articles regardless of whether or not their library has a
subscription to the journal in which the articles were
published as well as to other types of research output
such as conference papers, theses or research reports. This
is known as Open Access.
Researchers publish their results to establish their own
claim to the research and to enable other researchers to
build upon them. In the case of journal articles, only the
richest institutions have been able to afford a reasonable
proportion of all the scholarly journals published and so
learning about and accessing such articles has not always
been easy for most researchers. Open Access changes all
What Open Access is
The Open Access research literature is composed of free,
online copies of peer-reviewed journal articles and
conference papers as well as technical reports, theses and
working papers. In most cases there are no licensing
restrictions on their use by readers. They can therefore be
used freely for research, teaching and other purposes.
What Open Access is not
There are various misunderstandings about Open Access.
It is not self-publishing, nor a way to bypass peer-review
and publication, nor is it a kind of second-class, cut-price
publishing route. It is simply a means to make research
results freely available online to the whole research
How is Open Access Provided?
Open Access can be provided by various means. A
researcher can place a copy of each article in an Open
Access archive or repository or can publish articles in
Open Access journals. In addition, a researcher may place
a copy of each article on a personal or departmental
website. Whilst all three routes to Open Access ensure
that far more users can access such articles than if they
were hidden away in subscription-based journals, the first
two constitute much more systematic and organised
approaches than the third and maximise the chance of
other researchers locating and reading articles.
Open Access archives or repositories are digital
collections of research articles that have been placed there
by their authors. In the case of journal articles this may
be done either before (preprints) or after publication
(postprints). This is known as ‘self-archiving’. These
repositories expose the metadata of each article (the title,
authors, and other bibliographic details) in a format
compliant with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for
Metadata Harvesting (OAIPMH). To access the contents
of these archives, you can use Google or one of the
specialised search engines for a more focused and
efficient search. The latter systematically harvest the
contents of the archives worldwide, forming a database
of current global research. Open Access repositories may
be multidisciplinary and located in universities or other
research-based institutions, or they may be centralised
and subject-based, such as the one covering certain areas
of physics and related disciplines, called arXiv. By the
beginning of 2005, there were almost 40 Open Access
archives in the UK, and more universities and research
institutes are planning to launch their own. A list of
Open Access archives in the UK is maintained by the
Eprints.org site at Southampton University. If your
institution does not have an archive, extensive
information on how to set one up can be found on that
website. Self-archiving is an international movement that
is developing fast, and some grant funders are also now
planning central archives to house the articles of their
grant-holders. If you are concerned that your journal’s
publisher may have copyright restrictions that would
prevent you from selfarchiving your articles, this will in
most instances not be the case. Current publisher policies
on self-archiving and copyright are detailed on the
SHERPA project website at Nottingham University.
Open Access journals are peer-reviewed journals whose
articles may be accessed online by anyone without
charge. In many cases they may also be published in
print. Some, mainly those published from a university
department or with substantial subsidy, make no author
or page charges. Others levy a charge for publishing an
article, turning on its head the traditional model where a
library pays for access to the contents of a journal
through a subscription. This charge may be paid by the
author(s) but in most cases it is financed by a research
grant or institutional funds. Your institution may already
have taken the decision to pay for Open Access articles
to be published, or your grant-awarding body may have
adopted this as one of its policies. A list of
grantawarding bodies that explicitly permit funds to be
used for this purpose is maintained on the BioMed
Central website. BioMed Central is a well-known Open
Access publisher with over 100 journals in its portfolio.
Other examples are the journals from the Public Library
of Science, such as PLoS Medicine, PLoS Biology. In the
case of an author’s financial hardship, BioMed Central,
PLoS and other Open Access journal publishers will
waive the publication fee. Fees levied by Open Access
journals vary quite markedly but, as a guideline, BioMed
Central charges £330 per article for most of its journals,
and PLoS charges US$1,500 (approx. £800). In 2003
JISC secured a deal with BioMed Central on behalf of
UK institutions to waive author fees for over 90
biomedical journals. A comprehensive list of Open Access
journals in all subject areas is maintained by the
University of Lund. In early 2005 this list contained over
1,400 journals. Many of these Open Access journals have
impact factors and are indexed by the Institute for
Scientific Information for its Web of Knowledge or Web
of Science service. At June 2004, 239 Open Access
journals were in this category. Another form of Open
Access is found in ‘hybrid’ journals: these are publications
that will make an article accessible to everyone online
without charge if the author opts to pay for publication.
An example of a hybrid journal is the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, which will make an article
Open Access for a fee of US$1,000.
Why Should Authors Provide Open Access to Their
There is accumulating evidence that shows that research
articles that have been self-archived are cited more often
than those that have not. Across most subject areas there
is at least a twofold increase in citation rate. In some
subject areas it is even higher. This form of Open Access
means that research has much more impact than before.
Moreover, the research cycle – where work is published,
read, cited and then built upon by other researchers – is
enhanced and accelerated when results are available on an
Open Access basis. Would you not prefer to be able to
access all the articles you need to read and use for your
research, easily and without restriction?
Further information and resources
JISC Open Access initiatives
JISC’s FAIR Programme is evaluating and exploring different
mechanisms for the sharing of access to institutional
resources: www.jisc.ac.uk/programme_fair.html The DAEDALUS and
TARDis projects are exploring different models for constructing
effective institutional repositories: www.lib.gla.ac.uk/daedalus and
The ePrints UK Project is developing national, discipline focused
services for accessing e-prints from open archive repositories:
Open Access Archives and self-archiving
The Eprints.org site has general information about Open Access
archives, including a list of existing archives and a handbook on how
to set one up: www.eprints.org For the best-known Open Archive
search engines see:
OAIster www.oaister.org and Citebase http://citebase.eprints.org/cgi-
The SHERPA project is developing Open Access archives in a
number of research-led universities: www.sherpa.ac.uk Permissions
policies can be checked by publisher at: www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo.php
and by journal at: http://romeo.eprints.org
The Directory of Open Access repositories is an emerging pilot
service offering an authoritative list of Open Access repositories
Open Access journals
For information about BioMed Central, the largest Open Access
journal publisher see: www.biomedcentral.com
For a list of grant-awarding bodies that make funds available for the
payment of publication fees see the list at:
www.biomedcentral.com/info/about/apcfaq#grants For the Public
Library of Science see: www.plos.org
For an up-to-date list of Open Access journals see: www.doaj.org
Open Access citation and impact studies
The earliest study on the enhanced impact of Open Access research
articles was by Steve Lawrence: www.nature.com/ nature/debates/e-
This has been followed by studies by Michael Kurtz: http://cfa-
www.harvard.edu/~kurtz/jasist1-abstract.html and http://cfa-
The most recent work on impact of Open Access articles is by
Harnad and Brody:
Other Open Access resources
American Scientist discussion forum (mainly for researchers): http:/
This paper has been written by Alma Swan of Key
Perspectives Ltd on behalf of JISC and produced and edited
by Sara Hassen and the JISC Communications Team.
OA - Briefing
Open Access Overview
Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of
charge, and free of most copyright and licensing
OA removes price barriers (subscriptions, licensing
fees, pay-per-view fees) and permission barriers (most
copyright and licensing restrictions). The PLoS
shorthand definition-” free availability and unrestricted
use” - succinctly captures both elements.
There is some flexibility about which permission
barriers to remove. For example, some OA providers
permit commercial re-use and some do not. Some
permit derivative works and some do not. But all of
the major public definitions of OA agree that merely
removing price barriers, or limiting permissible uses
to “fair use” (“fair dealing” in the UK), is not
Here’s how the Budapest Open Access Initiative put
it: “There are many degrees and kinds of wider and
easier access to this literature. By ‘open access’ to this
literature, we mean its free availability on the public
internet, permitting any users to read, download,
copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts
of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them
as data to software, or use them for any other lawful
purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers
other than those inseparable from gaining access to
the internet itself. The only constraint on
reproduction and distribution, and the only role for
copyright in this domain, should be to give authors
control over the integrity of their work and the right
to be properly acknowledged and cited.”
Here’s how the Bethesda and Berlin statements put
it: For a work to be OA, the copyright holder must
consent in advance to let users “copy, use, distribute,
transmit and display the work publicly and to make
and distribute derivative works, in any digital
medium for any responsible purpose, subject to
proper attribution of authorship....”
The Budapest (February 2002), Bethesda (June
2003), and Berlin (October 2003) definitions of
“open access” are the most central and influential for
the OA movement. Sometimes I call refer to them
collectively, or to their common ground, as the BBB
While removing price barriers without removing
permission barriers is not enough for full OA under
the BBB definition, there’s no doubt that price
barriers constitute the bulk of the problem for which
OA is the solution. Removing price barriers alone
will give most OA proponents most of what they
want and need.
In addition to removing access barriers, OA should
be immediate, rather than delayed, and should apply
to full-text, not just to abstracts or summaries.
OA is compatible with copyright, peer review, revenue
(even profit), print, preservation, prestige, career-
advancement, indexing, and other features and
supportive services associated with conventional
The primary difference is that the bills are not paid
by readers and hence do not function as access
The legal basis of OA is either the consent of the
copyright holder or the public domain, usually the
Because OA uses copyright-holder consent, or the
expiration of copyright, it does not require the
abolition, reform, or infringement of copyright law.
Nor does it require that copyright holders waive all
the rights that run to them under copyright law and
assign their work to the public domain.
One easy, effective, and increasingly common way for
copyright holders to manifest their consent to OA is
to use one of the Creative Commons licenses. Many
other open-content licenses will also work. Copyright
holders could also compose their own licenses or
permission statements and attach them to their
When copyright holders consent to OA, what are
they consenting to? Usually they consent in advance
to the unrestricted reading, downloading, copying,
sharing, storing, printing, searching, linking, and
crawling of the full-text of the work. Most authors
choose to retain the right to block the distribution of
mangled or misattributed copies. Some choose to
block commercial re-use of the work. Essentially,
these conditions block plagiarism, misrepresentation,
and sometimes commercial re-use, and authorize all
the uses required by legitimate scholarship, including
those required by the technologies that facilitate
online scholarly research.
For works not in the public domain, OA requires the
copyright-holder’s consent. Two related conclusions
follow: (1) It is a mistake to regard OA as Napster
for science. (2) For copyrighted works, OA is always
voluntary, even if it is one of the conditions of a
voluntary contract, such as an employment or
funding contract. There is no vigilante OA, no
infringing, expropriating, or piratical OA.
The campaign for OA focuses on literature that authors
give to the world without expectation of payment.
Let me call this royalty-free literature. (It’s interesting
that there isn’t already a standard term for this.)
There are two reasons to focus on royalty-free
literature. First, it reduces costs for the provider or
publisher. Second, it enables the author to consent to
OA without losing revenue.
The most important royalty-free literature for our
purposes is the body of peer-reviewed scientific and
scholarly research articles and their preprints. (Non-
academics are often surprised to learn that most
scholarly journals do not pay authors for their
Obviously no one writes royalty-free literature for
money. Scholars write journal articles because
advancing knowledge in their fields advances their
careers. They write for impact, not for money. It
takes nothing away from a disinterested desire to
advance knowledge to note that it is accompanied by
a strong self-interest in career-building. OA does not
depend on altruistic volunteerism.
Because scholars do not earn money from their
journal articles, they are very differently situated from
most musicians and movie-makers. Controversies
about providing OA to music, movies, and other
royalty-producing content, therefore, do not carry
over to this unique body of content.
Royalty-free literature is the low-hanging fruit of OA,
but OA needn’t be limited to royalty-free literature.
OA to royalty-producing literature, like monographs
and novels, is possible as soon as the authors
consent. But because these authors will fear losing
revenue, their consent is more difficult to obtain.
They have to be persuaded either (1) that the
benefits of OA exceed the value of their royalties, or
(2) that OA will trigger a net increase in sales.
However, there is growing evidence that both
conditions are met for most research monographs.
Nevertheless, this is still a minor front in the larger
campaign for OA to royalty-free literature.
Nor need OA even be limited to literature. It can
apply to any digital content, from raw and semi-raw
data to learning objects, music, images, multi-media
presentations, and software. It can apply to works
that are born digital or to older works, like public-
domain literature and cultural-heritage objects,
digitized later in life.
I refer to “peer-reviewed research articles and their
preprints” in my subtitle because it’s the focus of
most OA activity and the focus of this overview, not
because it sets the boundaries of OA.
Many OA initiatives focus on taxpayer-funded research
The argument for public access to publicly funded
research is a strong one. That is why, for example,
30+ nations have signed the Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) Declaration on Access to
Research Data From Public Funding.
The campaign for OA to taxpayer-funded research
usually recognizes exceptions for (1) classified,
military research, (2) research resulting in patentable
discoveries, and (3) research that authors publish in
some royalty-producing form, such as books.
Recognizing these exceptions is at least pragmatic,
and helps avoid needless battles while working for
OA to the largest, easiest subset of publicly-funded
The lowest of the low-hanging fruit is research that is
both royalty-free and taxpayer-funded. The NIH
policy to provide free online access to peer-reviewed
journal articles that arise from NIH-funded research
is a good example.
OA literature is not free to produce or publish
No serious OA advocate has ever said that OA
literature is costless to produce, although many argue
that it is much less expensive to produce than
conventionally published literature, even less expensive
than priced online-only literature. The question is not
whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but
whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by
charging readers and creating access barriers.
As the BOAI FAQ put it: “Free is ambiguous. We
mean free for readers, not free for producers. We
know that open-access literature is not free (without
cost) to produce. But that does not foreclose the
possibility of making it free of charge (without price)
for readers and users.”
The costs of producing OA literature, the savings
over conventionally published literature, and the
business models for recovering the costs, depend on
whether the literature is delivered through OA
journals or OA archives. (Details below.)
OA is compatible with priced add-ons. As long as
the full-text is OA, priced enhancements are
compatible with OA. If the enhancements are
expensive to provide, then the providers may have to
OA - Overview
charge for them; if they are valuable, then providers
are likely to find people willing to pay for them. At
some OA journals, priced add-ons provide part of the
revenue needed to pay for the OA.
OA is compatible with peer review, and all the major
OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist
on its importance
Peer review does not depend on the price or medium
of a journal. Nor does the value, rigor, or integrity of
One reason we know that peer review at OA journals
can be as rigorous and honest as peer review in
conventional journals is that it can use the same
procedures, the same standards, and even the same
people (editors and referees) as conventional journals.
Conventional publishers sometimes object that one
common funding model for OA journals (charging
fees to authors of accepted articles or their sponsors)
compromises peer review. I’ve answered this objection
at length elsewhere.
OA journals can use traditional forms of peer review
or they can use innovative new forms that take
advantage of the new medium and the interactive
network joining scholars to one another. However,
removing access barriers and reforming peer review
are independent projects. OA doesn’t presuppose any
particular model of peer review, and all the models of
peer review that are compatible with print journals
(and many more) are compatible with OA journals.
In most disciplines and most fields the editors and
referees who perform peer review donate their labor,
just like the authors. Where they are paid, OA to the
resulting articles is still possible; it merely requires a
larger subsidy than otherwise.
Despite the fact that those exercising editorial
judgment usually donate their labor, performing peer
review still has costs —distributing files to referees,
monitoring who has what, tracking progress, nagging
dawdlers, collecting comments and sharing them with
the right people, facilitating communication,
distinguishing versions, collecting data, and so on.
Increasingly these non-editorial tasks are being
automated by software, including open-source
There are two primary vehicles for delivering OA to
research articles, OA journals and OA archives or
The chief difference between them is that OA
journals conduct peer review and OA archives do
not. This difference explains many of the other
differences between them, especially the cost and
difficulty of launching and operating them.
There are other OA vehicles on which I won’t focus
here, such as personal web sites, ebooks, listservs,
discussion forums, blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, and P2P
file-sharing networks. There will undoubtedly be
many more in the future.
OA journals conduct peer review.
OA journals typically let authors retain copyright.
Some OA journal publishers non-profit (e.g. Public
Library of Science or PLoS) and some are for-profit
(e.g. BioMed Central or BMC).
OA journals pay their bills very much the way
broadcast television and radio stations do: those with
an interest in disseminating the content pay the
production costs upfront so that access can be free of
charge for everyone with the right equipment.
Sometimes this means that journals have a subsidy
from the hosting university or professional society.
Sometimes it means that journals charge a processing
fee on accepted articles, to be paid by the author or
the author’s sponsor (employer, funding agency). OA
journals that charge processing fees usually waive
them in cases of economic hardship. OA journals
with institutional subsidies tend to charge no
processing fees. OA journals can get by on lower
subsidies or fees if they have income from other
publications, advertising, priced add-ons, or auxiliary
services. Some institutions and consortia arrange fee
discounts. Some OA publishers (BMC and PLoS)
waive the fee for all researchers affiliated with
institutions that have purchased an annual
A common misunderstanding is that all OA journals
use an “author pays” business model. There are two
mistakes here. The first is to assume that there is
only one business model for OA journals, when there
are many. The second is to assume that charging an
upfront processing fee is an “author pays” model. In
fact, fewer than half of today’s OA journals (47%)
charge author-side fees. When OA journals do charge
fees, the fees are usually paid by author-sponsors
(employers or funders) or waived, not paid by
authors out of pocket. This misunderstanding is
harmful because it makes authors wonder whether
they can afford to pay the fees and gives OA
opponents a chance to spread FUD. In fact there are
many reasons why OA journals do not exclude the
Some use a color code to classify journals: gold
(provides OA to its research articles, without delay),
green (permits postprint archiving by authors), pale
green (permits, i.e. doesn’t oppose, preprint archiving
by authors), gray (none of the above).
For details on the business side of OA journals, see
the BOAI Guide to Business Planning for Launching
a New Open Access Journal, the BOAI Guide to
Business Planning for Converting a Subscription-
Based Journal to Open Access, and the PLoS
OA - Overview
whitepaper, Publishing Open-Access Journals.
We can be confident that OA journals are
economically sustainable because the true costs of
peer review, manuscript preparation, and OA
dissemination are considerably lower than the prices
we currently pay for subscription-based journals.
There’s more than enough money already committed
to the journal-support system. Moreover, as OA
spreads, libraries will realize large savings from the
conversion, cancellation, or demise of subscription-
For a list of OA journals in all fields and languages,
see the Directory of Open Access Journals.
OA Archives or Repositories
OA archives can be organized by discipline (e.g.
arXiv for physics) or institution (e.g. eScholarship
Repository for the University of California). When
universities host OA archives, they are usually
committed just as much to long-term preservation as
to open access.
OA archives do not perform peer review. However,
they may limit deposit to pieces in the right
discipline or authors from the right institution.
OA archives can contain preprints, postprints, or
A preprint is any version prior to peer review and
publication, usually the version submitted to a
A postprint is any version approved by peer review.
Sometimes it’s important to distinguish two kinds of
postprint: (a) those that have been peer-reviewed but
not copy-edited and (b) those that have been both
peer-reviewed and copy-edited. Some journals give
authors permission to deposit the first kind of
postprint but the not the second kind in an OA
OA archives can be limited to eprints (electronic
preprints or postprints of journal articles) or can
include theses and dissertations, course materials,
learning objects, data files, audio and video files,
institutional records, or any other kind of digital file.
OA archives can provide OA by default to all their
contents or can let authors control the degree of
accessibility to their works.
Authors need no permission for preprint archiving.
When they have finished writing the preprint, they
still hold copyright. If a journal refuses to consider
articles that have circulated as preprints, that is an
optional journal-submission policy, not a requirement
of copyright law. (Some journals do hold this policy,
called the Ingelfinger Rule, though it seems to be in
decline, especially in fields outside medicine.)
If authors transfer copyright in the postprint to a
journal, then they need the copyright holder’s
permission to deposit it in an OA archive. Most
journals (now about 70%) already allow postprint
archiving. But if a journal does not allow it, then the
author can still archive the preprint and the
corrigenda (the differences between the preprint and
For a searchable database of publisher policies about
copyright and archiving, see Project SHERPA. Also
see the Eprints journal-level supplement to SHERPA’s
Journals that do not wish to convert to OA, or to
provide their own OA content, can still support OA
by permitting their authors to deposit postprints of
their articles in OA archives. Most journals already
permit this. The burden is then on authors to take
advantage of the opportunity. This means that
authors may publish in virtually any journal that will
accept their work (OA or non-OA) and still provide
OA to the published version of the text through an
The most useful OA archives comply with the Open
Archives Initiative (OAI) protocol for metadata
harvesting, which makes them interoperable. In
practice, this means that users can find a work in an
OAI-compliant archive without knowing which
archives exist, where they are located, or what they
contain. (Confusing as it may be, OA and OAI are
separate but overlapping initiatives that should not be
mistaken for one another.)
Every university in the world can and should have its
own open-access, OAI-compliant repository and a
policy to encourage or require its faculty members to
deposit their research output in the repository. A
growing number do precisely this.
We can be confident that OA archives are
economically sustainable because they are so
inexpensive. There are many systems of open-source
software to build and maintain them. Depositing new
articles takes only a few minutes, and is done by
individual authors, not archive managers. OA archives
require only a small part of a technican’s time,
primarily at the launch, and some server space,
usually at a university. Universities already support
less essential software and already give more server
space to less essential content. In any case, OA
archives benefit the institutions that host them by
enhancing the visibility and impact of the articles, the
authors, and the institution.
There is no definitive list of OA, OAI-compliant
archives. But I maintain a list of the good lists.
For detail on setting up an institutional repository,
see the SPARC Institutional Repository Checklist &
For more details on OA archiving, see the BOAI
OA - Overview
The OA project is constructive, not destructive
The purpose of the campaign for OA is the
constructive one of providing OA to a larger and
larger body of literature, not the destructive one of
putting non-OA journals or publishers out of
business. The consequences may or may not overlap
(this is contingent) but the purposes do not overlap.
Even though journal prices have risen four times
faster than inflation since the mid-1980’s, the purpose
of OA is not to punish or undermine expensive
journals, but to provide an accessible alternative and
to take full advantage of new technology —the
internet— for widening distribution and reducing
costs. Moreover, for researchers themselves, the
overriding motivation is not to solve the journal
pricing crisis but to deliver wider and easier access
for readers and larger audience and impact for
Publishers are not monolithic. Some already provide
full OA, some provide hybrid models, and some are
considering experiments with it. Among those not
providing OA, some are opposed and some are
merely unpersuaded. Among the unpersuaded, some
provide more free online content than others. OA
gains nothing and loses potential allies by blurring
Most publishers and most journals already permit
author-initiated OA archiving. Since self-archiving is a
bona fide form of OA, authors who fail to take
advantage of the opportunity are actually a greater
obstacle to OA than publishers who fail to offer the
Promoting OA does not require the boycott of any
kind of literature, any kind of journal, or any kind of
publisher. Promoting OA need not cause publisher
setbacks, and publisher setbacks need not advance
OA. To focus on undermining non-OA journals and
publishers is to mistake the goal.
Open-access and toll-access literature can coexist. We
know that because they coexist now. We don’t know
whether this coexistence will be temporary or
permanent, but the most effective and constructive
way to find out is to work for OA and see what
happens to non-OA providers, not to detour from
building OA to hurt those who are not helping.
Open access is not synonymous with universal access
Even after OA has been achieved, at least four kinds
of access barrier might remain in place:
1. Filtering and censorship barriers. Many schools,
employers, and governments want to limit what
you can see.
2. Language barriers. Most online literature is in
English, or just one language, and machine
translation is very weak.
3. Handicap access barriers. Most web sites are not yet
as accessible to handicapped users as they should
4. Connectivity barriers. The digital divide keeps
billions of people, including millions of serious
Even if we want to remove these four additional
barriers (and most of us do), there’s no reason to
hold off using the term “open access” until we’ve
succeeded. Removing price and permission barriers is
a significant plateau worth recognizing with a special
OA is a kind of access, not a kind of business model,
license, or content.
OA is not a kind of business model.
There are many business models compatible with
OA, i.e many ways to pay the bills so that readers
can reach the content without charge. Models that
work well in some fields, niches, and nations may
not work as well in others. No one claims that one
size fits all.
There are many differences among the disciplines that
affect the funding of OA. We should not expect OA
to make progress in all disciplines at the same rate,
any more than we should expect it to make progress
in all countries at the same rate. Most of the progress
and debate is taking place in the STM fields (science,
technology, and medicine), but OA is just as feasible
and useful in the humanities.
New OA business models are evolving, and older
ones are being tested and revised, all the time.
There’s a lot of room for creativity in finding ways
to pay the costs of a peer-reviewed OA journal or a
general-purpose OA archive, and we’re far from
having exhausted our cleverness and imagination.
OA is not a kind of license. There are many licenses
compatible with OA, i.e. many ways to remove
permission barriers for users and let them know what
they may and may not do with the content. See the
sections on permission barriers and licenses above.
OA is not a kind of content. Every kind of digital
content can be OA, from texts and data to software,
audio, video, and multi-media. The OA movement
focuses on peer-reviewed research articles and their
preprints. While most of these are just text, a
growing number integrate text with images, data, and
executable code. OA can also apply to non-scholarly
content, like music, movies, and novels, even if these
are not the focus of most OA activists.
OA serves the interests of many groups
Authors: OA enlarges their audience and increases the
visibility and impact of their work.
Readers: OA gives them barrier-free access to the
literature they need for their research. It increases
their convenience, reach, and retrieval power. OA also
OA - Overview
gives barrier-free access to the software that assists
readers in their research. Free online literature is free
online data for software that facilitates full-text
searching, indexing, mining, summarizing, translating,
querying, linking, alerting, and other forms of
processing and analysis.
Teachers and students: OA puts rich and poor on an
equal footing for these key resources and eliminates
the need for permissions to reproduce and distribute
Libraries: OA solves the pricing crisis for scholarly
journals. It also solves what I’ve called the permission
crisis. OA also serves library interests in other,
indirect ways. Librarians want to help users find the
information they need, regardless of the budget-
enforced limits on the library’s own collection.
University librarians want to help faculty increase
their audience and impact and thereby help the
university raise its research profile.
Universities: OA increases the visibility of their faculty
and institution, reduces their expenses for journals,
and advances their mission to share knowledge.
Journals and publishers: OA makes their articles more
visible, discoverable, retrievable, and useful. If a
journal is OA, then it can use this superior visibility
to attract submissions and advertising, not to
mention readers and citations. If a subscription-based
journal provides OA to some of its content (e.g.
selected articles in each issue, all back issues after a
certain period, etc.), then it can use its increased
visibility to attract all the same benefits plus
subscriptions. If a journal permits OA through
postprint archiving, then it has an edge in attracting
authors over journals that do not permit postprint
archiving. Of course subscription-based journals and
their publishers have countervailing interests as well
and generally oppose OA. But it oversimplifies the
situation to think that all their interests pull against
Funding agencies: OA increases the return on their
investment in research, making the results of the
funded research more widely available, more
discoverable, more retrievable, and more useful. OA
serves public funding agencies in a second way as
well, by providing public access to the results of
Governments: As funders of research, governments
benefit from OA in all the ways that funding
agencies do (see previous entry). OA also promotes
democracy by sharing government information as
rapidly and widely as possible.
Citizens: OA gives them access to peer-reviewed
research (most of which is unavailable in public
libraries) and gives them access to the research for
which they have already paid through their taxes. It
also helps them indirectly by helping the researchers,
physicians, manufacturers, technologists, and others
who make use of cutting-edge research for their
OA in Historical Perspective
Scholarly journals do not pay authors for their
articles, and have not done so since the first journals
were launched in London and Paris in 1665. (See
Jean-Claude Guédon, In Oldenburg’s Long Shadow.)
Journals took off because, for readers, they surpassed
books for learning quickly about the recent work of
others. For authors, journals surpassed books for
sharing new work quickly with the wider world and,
above all, for establishing priority over other scientists
working on the same problem. They gave authors
the benefit of a fast, public time-stamp on their
work. Because authors were rewarded in these strong,
intangible ways, they accepted the fact that journals
couldn’t afford to pay them. Over time, journal
revenue grew but authors continued in the tradition
of writing articles for impact, not for money.
OA was physically and economically impossible in
the age of print, even if the copyright holder wanted
it. Prices were not only unavoidable for print
journals, they were even affordable until the 1970’s,
when they began to rise faster than inflation. Prices
have risen four times faster than inflation since 1986.
Fortuitously, just as journal prices were becoming
unbearable, the internet emerged to offer an
It doesn’t matter whether we blame unaffordable
journals on excessive publisher prices or inadequate
library budgets. If we focus on publishers, it doesn’t
matter whether we blame greed or innocent market
forces (rising costs and new services). Blame is
irrelevant and distracting. The volume of published
knowledge is growing exponentially and will always
grow faster than library budgets. In that sense, OA
scales with the growth of knowledge and toll access
does not. We’ve already (long since) reached the
point at which even affluent research institutions
cannot afford access to the full range of research
literature. Priced access to journal articles would not
scale with the continuing, explosive growth of
knowledge even if prices were low today and
guaranteed to remain low forever.
The pricing crisis itself is just one factor in the rise of
OA. Even if scholars did not turn to OA in order to
bypass unaffordable access fees, they’d turn to it in
order to take advantage of the internet as a powerful
new technology for sharing knowledge instantly, with
a worldwide audience, at zero marginal cost, in a
digital form amenable to unlimited processing.
For a schematic history of OA, see my timeline of
the open-access movement.
OA - Overview
Budapest Open Access Initiative
An old tradition and a new technology have converged
to make possible an unprecedented public good. The
old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars
to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly
journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and
knowledge. The new technology is the internet. The
public good they make possible is the world-wide
electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal
literature and completely free and unrestricted access to
it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other
curious minds. Removing access barriers to this
literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share
the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor
with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be,
and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a
common intellectual conversation and quest for
For various reasons, this kind of free and unrestricted
online availability, which we will call open access, has so
far been limited to small portions of the journal
literature. But even in these limited collections, many
different initiatives have shown that open access is
economically feasible, that it gives readers extraordinary
power to find and make use of relevant literature, and
that it gives authors and their works vast and
measurable new visibility, readership, and impact. To
secure these benefits for all, we call on all interested
institutions and individuals to help open up access to
the rest of this literature and remove the barriers,
especially the price barriers, that stand in the way. The
more who join the effort to advance this cause, the
sooner we will all enjoy the benefits of open access.
The literature that should be freely accessible online is
that which scholars give to the world without
expectation of payment. Primarily, this category
encompasses their peer-reviewed journal articles, but it
also includes any unreviewed preprints that they might
wish to put online for comment or to alert colleagues
to important research findings. There are many degrees
and kinds of wider and easier access to this literature.
By “open access” to this literature, we mean its free
availability on the public internet, permitting any users
to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or
link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for
indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them
for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or
technical barriers other than those inseparable from
gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint
on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for
copyright in this domain, should be to give authors
control over the integrity of their work and the right to
be properly acknowledged and cited.
While the peer-reviewed journal literature should be
accessible online without cost to readers, it is not
costless to produce. However, experiments show that
the overall costs of providing open access to this
literature are far lower than the costs of traditional
forms of dissemination. With such an opportunity to
save money and expand the scope of dissemination at
the same time, there is today a strong incentive for
professional associations, universities, libraries,
foundations, and others to embrace open access as a
means of advancing their missions. Achieving open
access will require new cost recovery models and
financing mechanisms, but the significantly lower overall
cost of dissemination is a reason to be confident that
the goal is attainable and not merely preferable or
To achieve open access to scholarly journal literature,
we recommend two complementary strategies.
I. Self-Archiving: First, scholars need the tools and
assistance to deposit their refereed journal articles in
open electronic archives, a practice commonly called,
self-archiving. When these archives conform to standards
created by the Open Archives Initiative, then search
engines and other tools can treat the separate archives
as one. Users then need not know which archives exist
or where they are located in order to find and make
use of their contents.
II. Open-access Journals: Second, scholars need the
means to launch a new generation of journals
committed to open access, and to help existing journals
that elect to make the transition to open access. Because
journal articles should be disseminated as widely as
possible, these new journals will no longer invoke
copyright to restrict access to and use of the material
they publish. Instead they will use copyright and other
tools to ensure permanent open access to all the articles
they publish. Because price is a barrier to access, these
new journals will not charge subscription or access fees,
and will turn to other methods for covering their
expenses. There are many alternative sources of funds
for this purpose, including the foundations and
governments that fund research, the universities and
laboratories that employ researchers, endowments set up
by discipline or institution, friends of the cause of open
access, profits from the sale of add-ons to the basic
texts, funds freed up by the demise or cancellation of
journals charging traditional subscription or access fees,
or even contributions from the researchers themselves.
There is no need to favor one of these solutions over
the others for all disciplines or nations, and no need to
stop looking for other, creative alternatives.
Open access to peer-reviewed journal literature is the
goal. Self-archiving (I.) and a new generation of open-
access journals (II.) are the ways to attain this goal.
They are not only direct and effective means to this
end, they are within the reach of scholars themselves,
immediately, and need not wait on changes brought
about by markets or legislation. While we endorse the
two strategies just outlined, we also encourage
experimentation with further ways to make the
transition from the present methods of dissemination to
open access. Flexibility, experimentation, and adaptation
to local circumstances are the best ways to assure that
progress in diverse settings will be rapid, secure, and
The Open Society Institute, the foundation network
founded by philanthropist George Soros, is committed
to providing initial help and funding to realize this
goal. It will use its resources and influence to extend
and promote institutional self-archiving, to launch new
open-access journals, and to help an open-access journal
system become economically self-sustaining. While the
Open Society Institute’s commitment and resources are
substantial, this initiative is very much in need of other
organizations to lend their effort and resources.
We invite governments, universities, libraries, journal
editors, publishers, foundations, learned societies,
professional associations, and individual scholars who
share our vision to join us in the task of removing the
barriers to open access and building a future in which
research and education in every part of the world are
that much more free to flourish.
February 14, 2002
Released June 20, 2003
Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing
Summary of the April 11, 2003, Meeting on Open
The following statements of principle were drafted
during a one-day meeting held on April 11, 2003 at
the headquarters of the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The purpose of
this document is to stimulate discussion within the
biomedical research community on how to proceed, as
rapidly as possible, to the widely held goal of providing
open access to the primary scientific literature. Our goal
was to agree on significant, concrete steps that all
relevant parties —the organizations that foster and
support scientific research, the scientists that generate
the research results, the publishers who facilitate the
peer-review and distribution of results of the research,
and the scientists, librarians and other who depend on
access to this knowledge— can take to promote the
rapid and efficient transition to open access publishing.
A list of the attendees is given following the statements
of principle; they participated as individuals and not
necessarily as representatives of their institutions. Thus,
this statement, while reflecting the group consensus,
should not be interpreted as carrying the unqualified
endorsement of each participant or any position by
Our intention is to reconvene an expanded group in a
few months to draft a final set of principles that we
will then seek to have formally endorsed by funding
agencies, scientific societies, publishers, librarians,
research institutions and individual scientists as the
accepted standard for publication of peer-reviewed
reports of original research in the biomedical sciences.
The document is divided into four sections: The first is
a working definition of open access publication. This is
followed by the reports of three working groups.
Definition of Open Access Publication
An Open Access Publicatio is one that meets the
following two conditions:
1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all
users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right
of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute,
transmit and display the work publicly and to make
and distribute derivative works, in any digital
medium for any responsible purpose, subject to
proper attribution of authorship, as well as the
right to make small numbers of printed copies for
their personal use.
2. A complete version of the work and all
supplemental materials, including a copy of the
permission as stated above, in a suitable standard
electronic format is deposited immediately upon
initial publication in at least one online repository
that is supported by an academic institution,
scholarly society, government agency, or other well-
established organization that seeks to enable open
access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and
long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences,
PubMed Central is such a repository).
1. Open access is a property of individual works, not
necessarily journals or publishers.
2. Community standards, rather than copyright law,
will continue to provide the mechanism for
enforcement of proper attribution and responsible
use of the published work, as they do now.
Statement of the Institutions and Funding Agencies
Our organizations sponsor and nurture scientific research
to promote the creation and dissemination of new ideas
and knowledge for the public benefit. We recognize that
publication of results is an essential part of scientific
research and the costs of publication are part of the cost
of doing research. We already expect that our faculty and
grantees share their ideas and discoveries through
publication. This mission is only half-completed if the
work is not made as widely available and as useful to
society as possible. The Internet has fundamentally
changed the practical and economic realities of
distributing published scientific knowledge and makes
possible substantially increased access.
To realize the benefits of this change requires a
corresponding fundamental change in our policies
regarding publication by our grantees and faculty:
1. We encourage our faculty/grant recipients to publish
their work according to the principles of the open
access model, to maximize the access and benefit to
scientists, scholars and the public throughout the
2. We realize that moving to open and free access,
though probably decreasing total costs, may displace
some costs to the individual researcher through page
charges, or to publishers through decreased
revenues, and we pledge to help defray these costs.
To this end we agree to help fund the necessary
expenses of publication under the open access model
of individual papers in peer-reviewed journals
(subject to reasonable limits based on market
conditions and services provided).
3. We reaffirm the principle that only the intrinsic
merit of the work, and not the title of the journal
in which a candidate’s work is published, will be
considered in appointments, promotions, merit
awards or grants.
4. We will regard a record of open access publication
as evidence of service to the community, in
evaluation of applications for faculty appointments,
promotions and grants.
We adopt these policies in the expectation that the
publishers of scientific works share our desire to
maximize public benefit from scientific knowledge and
will view these new policies as they are intended —an
opportunity to work together for the benefit of the
scientific community and the public.
Statement of the Libraries & Publishers Working Group
We believe that open access will be an essential
component of scientific publishing in the future and
that works reporting the results of current scientific
research should be as openly accessible and freely
useable as possible. Libraries and publishers should
make every effort to hasten this transition in a fashion
that does not disrupt the orderly dissemination of
Libraries propose to
1. Develop and support mechanisms to make the
transition to open access publishing and to provide
examples of these mechanisms to the community.
2. In our education and outreach activities, give high
priority to teaching our users about the benefits of
open access publishing and open access journals.
3. List and highlight open access journals in our
catalogs and other relevant databases.
Journal publishers propose to
1. Commit to providing an open access option for any
research article published in any of the journals they
2. Declare a specific timetable for transition of journals
to open access models.
3. Work with other publishers of open access works
and interested parties to develop tools for authors
and publishers to facilitate publication of
manuscripts in standard electronic formats suitable
for archival storage and efficient searching.
4. Ensure that open access models requiring author
fees lower barriers to researchers at demonstrated
financial disadvantage, particularly those from
Statement of Scientists and Scientific Societies
Scientific research is an interdependent process whereby
each experiment is informed by the results of others.
The scientists who perform research and the
professional societies that represent them have a great
interest in ensuring that research results are disseminated
as immediately, broadly and effectively as possible.
Electronic publication of research results offers the
opportunity and the obligation to share research results,
ideas and discoveries freely with the scientific
community and the public.
1. We endorse the principles of the open access model.
2. We recognize that publishing is a fundamental part
of the research process, and the costs of publishing
are a fundamental cost of doing research.
3. Scientific societies agree to affirm their strong
support for the open access model and their
commitment to ultimately achieve open access for
all the works they publish. They will share
information on the steps they are taking to achieve
open access with the community they serve and
with others who might benefit from their
4. Scientists agree to manifest their support for open
access by selectively publishing in, reviewing for and
editing for open access journals and journals that are
effectively making the transition to open access.
5. Scientists agree to advocate changes in promotion
and tenure evaluation in order to recognize the
community contribution of open access publishing
and to recognize the intrinsic merit of individual
articles without regard to the titles of the journals in
which they appear.
6. Scientists and societies agree that education is an
indispensable part of achieving open access, and
commit to educate their colleagues, members and
the public about the importance of open access and
why they support it.
Updated September 2005
Wellcome Trust Position Statement in Support of Open and
Unrestricted Access to Published Research
The mission of the Wellcome Trust is to foster and
promote research with the aim of improving human
and animal health. The main output of this research is
new ideas and knowledge, which the Trust expects its
researchers to publish in quality, peer-reviewed journals.
The Wellcome Trust has a fundamental interest in
ensuring that the availability and accessibility of this
material is not adversely affected by the copyright,
marketing and distribution strategies used by publishers
(whether commercial, not-for-profit or academic).
The Wellcome Trust therefore supports unrestricted
access to the published output of research as a
fundamental part of its charitable mission and a public
benefit to be encouraged wherever possible.
Specifically, the Wellcome Trust
Expects authors of research papers to maximise the
opportunities to make their results available for free
and, where possible, to retain their copyright.
Will provide grantholders with additional funding to
cover the costs of page processing charges levied by
publishers who support the open access model.
Requires electronic copies of any research papers
that have been accepted for publication in a peer-
reviewed journal, and are supported in whole or in
part by Wellcome Trust funding, to be deposited
into PubMed Central (or UK PubMed Central once
established). Note that this requirement will apply
to all grants awarded after 1 October 2005, and
from 1 October 2006 to all grants regardless of
Affirms the principle that it is the intrinsic merit of
the work, and not the title of the journal in which
an author’s work is published, that should be
considered in making funding decisions and
The Nine Flavours of Open Access Scholarly Publishing
After a print-run of some 340 years, the scholarly
journal has now assumed a parallel digital life. What
began in 1982, when Bibliographic Information
Services issued its first electronic edition of the
Harvard Business Review, has become a mass
phenomenon. By the turn of the century, 75 percent
of academic journals were offering online editions, and
more than a 1,000 peer-reviewed journals existed only
in digital form.[1,2] While the print editions will
continue for some time, the alacrity and thoroughness
with which the journal has gone online strongly
suggests it has a firm digital future. The immediate,
hyperlinked, and globally accessible environment of
electronic publishing appears to serve journals and its
readers particularly well. It certainly tops the list of
research priorities among the patrons of my university
library, with some 40 percent ranking it ahead of
books, print journals, and other resources when it
comes to what is most important for their research
and scholarship. By contrast, rumors about the death
of the book appear to have been exaggerated. The
scholarly e-book has yet to find more than a toehold
on the Internet, although a number of the classic texts
in the Humanities, from Plato to Kant, are freely
Electronic journals offer readers a particular ease of
access. They can readily work across different journals,
find exactly where certain ideas are being discussed, or
move readily from citation to source. They find
something that serves their needs, copy the article’s
bibliographic reference, and perhaps a quote or two.
They press Print, or Save if it’s a keeper, and they move
on. Yet digital journal publishing stands poised to do
something far more dramatic in promoting the vital
circulation of knowledge. Online publishing technologies
are capable of reversing what has otherwise been a state
of declining access, for faculty and students, to the
burgeoning body of serial literature. In every field, open
access journals are making research available to a much
wider range of readers than print and subscription
models have been able to achieve. The success of the
open access publishing model is bound to have a
profound impact on the state of knowledge, as that state
depends on the extent of its circulation and exchange.
And there are questions to be raised about that
As things now stand, the world faces a seeming paradox.
In an Age of Information, buoyed by a knowledge
economy of global dimensions, the traditional centers of
knowledge and information, namely, the universities, are
simply unable to keep up with their own production of
published research. That is, even the best of the research
libraries cannot afford to provide access to it all. The
journals have become too expensive, even as there are
more and more of them(A). Decades of subscription
price increases for print journals, increases that ran well
ahead of inflation rates, have forced university libraries to
cut their holdings. These increases can be traced back to
a growing corporate concentration in scholarly
publishing, especially in the sciences, which has resulted
in three companies, Elsevier, Springer, and Taylor and
Francis, controlling 60 percent of the journals in the
leading citation index, ISI Web of Science(B).
From their perspective, the publisher provides an
invaluable, if not an irreplaceable, editorial and
publishing. They undoubtedly stepped into the
publishing breach, with the tremendous post-World
War II growth in research and post-secondary
education, to provide a necessarily expanded range of
journals that went well beyond what the scholarly
societies were prepared to offer (C). Elsevier Science
Chairman Derk Haank is not completely off the mark
in claiming that his company, following its $30 million
investment in an online system, is “making scientific
information more accessible to the community at large
than ever before”(D)[4,5]. Commercial publishing
interests now have a major stake in academic
publishing. At the same time, the scholarly societies
and other non-profit publishing interests have
continued to charge less than the corporate publishers,
but not without riding the wave of increasing prices,
with many societies turning their journals over to
corporate publishers (E).
The impact of these price-increases has affected access to
the research literature at universities everywhere. At the
high end, the Association of Research Libraries,
representing the top 122 research libraries in North
America, reports that its members have been forced to
cut six percent of their subscriptions since the late 1980s,
and that figure was only kept that small by chopping 26
percent off their book budgets during the same period.
The cuts to serial titles among less fortunate institutions,
especially in developing countries, has been far more
drastic and devastating, virtually wiping out their access
to the current print literature.
The current migration of journals, online has not, for the
most part, changed any of that. While a number of
journals briefly experimented with free access in the early
days of going online, most have ended up simply
extending their subscription model to the online
environment, further bumping up prices for a new print-
plus-online subscription service, with online-only access
resulting in minor discounts (F). At the same time, new
forms of site licensing and pay-per-view fees have created
additional revenue streams out of yesteryear’s journals.
Yet I say that nothing has changed, for the most part,
because the Internet has also given rise to a radically
new, alternative model of distributing research which, at
least, has begun to alter the picture of what was
otherwise declining access.
That alternative, known as open access, makes the research
literature free to read online. For example, a number of
disciplines and an increasing number of institutions
operate “eprint servers” which enable authors to place
their published and unpublished work online in an open
access and well-indexed format.[7,2] As well, a number of
journals, if only a few in each discipline, are
experimenting with offering readers different models of
open access (with more details on this below). This has
been made possible by, first of all, the development of
new online systems that reduce distribution and
management costs [G]. While it is difficult to identify
just how many journals have gone open access, the
Directory of Open Access Journals maintained by the
University of Lund provides one guide, which within
months of it opening was listing hundreds of journal
titles, from across the disciplines. Brazil, for example, is
moving toward open access for its scientific journal
publishing activities virtually as a national policy, through
institutional and other grants to its somewhat less than
200 scholarly journals.
Now what needs to be made clear is that open access,
even among journals, is not following a single economic
model. Many people dismiss open access out of hand as
clearly having no chance of being economically viable as
it has no revenue stream. They fail to appreciate that
among the various approaches to open access, there is
still a place for subscription and other forms of revenue.
To help clarify this situation, I present what I would
identify as the nine flavours of open access which have
demonstrated their viability (Table 1).
To briefly describe the nine types, I have already
introduced the eprint archive, which often carries on in
peaceful co-existence with the journal system, as the
policies of the journal enable authors to file their
published pieces in open access archives (H). Best
known of these is the arXiv.org Eprint Service which
began in high energy physics a decade ago and now
provides access to a substantial portion of the literature
in a number of related areas.
In terms of open access journals, the peer-reviewed First
Monday, which deals with technical, social and political
issues related to the Internet, serves as a good example of
a journal that is immediately, completely, and exclusively
free-to-read, and as such might be referred to as an
unqualified open access journal.
Table 1: Types of open access archives and journals
Type of open access Description Journal or portal example
Eprint Archive Authors archive preprints and/or postprints in OA archive arXiv.org, Eprint Service
Unqualified Immediate and full OA publication of journal First Monday
Dual Mode Both subscription-print and OA journal editions offered Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Delayed OA OA edition available some months after initial publication New England Journal of Medicine
Author Fee Authors pay fee to support OA publication Bio-Med Central
Partial OA Some articles in an issue are OA New York Review of Books
Per Capita OA made available to country based per capita income HINARI (World Health Organization)
Abstract OA to journal table of contents and abstracts ScienceDirect
Co-op Institutional members support OA journals German Academic Publishers (GAP)
Open access publishing (OA-P)
Then there is a dual mode open access model which, as in
the case of the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, publishes
an immediate and complete edition online of its print
version to which it continues to sell subscriptions.
What might be thought of as an economically more
conservative version of this dual mode is found with
delayed open access, exemplified by the New England
Journal of Medicine which provides complete free access
six months after initial publication for subscribers. The
dual and delayed modes might as well be thought of as
open access with an undiminished subscription list and
revenue stream, though whether the combined print and
online publication is a transitional stage or not remains
to be seen.
A form of author-fee open access has been developed on a
large scale by the leading corporate entry into the open
access field, BioMed Central. It offers complete open
access to 90-plus journals that are published exclusively
online by charging author fees for successful papers. A
variation on this model, developed by Thomas J. Walker
and in use with the Florida Entomologist and the journals
of the Entomological Society of America, is to give the
author a choice of paying for open access or leaving it
within the fee-based edition.
Still another variation in open access is to make a
portion of the journal free to read, in what I would call
partial open access. Although from a reader’s perspective
this can be a frustratingly hit and miss system, it still
provides access to certain kinds of scholarship to which
readers might not otherwise be exposed.
For those hardest hit by increases in the price of the
journal, a measure of relief has been established through
what I would term per-capita open access. This model
includes the World Health Organisation’s successful
efforts to convince the publishers of medical journals,
including Reed Elsevier and others, to make the online
versions of these journals free to those living in
countries in which per capita incomes are very low.
Similar programs have been negotiated by the
International Network for the Availability of Scientific
A growing number of publishing portals provide open
access abstracts and this is becoming an increasingly
popular version of open-access “lite,” especially with
Reed Elsevier providing access through its Science Direct
portal to the e-abstracts of its 1,700 journals. So, in
addition to the eprint archive mode of open access,
scholarly journals have developed an array of approaches
to increasing access to the scholarly journal. Editors,
scholarly associations, researchers and scholars have clearly
begun to see that such approaches, as they increase the
circulation of knowledge, would best serve the larger
interests of learning, as well as their own interests.
Finally, one idea that has only begun to take shape is
that of forming a co-operative among the principal users
of the journals which would support open access journals
as a means of managing their access to the research
literature, while providing the rest of the world with the
benefits of this work. The Association of Research
Libraries (ARL) has taken the first step down this path
by supporting SPARC and Create Change programs that
have, in turn, assisted journals and supported the
development of institutional repositories.11 Yet an open
access co-op goes a step farther. The leading libraries
would join in underwriting the direct serial expenses of
open access journals on a long term basis. One example
of co-op open access that has just begun to take shape is
the German Academic Publisher’s Project, made up
largely of university presses and research libraries,
dedicated to making open access viable for German
academic journals by centralising the development of
management and publishing systems and operating
In whatever way it is organised, open access means a
gain in the circulation, exchange and advancement of
knowledge. And that gain, especially in the case of
open access journals, can be dramatic. Consider Gene
Glass, for example. This professor of education at
Arizona State University, best known perhaps for his
development of meta-analysis (which enables the
results of statistical studies to be aggregated),
established Education Policy Analysis Archives as an
unqualified open access journal in 1992. Eleven years
later, and after publishing 312 articles (including 24 in
Spanish or Portuguese), the journal’s website has some
2,500 visitors per weekday. As academic journals go,
that is a considerable readership, especially as it
represents visitors from 75-80 nations and, according
to a survey of readers Glass conducted, includes
teachers (16 percent), parents (three percent) and a
small number of journalists (one percent). The
journal’s two most popular articles – one on home
schooling and the other on teacher characteristics and
achievement – have had well over 50,000 hits each,
with the rate still increasing years after publication,
again bucking the typical academic pattern. Glass
runs the journal out of his office, on an old computer
that acts as a web-server, with no budget for
publishing, apart from the time he devotes to editing
it. Open access is changing the public and scholarly
presence of the research article, and that increased
presence is arguably good for the state of knowledge
and the support that it receives from the larger society.
Open access publishing (OA-P)
Now, the assumption here is not information is, or
somehow wants to be, free. Anything but. Open access
begins with the fact that researchers are engaged in
expensive, labour-intensive work that often employs
highly sophisticated equipment, fully equipped and
staffed laboratories. Researchers fly to distant archives
and remote sites; they hire teams of graduate student
research assistants; they devote years to studying a single
body of work. Much of this work is underwritten by
public institutions, government grants, and philanthropic
endowments. The very extent of this largely public
investment is what sets scholarly publishing apart from
the more typical commercial model. The work
represented in a research article has all been paid for in
advance. The article arrives at the publisher’s door,
having already been financed, up to that point, as a
public good. The public does not expect to be repaid for
this research investment, at least not through its
The publisher not only does not have to pay its authors,
the services of highly qualified editors and reviewers are
donated, as well (with editors occasionally receiving some
form of support). Publishers do cover the production
cost of copyediting, layout, proofreading, printing,
binding, mailing, and promotion; they are now putting
up well-engineered websites for electronic editions of
their journals. They bring management skills, as well as
care and quality, to the journal’s production. During the
age of print, the finely produced journal, with a
circulation that could run as low as 200-400 copies,
required this mix of public and private investment. The
high quality of paper, printing, and binding were not so
much a luxury as a necessity to the archival quality of
the journal preserving it for use by generations of
So things might have happily continued, had not the
corporate interests within this limited, subsidised
economy pushed journal subscription prices to the point
where access to the knowledge went into a state of
decline, at a time when new publishing technologies
enabled researchers to take publishing back into their
own hands. These new technologies have been used to
demonstrate how access can be greatly increased,
improving the circulation of knowledge, restoring the
researcher’s control of knowledge, and extending its value
as a public good by making it far more widely available.
Now, it is certainly true that open access depends on the
reader’s ability to find a computer connected to the
Internet, which is still a significant barrier in many
institutions of higher learning in the developing world.
Yet faculty members and students have much greater
hope of accessing the wider body of research literature
online, if only through an Internet café, thanks to open
access, than they do through the dwindling supply of
current print journals. We need to understand that the
gains in access to knowledge are, at best, incremental,
and are not to be judged against some unachievable ideal
of universal access or complete equity of access.
In this current knowledge economy, the Internet appears
to be able, through various models of open access
publishing, to do more to extend the circulation of
knowledge, and to increase participation in a global
exchange around that knowledge, than print has been
able to achieve. Open access provides scholarly resources
to a vast number of faculty and students who conduct
their studies outside of the privileged circle of the leading
institutions. It opens a new world of learning to
dedicated professionals and interested amateurs, to
concerned journalists and policymakers. These incremental
gains in access do not, however, simply follow from our
ready embrace of new technologies. Such gains are only
achieved through the commitment of scholars everywhere
to finding new ways of improving access to knowledge.
Although the goal is the same, there is more than one
path forward, more than one way of opening access.
A. A recent Association of Learned and Professional Society
Publishers survey of publishers found that among 149
publishers, 783 new journals titles were launched between
B. Elsevier, for example, has in recent years acquired the
publishers, Harcourt, Academic, and Pergamon. See McCabe
reports on mergers and monopolies among corporate academic
publishers: “According to these empirical estimates, each of
these mergers was associated with substantial price increases; in
the case of the Elsevier deal the price increase appears to be
due to increased market power. For example, compared to
premerger prices, the Elsevier deal resulted in an average price
increase of 22% for former Pergamon titles, and an 8%
increase for Elsevier deal titles.”15,16 Also see Tamber.17
C. The growth of basic and applied funding in the United States,
for example, grew from $6 billion to $17 billion from 1960
to 1990 (in constant 1982 dollars), after a very rapid doubling
in the first five years after 1960 (NSF 1990). Enrollment in
higher education has grown on a worldwide basis from 51
million in 1980 to 82 million in 1995.18
D. Elsevier’s own online journal archive, Science Direct, is
proving to be one of the more successful e-business ventures.
The parent company Reed Elsevier, fifth largest media
company in the world, had revenues of $8 billion in 2002, of
which $1.5 billion comes from online delivery of information
to both scholars and professionals (physicians, lawyers, etc.)
with an operating margin that Forbes.com calls “fabulous” at
E. Among the economic factors at work on the journal, the very
reductions in journal subscribers, caused by price increases,
have led to further increases for the remaining subscribers
forced to generate the same revenue levels to produce the
Open access publishing (OA-P)
journal, in something of a vicious circle of declining access.20
McCabe estimates for example that a 1% increase in price in
1999 resulted in a 0.3% drop in subscriptions. The economist
Roger G. Noll also observes the larger social cost of these
increases: “In addition, the high institutional price causes
institutional libraries to be far smaller than would be socially
optimal. Of course, for publications in science and engineering,
this inefficiency ripples throughout the entire economy, for it
means that education, applied research and development, and
direct diffusion to the production of goods and services will
proceed at a slower rate than otherwise would be the case.”21
F. For example, the American Chemical Society states on its
website, under the title ACS All-electronic Pricing for
institutional subscriptions: “We are pleased to offer all-
electronic access to ACS Web Editions. The electronic access
fee is calculated by taking 100% of the print expenditure. Print
copies are added at 15% of the listed print price. Please
contact your ACS Account Manager for a quote.” For
members of the ACS, on the other hand, Organic Letters is
$25 online and $203 in print.
G. For example, and in the interest of full disclosure, the Public
Knowledge Project at the University of British Columbia, with
which I work, has developed Open Journal Systems, an open
source journal management and publishing system available at
its website (http://pkp.ubc.ca).
H. On whether an author’s copyright agreement with a journal
permits open access self-archiving, see Project RoMEO (http:/
Gadd, Charles Oppenheim, and Steve Probets report that a
little less than half the journals in their study permit both
preprint and postprint self-archiving, with a third allowing
post-print and 20 percent specifying preprint only.
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article.asp?issn=0022-3859;year= 2003; volume=49;
Open access publishing (OA-P)
Leslie Chan, Barbara Kirsop, Subbiah Arunachalam
Open Access Archiving: the Fast Track to Building Research
Capacity in Developing Countries
Hereafter is a summary of a full document available
The close link between scientific development and the
social and economic wellbeing of a nation has been
recognised by many and a UNESCO report stated
(1982:157) that “assimilation of scientific and
technological information is an essential precondition
for progress in developing countries.” However, the
capacity to absorb such knowledge is often weak in
developing countries, leading to low levels of scientific
output and further underdevelopment.
Science in the less advanced countries is poorly funded
and the absence of a critical mass of scientists leads to a
poor contribution to the world’s knowledge pool.
The science base in the developing world can never be
strengthened without access to the global library of
research information. Currently, this is near impossible
due to the high cost of journal subscriptions, with the
result that even the most prestigious institutes cannot
afford to purchase the journals they need. A recent
survey conducted by the World Health Organization
(WHO) found that in the 75 countries with a GNP
per capita per year of less than US $1000, 56% of
medical institutions had no subscriptions to journals
over the previous five years. Furthermore, the present
global library is incomplete since research generated in
developing countries is near-invisible to the international
scientific community. Under these circumstances
progress in science and development in low-income
countries can be made only with very great difficulty.
With the advent of the Open Access initiative the
outlook for science capacity building in developing
countries has improved significantly. In particular, the
establishment of interoperable open access archives, that
has now taken place in a rapidly growing number of
institutes, opens opportunities for true global knowledge
exchange. At a landmark meeting in Budapest, 2001,
the Budapest Open Access Initiative was established and
two primary strategies were defined (http://
www.soros.org/openaccess). The first was called Self
Archiving, also referred to as Institutional Archiving/
Institutional Repositories, and proposed that copies of
already published research articles arising through
public/grant funding should be archived in the author’s
institutional archive and made available free to all. The
second strategy was the development of OA journals
(OA Publishing) with alternative funding models that
allowed free access to all readers with costs borne by
the authors’ institutes or sponsoring organisations.
What are Open Access Archives?
Open access archives (OAAs) are electronic repositories
that include already published articles (post-prints) and
other digital institutional products. The primary goal of
OA archiving is to maximize the accessibility of the
research publications and their impact. There is growing
consensus that knowledge arising from publicly funded
research is a global public good that should be shared.
The steady growth of OAA is due to the adoption of a
common protocol for metadata retrieval defined by the
Open Archive Initiative (http://www.openarchives.org),
thus enabling distributed OAI-compliant archives to be
searched seamlessly. This is of great benefit to authors
in developing countries, since institutions in these
regions with compliant servers become part of the
international community and their published research
part of the global library of science. A search for
‘Plasmodium falciparum’, for example, now finds papers
published not only in the British Medical Journal, but
also in such journals as the Journal of Post Graduate
Medicine (Mumbai, India). A number of free open
source software applications are available, so that OAA
set-up costs are low. Major benefits include: (i) access
to all archived international research output; (ii)
international access to research generated in developing
countries; (iii) promotion of institutional research
output; (iv) improved citation and research impact
(recent studies show that OA articles are cited between
250-550% more often than their non-OA equivalent;
(v) improved access to subsidiary data; (vi)
simplification of literature searches. Since setting up
OAAs is inexpensive and universally beneficial, it is
essential that awareness is extended and international
participation encouraged. It is abundantly clear from the
above that as more OAAs are set up and more research
output is available free of charge, the world’s research
activity can accelerate significantly.
If authors have granted the publishers exclusive rights
to their work, the deposit of published papers in
institutional repositories requires their agreement. A
JISC survey by the SHERPA/ ROMEO project showed
some 93% of 8630 journals have agreed to allow
authors to archive published papers in their institute’s
archive. The policy of each publisher is found in http:/
/www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo.php. Concern that OAA will
undermine journals is not supported by evidence. For
example, major physics journals have worked in
harmony with the established OA archive, arXive, for
over 14 years with no loss of sales. Experience also in
India and elsewhere shows that providing OA to
journals has increased subscriptions as visibility is raised.
The debate on the value of open access to publicly
funded research information is now migrating from
‘whether’ to ‘how’. A growing number of declarations
and commitments have been made by governments,
international scientific organisations (research institutes
and scholarly societies), conferences and funding bodies.
One such is the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to
Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (http://
berlindeclaration.html), and many others are listed as an
Recently, further recommendations have been made
specifically to the open access archiving of public or
grant funded research (eg Wellcome Trust, UK House
of Commons Select Committee on Science and
Technology, UK Research Councils (RCUK), US
National Institutes of Health). Similar recommendations
have also been made in Australia, Canada, Finland,
France, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal,
Scotland - and others are moving in a similar direction.
There is now growing international consensus on the
need and value of OA. In developing countries steps
have been taken to inform policy-makers in a number
of the larger countries (eg Brazil, China, India), and a
recent OA conference in Beijing, July 2005, discussed
ways ahead (see http://openaccess.eprints.org/beijing/
pdfs/). A number of workshops have already begun the
process of instruction in the technical aspects of OAA
development. In Brazil, the Ibero-American Science &
Technology Education Consortium (ISTEC) released a
public statement in May 2004 urging all Brazilian
research funding agencies to implement policies that
would encourage systems based on the principles of the
Berlin Declaration. In South Africa, the South African
Site Licensing Initiative (SASLI) held two workshops
on institutional repositories with the support of OSI
and experimentation is now taking place at several
universities. SASLI’s effort in support of OAs is
noteworthy, as it indicates that a national site licensing
approach to access is not sustainable in the long term
and complementary approaches need to be developed.
A follow up workshop on institutional archives was
conducted in May 2005 and several institutions in S.
Africa have begun implementation of OAAs. In India
there have been four OAA workshops and much
activity in raising OA awareness. Of the 545 registered
archives now listed in the Registry of Institutional
Archives (http://archives.eprints.org/eprints.php), 69 are
from developing or emerging countries.
The OAA ‘feasibility study’ has been thoroughly
tested. What remains to be carried out to achieve a
global, interoperable, free-of-charge network of publicly
funded publications is an extended awareness-raising
exercise followed by regional workshops to train key
individuals in the establishment of archives and their
maintenance. These should be accompanied by the
development of institutional OA policies and
mandating policies from funding agencies. Recently,
supportive statements have been issued by UNESCO,
CODATA, UNDP and other international bodies.
Science academies and development agencies should
strongly support OA, since OA Archives in particular
can be a major step towards meeting the aspirations of
the Millennium Development Goals and the principles
of the World Summit on the Information Society.
Now, the means to close the multi-directional
knowledge gaps are available and perceived problems
can be solved without recourse to major academic
upheaval or large financial commitments. Open Access
archiving, this low-cost, easily achievable and
sustainable development, has been shown to work and
will prove to be the key to a rapid advance in
scientific growth throughout the world.
Open access archiving (OP-A)
Open Access Self-Archiving: An Introduction
Twelve months ago we at Key Perspectives Ltd
completed and reported on a study of authors who had
published their work in open access journals, compared
and contrasted with authors who had not done this.[1,2]
The work was commissioned and funded by the Joint
Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK and
the Open Society Institute. Having thus learned about
authors’ experience of open access publishing, we
embarked upon this current study of the alternative
means to providing open access—by authors archiving
copies of their articles in open access archives or
repositories. This process is usually referred to as ‘self-
The practice of self-archiving has its roots in the field of
computer sciences, where researchers were depositing
results in ftp archives some decades ago and, later, on
websites. A preprint culture—that is, the distribution of
drafts of research articles before they have been peer
reviewed to colleagues around the world, to establish
ownership of the piece of research, to move the subject
along, and to invite critical commentary before final
revision and submission of the articles to learned journals
—had been in place for many years in print form in the
computer science community, and as the digital age
arrived the practice simply migrated from paper to
electronic form. Today, there are more articles – preprint
and postprint (peer-reviewed papers) - freely available
through selfarchiving in computer science than in any
other subject. The computer science ‘online library’,
Citeseer, currently has almost 723,000 articles that have
been harvested from distributed sites around the world
(websites, ftp archives) where authors have deposited
their work. Not only does this indicate the size of the
corpus of computer science research available on open
access, but it clearly demonstrates the success of this
mechanism (harvesting from distributed sites) for creating
a subject-based open access archive.
There is another mechanism for creating a subject-based
archive and that is for authors to deposit their work
directly into a centralised repository. In 1991, the first
centralised archive, for the high-energy physics
community, was established at the Los Alamos National
Laboratory. It is called arXiv4 and today this houses
some 300,000 documents, with around 42,000 being
added each year. Its main areas of coverage are high
energy physics, condensed matter physics and
astrophysics: substantial numbers of articles in computer
science and mathematics research reside there too, along
with, latterly, quantitative biology. It was also, from the
outset, the norm for postprints—the peer-reviewed
version of each article—to be deposited in arXiv, too. In
most cases these are in the form of the author’s final
version rather than the publisher’s formatted file, though
some publishers do permit the use of their own
copyrighted version for this purpose. The effect, then,
was for research articles in the disciplines covered by
arXiv to be available to anyone who wished to read
them, even if their own institution could not afford to
purchase the journals in which they were published. [On
a point of terminology, the collective term for an
electronic version of an article in draft (preprint) or final,
peer-reviewed (postprint) form self-archived by the author
is an ‘e-print’].
That this practice could be spread to the rest of the
scholarly community, freeing up the whole research
literature from what he termed ‘toll-access’, that is,
accessible only to those whose library could purchase the
journals, was first mooted by Stevan Harnad in 1995.[5,6]
Harnad has argued this case ever since, refining the
model and rebutting the arguments against the notion,
which come not only from publishers, understandably
nervous at what they see as a threat to their businesses,
but also from the scholarly community itself—from
researchers and librarians, both of whom are stakeholders
in the developments in scholarlycommunications. Their
concerns have been debated extensively in public for a
over the last decade (and continue to be), including the
online American Scientist Open Access Forum set up
and moderated by Harnad since 1998, the
longestrunning of all the open access discussion lists.
It is useful to lay out here the elements of this debate
and the concerns that exercise the various parties. It
should be noted that the focus of this present study is
self-archiving, not open access publishing (in open access
journals), which was extensively covered and discussed in
our foregoing study.[1,2] The discussion here, therefore,
concentrates on the issues around self-archiving that form
the foci of resistance to the practice and which need to
be overcome by proponents of open access if the whole
research literature is to be ‘made free’. The first
discussion point is the definition of what self-archiving is
and what it is not. It is not an alternative to publishing
in learned journals, but an adjunct, a complementary
activity where an author publishes his or her article in
whatever journal s/he chooses and then simply self-
archives a copy. In practice, this means depositing the
file, which is usually the author’s final version of the
article after peer review has been completed, in an open
access archive or repository. There are two main types of
such archives, which we will come to shortly. The articles
are tagged in these archives as peer-reviewed postprints
or as preprint drafts, so it is possible clearly to
distinguish the two.
This brings us to the second point. Some researchers
express a concern about the ‘quality’ of self-archived
articles. Some disciplines use preprints much more
extensively than others, but these pre-peer review articles
are clearly tagged as such. It is true that some
institutional archives may contain lots of other types of
material as well (see Section 5.4.6 of this report) but the
critical point here is that with respect to the research
literature, what is deposited as a postprint is a copy of a
fully peer-reviewed article whose destiny was to be
published in the traditional way in a conventional,
quality-controlled journal. It has therefore been peer-
reviewed in the usual way. Postprints are not some kind
of selfpublished, second-rate alternative to conventional
journal articles: they are those articles.
Authors have often cited the issue of copyright as a
major stumbling block to self-archiving. They are anxious
that, having signed over copyright to the publisher of the
journal in which their article appears they will be
contravening the agreement if they self-archive the article.
To be sure, if they self-archive the publisher’s own file
(the PDF file supplied by the publisher to the author
and containing the final formatting and layout assigned
by the publisher) without permission, then this would in
almost all cases be in contravention of copyright, if that
resides with the publisher. The publisher has not
copyrighted the author’s final version, however, and in
the vast majority of cases (over 90% is the latest
estimate,[9,10] the publisher expressly permits an author to
self-archive their own final draft — the version that was
finally submitted to the publisher after peerreview
revisions and recommendations have been incorporated.
The other main issue that is raised by authors[1,2] and,
sometimes, by librarians, is how self-archiving might
disrupt the present scholarly publishing model. Naturally,
it is the perceived vulnerability of the journals published
by learned societies, rather more than those of
commercial publishers, that concerns authors. In this
respect, it is worth examining what has happened to
learned societies that have already had experience in this
arena, those publishing in the areas covered by arXiv,
alongside which they have had to live since 1991. It has
already been said here that arXiv receives around 42,000
deposits per year. The ISI (Institute for Scientific
Information) Science Citation Index covers around 420
physics journals, and to give a measure of the total
volume of physics research, in 2003 these journals
published a total of 116,721 articles: arXiv thus contains
a substantial proportion (approximately one third) of the
total physics research output and in the specialist areas
mentioned earlier—condensed matter, astrophysics and
high energy physics—the coverage of arXiv is pretty well
In a separate exercise to this present study, we asked the
American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute of
Physics Publishing Ltd (IOPP) what their experiences
have been over the 14 years that arXiv has been in
existence. We asked how many subscriptions have been
lost as a result of arXiv. Both societies said they could
not identify any losses of subscriptions for this reason.
Subscription movements for the journals they publish in
the areas covered by arXiv are no different from those of
their journals in other areas of physics over the period.
Moreover, both societies say that they do not view arXiv
as a threat to their business (rather the opposite, in fact)
and this is underlined by the fact that the APS helped
establish an arXiv mirror site at the Brookhaven National
Laboratory – hardly the action of a society with its back
to the wall because of that repository. Now it is true that
there are only a couple of experiments of this sort carried
out so far (physics and computer science), where
publishers have to co-exist with a successful open access
archive, and so there is always the possibility that there is
something of a ‘special case’ about this example. Quite
what might make it such a special case has never been
adequately argued, but it is a finite possibility.
Nevertheless, the evidence there is to hand points to the
likelihood that the peaceful—and perhaps mutually
beneficial—co-existence of traditional journals and open
access archives is entirely possible; in biological terms,
mutualism, rather than parasitism or symbiosis, might
best describe the relationship.
The final issue that is raised frequently is the cost to
institutions that selfarchiving might impose. This is much
more in the area of responsibility of librarians and
institutional administrators than of authors. Will setting
up and running an open access archive in a research-
based university, for example, cost a lot of money? How
Self-archiving - introduction
will it be paid for, whose budget will it fall under, can it
be afforded, will it need an open cheque for the future?
We collected together some actual figures from various
archive managers for a study we undertook recently to
develop a model for a national e-prints service for the
United Kingdom. The figures varied wildly, as we meant
them to for illustrative purposes, for we selected as our
examples some of the largest and most ambitious, and
some of the smallest and most modest, institutional
archives in existence. For the whole range of costs, the
reader is directed to the report of that study.[11,12] It is
probably most helpful here to say that an average-sized
research-based university can set up a functional archive
for, say, ten thousand US dollars. Annual running costs
vary according to the institution’s existing levels of
provision of IT services, what level of interventional
support administrators are going to give the archive, and
how much advocacy activity is to be included, but could
amount to half or one FTE if ambitions do not run too
high. For all the benefits such an archive brings to an
institution (see below), this represents excellent value for
So much for the worries and concerns about self-
archiving. Let’s turn now to the arguments for it and the
benefits that it can bring to the scholarly community, for
there must be substantial benefits to be realised if the
effort is to pay off. The benefits fall into two camps,
those for the institution and those for the researchers
(and some are shared, of course).
For the researcher, the most obvious benefit of making
their work open access is the enhanced citations, and
therefore impact, that result.[13,14,15,16] We know from the
work reported here and elsewhere[17,18] that authors
publish primarily to communicate their research findings
to their peers, so that they can be built upon in future
research efforts. Depositing an article at the time of
acceptance for publication also means that the inevitable
delay at the publisher before the article finally appears in
the journal is immaterial—the article is already available
to anyone who wants to read it and use it for their
work. The research cycle is thus shortened. And of
course, the article is available to all interested parties, not
just to readers in institutions that can afford the journal
in which it is published. There are other benefits, too.
An institutional repository is a secure storage location for
working documents or for research data; it becomes the
mediator for a one-input, many-outputs scenario, where a
researcher can retrieve whichever elements of his or her
own research record are needed for a task-in-hand
(perhaps writing a paper, a lecture, preparing teaching
materials, preparing a CV). It can also provide the home
for research data that cannot be published in traditional
journal format but which supports research findings and
which the author would like to make available to peers
and colleagues, data such as very large datasets, video
files, graphical files of various formats, audio files and
mixed media output.
For the institution, the benefits are just as substantial.
Research-based institutions share with the researcher the
wish to enhance the visibility and impact of the research
generated within that institution. Institutions also have
administrative burdens that require access to, and
organisation of, information about their employees’
research records, research grant applications and
fulfilment. They also need to carry out research
performance evaluation (the Research Assessment
Exercise in the UK being one such example,) and an
institutional open access archive provides a permanent
record of all the research output of that institution
(provided that it has ensured all the researchers deposit
copies of their articles, of course). An archive can also
serve as a marketing tool for the institution, a shop
window for potential students, staff and assessors on
what is being generated by that institution. In a similar
vein an institution can measure itself against other
institutions that it sees as ‘competitors’ when all the
outputs are openly visible in institutional archives. And,
finally, a repository provides a place for all the digital
output of that institution, so not just research articles but
digital records of academic and cultural life in that
institution can be stored there.
This gallop through the world of self-archiving brings us
to the final discussion point here, which is the forms that
self-archiving repositories might take. In this study we
have distinguished the two main types, which are
institutional and subject-based archives. Subject-based
archives, such as arXiv discussed above, provide a
location for the deposition of articles around a
disciplinary theme. As well as arXiv (which houses
articles in physics, computer science and mathematics),
there are other well-known examples, such as
Cogprints (cognitive sciences), also a centralised
repository. RePEc (economics) is similar but actually
works by harvesting articles from distributed archives.
Whilst there is the obvious attraction to the appropriate
community of such subject-centred services, we have
argued that the optimal system for encouraging and
achieving self-archiving across the whole scholarly
community is via a distributed system; in other words, a
global network of institutional archives, all OAI-
compliant and thus completely interoperable*, so that a
user can locate and be directed to an original article
wherever it resides and without having to know anything
about its location.[11,12] Subject-based centralised archives
have their devotees and can be extremely popular within
their communities. They are few and far between,
however, and apart from arXiv most have been filling
extremely slowly; Cogprints, for example, despite its 8-
Self-archiving - introduction
year existence, still houses only around 2000 articles.
Subject-based services can be very useful to researchers,
but are probably most effectively created by service
providers (search-and-retrieval services) that harvest
relevant subject-focused information from all repositories
and sort and organise it to form a subject-centred
offering to the research community.
The reason for arguing for a distributed system is that it
is institutions (employers) that can most effectively bring
about an effective self-archiving practice across the board.
To be sure, research funders can influence the researchers
they fund. The Wellcome Foundation is just
implementing a selfarchiving mandate for its grantholders
to self-archive their articles and is setting up a new
European PubMed Central archive for this purpose.
But external research funds only benefit a fraction of the
research carried out in universities, so research funders
can only influence a fraction of researchers. The
institutions themselves, however, can influence the whole
body of scholars, in whatever disciplines they work,
funded or not, and if all institutions provide an archive
that is interoperable with every other archive then they
are effectively contributing to a global database of freely
accessible research—true open access.
*OAI-compliant means that the article metadata (the title, authors,
keywords etc) are created in the format laid down by the Open
Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAIPMH).
Search engines can then harvest the metadata from all archives
making their metadata visible in this form, and present it to users
in an appropriate way.
1. Swan, Alma and Brown, Sheridan (2004) Report of the JISC/OSI
open access journal authors survey. pp 1-76. http://
2. Swan, Alma and Brown, Sheridan (2004) Authors and open access
publishing. Learned Publishing, 17 ( 3 ) , 219-224. http://
5. Harnad, Stevan (1995) A Subversive Proposal. In: Ann Okerson
& James O’Donnell (Eds.) Scholarly Journals at the Crossroads;
A Subversive Proposal for Electronic Publishing. Washington,
DC., Association of Research Libraries, June 1995. http://
www.arl.org/scomm/subversive/toc.html (originally posted
June 27 1994: http://www.arl.org/scomm/subversive/
6. Harnad, S (1999) Free at last: the future of peer-reviewed journals.
D-Lib Magazine, 5, 12. http://www.dlib.org/dlib/december99/
12harnad.html 7. Self archiving FAQ. http://www.eprints.org/
8. American Scientist Open Access Forum. http://
9. SHERPA: Publisher copyright policies and self-archiving. http://
10. Eprints.org: Journal self-archiving policies. http://
11. Swan A, Needham P, Probets P, Muir A, O’Brien A, Oppenheim C,
Hardy R and Rowland F (2004). Delivery, management and access
model for E-prints and open access journals within further and
higher education (Report of a JISC study). pp 1-121. http://
12. Alma Swan, Paul Needham, Steve Probets, Adrienne Muir, Anne
O’Brien, Charles Oppenheim, Rachel Hardy, Fytton Rowland and
Sheridan Brown (2005). Developing a model for e-prints and open
access journal content for UK higher and further education.
Learned Publishing, 18 (1) , 25-40. www.keyperspectives.co.uk/
13. Lawrence, S (2001) Online or invisible? Nature 411, 6837, p521
nature01/ or www.nature.com/nature/debates/e-access/
14. Kurtz, M (2004) Restrictive access policies cut readership of
electronic research journal articles by a factor of two. http://
15. Harnad, S and Brody, T (2004) Comparing the impact of open
access (OA) vs. non-OA articles in the same journals. D-Lib
Magazine, 10 (6), (www.dlib.org/dlib/june04/harnad/
16. Antelman, K (2005) Do open-access articles have a greater
research impact? College & Research Libraries, 65 (1), 372-282.
17. Swan, A and Brown, S (2002) Authors and Electronic Publishing:
The ALPSP research study on authors’ and readers’ views of
electronic research communication. pp 1-76. ALPSP, Worthing.
18. Swan, A and Brown, S (2003) Authors and electronic publishing:
what authors want from the new technology. Learned Publishing,
16 (1) , 28-33. http://lysander.ingentaselect.com/vl=15729124/
21. Wellcome Trust and National Library of Medicine in talks for
worldwide open access archive (press release). http://
22. Rowlands, Ian, Nicholas, Dave and Huntingdon, Paul (2004).
Scholarly communication in the digital environment: What do
authors want? Findings of an international survey of author
opinion: project report. Centre for Information Behaviour and the
Evaluation of Research, City University, London, UK.
23. Publisher copyright policies and self-archiving. http://
24. UK House of Commons Science and Technology Select
Committee: Tenth Report. Scientific publications: Free for all?
25. US Government House Appropriations Bill HR 5006
26. Carr, L and Harnad, S (2005) Keystroke Economy: A Study of the
Time and Effort Involved in Self-Archiving. http://
27. Pinfield, S (2005). A mandate to self archive ? The role of open
access institutional repositories. Serials, 18 (1) , 30-34.
28. Pinfield, S (2004) Self-archiving publications. In: Gorman, G E and
Rowland, F (eds). International yearbook of Library and Information
Managemen 2004-2005: Scholarly publishing in an electronic era.
London: Facet. Pp118-145. Available at http://
29. Registry of Institutional Self Archiving Policies. http://
30. Perneger, T V (2004) Relation between online ‘hit counts’ and
subsequent citations: prospective study of research papers in
the BMJ. BMJ 329, 546-7. 31. Brody, T and Harnad S (2005) Early
web usage statistics as predictors of later citation impact. In
press (Journal of the American Society for Information Science
& Technology) http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/10712/
Self-archiving - introduction
Open Access to Peer-Reviewed Research Through Author/
Institution Self-Archiving: Maximizing Research Impact by
Maximizing Online Access
The optimal situations for researchers are
Online availability of the entire full-text refereed
Availability on every researcher’s desktop,
everywhere 24 hours a day.
Interlinking of all papers & citations.
Fully searchable, navigable, retrievable, impact-
rankable research papers.
For free, for all, forever.
All of this will come to pass. The real question is
“How Soon?” And will we still be compos mentis and fit
to benefit from it, or will it only be for the napster
generation? Future historians, posterity, and our own
still-born potential scholarly impact are already poised to
chide us in hindsight. What can the research
community do to hasten the inevitable process of
instituation of optimal conditions? Here are some recent
concepts that may help.
Five Essential Post-Gutenberg Distinctions
During the transition from the Gutenberg (on-paper) to
the Post-Gutenberg (online) era, several changes have
occured in the field of scientific and scholarly
publication, we have to take note of five critical
Distinguish the non-give-away literature from the give-
away literature: This is the most important Post-
Gutenberg distinction of all. It is what makes this
small, refereed research literature anomalous
(~24,000 refereed journals, ~2,500,000 articles
annually) — fundamentally unlike the bulk of the
written literature. Its authors do not seek, nor do
they receive, royalties or fees for their writings. The
only thing these authors seek is research “impact”,
which comes from accessing the eyes and minds of
all potentially interested fellow-researchers, so that
they can read, use, cite, apply, and build upon their
Distinguish income (arising from article sales) from
impact (arising from article use): Unlike all other
authors, researchers derive their income not from
the sale of their research reports but from the
scholarly/scientific impact of their reported findings:
how much they are read, used, cited, applied and
built upon by other researchers. Hence all toll-based
access-barriers are income-barriers for research and
researchers, restricting their potential impact to
only those research institutions that can and do pay
Distinguish between copyright protection against theft-of-
authorship (plagiarism) and copyright protection against
theft-of-text (piracy): The copyright law offers
protection from plagiarism, which is a matter of
concern for both “non-give-away” and “give-away”
authors. In contrast, theft of text (piracy) does not
concern “give away” authors; but “non-give-away
authors would like to prevent it. Copyright laws
offer hardly any protcetion from piracy.
Distinguish self-publishing (vanity press) from self-
archiving (of published, refereed research): The essential
difference between unrefereed research and refereed
research is quality control (peer review) and its
certification (by an established peer-reviewed journal
of known quality). Although researchers have always
wished to give away their peer-reviewed research
findings, they still wish them to be peer-reviewed,
revised (if necessary), and then certified as having
met established quality standards. The self-archiving
of refereed research should in no way be confused
with self-publishing, for it includes, as its most
important component, the online self-archiving, free
for all, of peer-reviewed, published research papers.
Distinguish unrefereed preprints from refereed postprints:
E-print (“e-prints” = preprints + postprints)
archives, consisting of research papers self-archived
online by their authors, are not, and have never
been, merely “preprint archives” for unrefereed
research. Authors can self-archive therein all the
embryological stages of the research they wish to
report (pre-refereeing preprints and its through
successive revisions), till the peer-reviewed journal-
certified postprint. These could be complemented
with any subsequent corrected, revised, or otherwise
updated drafts (post-postprints), as well as any
commentaries or responses linked to them. These
are all just way-stations along the scholarly
skywriting continuum. See http://www.eprints.org/
Two useful acronyms, one new distinction, and one
Subscription/Site-License/Pay-Per-View Tolls: The
Subscription/License/Pay-Per-View (S/L/P) tolls are the
access-barriers. They therefore, act as the impact-
barriers, constraining researchers in sharing their
archiving_files/Slide0003.gif Tolls are the journal
publisher’s means of recovering costs and making a fair
profit. High costs were inescapable in the expensive and
inefficient on-paper Gutenberg era. But today, in the
online Post-Gutenberg era, continuing to do it all the
old Gutenberg way, with its high costs is unjustifiable
and shuld not be the obligatory feature that it used to
be. The only essential service still provided by journal
publishers (for this anomalous, give-away literature in
the Post-Gutenberg era) is peer review.[5,6] In the online
era there is no longer any necessity, and hence no
longer any justification, for continuing to hold the
refereed research hostage to access-tolls bundled with
whatever add-ons they happen to pay for.
Quality Control and Certification: Peer Review
Peer review is not a luxary for research and researchers,
for certification is essential.[5,6] Without peer review, the
research literature would be neither reliable nor
navigable, its quality uncontrolled, unfiltered, un-sign-
posted, unknown and, unaccountable. But the peers
who review it for the journals are researchers
themselves, and they review it for free, just as the
researchers report it for free. So it must be made quite
clear that the only real quality-control cost is that of
implementing the peer review, not actually performing
it. Estimates as well as the real experience of online-
only journals (e.g., Journal of High Energy Physics http:/
http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/psycoloquy/) have shown
that the peer review implementation cost is quite low
— about 1/3 (c. $500) of the total amount that the
world’s institutional libraries (or rather, the small subset
of them that can afford any given journal at all!) are
currently paying every year per article, jointly, in access
tolls (c. $1500).
Separating peer review service-provision from eprint
access-provision (and from optional add-ons)
Researchers need not and should not wait until journal
publishers voluntarily decide to separate the provision of
the essential peer review service from all the other
optional add-on products (on-paper version, publisher’s
PDF version, deluxe enhancements) before their give-
away refereed research can at last be freed of all access-
and impact-barriers. All researchers can free their own
refereed research now, virtually overnight, by taking the
matter into their own hands; they can self-archive it in
their institutional Eprint Archives: http://
www.eprints.org/. Access to the eprints of their refereed
research is then immediately freed of all toll-barriers,
forever, and its research impact is at last maximized.
Interoperability: The Open Archive initiative (OAI)
Papers self-archived by their authors in their institutional
Eprint Archives can be accessed by anyone, anywhere,
with no need to know their actual location, because all
Eprints Archives are compliant with the Open Archives
Initiative (OAI) meta-data tagging protocol for
interoperability: http://www. openarchives.org
Because of their OAI-compliance, the papers in all
registered Eprints Archives can be harvested and
searched by Open Archive Services such as Cite-Base
http://citebase.eprints.org/help/, the Cross Archive
Searching Service http://arc.cs.odu.edu/, and OAISter
seamless access to all the eprints across all the Eprint
Archives, as if they were all in one global, virtual
The “Subversive Proposal”
Eight steps are described that would free the entire
refereed corpus, forever, immediately:
The first four are not hypothetical in any way; they are
guaranteed to free the entire refereed research literature
(~24000 journals annually) from its access/impact-
barriers right away. The only thing that researchers and
their institutions need to do is to take these first four
steps. The next four steps are hypothetical predictions,
but nothing hinges on them; the refereed literature will
already be free for everyone as a result of steps i-iv,
irrespective of the outcome of steps v-viii.
i. Universities install and register OAI-compliant
Eprint Archives (http://www.eprints.org).
The Eprints software is free and GNU open-source.
It is quick and easy to install and maintain; it is
OAI-compliant. Eprint Archives are all interoperable
with one another and can hence be harvested and
searched as if they were all in one global “virtual”
Self-archiving for research impact
archive of the entire research literature, both pre-
ii. Authors self-archive their pre-refereeing preprints and
post-refereeing postprints in their own university’s
Eprint Archives. All researchers must self-archive
their papers therein if the literature is to be freed of
its access- and impact-barriers. Self-archiving is quick
and easy, it need only be done once per paper.
iii. Universities subsidize a first start-up wave of self-
archiving by proxy where needed.
Self-archiving is quick and easy, but there is no need
for it to be held back if any researcher feels too
busy, tired, old or otherwise unable to do it himself.
Library staff or students can be paid to “self-
archive” the first wave of papers by proxy on their
iv. The Give-Away corpus is freed from all access/
Once a critical mass of researchers has self-archived,
the refereed research literature is at last free of all
access- and impact-barriers, as it was always destined
to be. http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/
Steps i-iv are sufficient to free the refereed research
literature. We can also speculate as to what may
happen after that, but these are really just guesses.
This is what might happen:
v. Users will prefer the free version
It is likely that once a free, online version of the
refereed research literature is available, all researchers
will prefer to use the free online versions. Note that
it is quite possible that there will always continue to
be a market for the toll-based options (on-paper
version, publisher’s online PDF, deluxe
enhancements) even though most users use the free
vi. Publisher toll revenues shrink as Institutional toll savings
It is possible that libraries may begin to cancel
journals, and as institutional toll savings grow,
journal publisher toll revenues will shrink. The
extent of the cancellation will depend on the extent
to which there remains a market for the toll-based
add-ons, and for how long. If the toll-based market
stays large enough, nothing else need change.
vii. Publishers downsize to become providers of peer-review
service + optional add-on products?
It will depend entirely on the size of the remaining
market for the toll-based options whether and to
what extent journal publishers will have to cut costs
and downsize to provide only the essentials: The
only essential, indispensable service is peer review.
viii.Peer-review service costs on outgoing research funded out
of toll-savings on incoming research?
If publishers can continue to cover costs and make a
decent profit from the toll-based optional add-ons
market, without needing to downsize to peer-review
service-provision alone, nothing much changes. But
if publishers do need to abandon providing the toll-
based products and to scale down instead to
providing only the peer-review service, then
universities, having saved 100% of their annual
access-toll budgets, will have plenty of annual
windfall savings from which to pay for their own
researchers’ continuing (and essential) annual
journal-submission peer-review costs (1/3). The rest
of their savings (2/3) could be spent as they wish
(e.g., on books — plus a bit for Eprint Archive
Post-Gutenberg Copyright Concerns
There is a great deal of concern about copyright in the
digital age, and some of it may not be easily resolvable.
Apart from the protection against plagiarism and
assurance of priority that all authors seek, the only
other “protection” the give-away author of refereed
research reports seeks is the protection of his give-away
rights! (The intuitive model for this is advertisements:
would an advertiser want to lose his right to give away
his ads for free, diminishing their potential impact by
charging for access to them?)
There is now no longer any need for the authors of
refereed research to worry about exercising their give-
away rights, for they can do it legally, even under the
most restrictive copyright agreement, by using the
How to get around restrictive copyright legally
Self-archive the pre-refereeing preprint
Self-archiving the preprint is the critical first step. Even
before it has been submitted to a journal, your
intellectual property is incontestably your own, and not
bound by any future copyright transfer agreement. So
archive the preprints (as physicists have been doing for
12 years now, with over 250,000 papers).
[Note that some journals have, apart from copyright
policies, which are a legal matter, “embargo policies,”
which are merely policy matters (non-legal). Invoking
the “Ingelfinger (Embargo) Rule,” some journals state
that they will not referee (let alone publish) papers that
have previously been “publicised” in any way, whether
through conferences, press releases, or online self-
archiving. The Ingelfinger Rule, apart from being
directly at odds with the interests of research and
researchers, and having no intrinsic justification
Self-archiving for research impact
whatsoever — other than as a way of protecting the
journals’ current revenue streams — is not a legal
matter, and is unenforceable. The “Ingelfinger Rule” is
under review by journals in any case; Nature http://
npg.nature.com/pdf/05_news.pdf has already dropped it;
Science will probably follow suit too.]
Submit the preprint for refereeing and at acceptance, try
to fix the copyright transfer agreement to allow self-
archiving Copyright transfer agreements take many
forms. Whatever the wording is, if it does not explicitly
permit online self-archiving, modify it so that it does.
Here is a sample way to word it (http://
cogprints.soton.ac.uk/copyright.html): I hereby transfer
to [publisher or journal] all rights to sell or lease the
text (on-paper and online) of my paper [paper-title]. I
retain only the right to self-archive it publicly online on
my institution’s website.
About 35% of journals already formally support self-
archiving of the preprint and 20% support self-archiving
of the refereed postprint; many others will agree if
disresearch/romeo/Romeo% 20 Publisher % 20
If the above is successful, self-archive the refereed
postprint Some journals, however, will respond that
they decline to publish your paper unless you sign their
copyright transfer agreement verbatim. In such cases,
sign their agreement and proceed to the next step.
If the above is unsuccessful, archive and link
a”corrigenda”file to the already-archived preprint:
Your pre-refereeing preprint has already been publicly
self-archived prior to submission, and is not covered by
the copyright agreement, which pertains to the revised
final (“value-added”) draft. Hence all you need to do is
to self-archive a further file, linked to the archived
preprint, which simply lists the corrections that the
reader may wish to make in order to conform the
preprint to the refereed, accepted version.
This simple, strategy is also feasible, and legal 9 — and
sufficient to free the entire current refereed corpus of all
What you can do now to free the refereed literature
Researchers: Self-archive all present, future (& past)
The freeing of their present and future refereed research
from all access- and impact-barriers forever is now
entirely in the hands of researchers. Physicists have
already shown the way.
It is hoped that distributed, institution-based self-
archiving, as a powerful and natural complement to
central, discipline-based self-archiving, will now broaden
and accelerate the self-archiving initiative, putting us all
over the top at last, with the entire distributed corpus
integrated by the glue of interoperability (http://
As to the past (retrospective) literature: The
preprint+corrigenda strategy will not work there, but as
retrospective journal literature brings virtually no
revenue, most publishers will agree to the author self-
archiving after a sufficient period (6 months to 2 years)
has elapsed. Moreover, for the really old literature, it is
not clear whether online self-archiving was covered by
the old copyright agreements at all. And if all else fails
for the retrospective literature, a variant of the
preprint+corrigenda strategy will still work: simply do a
revised 2nd edition! Update the references, rearrange
the text (and add more text and data if you wish). For
the record, the enhanced draft can be accompanied by a
“de-corrigenda” file, stating which of the enhancements
were not in the published version.
Universities: Install Eprint Archives, mandate them;
help in author start-up
Universities should create institutional Eprint Archives
(e.g., CalTech) for all their researchers. They should
also mandate that they be filled. It is already becoming
normal practice for faculty to keep and update their
institutional CVs online; it should be made standard
practice by both research institutions and research
funders as well as research analyzers and assessors that
all CV entries for refereed journal articles are linked to
their archived full-text version in the university’s Eprint
Archive. Here is a model and free software for adopting
such a standardized CV: http://paracite.eprints.org/cgi-
Universities need to mandate the self-archiving of all
peer-reviewed research output in order to maximize its
research impact for exactly the same reasons they
currently mandate publishing it (and indeed as the quite
natural Post-Gutenberg extension of “publish or perish”:
“publish with maximized research impact, through self-
archiving”). For a model university/departmental self-
archiving policy statement, see: http://
For researchers who feel too busy, tired, old, or
inadequate to self-archive their papers, a modest start-up
budget to pay library experts or students to do it for
them would be a small amount of money very well-
invested. It will only be needed to get the first wave
over the top; from then on, the momentum from the
Self-archiving for research impact
enhanced access and impact will maintain itself, and
self-archiving will become as standard a practice as
But what needs energetic initial promotion and support
is the first wave. If (i) the enhanced visibility,
accessibility and usability[10,11] of their own research
output and its resulting enhanced impact on the
research of others, plus (ii) the enhanced access for
their own researchers to the research output of others
are not incentive enough for universities to promote
and support the self-archiving initiative energetically,
they should also consider that it will be an investment
in (iii) a potential solution to their serials crisis and
hence the possible recovery of 2/3 of their annual serials
Libraries: Maintain the University Eprint Archives; Help
in Author Start-up
Libraries are the most natural allies of researchers in the
self-archiving initiative to free the refereed journal
literature. Not only are they groaning under the yoke of
the growing serials budget crisis, but librarians are also
eager to establish a new digital niche for themselves,
once the journal corpus is online. Maintaining the
Eprint Archives, and facilitating the all-important start-
up wave of self-archiving (by being ready to do “proxy”
self-archiving on behalf of authors who feel they cannot
do it themselves) will be a critical role for libraries to
1. Trained library staff should help in showing the
faculty how to self-archive papers in the university
Eprint Archive (it is very easy). http://
2. The library staff should also offer to help in doing
“proxy” self-archiving, on behalf of authors who feel
that they are personally unable (too busy or
technically incapable) to self-archive. Authors need
to supply their digital full-texts in word-processor
form: the digital archiving assistants can do the rest
(usually only a few dozen key/mouse- strokes per
3. The librarians, collaborating with web system staff,
should be involved in ensuring the proper
maintenance, backup, mirroring, upgrading, and
migration that ensures the perpetual preservation of
the university Eprint Archives. Mirroring and
migration should be handled in collaboration with
counterparts at all other institutions supporting
OAI-compliant Eprint Archives.
Students: Stay the course! Surf! The future is yours!
Students are well advised to keep doing what they do
naturally: favour material that is freely accessible on the
Web. This will not net them very much of the non-
give-away literature, but it will put consumer pressure
on the non-give-away research literature, especially as
these students come of age, and become researchers in
Publishers: Support Self-Archiving
1. Explicitly allow and encourage your authors to self-
archive their pre-refereeing preprints. One potential
model is: Nature’s embargo statement: “Nature does
not wish to hinder communication between
scientists... Neither conferences nor pre-print servers
constitute prior publication.”
2. Also explicitly allow and encourage your authors to
self-archive their peer-reviewed postprints. One
potential model is the American Physical Society’s
copyright statement: “The author(s) shall have the
following rights... The right to post and update the
Article on e-print servers as long as files prepared
and/or formatted by APS or its vendors are not
used for that purpose. Any such posting made or
updated after the acceptance of the Article for
publication shall include a link to the online abstract
in the APS journal or to the entry page of the
In this critical transitional time between the paper and
online eras, refereed journal publishers are best-advised
to concede graciously on self-archiving, as the American
Physical Society (APS) and so many other publishers
are doing, rather than attempting instead to use
copyright or embargo policy to prevent or retard self-
archiving. A much better policy is to accept and
support what is undeniably the optimal outcome for
research, researchers, and their institutions in the online
era, namely, their research impact maximized through
toll-free access for all its would-be users. Publishers can
confirm their support for open access by becoming
Romeo “blue/green” publishers (as 55% of journal
publishers already are): http://www.lboro.ac.uk/
Government/Society: Mandate public archiving of
public research worldwide
1. Mandate that the research that is publicly funded
must not merely be published but it must be
publicly accessible online (whether through self-
archiving, open-access journals, or both).
2. Make it part of grant applications that CVs and
bibliographies citing the applicant’s prior work
should contain links to the online free full-text.
The Government and society should support the self-
archiving initiative, reminding themselves that most of
Self-archiving for research impact
this give-away research has been supported by public
funds, with the support explicitly conditional on making
the research findings public.
The beneficiaries will not just be research and
researchers, but society itself, inasmuch as research is
supported because of its potential benefits to society.
Researchers in developing countries and at the less
affluent universities and research institutions of the
developed countries will benefit even more from toll-
free access to the research literature than the better-off
institutions, but it is instructive to remind ourselves that
even the most affluent institutional libraries cannot
afford most of the refereed journals! So open access to
it all will benefit all institutions. And on the other
side of barrier-free access to the work of others, all
researchers, even the most affluent, will benefit from the
barrier-free impact of their own work on the work of
others. Moreover, a toll-free, interoperable, digital
research literature will not only radically enhance access,
navigation (e.g., citation-linking) and impact, and
thereby improve research productivity and quality, but it
will also spawn new ways of monitoring and measuring
impact, productivity and quality (e.g., download impact,
links, immediacy, comments, and the higher-order
dynamics of a citation-linked corpus) that can be
analyzed from preprint to post-postprint.[2,13]
Appendix: Some Relevant Chronology and URLs
(see also Peter Suber’s fuller timeline at the Free Online
Scholarship site: http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/
Psycoloquy (Refereed On-Line-Only Journal) (1989): http://
“Scholarly Skywriting” (1990): http://cogsci.soton.ac.uk/
Physics Archive (1991): http://arxiv.org
“PostGutenberg Galaxy” (1991): http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/
“Interactive Publication” (1992): http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/
Self-Archiving (“Subversive”) Proposal (1994)” http://
“Tragic Loss” (Odlyzko) (1995): http://www.research.att.com/
“Last Writes” (Hibbitts) (1996): http://www.law.pitt.edu/
NCSTRL: Networked Computer Science Technical Reference
Library (1996): http://cs-tr.cs.cornell.edu
University Provosts’ Initiative (1997): http://library.caltech.edu/
CogPrints: Cognitive Sciences Archive (1997): http://
Journal of High Energy Physics (Refereed On-Line-0Only
Journal) (1998): http://jhep.cern.ch/
Science Policy Forum (1998): http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/
American Scientist Forum (1998): http://amsci-forum.amsci.org/
OpCit:Open Citation Linking Project (1999) http://
E-biomed: Varmus (NIH) Proposal (1999) http://www.nih.gov/
Open Archives Initiative (1999) http://www.openarchives.org
Cross-Archive Searching Service (2000) http://arc.cs.odu.edu
Eprints: Free OAI-compliant Eprint-Archive-creating software
Citebase: Scientometric Search Engine (2001): http://
FOS: Free Online Scholarship Movement (2001) http://
BOAI: Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002) http://
UK RAE Reform Proposal: http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue35/
Berlin Declaration (2003): http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/
1. Harnad, S. Free at Last: The Future of Peer-Reviewed Journals.
D-Lib Magazine 1999;5:12 http://www.dlib.org/dlib/
2. Carr L, Hitchcock S, Hall W, Harnad S. A usage based analysis of
CoRR [A commentary on “CoRR: a Computing Research
Repository” by Joseph Y. Halpern] ACM SIGDOC Journal of
Computer Documentation 2000. http://
3. Harnad S. For Whom the Gate Tolls? Free the Online-Only Refereed
Literature. American Scientist Forum 1998. http://amsci-
4. Harnad S. Scholarly Skywriting and the Prepublication Continuum
of Scientific Inquiry. Psychol Sci 1990;1:342-3 (reprinted in
Current Contents 45: 9-13, November 11 1991). http://
5. Harnad S. The invisible hand of peer review. Nature 1998/2000
[online] (5 Nov. 1998) http://helix.nature.com/webmatters/
6. Longer version in Exploit Interactive 5. 2000. http://www.exploit-
7. Odlyzko AM. The economics of electronic journals. In: Ekman R.
Quandt R, editors. Technology and Scholarly Communication. Univ
Calif Press; 1998. http ://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/
8. Harnad, S. Self-Archive Unto Others…. University Affairs. 2003.
9. Oppenheim C. The legal and regulatory environment for electronic
information. Infonortics. 2001. http://www.infonortics.com/
10. Lawrence S. Online or Invisible? Nature 2001;411:521. http://
11. Lawrence, S. Free online availability substantially increases a
paper’s impact. Nature Web Debates 2001. http://
12. Odlyzko AM. Competition and cooperation: Libraries and
publishers in the transition to electronic scholarly journals, A. M.
Self-archiving for research impact
Odlyzko. Journal of Electronic Publishing 1999. Vol 4 and in J
Scholarly Publishing 1999. Vol 30. pp. 163-85. The definitive
version to appear in The Transition from Paper: A Vision of
Scientific Communication in 2020, S. Berry and A. Moffat, eds.,
Springer, 2000. http://www.press. umich.edu/jep/04-04/
13. Harnad S, Carr L, Brody T, Oppenheim C. Mandated online RAE
CVs Linked to University Eprint Archives: Improving the UK
Research Assessment Exercise whilst making it cheaper and
Source: Harnad S. Open Access to Peer-Reviewed Research
through Author/Institution Self-Archiving: Maximizing
Research Impact by Maximizing Online Access. J Postgrad
Med [serial online] 2003 [cited 2005 Dec 29];49:337-342.
Available from: http://www.jpgmonline.com/article.asp?
issn=0022-3859;year= 2003;volume= 49;issue=4;
spage=337;epage= 342;aulast = Harnad.
easier. 2003. Ariadne http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue35/
Self-archiving for research impact
What is Self-Archiving?
To self-archive is to deposit a digital document in a
publicly accessible website, preferably an OAI-compliant
Eprint Archive. Depositing involves a simple web
interface where the depositer copy/pastes in the
“metadata” (date, author-name, title, journal-name, etc.)
and then attaches the full-text document. Self-archiving
takes only about 10 minutes for the first paper and
even less time for all subsequent papers. Some
institutions even offer a proxy self-archiving service, to
do the keystrokes on behalf of their researchers.
Software is also being developed to allow documents to
be self-archived in bulk, rather than just one by one.
What is the Open Archives Initiative?
The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) has designed a
shared code for metadata tags (e.g., “date,” “author,”
“title,” “journal” etc.). See the OAI FAQ. The full-text
documents may be in different formats and locations,
but if they use the same metadata tags they become
“interoperable.” Their metadata can be “harvested “ and
all the documents can then be jointly searched and
retrieved as if they were all in one global collection,
accessible to everyone.
What is OAI-Compliance?
OAI-compliance means using the OAI metadata tags. A
document can be OAI-compliant and an Eprint archive
can be OAI-compliant. All OAI-compliant documents in
OAI-compliant archives are interoperable. This means
distributed documents can be treated as if they were all
in one place and one format.
What is an Eprint Archive?
An Eprint Archive is a collection of digital documents.
OAI-compliant Eprint Archives share the same
metadata, making their contents interoperable with one
another. Their metadata can then be harvested into
global “virtual” archives, such as OAIster, that are
seamlessly navigable by any user (just as a commercial
index or abstract database is navigable, but with full-text
How can I or my institution create an Eprint Archive?
Free Eprints software (itself using only free software)
has been designed so institutions or even individuals
can create their own OAI-compliant Eprint Archives.
Setting up the archive only needs some space on a web
server. Installing the Eprints software is relatively easy,
and being made easier with each successive release of
the software. It requires a little webmaster time to set
up, and a little webmaster time to maintain. This
investment is very small. The real challenge is not
creating or maintaining an Eprint Archive, but ensuring
that it is promptly filled with its target contents, which,
for the BOAI, consists of pre-peer-review preprints and
peer-reviewed, accepted postprints.
1. Install OAI-compliant Eprint Archives.
2. Adopt a university-wide policy that all faculty
maintain and update a standardised online
curriculum vitae (CV) for institutional record-
keeping and annual performance review.
3. Mandate that the full digital text of all refereed
publications should be deposited in the University
Eprint Archives and linked to their entry in the
author’s online CV. (Make it clear to all faculty how
self-archiving is in the interest of their own research
and standing, maximizing the visibility, accessibility
and impact of their work.)
4. Offer trained digital librarian help in showing
faculty how to self-archive their papers in their own
university Eprint Archive (it is very easy).
5. Offer trained digital librarian help in doing “proxy”
self-archiving, on behalf of any authors who feel
that they are personally unable (too busy or
technically incapable) to self-archive for themselves.
They need only supply their digital full-texts in
word-processor form: the digital archiving assistants
can do the rest (usually only a few dozen keystrokes
(A policy of mandated self-archiving for all refereed
research output, together with a trained proxy self-
archiving service, to ensure that lack of time or skill
do not become grounds for non-compliance, are the
most important ingredients in a successful self-
archiving program. The proxy self-archiving will
only be needed to set the first wave of self-archiving
reliably in motion. The rewards of self-archiving —
in terms of visibility, accessibility and impact — will
maintain the momentum once the archive has
reached critical mass. And even students can do for
faculty the few keystrokes needed for each new
6. Digital librarians, collaborating with web system
staff, should be involved in ensuring the proper
maintenance, backup, mirroring, upgrading, and
migration that ensures the perpetual preservation of
the university Eprint Archives. Mirroring and
migration should be handled in collaboration with
counterparts at all other institutions supporting
OAI-compliant Eprint Archives.
What is the Purpose of Self-Archiving?
The purpose of self-archiving is to make the full text of
the peer-reviewed research output of scholars/scientists
and their institutions visible, accessible, harvestable,
searchable and useable by any potential user with access
to the Internet. The purpose of thus maximizing public
access to research findings online is that this in turn
maximizes its visibility, usage and impact — which in
turn not only maximizes its benefits to researchers and
their institution in terms of prestige, prizes, salary, and
grant revenue but it also maximizes its benefits to
research itself (and hence to the society that funds it) in
terms of research dissemination, application and growth,
hence research productivity and progress. This is why
open access is both optimal and inevitable.
Who Should Self-Archive?
The Budapest Open Access Initiative is focussed
specifically on the refereed research literature, across all
disciplines. It is the authors of these articles who should
self-archive them, in order to maximize the visibility,
accessibility, uptake and impact of their work. The self-
archiving itself, however, though rapid and simple, can
be done by “proxy,” by digital archivers in the
researcher’s institution or its library. It can also be
done in bulk, by (free) software (under development).
Why Should one Self-Archive?
In order to maximize the visibility and accessibility of
one’s research, and hence the usage and impact of one’s
work. Merely publishing it provides minimal impact:
Also self-archiving it provides maximal impact.
Is Self-Archiving Publication?
Self-archiving is definitely not publication. For purposes
of establishing priority and asserting copyright, anything
that is made public, even on a single piece of paper,
meets the legal definition of “publication.” Hence so
does self-archiving. But for scholarly and scientific
purposes, only meeting the quality standards of peer
review, hence acceptance for publication by a peer-
reviewed journal, counts as publication. Self-archiving
should on no account be confused with self-publication
(vanity press). (Self-archiving pre-refereeing preprints,
however, is an excellent way of establishing priority and
What About Copyright?
The author holds the copyright for the pre-refereeing
preprint, so that can be self-archived without seeking
anyone else’s permission. Sixty-eight percent of journals
already give their green light to postprint self-archiving.
With the remaining 32%, the author can either try to
modify the copyright transfer agreement to reserve the
right to self-archive the postprint, or, failing that, can
append or link a corrigenda file to the already self-
Is Self-Archiving Legal?
Texts that an author has himself written are his own
intellectual property. The author holds the copyright
and is free to give away or sell copies, on-paper or on-
line (e.g., by self-archiving), as he sees fit. For example,
the pre-refereeing preprint can always be legally self-
Self-archiving of one’s own, non-plagiarized texts is in
general legal in all cases but two. The first of these two
exceptions is irrelevant to the kind of self-archiving
BOAI is concerned with, and for the second there is a
Exception 1: Where exclusive copyright in a “work for
hire” has been transfered by the author to a publisher
— i.e., the author has been paid (or will be paid
royalties) in exchange for the text — the author may
not self-archive it. The text is still the author’s
“intellectual property,” in the sense that authorship is
retained by the author, and the text may not be
plagiarized by anyone, but the exclusive right to sell or
give away copies of it has been transfered to the
Exception 1 is irrelevant to BOAI, because BOAI is
concerned only with peer-reviewed research, for which
the author is paid nothing, and no royalty revenue or
author fee is expected, sought, or paid.
Exception 2: Where exclusive copyright has been
assigned by the author to a journal publisher for a peer-
reviewed draft, copy-edited and accepted for publication
by that journal, then that draft may not be self-archived
by the author (without the publisher’s permission).
The pre-refereeing preprint, however, has already been
(legally) self-archived. (No copyright transfer agreement
existed at that time, for that draft.)
So in those cases where the the copyright transfer
agreement does not yet give the author the green light
to self-archive the refereed final draft (“postprint”), there
is always the alternative of self-archiving a corrigenda
file alongside the already archived preprint, listing the
changes that need to be made to make the pre-
refereeing preprint conform to the refereed postprint.
See the Directory of Journal Self-Archiving Policies. Of
the nearly 8460 journals surveyed over 90% are already
“green” (i.e., they have already give their official green
light to author self-archiving: 68% for postprints, 24%
for preprints). Many of of the remaining 8% “gray”
journals will agree if the author asks.
Perhaps the most sensible default strategy of all is the
one that the physicists have been successfully practicing
since 1991 and computer scientists have been practicing
since even earlier: “don’t-ask/don’t-tell”: Simply self-
archive your preprint as well as your postprint, and
wait to see whether the publisher ever requests removal.
After nearly a decade and a half of practicing this
default strategy, and at least a million and a half self-
archived papers in physics and computer science, only a
handful of papers have ever been removed because a
publisher requested it. On the contrary, virtually all
physics journals and most computer science journals
have since become officially “green” in response to the
physics and computer science community’s evident
desire and determination to enjoy the research benefits
of providing open access to their own papers by self-
archiving them, and they now even encourage the self-
archiving. In contrast, those researchers who during that
decade and a half have not been practicing this default
strategy have instead needlessly lost a decade and a
half ’s worth of cumulative research impact.
What if the Publisher Forbids Preprint Self-Archiving?
The right to self-archive the refereed postprint is a legal
matter, because the copyright transfer agreement
pertains to that text. But the pre-refereeing preprint is
self-archived at a time when no copyright transfer
agreement exists and the author holds exclusive and full
copyright to that draft. So publisher policy forbidding
prior self-archiving of preprints is not a legal matter, but
merely a journal policy matter (just as it would be if
the journal were to forbid the submission of papers by
authors with blue-eyed uncles!). (It would become a
legal matter — but a contractual matter, not a
copyright one — if the author were to sign a contract
explicitly stating that the unrefereed preprint had not
been previously self-archived online. Obviously an
author should strike such arbitrary stipulations out of
This policy goes by the name of the “ Ingelfinger Rule,
“originally invoked by the Editor of the New England
Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Franz Ingelfinger, in
order to protect public health (and the NEJM’s
priority) from any publicity about unrefereed findings
prior to publication.
The Ingelfinger Rule (sometimes also referred to as a
“prepublication embargo’’) is accordingly not a
copyright matter, but a journal submission policy: “We
will not consider for publication any preprint that has
been previously self-archived.”
BOAI makes no recommendations to authors regarding
compliance with such policies, except to note that (1)
the Ingelfinger Rule is not a legal matter, (2) the
number of journals invoking the Ingelfinger Rule is
rapidly diminishing in the face of self-archiving pressure
from authors in the interests of research progress
(Nature, for example, has dropped it, and most other
journals are following suit) and (3) the Ingelfinger Rule
was probably never enforceable in any case.
© 2005 EPrints.org
Source: http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/self-faq/ [Accessed
What you can do to Promote Open Access
Submit your research articles to OA journals, when
there are appropriate OA journals in your field.
To find peer-reviewed OA journals in your field,
see the Directory of Open Access Journals.
Deposit your preprints in an open-access, OAI-
It could be a disciplinary or institutional archive.
If your institution doesn’t have one already, then
faculty or librarians should launch one. See the list
for librarians, below.
There is no comprehensive list of open-access,
OAI-compliant archives, but I maintain a list of the
If you have questions about archiving your eprints,
then see Stevan Harnad’s Self-Archiving FAQ.
Deposit your postprints in an open-access OAI-
The “postprint” is the version accepted by the peer-
review process of a journal, often after some
If you transferred copyright to your publisher, then
postprint archiving requires the journal’s
permission. However, many journals —about
80%— have already consented in advance to
postprint archiving by authors. Some will consent
when asked. Some will not consent. For publisher
policies about copyright and author archiving, see
the searchable database maintained by Project
If you have not yet transferred copyright to a
publisher, then ask to retain copyright. (More
If the journal does not let you retain copyright,
then ask at least for the right of postprint
If it does not let you retain the right to archive
your postprint, then ask for permission to put
the postprint on your personal web site. For
many journals, the difference between OA
through an archive and OA through a personal
web site is significant.
If you have transferred copyright and the publisher
does not allow postprint archiving, then at least
deposit the article’s metadata (essentially, citation
information like author, title, journal, date, and so
on) in an OA archive. That will allow researchers
to learn of the article’s existence when runnning
searches, and ask you for a copy by email.
In most cases you can also put the full-text in
the archive and select an option for
“institutional access” rather than “open access”.
At least that makes the article available to your
immediate colleagues and students. Moreover, if
the publisher allows OA archiving after an
embargo period like six months, then this
method makes OA one mouse click away, easy
to reach when the time comes.
The chief benefit of postprint archiving is reaching
a much larger audience than you could reach with
any priced publication (in print or online).
Reaching a larger audience increases your impact,
including your citation count. Many studies
confirm that OA articles are cited significantly
more often (on the order of 50-300% more often)
than non-OA articles from the same journal and
Because most non-OA journals permit postprint
archiving, it is compatible with publishing in a
non-OA journal. Don’t assume that publishing in a
conventional or non-OA journal forecloses the
possibility of providing OA to your own work —
on the contrary.
Depositing your postprint in an OA repository
takes, on average, 6-10 minutes. Don’t assume that
self-archiving takes a lot of time —on the contrary.
(You’ve already spent hours trying to get your
work in front of the audience that can use it, build
on it, apply it, cite it. The last few minutes can
vastly amplify that effort.)
If you’re unfamiliar with the process of self-
archiving, or if you think it’s time-consuming,
difficult, or intimidating, then try this demo. (First
read this brief explanation.)
When asked by a colleague to send a copy of one of
your articles, self-archive the article instead. That is,
deposit the postprint in an open-access OAI-
compliant archive at your institution or in your
Self-archiving takes about as much time as sending
a single copy to a single colleague. But instead of
making your work available to colleagues one at a
time, and multiplying your labor by the number of
colleagues who ask for copies, make your work
available to everyone through a single act of OA
Ask journals to let you retain the rights you need to
consent to open access.
When you can, negotiate either (1) to retain
copyright and transfer only the right of first print
and electronic publication, or (2) to transfer
copyright but retain the right of postprint
Most non-OA journals ask authors to transfer
copyright, but many will show some flexibility if
you ask individually. Even when journals refuse to
let you retain copyright, it’s important for them to
hear from you and other authors who want them
to change their policy about this.
For advice on negotiating the copyright transfer
agreement with a journal, and suggested language
to include in the agreement, see any of the sites
collected in the section on administrators, below.
See Lawrence Lessig’s open access pledge: “Never
again....[F]rom this moment on, I am committed
to the Open Access pledge: I will not agree to
publish in any academic journal that does not
permit me the freedoms of at least a Creative
Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.”
Scholars who worry about their ability to follow
suit without Lessig’s bargaining power should try
the SPARC Author’s Addendum.
Deposit your data files in an OA archive along with
the articles built on them. Whenever possible, link to
the data files from the articles, and vice versa, so that
readers of one know where to find the other.
Negotiate with conventional journals to try the
Walker-Prosser method of experimenting with OA.
Namely: if the journal is not already OA, it might
still offer OA to individual articles when the
authors or their sponsors pay an upfront fee to
cover the journal’s costs in vetting and preparing
the text. See Thomas Walker’s article that first
proposed this method and David Prosser’s article
that refined it.
There’s no harm in asking, and it helps the cause if
the labor of asking journals to consider OA
experiments is distributed among the authors with
an interest in OA publication.
Consider launching an OA journal in your area of
See the BOAI Guide to Business Planning for
Launching a New Open Access Journal.
See SPARC’s list of journal management software.
See the list of what journals can do, below.
When asked to referee a paper or serve on the
editorial board for an OA journal, accept the
When asked to referee a paper or serve on the
editorial board for a toll-access journal, consider
declining and explaining why.
Faculty needn’t donate their time and labor to
journals that lock up their content behind access
barriers where it is less useful to the profession.
Universities should support faculty who make this
otherwise career-jeopardizing decision. Faculty don’t
need to boycott priced journals, but they don’t
need to assist them either.
If you are an editor of a toll-access journal, then start
an in-house discussion about converting to OA,
experimenting with OA, letting authors retain
copyright, abolishing the Ingelfinger rule, or declaring
independence (quitting and launching an OA journal
to serve the same research niche).
For more ideas of what journals can do, see the list
for journals below.
Ask the journals where you have some influence (as
editor, referee, or author) to do more to support OA.
For example, see the list of what journals can do,
When applying for research grants, ask the
foundation for funds to pay the processing fees
charged by OA journals. Many foundations are
already on the record as willing to do this. For the
rest, it’s important to ask.
Volunteer to serve on your university’s committee to
evaluate faculty for promotion and tenure. Make sure
the committee is using criteria that, at the very least,
do not penalize faculty for publishing in peer-
reviewed OA journals. At best, adjust the criteria to
give faculty an incentive to provide OA to their peer-
reviewed research articles and preprints, either
through OA journals or OA archives.
For more on how these criteria need revision (and
therefore how you could help if you served on the
committee), see the section on administrators,
See the list of what administrators can do. Work with
your administration to adopt university-wide policies
that promote OA. When administrators don’t
understand OA, educate them.
Of all the items on that list, the most important
may be to urge your institution to create an open-
access OAI-compliant eprint archive and adopt
OA - What you can do
policies encouraging faculty to fill it with their
Work with your professional societies to make sure
they understand OA. Persuade the organization to
make its own journals OA, endorse OA for other
journals in the field, and support OA eprint
archiving by all scholars in the field.
If the society launches a disciplinary eprint archive
for the field, consider offering to have your
university host it, just as arXiv (for example) is
hosted by Cornell.
Also see the list of what learned societies can do.
Ask the societies where you pay dues to consider
these actions. Ask other members to help you
change access policies at the society.
Make sure that your works (OA and non-OA) are
indexed by Google Scholar.
If your published works are not in GS, then ask
your publisher to contact GS.
If your archived works are not in GS, then ask the
tech people at your archive or repository to
configure it to facilitate crawling by Google and
other search engines.
Create an online index or database of the OA
sources in your field.
This could also be done by a professional
association in the field.
If you work in biomedicine and receive funding the
U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), then
comply with its request to deposit any publications
based on NIH-funded research in PubMed Central
(PMC), and authorize PMC to release them to the
public as soon as possible after publication.
SPARC has put together a good page on the
benefits for researchers in complying with this
request and suggestions on how to do so in the
most effective way.
Consider becoming an individual member of the
Public Library of Science.
Keep up with open-access news.
Write opinion pieces (articles, journal editorials,
newspapers op-eds, letters to the editor, discussion
forum postings) advancing the cause of OA.
Help document the benefits of open access or the
harms caused by the lack of it.
See the MIT list of what faculty can do.
See the overview of the issues for university faculty
(from Create Change).
Educate the next generation of scientists and
scholars about OA.
Make sure that new researchers (and experienced
older researchers too!) understand their self-interest
in OA. Make sure they understand that OA
increases the impact of research articles.
Or, at a minimum, don’t let myths about OA
circulate without challenge, e.g. that OA violates
copyright, dispenses with peer review, or
presupposes that journals have no expenses.
When you meet students, colleagues, or
administrators who are curious and want to know
more, or who misunderstand and need some facts,
direct them to my Open Access Overview.
Launch an open-access, OAI-compliant
institutional eprint archive, for both texts and data.
The main reason for universities to have
institutional repositories is to enhance the visibility,
retrievability, and impact of the research output of
the university. It will raise the profile of the work,
the faculty, and the institution itself.
A more specific reason is that a growing number
of journals allow authors to deposit their postprints
in institutional but not disciplinary repositories.
Even though this is an almost arbitrary distinction,
institutions without repositories will leave some of
their faculty stranded with no way to provide OA
to their work.
“OAI-compliant” means that the archive complies
with the metadata harvesting protocol of the Open
Archives Initiative (OAI). This makes the archive
interoperable with other compliant archives so that
the many separate archives behave like one grand,
virtual archive for purposes such as searching. This
means that users can search across OAI-compliant
archives without visiting the separate archives and
running separate searches. Hence, it makes your
content more visible, even if users don’t know that
your archive exists or what it contains.
There are almost a dozen open-source packages for
creating and maintaining OAI-compliant archives.
The four most important are Eprints (from
Southampton University), DSpace (from MIT),
CDSWare (from CERN), and FEDORA (from
Cornell and U. of Virginia).
When building the case for an archive among
colleagues and administrators, see The Case for
Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper,
by Raym Crow.
When deciding which software to use, see the
BOAI Guide to Institutional Repository Software.
When implementing the archive, see the SPARC
Institutional Repository Checklist & Resource
Configure your archive to facilitate crawling by
Google and other search engines.
If your institution wants an archive but would
prefer to outsource the work, then consider the
Open Repository service from BioMed Central or
the DigitalCommons@ service from ProQuest and
OA - What you can do
Help faculty deposit their research articles in the
Many faculty are more than willing, just too busy.
Some suffer from tech phobias. Some might need
education about the benefits.
For example, some university libraries have
dedicated FTE’s who visit faculty, office by office,
to help them deposit copies of their articles in the
institutional repository. (This is not difficult and
could be done by student workers.) The St.
Andrews University Library asks faculty to send in
their articles as email attachments and library staff
will then deposit them in the institutional
Consider publishing an open-access journal.
Philosophers’ Imprint, from the University of
Michigan, is a peer-reviewed OA journal whose
motto is, “Edited by philosophers. Published by
librarians. Free to readers of the Web.” Because the
editors and publishers (faculty and librarians) are
already on the university payroll, Philosophers’
Imprint is a university-subsidized OA journal that
does not need to charge upfront processing fees.
The library of the University of Arizona at Tucson
publishes the OA peer-reviewed Journal of Insect
Science. For detail and perspective on its
experience, see (1) Henry Hagedorn et al.,
Publishing by the Academic Library, a January
2004 conference presentation, and (2) Eulalia Roel,
Electronic journal publication: A new library
contribution to scholarly communication, College &
Research Libraries News, January 2004.
The Boston College Libraries publish OA journals
edited by BC faculty. See their press release from
December 16, 2004.
The OA Journal of Digital Information is now
published by the Texas A&M University Libraries.
See the BOAI Guide to Business Planning for
Launching a New Open Access Journal.
See SPARC’s list of journal management software.
See the list of what journals can do, below.
Consider rejecting the big deal, or cancelling
journals that cannot justify their high prices, and
issue a public statement explaining why.
See my list of other universities that have already
done so. If they give you courage and ideas, realize
that you can do the same for others.
Give presentations to the faculty senate, or the
library committee, or to separate departments,
educating faculty and adminstrators about the
scholarly communication crisis and showing how
open access is part of any comprehensive solution.
You will need faculty and administrative support
for these decisions, but other universities have
succeeded in getting it.
Help OA journals launched at the university
become known to other libraries, indexing services,
potential funders, potential authors, and potential
See Getting your journal indexed from SPARC.
Include OA journals in the library catalog.
The Directory of Open Access Journals offers its
journal metadata free for downloading. For tips on
how to use these records, see the 2003 discussion
thread on the ERIL list (readable only by list
subscribers) or Joan Conger’s summary of the
thread (readable by everyone).
Take other steps to insure that students and faculty
doing research at your institution know about OA
sources, not just traditional print and toll-access
Offer to assure the long-term preservation of some
specific body of OA content.
OA journals suffer from the perception that they
cannot assure long-term preservation. Libraries can
come to their rescue and negate this perception.
For example, in September 2003 the National
Library of the Netherlands agreed to do this for all
BioMed Central journals. This is a major library
offering to preserve a major collection, but smaller
libraries can do the same for smaller collections.
Undertake digitization, access, and preservation
projects not only for faculty, but for local groups,
e.g. non-profits, community organizations,
museums, galleries, libraries. Show the benefits of
OA to the non-academic community surrounding
the university, especially the non-profit community.
Negotiate with vendors of priced electronic content
(journals and databases) for full access by walk-in
A September 2003 article in Scientific American
suggests that only a minority of libraries already do
Annotate OA articles and books with their
OA content is much more useful when it is
properly annotated with metadata. University
librarians could start by helping their own faculty
annotate their own OA works. But if they have
time (or university funding) left over, then they
could help the cause by annotating other OA
content as a public service.
Inform faculty in biomedicine at your institution
about the NIH public-access policy.
SPARC has put together a good page on the
benefits for researchers in complying with the NIH
policy and suggestions on how to do so in the
most effective way, and another page for librarians
on ways to help faculty understand the policy and
OA - What you can do
realize its benefits.
Help design impact measurements (like e.g.
citation correlator) that take advantage of the many
new kinds of usage data available for OA sources.
The OA world needs this and it seems that only
librarians can deliver it. We need measures other
than the standard impact factor. We need measures
that are article-based (as opposed to journal or
institution based), that can be automated, that
don’t oversimplify, and that take full advantage of
the plethora of data available for OA resources
unavailable for traditional print resources.
Librarians can also help pressure existing indices
and impact measures to cover OA sources.
Join SPARC, a consortium of academic libraries
actively promoting OA.
Join the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a coalition of
U.S.-based non-profit organizations working for
OA to publicly-funded research. See the existing
members of the ATA. If you can persuade your
university as a whole to join the ATA, then do that
See the overview of the issues for librarians (from
See to it that the university launches an open-
access, OAI-compliant archive. See details under
Adopt policies encouraging or requiring faculty to
fill the institutional archive with their research
articles and preprints.
For example, endorse the recommendations of the
third Berlin OA conference (March 2005), namely,
“to require [your] researchers to deposit a copy of
all their published articles in an open access
repository” and “to encourage [your] researchers to
publish their research articles in open access
journals where a suitable journal exists and provide
the support to enable that to happen.”
For example, require that any articles to be
considered in a promotion and tenure review must
be on deposit in the university’s OA archive, with
a working URL in the resume. For articles based
on data generated by the author, the data files
should also be on deposit in the archive. For
books, authors should deposit the metadata and
reference lists. For other kinds of output, faculty
could deposit the metadata plus whatever other
digital materials they wish to make accessible.
If your institution is willing to encourage or
require the OA archiving of its research output,
then sign the Registry of Institutional OA Self-
Archiving Policies. See the institutions that have
already made this commitment —and the links to
their access policies.
According to the JISC/OSI Journal Authors Survey
Report (February 2004, pp. 56-57), when authors
are asked “how they would feel if their employer
or funding body required them to deposit copies
of their published articles in one or more [open-
access] repositories...[t]he vast majority, even of the
non-OA author group, said they would do so
willingly.” (Italics in original.)
See the exemplary policy at Queensland University
of Technology that took effect on January 1, 2004.
“Material which represents the total publicly
available research and scholarly output of the
University is to be located in the University’s
digital or ‘E-print’ repository, subject to the
Also see the exemplary policy at the University of
Minho, explicitly requiring faculty to deposit their
scholarly publications (with some exceptions) in the
Also the model policy developed at Southampton
Also see the notes on developing a policy from the
The university could pay for a digital librarian
(whole or fractional FTE) to help faculty put their
past publications into digital form, deposit them in
the university archive, and enter the relevant
metadata. Many OA-friendly faculty are simply too
busy to do this for themselves.
Many universities have institutional archives, but do
nothing to fill them. Faculty who understand the
issues already have an incentive to deposit their
articles and preprints. But the university should
create incentives, and offer assistance, to those who
don’t yet understand the issues or who don’t have
the time to deposit their own eprints.
Adopt a policy: In hiring, promotion, and tenure,
the university will give due weight to all peer-
reviewed publications, regardless of price or
More: The university will stop using criteria that
penalize and deter publication in OA journals. All
criteria that depend essentially on prestige or
impact factors fall into this category. These criteria
are designed to deny recognition to second-rate
contributions, which is justified until they start to
deny recognition to first-rate contributions. These
criteria intrinsically deny recognition to new
publications, even if excellent, that have not had
time to earn prestige or impact factors
commensurate with their quality. Because these
criteria fail to recognize many worthy contributions
to the field, they are unfair to the candidates
undergoing review. They also perpetuate a vicious
OA - What you can do
circle that deters submissions to new journals, and
thereby hinders the launch of new journals, even if
the new journals would pursue important new
topics, methods, or funding and access policies.
Therefore they retard disciplinary progress as well
as the efficiency of scholarly communication.
On February 27, 2004, the Indiana University
Bloomington Faculty Council adopted a resolution
with this language: “In tenure and promotion
decisions faculty and staff must be confident that
there is departmental and university support for
their decisions to publish in referred journals with
more open access.” (Details.)
Adopt a policy: faculty who publish articles must
either (1) retain copyright, and transfer only the
right of first print and electronic publication, or
(2) transfer copyright but retain the right of
SPARC and the Creative Commons have developed
an Author’s Addendum for authors to add to their
copyright transfer agreements with publishers. The
purpose is to let authors retain the rights they need
to authorize OA.
The University of Kansas has language that other
universities could borrow or adapt for this purpose.
Kansas recommends but does not require that
faculty insert the language into copyright transfer
agreements with journals.
The Association of American Law Schools has
developed a model author/journal agreement.
Other model licenses for scholars to borrow or
adapt have been developed by Stuart Shieber
(Harvard, computer science) and Mark Lemley
The Johns Hopkins University Scholarly
Communications Group has collected some model
copyright and publishing agreements.
The Zwolle Group has a checklist of issues to
think about when negotiating or signing an
agreement with publishers, and some sample
agreements for different scenarios.
Adopt a policy: when faculty cannot get the funds
to pay the processing fee charged by an OA journal
from their research grant, then the university will
pay the fee.
If the university is worried about a runaway
expense, then it could cap the number of dollars or
articles per faculty member per year, and raise the
cap over time as the spread of OA brings about
larger and larger savings to the library serials
budget. In the case of publications based on
funded research, the university could offer to pay
the fees only when the funding agencies have been
asked and will not pay.
Adopt a policy: all theses and dissertations, upon
acceptance, must be made openly accessible, for
example, through the institutional repository or one
of the multi-institutional OA archives for theses and
Some of the multi-institutional archives providing
OA to electronic theses and dissertations are the
Australian Digital Theses Program, Cyberthèses,
Digitale Dissertationen in Internet, Networked
Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, and
Theses Canada. (There are many others.)
For the experience of CalTech in adopting such a
policy, see Betsy Coles and George Porter,
Smoothing the Transition to Mandatory Electronic
Theses, American Library Association, April 2003.
Also see Kimberly Douglas, Betsy Coles, George S.
Porter, and Eric Van de Velde, Taking the Plunge:
Requiring the ETD, a conference presentation from
Also see Kimberly Douglas, To Restrict or Not to
Restrict Access: The PhD Candidate’s Intellectual
Property Dilemma, a conference presentation from
Adopt a policy: all conferences hosted at your
university will provide open access to their
presentations or proceedings, even if the conference
also chooses to publish them in a priced journal or
book. This is compatible with charging a registration
fee for the conference.
See SPARC’s list of conference management
software. Most of the packages provide for the
electronic submission and OA dissemination of
See Kimberly Douglas’ argument (January 2004)
in favor of free or affordable access to conference
Adopt a policy: all journals hosted or published by
your university will either be OA or take steps to be
friendlier to OA. For example, see the list of what
journals can do, below.
If your university is in the UK, or if it is subject to
any research assessment process similar to the UK’s
Research Assessment Exercise, then consider the
model policy from Stevan Harnad et al. for ensuring
that institutional research output is OA and that
faculty use standardized, online CV’s linking to OA
versions of their research articles.
Support, even reward, faculty who launch OA
For example: give them released time, technical
support, server space, secretarial help, promotion
and tenure credit, publicity, strokes.
Related: give due recognition to faculty who serve
as editors or referees for OA journals, at least if
this recognition is given for similar service on
important traditional journals. Most OA journals,
OA - What you can do
because they are new, haven’t acquired the prestige
of established, conventional journals, even if their
quality is just as high or even higher. Universities
should support faculty who help bring about a
superior publishing alternative, not just those who
bring prestige to themselves and the university
through existing channels.
Consider buying an institutional membership in
BioMed Central, or an institutional membership or
sponsorship in the Public Library of Science.
If your university uses DSpace, then consider joining
the DSpace Federation.
Sign the Budapest Open Access Initiative and/or sign
the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge.
As the researchers of the future, take your changed
expectations with you. Researchers will finally take
advantage of the internet in scholarly communication
when a generation that has grown up with the internet
occupies positions of responsibility in universities,
laboratories, libraries, foundations, journals,
publishers, learned societies, government research and
funding agencies, and legislatures.
As expert users, help faculty, e.g. by archiving their
papers for them or pointing them to relevant OA
See this January 2004 article on students teaching
faculty in Vermont and South Dakota.
As programmers, develop open-source tools for open
Take part in the student-led Free Culture movement.
Make sure that open access to research literature has
its place on the agenda along side open-source
software, copyright reform, and other free culture
See the MIT list of what students can do.
Use the university OA infrastructure as another way
to offer outreach to the community. For example,
invite community groups to use the university’s OA
archive. The university could offer to digitize, host,
and preserve content for some non-profit
organizations in the area.
Public universities should explain to the citizens of
their state, state legislators, and state newspapers, why
their new OA policies are maximizing the return on
tax dollars, and how they put the university in the
vanguard of enlightened institutions. Private
institutions can make the same argument to donors,
parents, and students.
If a university adopts a systematic plan to promote
OA, through its faculty, librarians, and a
dministration, then it should launch a central web
site for the plan, and perhaps a newsletter, to explain
its many facets, monitor progress, publicize the
rationale, and show which elements are still to come.
For those who worry about funding this grand
plan: Many parts of the plan are either costless or
result in net savings. Many others will bring waves
of good publicity, which will help the bottom line
through improved recruitment and retention, soft
money, or alumni loyalty. All parts directly advance
the university’s mission to share, preserve, and
Journals and publishers
Let authors retain copyright. Ask only for the right
of first print and electronic publication.
Let authors archive both their preprints and their
See the many journal publishers who already do.
Letting authors archive their preprints really means
abandoning the Ingelfinger rule; more on this
below. Since authors are usually the copyright
holders at the time they archive their preprints,
journals have no right to block it, only a right to
refuse to consider submissions that have previously
circulated as preprints; this is what they should
reconsider. Letting authors archive their postprints
only applies if the journal asks authors to transfer
copyright in the postprint to the journal.
Allowing these forms of OA isn’t a “sacrifice” or
“concession” to authors and readers. It gives you a
competitive advantage in attracting submissions
over journals that do not permit them.
Experiment with open access.
For example, a journal can give authors the choice
between open access and conventional publication.
Authors who choose OA must pay an upfront
processing fee to cover the journal’s costs in vetting
and preparing the article. This method was first
described by Thomas Walker (here) and later
refined by David Prosser (here).
Experiment with advertising, priced add-ons, and
auxiliary services to generate the revenue needed to
cover your expenses, so that you can offer OA to
more and more full-text research articles.
If you enhance your authors’ basic texts with
expensive add-ons, consider offering OA to the
basic texts and only charging for access to the
If you can’t offer immediate OA to full-text
articles, then consider offering OA after some delay
or embargo period.
Reduce your costs by using open-source journal-
management software, like Open Journal Systems
or DPubS, or high-quality, low-cost services like
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If you still use the Ingelfinger rule (a policy against
accepting papers previously published or publicized),
then modify it to permit preprint archiving.
If you will accept papers whose preprints have
previously been circulated online, say so explicitly
on your web site. Many researchers are deterred
from preprint archiving by groundless fears of the
Whatever your access policies, post them on your web
site and keep them up to date.
See my list of the policy details that it would be
most helpful to disclose.
Both OA and non-OA journals should take this
step in order to help potential authors, potential
readers, and potential subscribers.
Make sure your journal’s copyright and archiving
policies are accurately listed by Project SHERPA.
Consider providing free online access to your article
metadata, even if you aren’t ready to provide free
online access to the articles themselves.
If the metadata are harvestable under the OAI
protocol, then your articles will be more visible,
searchable, and discoverable. Read this case study
on how Inderscience, a medium-sized publisher of
priced journals in engineering and business, created
an OAI-compliant archive to expose the metadata
for its publications. Inderscience decided that the
OAI methods for sharing metadata were more
effective and less expensive than traditional
Book publishers should consider the same strategy.
If your back run is not already digital, then participate
in the PubMed Central Back Issue Digitization
program, which includes PMC-hosted free online
access to the newly-digitized back run.
Make sure that your publications (OA and non-OA)
are indexed by Google Scholar. If not all your
publications are in GS, then contact GS.
If you are considering the OA business model, then
see the BOAI Guide to Business Planning for
Converting a Subscription-based Journal to Open
Also see the BOAI Model Business Plan: A
Supplemental Guide for Open Access Journal
Developers & Publishers.
Also see the PLoS whitepaper Publishing Open-
Also see David Prosser’s method for converting to
OA gradually, one article at a time. It’s based on
an earlier idea by Thomas Walker.
Journal editors: If your publisher resists your
efforts to lower the journal price, revise its
copyright and archiving policies, or initiate OA
experiments, then consider changing publishers.
See my list of journal declarations of independence,
above, for inspiring examples.
See Gillian Page, Putting Journals Out To Tender:
Guidelines for Societies and Other Sponsors,
Learned Publishing, 13 (2000) pp. 209-220.
See the ALPSP Advice Note, When A Society
Journal Changes Publisher, November 2002.
If you are already a peer-reviewed, open-access
Deposit your accepted papers in an OAI-compliant
archive. This additional source for your published
papers assures authors and readers that the papers
will remain OA even if your journal dies, is bought
out, or changes its access policies. For example,
both BMC and PLoS deposit all their published
papers in PubMed Central.
Make sure you are listed in the Directory of Open
Make sure your articles are indexed in Google
Share your business data with researchers studying
the OA-journal business model. If you are
economically viable, your data will help document
the viability of the model and help persuade
skeptical publishers to experiment with OA.
See Getting your journal indexed from SPARC.
You may benefit from the experience of the Public
Library of Science. See its guide, Publishing Open-
Access Journals, originally released in February
2004, but to be updated as needed.
If you publish a journal, consider making it open
At least let authors retain copyright, let them keep
their preprints online after you publish the
postprint, and allow postprint archiving.
Follow the advice of the Association of Learned
and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).
Experiment with open access and share your
business data with ALPSP as it conducts a
thorough study of the OA business model,
especially from the standpoint of society publishers.
Consider Jim Pitman’s strategy for open access to
society publications. Pitman is the chair of the
publications committee of the Institute of
Mathematical Statistics, a society publisher.
Consider the views of Elizabeth Marincola on how
the American Society for Cell Biology can offer
free online access to its journal, Molecular Biology
of the Cell, two months after print publication.
For other ideas on how society publishers can offer
OA to their journals, see David Prosser (January
2004), Jan Velterop (July 2003), and John
Willinsky (April 2003).
Adopt the policy that all conferences sponsored by
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your society will provide open access to their
proceedings, even if you also choose to publish them
in a priced journal or book. See details under
Encourage your members to archive their preprints
and postprints in open-access, OAI-compliant
Endorse open access for all journals, dissertations,
and conference proceedings in your field. See the
policy statements already made by other learned
societies and professional organizations.
Maintain a comprehensive and up-to-date online list
of OA resources in your field. Societies have more
credibility and more resources than individuals, who
tend to take the lead in maintaining such guides.
Put an OA condition on research grants. By
accepting a grant, the grantee agrees to provide
open access (OA) to any publications that result
from the funded research.
The condition can make reasonable exceptions, e.g.
for classified military research, patentable
discoveries, and works intended to generate
The condition should give grantees a choice of
ways to provide OA. In particular, it ought to give
grantees the choice between OA archives and OA
journals. When grantees choose OA archives, they
should be allowed to deposit their work work in
any OA archive that meets certain conditions of
accessibility, interoperability, and long-term
preservation. The interoperability condition could
be satisfied by complying with the metadata
harvesting protocol of the Open Archives Initiative.
Qualifying archives need not be hosted by the
foundation or funding agency; they could, for
example, be hosted and maintained by universities.
For one way to spell out such a policy, see my
Model Open-Access Policy for Foundation Research
Grants. I don’t pretend that foundations could
adopt it as is. But it does try to imagine the
practical complexities of putting an OA condition
on research grants, and it offers contract terms that
address these complexities. If my solutions to these
problems don’t suit a particular foundation, then
perhaps my annotations will at least identify some
of the issues and help it save time in its
According to the JISC/OSI Journal Authors Survey
Report (February 2004, pp. 56-57), when authors
are asked “how they would feel if their employer
or funding body required them to deposit copies
of their published articles in one or more [open-
access] repositories...[t]he vast majority, even of the
non-OA author group, said they would do so
willingly.” (Italics in original.)
When a grant recipient publishes the results of funded
research in an OA journal that charges a processing
fee, offer to pay the fee. Consider the cost of OA
dissemination to be part of the cost of research.
Even better: encourage grantees to submit their
work to OA journals when there are suitable ones
in the field.
Even better: earmark some grant funds for OA
journal processing fees. That way grantees will not
have to reduce their research funds in order to pay
Give grants to universities to help create institutional
eprint archives and to provide the necessary support
for filling and maintaining them.
Give grants to individual researchers to cover the
processing fees charged by open-access journals.
Give grants to new open-access journals to help them
launch and establish themselves. Give grants to newly
formed editorial boards that want to launch new
Give grants to open-access journals to cover the
processing fees of authors who cannot afford to pay
Give grants to conventional journals to cover the costs
of converting to open access.
Give grants to conventional journals to cover the costs
of digitizing their back runs, on the condition that
they will then provide open access to them.
Allow your grants to be used for building
endowments for open access journals and archives.
Endowed OA journals and archives will not need to
seek further funding from any source.
Ask researchers applying for grants to deposit their
existing peer-reviewed research articles in OA
archives, and to maintain a standardized, online CV
linking to OA versions of these articles. For more
details, see this 2003 article by Stevan Harnad, Les
Carr, Tim Brody, and Charles Oppenheim.
Put an OA condition on government research grants.
By accepting a grant, the grantee agrees to provide
open access (OA) to any publications that result from
the funded research.
See the section on foundations above, for more
detail, especially on giving grantees a choice
between OA archives and OA journals.
Funding agencies could make exceptions for
classified research, patentable discoveries, and
publications that generate revenue for authors such
as books and software.
The issues are largely the same between private and
public funding agencies. But governments can
OA - What you can do
adopt uniform legislation covering all government
agencies that fund research. Governments can also
appeal to the taxpayer argument (that taxpayers
should not have to pay a second fee for access to
the results of taxpayer-funded research) in addition
to the return-on-investment argument (that any
funding agency will increase the return on its
investment in research if it makes the results OA
and thereby makes them more discoverable,
retrievable, accessible, and useful).
Permit recipients of government research grants to
use grant funds to pay the processing fees charged
by OA journals.
See the section on foundations above, for more
Provide funds and technical assistance for all
universities and research centers in the country to
set up and maintain their own OA repositories.
One condition of government assistance should be
that the institution adopt a policy to encourage or
require its researchers to deposit their research
output in the repository.
The policy could recognize the same exceptions as
the OA condition on publicly-funded research
grants —e.g. classified military research, patentable
discoveries, and revenue-producing publications like
Provide funds and technical assistance for digitizing
and providing open access to the nation’s cultural
Insure that, as a matter of law, works produced by
government employees in their official capacity are
in the public domain. (This is already the case in
the United States; see 17 USC 105 and its
Treat government-funded works in the same way. In
the U.S., the Public Access to Science Act
(submitted by Martin Sabo in June 2003) would
have this effect.
Or learn from the U.S. experience with the Sabo
bill by requiring open access itself (through
archives or journals), rather than just a legal
precondition of open access (the public domain).
For details on how to do this, see the section on
foundations above. In addition, use copyright-
holder consent, rather than the public domain, as
the legal precondition for open access, and avoid
alienating the important constituencies and
legislators who are friendly to both open access
and copyright. Finally, make reasonable exceptions
e.g. for classified research, patentable discoveries,
books, and software. The open-access bill should
apply only or primarily to works that authors
willingly publish without payment, such as journal
articles and dissertations.
Consider a nationally-coordinated program to
insure open access to the research output of the
nation. This was pioneered by Holland with Project
DARE. Similar initiatives (with interesting
differences) are under consideration or under way
in Australia, Canada, Germany, and India.
National science ministries or research funding
agencies should sign the Berlin Declaration on
Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and
Sign the OECD Declaration on Access to Research
Data From Public Funding.
Consider all 82 of the recommendations in
Scientific Publications: Free for All? the exemplary
July 2004 report of the UK House of Commons
Science and Technology Committee.
By contrast, do not follow the much-weakened
public-access policy of the US National Institutes
See the list of what governments can do. Demand
that your government take some of those steps.
Talk to your representatives about the issues. Make
clear that these issues are important to you, and
that you expect your government to support
science and the public interest over the private
interests of publishers.
In particular, demand that publicly-funded research
be made available to the public free of charge.
In the U.S. non-profit organizations supporting
this goal can join the Alliance for Taxpayer Access
in order to amplify their voices.
Copyright © 2001-2005, Peter Suber. This is an open-
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Source: http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/do.htm [Accessed