Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Open Access opt out at Harvard

The Journal model has defied all that have striven to destroy it. It creates value by creating authority and reference and its that refrence that is required by its contributors and readers alike. Ok, the authors give it away, its reviewed for free, the subcriptions are paid for in advance of publication, there is no garenteed publications schedule and the very institutions who employ the authors pay to get the copy back.

Harvard are now planning to change things albeit quietly by voting to enable its arts and sciences faculty to distribute their scholarship freely online. If passed an open access repository run by the library would instantly make maretial available on the Internet. Authors would still retain copyright and the ability to publish anywhere. In fact the system would be an opt out one which would automatically include works unless the author opted out. An interesting position for authors who could be said to be dammed iof they do and dammed if they don’t.

It will be interesting to see what happens, how many will opt out, whether the impact will release greater funds for the libraries and the reaction of others including publishers.