[Humanist] 26.929 open access

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Apr 1 10:23:32 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 929.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2013 10:39:33 -0400
        From: Jean-Claude Guédon <jean.claude.guedon at umontreal.ca>
        Subject: Re:  26.924 open access

Let me clarify a few things about open access.

OUP is classified as a "yellow" publisher by the Sherpa/Romeo database
(http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/). This means that an author can
self-archive a pre-print (i.e. pre-refereed) version of his/her text)

Opening up access after two years is not real open access; it is a
moving wall limiting access to protect (so the publishers say, although
the evidence is not clear, to say the least) the financial viability of

Not only is open access compatible with peer review; it relies on it,
just as toll access. Changing the mode of access to publications has
nothing to do with peer review. Incidentally, the more than 8,800
journals listed in the Directory of open access journals
(http://www.doaj.org) can be listed there only if they practise peer

In the natural sciences, journals are evaluated through their impact
factor, not by their OA or non-OA status. In passing, this is not a very
smart approach (the IF is not a reliable index of journal quality), and,
furthermore, it has nothing to do with Open Access. Quite a few OA
journals benefit from a high IF, for example the Public Library of
Science publications. 

In HSS journals, reputation is constructed in a more impressionistic
manner, and OA journals, alas, suffer from being young: it is hard to
establish a strong reputation rapidly. But judging article quality by
the journals they go into is unreliable at best, lazy at worst. Quality
of articles should be established at the article, not journal, level.
Otherwise, we fall into a logo game and marketing strategies, neither of
which have much to do with scholarship quality.

The issue of derivatives is very different from Open Access except
insofar as it intersects the issue of reuse in further research. Open
access advocates carefully distinguish gratis OA from libre OA. The
former only provides ocular contact with the documents; it does not
allow for reuse (for example in the classroom). Libre OA, on the other
hand, allows (legitimate) reuse of documents. If I want to send an
article I like to several colleagues, libre OA allows me to do so. I f I
want my students to read an article, I can distribute the libre OA
article without restrictions. Etc. This is the reason why most OA
advocates recommend a CC-by licence (attribution only under Creative
Commons licence) as scholars do not care whether their articles are sold
or not by others; they only want maximum exposure to the world.

Plagiarism is yet another thing that does not have anything to do with
Open Access. Digital documents are patently easier to cut and paste than
printed ones, but the result is also patently easier to identify, as
Peter Suber and myself have pointed out on many occasions. Plagiarism
has to be revisited because of digitization, not because of Open Access,
and digitization is probably making plagiarism riskier than print. A Ph.
D. thesis sitting in paper on an obscure shelf in one library is a lot
easier to plagiarize than a digitized thesis, especially if the
plagiarized text is not itself digitized.

Jean-Claude Guédon

Le samedi 30 mars 2013 à 09:41 +0100, Humanist Discussion Group a
écrit :

>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 924.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>         Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2013 13:30:43 +0000
>         From: "Zafrin, Vika" <vzafrin at bu.edu>
>         Subject: Re:  26.919 open access
>         In-Reply-To: <20130328062330.CE1CD2CC6 at digitalhumanities.org>
> I've been following with interest discussions in the open access thread,
> and I'm seeing a couple of troubling trends. So here are a few thoughts
> from a digital humanist turned librarian who spends her days discussing
> open access with her institution's faculty, staff, and administration, and
> with anyone else who will listen.
> 1. Open access is not incompatible with peer review. There are peer
> reviewed journals that are toll, and ones that are open. There are
> NON-peer-reviewed journals that are toll, and ones that are open. Peer
> review is not without its problems, as has been pointed out; but "open
> access" and "peer reviewed" are not mutually exclusive by a long stretch.
> Last fall I had a bizarre, if heartening, conversation with the person at
> my university who oversees the tenure and promotion processes. I asked her
> if there was a chance we could get her office to make a formal, written
> announcement saying that open access works will be considered in P&T cases
> when they have been properly vetted by the scholarly community. She looked
> at me uncomprehendingly. "But we already do that," she said. We do! And
> it's great! But we need to say it explicitly, so that faculty hear it and
> stop fearing open access as a career-damaging practice.
> Not all institutions give OA works due consideration. That's a shame, but
> it's also changing as people become better informed about the relationship
> (only incidental) between OA and peer review.
> 2. Open access does NOT mean that derivative works are permitted. Many
> open access works have Creative Commons licenses attached to them. Authors
> can specify that they permit no derivative works to be created. This will
> deter a great most, though not all, derivative works. That's ok: toll
> access doesn't entirely prevent plagiarism, either. At least, as Peter
> Suber points out, OA makes plagiarism easier to detect.
> 3. James said: "There is no doubt in my mind that a good article in an OUP
> journal is far more use to my resume than an amazing article posted on my
> blog." Absolutely. Did you know OUP practices open access? It's green OA.
> Any LLC article can be distributed, in its final-author's-manuscript form,
> two years after it was published. That's also OA.
> Is open access unproblematic in academe, particularly in the humanities?
> No. But let's not confuse the above issues.
> Vika Zafrin
> Institutional Repository Librarian
> Boston University
> +1 617.358.6370 | http://open.bu.edu/


Jean-Claude Guédon
Professeur titulaire
Littérature comparée
Université de Montréal

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