Open Access (the book)

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  • On this page I'll post updates, supplements, and other notes on my book, Open Access, MIT Press, 2012.   — Peter Suber.


About the book

  • The paperback and several digital editions are now available.
  • I hope the book is available at your favorite academic bookstore. But at least it's available from MIT Press, Amazon (paperback and Kindle editions), Barnes and Noble (paperback and Nook editions), Google Play (mobile ePub, PDF, Adobe eBook, and other formats), iTunes (formatted for iOS devices), and the sources listed here and here.
  • The whole book will become OA in June 2013, one year from the date of publication. If you can't wait that long, everything I've said in the book I've said in some form or another in an OA article, probably more than once.
  • For a review copy, send your request directly to MIT Press, and indicate the publication or site for which the review is intended.
  • I plan to launch some kind of site, other than this page, where I can gather and respond to reader comments. I welcome suggestions about the best way to do that.


  • Rob Harle, Open Access by Peter Suber (MIT Press 2012), Leonardo Reviews, August 2, 2012. "This is a very important book, which, I suggest, is a must read for all scholars and researchers who publish their own work or consult the peer-reviewed published work of others ––in other words, virtually all academics...."
  • John Dupuis, Reading Diary: Open Access by Peter Suber, Confessions of a Science Librarian, September 26, 2012. "Peter Suber’s... Open Access is an important book. You should read it, you should buy (or recommend) a copy for your library. You should buy a hundred boxes and give a copy to every faculty member at your institution. And not just because it’s a blazingly wonderful book — although it mostly is — but because it’s a book that sets the stage for an intelligent, rational, fact-based discussion on the future of scholarly publishing...."

Updates and supplements

  • Some of these notes didn't fit into the book. The book is deliberately short and I was already over my wordcount. Others were too late to put in the book. They cite publications or developments that hadn't occurred by the time my text was final in the spring of 2011.
  • I have many supplements to add and will add them as I find time. If you want to nudge me on a certain point, please do.
  • For now, I'm taking advantage of the digital medium by linking from words and phrases, not imitating the format of printed endnotes by spelling out URLs.

Copyright page

  • The first print edition uses an "all rights reserved" statement and a CC-BY license icon. The digital editions clarify the book's copyright status, and the clarification will appear in future print editions. Basically, the book incorporates some material I previously published in the SPARC Open Access Newsletter under a CC-BY license and a copyright owned by SPARC. That material remains CC-BY. The all-rights-reserved copyright owned by MIT applies only to new parts of the book, and even those parts will shift to a CC-BY-NC license on June 15, 2013, one year from the date of publication.


  • Note that MIT Press already provides OA to the Preface.

Chapter 1: What is Open Access?

  • Note that MIT Press already provides OA to Chapter 1.
  • At p. 21, I say, "OA would benefit from the right kinds of copyright reforms...." Add these notes.
    • See my article, Open access and copyright, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, July 2, 2011. "For example, here are some copyright reforms that would help the cause: [1] Shorten the term of copyright, or at least prevent it from becoming even longer every time Mickey Mouse is about to fall into the public domain. [2] Ban the retroactive extension of copyright to works in the public domain. [3] Allow OA for orphan works, with a takedown requirement if the rightsholder steps forward and complains. [4] Permit the circumvention of DRM in pursuit of non-infringing uses. [5] Recognize that some creative works generate revenue for creators, and some don't, and that creators of the former type are harmed by unauthorized copying while creators of the latter type are harmed by the default prohibition of copying. That is, stop making royalty-free literature collateral damage in the war against revenue leaks. [6] Allow green OA, at least for royalty-free literature, within a certain time after publication, regardless of the publishing contract the author signed with a publisher. [7] Allow digitization and search indexing without permission when they result in no dissemination, or when the dissemination consists of nothing more than fair-use snippets. [8] Make the penalties for copyfraud (false claim of copyright) at least as severe as the penalties for infringement; that is, take the wrongful decrease in the circulation of ideas at least as seriously as the wrongful increase in the circulation of ideas."
    • For some reform recommendations that would make copyright law friendlier to OA, but without aiming to optimize copyright law for OA, see (1) Pamela Samuelson et al., The Copyright Principles Project: Directions for Reform, the Copyright Principles Project, September 10, 2010, (2) Giancarlo F. Frosio et al., COMMUNIA policy recommendations, COMMUNIA, March 31, 2011, and (3) Rep. Jim Jordan and the Republican Study Committee, RSC Policy Brief: Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it, November 16, 2012.

Chapter 2: Motivation

  • At p. 30, endnote 5 (note text at p. 182). Here I'm documenting the assertion that "cumulative price increases...forced the Harvard Library to undertake 'serious cancellation efforts' for budgetary reasons." In the current note, I cite two sources. Here are seven, including the original two, in chronological order.
    • Robin Peek, "Harvard Faculty Mandates OA," Information Today, April 1, 2008. This is an interview with Stuart Shieber after the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted unanimously for a green OA policy on February 12, 2008. Quoting Shieber: "At Harvard, serials duplication has been all but eliminated and serious cancellation efforts have been initiated. Monograph collecting has been substantially affected as well. In total, our faculty have seen qualitative reductions in access to the literature." (I link to a copy of the original article because the original URL is now dead.)
    • The Report of the Task Force on University Libraries, Harvard University, November 2009. "Even during the recent years of endowment growth, the libraries struggled to collect the books, journals, and other research materials desired by current faculty and students....The reasons for these difficulties are multiple, but include the steadily rising prices of monographs and journal subscriptions....The economic downturn has made this issue even more critical than in years prior. Because library budgets have been cut, journals will need to be cancelled, with attendant cancellation fees feeding a downward spiral....Harvard must become a more forceful participant in this negotiation, leverage its combined rather than distributed weight, and not be beholden to the prices and packages determined by the major publishing houses."
    • "Libraries on the Edge," The Harvard Gazette, January 2010. "Through centuries, Harvard's libraries have amassed rich collections and unique holdings. But now budgetary pressures that have been building during the past decade, and intensified in the past year, threaten the ability of the world's largest private library to collect works as broadly as it has in the past. In an interview, University Library director and Pforzheimer University Professor Robert Darnton called the situation 'a crisis in acquisitions.' "
    • Harvard's response to the first White House RFI on OA, January 22, 2010. "Harvard not immune to the access crisis that motivates much of the campaign for public-access policies. In fact, the Harvard library system has gone through a series of serials reviews with substantial cancellations, and further cancellations will undoubtedly occur in the future."
    • Harvard's response to the second White House RFI on OA, January 14, 2012. "Even Harvard University, whose library is the largest academic library in the world, is not immune to the access crisis motivating much of the campaign for public-access policies. In fact, the Harvard library system has had to make a painful series of budget-driven journal cancellations, and we are deciding on a set of further cancellations at this very moment."
    • Testimony of Stuart Shieber, Professor of Computer Science and Director of Harvard's Office for Scholarly Communication, before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, March 29, 2012. "The Harvard library system is the largest academic library in the world, and the fifth largest library of any sort. In attempting to provide access to research results to our faculty and students, the university subscribes to tens of thousands of serials at a cost of about 9 million dollars per year. Nonetheless, we too have been buffeted by the tremendous growth in journal costs over the last decades, with Harvard's serials expenditures growing by a factor of 3 between 1986 and 2004. Such geometric increases in expenditures could not be sustained indefinitely. Over the years since 2004 our journal expenditure increases have been curtailed through an aggressive effort at deduplication, elimination of print subscriptions, and a painful series of journal cancellations. As a researcher, I know that Harvard does not subscribe to all of the journals that I would like access to for my own research, and if Harvard, with its scale, cannot provide optimal subscription access, other universities without our resources are in an even more restricted position."
    • Faculty Advisory Council Memorandum on Journal Pricing, Harvard University, April 17, 2012. "Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive....Prices for online content from two providers have increased by about 145% over the past six years, which far exceeds not only the consumer price index, but also the higher education and the library price indices. These journals therefore claim an ever-increasing share of our overall collection budget. Even though scholarly output continues to grow and publishing can be expensive, profit margins of 35% and more suggest that the prices we must pay do not solely result from an increasing supply of new articles....The Faculty Advisory Council to the Library, representing university faculty in all schools and in consultation with the Harvard Library leadership, reached this conclusion: major periodical subscriptions, especially to electronic journals published by historically key providers, cannot be sustained: continuing these subscriptions on their current footing is financially untenable. Doing so would seriously erode collection efforts in many other areas, already compromised....Costs are now prohibitive...."
  • At pp. 30-32, I say, "Several sub-Saharan African university libraries subscribed to zero [subscription-based scholarly journals in 2008], offering their patrons access to no conventional journals except those donated by publishers." Add this note.
    • See Samuel Kwaku Smith Esseh, Strengthening Scholarly Publishing in Africa: Asessing the Potential of Online Systems, doctoral dissertation at University of British Columbia, 2011, at pp. 252-253: "In most research and university libraries in Africa, the data show a serious gap in terms of inadequate funding for journal subscriptions. While a total of 26% of libraries indicated with certainty that they had not budgeted for journal subscriptions, another 11% libraries were not sure if any budget had been set aside. Those who did report available funds (less than 8%) had a budget of between $250,001 and $500,000 for journal subscriptions. The majority (32, or 49%) had a yearly budget of between $1 and $250,000. When this range is further broken down and carefully examined, what is evident is that a total of 78% of librarians (within the $1-$250,000 budget range) reported a subscription budget of less than $100,000 per year."
  • At p. 40, I say, "[L]arge commercial publishers charge higher prices and raise their prices faster than small, nonprofit [TA] publishers. Yet, the scholarly consensus is that quality, impact, and prestige are generally higher at the nonprofit society journals." Endnote 15 (note text at pp. 184-185) documents the claims about quality, impact, and prestige. Here I want to elaborate in a slightly different direction.
    • Most society publishers don't have the revenues or surpluses of the commercial giants. In 2010 Elsevier reported profit margins (36%) larger than those at ExxonMobil (28%); see p. 183n8. But most society journals are not in that league, and not even close. Many are in the red. Insofar as publisher profiteering is part of the argument for OA (and it needn't be), it only applies to the commercial giants, not to small, nonprofit society publishers.
    • Some societies join the commercial giants in lobbying against OA policies, and argue that OA is intrinsically harmful to society publishers, or that OA harms small nonprofit publishers as such. I make many concessions to society publishers, but I cannot make this one. Since 2007, Caroline Sutton and I have maintained a list of society publishers of OA journals. In 2007 we found 425 societies publishing 450 full (non-hybrid) OA journals. In 2011 we published a second edition of our list showing 530 societies publishing 616 full OA journals. After publishing our 2011 results, we posted our list to a Google spreadsheet open to community editing. As of August 3, 2012, it showed 609 societies publishing 702 full OA journals.
  • At pp. 40-41, I describe the sense in which librarians are more attuned to the journal pricing crisis than faculty. Add this note.
    • As a class, librarians are not only more knowledgeable about the issues but more active in strategizing the change the system. In a July 2011 interview with Richard Poynder, I put it this way: "Librarians lobby for OA mandates. They write to their representatives in the legislature. They make phone calls and visit. They network and organize. They communicate with one another, with their patrons, and with the public. They launch, maintain, and fill repositories. They write up their experiences, case studies, surveys, and best practices. They pay attention. On average, they understand the issues better than any other stakeholder group, including researchers, administrators, publishers, funders, and policymakers...."

Chapter 3: Varieties

  • At p. 50, I say, "Also like conventional journals, most [OA journals] are honest and some are scams." Add these notes.
    • For work on suspicious OA journals and publishers, the OA community is indebted to Richard Poynder and Jeffrey Beall. For example, see Richard Poynder's interviews with Bentham (April 2008), Dove Medical Press (November 2008), Libertas Academica (January 2009), Sciyo (February 2010), InTech (October 2011), OMICS (December 2011), and fellow investigator Jeffrey Beall (July 2012). Also see the many strands of Poynder's inquiry into Scientific Journals International (starting in July 2088). Similarly, see Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory publishers, list of predatory journals, and blog devoted to "critical analysis" of OA publishing.
    • See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI, which made recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. Recommendation 4.1: "We should do more to make publishers, editors, referees and researchers aware of standards of professional conduct for OA publishing, for example on licensing, editorial process, soliciting submissions, disclosing ownership, and the handling of publication fees. Editors, referees and researchers should evaluate opportunities to engage with publishers and journals on the basis of these standards of professional conduct. Where publishers are not meeting these standards we should help them improve as a first step....As one means for evaluating a new or unknown OA publisher or OA journal, we recommend that researchers consult the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) and its code of conduct....We encourage all OA publishers and OA journals to apply best practices recommended by OASPA or to seek membership in the association, which would entail a review of their practices and an opportunity to amend these where necessary."
  • At p. 50, endnote 2 (note text at p. 187). Here I'm documenting the assertion that "The number of high-quality, high-impact OA journals has only grown" since the Thomson Scientific study in 2004.
  • At p. 50, I say, "Like conventional publishers, there are a few large OA publishers and a long tail of small ones...." Add these notes.
    • See Salvatore Mele, First Results of the SOAP Project, a presentation at the Conference of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, Prague, August 23, 2010. The few large OA publishers are better about providing libre OA than the long tail of small ones. See esp. slides #7 and #10. Half of the 14 "large" OA publishers use CC licenses, most of them (82%) using CC-BY licenses and the rest (18%) using CC-BY-NC. Of the smaller OA publishers, only about one-fifth used CC licenses.
    • See Jan Erik Frantsvåg, The size distribution of open access publishers: A problem for open access? First Monday, December 2010. The long-tail of small publishers limits the ability of OA publishing to take advantage of economies of scale. "All these elements suggest that small–scale operation of OA publishing is economically inefficient, and that OA publishing best be organized in larger publishing institutions."
    • See William H. Walters and Anne Linvill, Characteristics of Open Access Journals in Six Subject Areas, College and Research Libraries, May 2011. "[T]he largest [OA journal] publishes more than 2,700 articles per year, but half publish 25 or fewer....Overall, the OA journal landscape is greatly influenced by a few key publishers and journals."
  • At p. 52-53: For clarity, read the terminology box on p. 53 before starting Section 3.1 on p. 52.
  • At pp. 54-55, I say, "One of the early victories of the OA movement was to get a majority of toll-access publishers and journals to give blanket permission for author-initiated green OA. But this victory remains one of the best-kept secrets of scholarly publishing, and widespread ignorance of it is the single most harmful consequence of green OA's invisibility." Add this note.
    • See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI, which made recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. Recommendation 1.7: "Publishers who do not provide OA should at least permit it through their formal publishing agreements....The minority of subscription-based publishers who do not yet allow author-initiated green OA, without payment or embargo, should adopt the majority position."
  • At p. 57, I say, "[S]cholars who regularly read research in a...disciplinary repository, such as arXiv for physics or PubMed Central for medicine, readily grasp the rationale for depositing their work in OA repositories...." Add this note.
    • See my Predictions for 2008, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, December 2, 2007: "I predict that the rate of spontaneous self-archiving will start to rise significantly when the volume of OA literature on deposit in repositories reaches a critical mass. The mass will be critical when researchers routinely search repositories, or routinely find what they seek in repositories. Only by using repositories as readers will they appreciate the value of using them as authors. For now, this critical mass exists for the largest disciplinary repositories, such as arXiv and PubMed Central. We shouldn't expect it to exist for any single institutional repository, since researchers search for literature by topic or field, not by institution. But we can expect a critical mass to develop for the network of institutional repositories....[S]cholars who find articles in repositories must be led to realize that they are finding them in repositories. They need to see and credit the role of the repositories, not just the role of Google or OAIster or the search engine that brought them there."
  • At p. 58, I refer to the fear that self-archiving is time-consuming. But there is evidence to answer these fears. Add these notes.
    • See Leslie Carr and Stevan Harnad, Keystroke Economy: A Study of the Time and Effort Involved in Self-Archiving, Working Paper, University of Southampton, March 15, 2005 (Last Modified, March 2, 2012). Two months of log activity at an active institutional repository showed that "The median time for metadata entry is 5 minutes and 37 seconds per paper. The average is 10 minutes 40 seconds owing to the long tail of the distribution....A researcher who writes one paper per month would accordingly find themselves (or their designees) spending an average of...about 39 minutes per year in metadata entry tasks related to self-archiving." For a later version of the same study, see Leslie Carr, Stevan Harnad, and Alma Swan, A Longitudinal Study of the Practice of Self-Archiving, Working Paper, University of Southampton, April 20, 2007 (Last Modified, March 2, 2012).
    • See Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown, Open access self-archiving: An author study, Technical Report, University of Southampton, June 6, 2005. "Authors have frequently expressed reluctance to self-archive because of the perceived time required and possible technical difficulties in carrying out this activity, yet findings here show that only 20% of authors found some degree of difficulty with the first act of depositing an article in a repository, and that this dropped to 9% for subsequent deposits."
    • Also see the Survey on open access in FP7, European Commission, 2012. At p. 5: "The majority of respondents find it easy or very easy to have time or manpower to self-archive peer-reviewed articles...."
  • At p. 65, I conclude my argument that we should pursue green and gold OA simultaneously. Add these notes.
    • For recent research on the relative proportions of green and gold OA in the natural sciences, broken down by field, see Bo-Christer Björk et al., "Open Access to the Scientific Journal Literature: Situation 2009," PLoS ONE, June 2010, especially Figure 4. Gold exceeds green in medicine, biology, and biochemistry, and green exceeds gold in every other field covered.
    • See Yassine Gargouri et al., Green and Gold Open Access Percentages and Growth, by Discipline, Working Paper, University of Southampton, June 16, 2012. "We compared the percent and growth rate of Green and Gold OA for 14 disciplines in two random samples of 1300 articles per discipline out of the 12,500 journals indexed by Thomson-Reuters-ISI using a robot that trawled the web for OA full-texts. We sampled in 2009 and 2011 for publication year ranges 1998-2006 and 2005-2010, respectively. Green OA (21.4%) exceeds Gold OA (2.4%) in proportion and growth rate in all but the biomedical disciplines....The spontaneous overall OA growth rate is still very slow (about 1% per year). If institutions make Green OA self-archiving mandatory, however, it triples percent Green OA as well as accelerating its growth rate."
    • See my article, Tectonic movements toward OA in the UK and Europe, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, September 2, 2012, in which I reaffirm my support for green and gold OA, as complementary, but criticize the Finch Report and new OA policy at the Research Councils UK (RCUK) for failing to take full advantage of green. "I'm not recommending a green-only policy. I support gold OA and I support paying for it. I acknowledge that (today) gold makes it easier than green to eliminate embargoes and ensure libre OA, and I strongly want to eliminate embargoes and ensure libre. More, I supporting demanding immediate libre OA in exchange for paying any part of the cost of publication. Green and gold are complementary, and I support a dual or mixed policy in order to get the advantages of each. My summary objection to the Finch recommendations and current RCUK policy is that they don't take sufficient advantage of green and, in the case of the Finch report, do not even acknowledge the advantages of green. As a result, the current RCUK/Finch policy will likely pay more than necessary, make the transition slower than necessary, leave a regrettable percentage of publicly-funded research non-OA, and put the business interests of publishers ahead of the access interests of researchers."
  • At p. 69, I recommend CC-BY licenses for OA research, and mention some other organizations and initiatives that do so as well. Add this note.
  • At pp. 72-73, I point out that most OA journals fail to offer libre OA. Add these notes.
    • See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI with recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. See esp. the second bullet of recommendation 2.1: "OA journals are always in a position to require open licenses, yet most of them do not yet take advantage of the opportunity. We recommend CC-BY for all OA journals."
    • Also see my article, The rise of libre open access, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, June 2, 2012. "The failure of 70% OA journals to offer any kind of open license is an embarrassment. It shows that most OA journals don't understand the benefits of libre OA, don't understand their own power to assure it, or both."
  • At p. 73, I discuss the tactical mistakes of demanding "libre or nothing" when libre may be unattainable, and settling for gratis OA when libre is attainable. Add this note.
    • See the third bullet to Recommendation 2.1 of the BOAI-10 statement, September 12, 2012: "In developing strategy and setting priorities, we recognize that gratis access is better than priced access, libre access is better than gratis access, and libre under CC-BY or the equivalent is better than libre under more restrictive open licenses. We should achieve what we can when we can. We should not delay achieving gratis in order to achieve libre, and we should not stop with gratis when we can achieve libre."

Chapter 4: Policies

  • At p. 78, I start discussing OA policies at universities and funding agencies. Add this note.
    • See the ten-year anniversary statement from the Budapest Open Access Initiative, with recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. Recommendation 1.1 calls for an OA policy at every university: "Every institution of higher education should have a policy assuring that peer-reviewed versions of all future scholarly articles by faculty members are deposited in the institution’s designated repository...." Recommendation 1.3 calls for an OA policy at every funding agency: "Every research funding agency, public or private, should have a policy assuring that peer-reviewed versions of all future scholarly articles reporting funded research are deposited in a suitable repository and made OA as soon as practicable."
  • At p. 78, I say that about one-quarter of peer-reviewed journals are OA. Here add an update and a note.
    • Update: By the time the book came out, the fraction was closer to one-third. In the book, I used the common industry estimate that there are about 25,000 peer-reviewed scholarly journals in all fields and languages. As of July 28, 2012, the Directory of Open Access Journals listed 8,000 peer-reviewed OA journals. Using the original estimate for the total number of peer-reviewed OA journals, this means that 32% of the total were OA in July 2012.
    • Note: It's very difficult to get an accurate number for the total number of peer-reviewed journals in all fields and languages. 25k is still the most commonly used industry estimate. However, even limiting the count to titles indexed in Ulrich's, the number is now closer to 28k. See the discussion thread on this question at LibLicense in August 2012. (If we use 28k as the total number of peer-reviewed journals, then in July 2012, 28% were OA.) Moreover, there are reasons to think the Ulrich list is itself incomplete. See for example Jack Meadows, "The Growth of Journal Literature: A Historical perspective," in Blaise Cronin and Helen Barsky Atkins (eds.), The Web of Science. A Festschrift in Honor of Eugene Garfield, ASIS&T Monograph Series, 2000, pp. 87-107. In 1987, Meadows estimated that there were 71k peer-reviewed journals worldwide. (Thanks to Jean-Claude Guédon for the reference to Meadows.)
  • At p. 79, I say that there are no gold OA mandates. But several have been proposed.
    • In May 2006, Academy of Science of South Africa proposed a policy that would pay for gold OA, build the infrastructure for green OA, but stop short of mandating green OA. The original report is now offline, but I quoted relevant excerpts in my blog post at the time. "[T]he Department of Science and Technology [should take] responsibility for ensuring that Open Access initiatives are promoted to enhance the visibility of all South African research articles and to make them accessible to the entire international research community. Specifically: online, open access (“Gold route”) versions of South African research journals should be funded...." (My post praises the willingness to fund gold, but criticizes the unwillingness to mandate green.)
    • In March 2007, Australia's Productivity Commission proposed a gold OA mandate. The press release, report, and overview have been taken offline, but I quoted the relevant language in my blog post at the time. "A concern with mandating open access is that it would reduce the incentives for subscribers to pay for conventional journal access and, in turn, the incentives for publishers to supply journals. Mandated access would, therefore, be likely to require a new payment mechanism to elicit sufficient publishing services such as through the direct subsidisation of providers or of authors. Among the possible payment mechanisms, the Commission prefers an 'author pays' approach...." (My post includes criticism of the proposal.)
    • In a November 2009 interview, Henk Schmidt, Rector of Erasmus University Rotterdam, described his plans to require OA, with a preference for gold over green. "I intend obliging our researchers to circulate their articles publicly, for example no more than six months after publication. I’m aiming for 2011, if possible in collaboration with publishers via the 'Golden Road' and otherwise without the publishers via the 'Green Road'." In September 2010, he announced the school's new OA policy, which is green.
    • In January 2011 talk, J.J. Engelen, Chairman of the Governing Board of the primary public research funder in the Netherlands (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, or NWO), described his preference for a future gold OA policy. "These goals of scientic publishing are best reached by means of an open access publishing business model....Open access publishing should become a requirement for publicly funded research. In order to make open access publishing a success, the enthusiastic cooperation of the professional publishing companies active on the scientific market is highly desirable." (The talk was later published.)
    • In July 2012, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) published AusAID Research Strategy 2012–16, containing a new OA policy which could be construed as a gold OA mandate. From p. 1: "In support of the transparency agenda in the Government's aid policy we will: ...require researchers to publish in open access journals, or make pre-publication versions of their work available." The word "or" in the final clause might mean that if grantees provide (green) OA to their preprints, then they needn't publish in OA journals. So far I have not been able to determine how AusAID interprets that sentence. Also see my blog post on the policy.
    • In July 2012, the Research Councils UK announced a new OA mandate favoring gold over green, and the UK government accepted the recommendations of the Finch Group to the same effect. For analysis and critique, including some discussion of the sense in which they are and are not gold OA mandates, see my article, Tectonic movements toward OA in the UK and Europe, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, September 2, 2012. "The RCUK policy is not a gold OA mandate, or not a simple one, because in some circumstances it can be satisfied with green. But it deliberately steers authors toward OA journals and in that sense approaches a gold OA mandate. When the author's journal offers no suitable green option, the policy becomes a definite gold OA mandate. (Moreover, it's a gold policy with incentives for journals not to offer suitable green green options....)"
  • At p. 80, I start discussing rights-retention mandates. It should be clear from the text, and from many of my previous writings, that this is the model I favor. I reiterated and elaborated my position in October 2012 when Stuart Shieber and I released the first version of our guide to Good practices for university open-access policies. The guide distinguishes six kinds of policy, unlike the book which only distinguishes four. It explicitly recommends rights-retention policies with waiver options, and explains why that model is preferable to other models.
  • At p. 81, endnote 7 (note text at pp. 194). At the end of this note, I cite Frankel and Nestor's 2010 legal analysis showing that Harvard-style rights-retention policies successfully avoid copyright problems.
  • At p. 84, line 13. Correction. "...journal are..." should be "...journals are...."
  • At p. 86, endnote 12 (note text at pp. 195-196).
    • At p. 196, line 4. Correction. " the institutional review..." should be " the institutional repository...."
    • In July 2012, the Catholic University of Louvain strengthened its OA mandate from July 2008 to follow the promotion, tenure, and internal funding incentives used at the University of Liege. When the new Louvain policy takes effect on January 1, 2013, "the Academic Council will only consider duly deposited publications in its internal research performance evaluations and that deposit will also be one of the criteria in the allocation of institutional research funds."
  • At p. 89, endnote 16 (note text at pp. 196-197). Here I'm documenting the claim that "Alma Swan's empirical studies of researcher attitudes show that an overwhelming majority of researchers would 'willingly' comply with a mandatory OA policy from their funder or employer." Add a note.
    • A May 2011 survey from the European Commission shows similar researcher attitudes toward open data mandates. See Survey on open access in FP7, European Commission, 2012, p. 7. "Three quarters of those respondents with an opinion would agree or strongly agree with an open access mandate for data in their research area, providing that all relevant aspects (e.g. ethics, confidentiality, intellectual property) have been considered and addressed....Only a small number of respondents, 13 %, have no opinion on the question."
  • At p. 93 endnote 20 (note text at pp. 197-199). Here I list some examples of libre green OA. I list and discuss many more in The rise of libre open access, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, June 2, 2012.
  • At pp. 94-95, I argue that policy-makers should watch for the moment when they could strengthen green gratis OA policies into green libre policies. Add this note.
    • See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI, which made recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. Recommendation 2.1, first bullet: "OA repositories typically depend on permissions from others, such as authors or publishers, and are rarely in a position to require open licenses. However, policy makers in a position to direct deposits into repositories should require open licenses, preferably CC-BY, when they can."

Chapter 5: Scope

  • At p. 105, endnote 4 (note text at pp. 199-200). Here I'm citing research showing that "[w]hile...fears [that making a thesis or dissertation OA will reduce the odds that a journal will publish an article length version] are sometimes justified, the evidence suggests that in most cases they are not." Add this note.
  • At p. 117, endnote 17 (note text at p. 204). Here I'm citing research showing demand among lay readers for access to cutting-edge medical research. Add this note.
    • See the Congressional testimony of David Lipman, Director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, July 29, 2010: "Last year, 99% of the articles in PubMed Central were downloaded at least once, and 28% were downloaded more than 100 times. Although we can collect only aggregated information about users of PubMed Central, we can infer they represent a mix of people from the education and business sectors, as well as private citizens. Based on the type of Internet domain from which they access PubMed Central (e.g., .com, .edu, .net, .gov), we estimate that approximately 25% of our users are from universities, 40% are private citizens or those using personal Internet accounts, and 17% are from companies (the remainder consists of government users or others). These kinds of numbers support the notion that PubMed Central has become a broad-based repository for researchers, students, clinicians, entrepreneurs, patients and their families."

Chapter 6: Copyright

  • At p. 128, I argue that the OA policy at the NIH does not violate copyright. Add this note.
    • See the video of my April 9, 2012, debate at Harvard Law School with Mark Seeley, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Elsevier. At roughly minute 8, Seeley concedes that the NIH policy, and similar OA policies, do not infringe copyrights. At minutes 16 and 18 we pick up that question again for clarification and more explicit discussion. Also see my blog post on the debate, which includes comments from Seeley and my replies.
  • At p. 128, line 22. Correction. "One of practical..." should be "One of the practical...."

Chapter 7: Economics

  • At p. 133, endnote 2 (note text at pp. 207-208). Here I'm citing research showing that the economic benefits of OA far exceed the costs.
    • See the May 2011 report, Economic Impact of the Human Genome Project, from the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. Quoting the press summary (May 11, 2011): "The $3.8 billion the U.S. government invested in the Human Genome Project (HGP) from 1988 to 2003 helped drive $796 billion in economic impact and the generation of $244 billion in total personal income, according to a study released today by Battelle. In 2010 alone, the human genome sequencing projects and associated genomics research and industry activity directly and indirectly generated $67 billion in U.S. economic output and supported 310,000 jobs that produced $20 billion in personal income. The genomics-enabled industry also provided $3.7 billion in federal taxes during 2010."
  • At p. 136, I introduce the distinction between fee-based and no-fee OA journals. Add this note.
    • While most OA journals fall into the no-fee category (Chapter 7, endnote 8), the fee-based OA category is growing faster than the no-fee category. See Mikael Laakso and Bo-Christer Björk, Anatomy of open access publishing: a study of longitudinal development and internal structure, BMC Medicine, October 22, 2012: "Journals with author-processing charges have seen breakout growth during the last three years, going from 80,700 articles in 2009 to 166,700 articles in 2011." Also see Figure 2 for a graphic representation of the growth of OA journals from 2000 to 2011, broken down by business-model category.
  • At p. 143, line 11. Correction. "...alone is has..." should be "...alone has...."
  • At p. 145, lines 8-9. Correction. "...redirect money we're currently spending on peer-reviewed journals." should be "...redirect money we're currently spending on peer-reviewed toll-access journals."

Chapter 8: Casualties

  • At p. 151, endnote 2 (note text at p. 215). For "Alma Swan's interview with the APS and IOP in which 'both societies said they could not identify any losses of subscriptions' due to OA archiving", please replace, which is no longer valid, with
  • At p. 152, endnote 4 (note text at pp. 215-216). Here I'm documenting the assertion that, "At Congressional hearings in 2008 and 2010, legislators asked publishers directly whether green OA was triggering cancellations. In both cases publishers pointed to decreased downloads but not to increased cancellations."
    • The pattern continued in a third Congressional hearing on OA on March 29, 2012. The hearing was titled, "Federally Funded Research: Examining Public Access and Scholarly Publication Interests," and held by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. From the SPARC summary of one part of the Q&A: "Rep. Zoe Lofgren, (D-CA), noting that the NIH Public Access has now been in place for nearly four years, challenged the publishers assertions that they would be financially harmed by FPRAA, and asked if any data demonstrating financial harm to publishers could be presented by any of the panelists. None was provided."
  • At p. 157, I start a subsection called "Some studies bear on the question of whether increased OA archiving [green OA] will increase journal cancellations." Here's a new study for that section.
    • The large-scale PEER study released its final report on June 18, 2012. The study was coordinated by the International Association of Science, Technical and Medical Publishers. From the final report: "PEER (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research), supported by the EC eContentplus programme, has been investigating the potential effects of the large-scale, systematic depositing of authors' final peer-reviewed manuscripts (so called Green Open Access or stage-two research output) on reader access, author visibility, and journal viability, as well as on the broader ecology of European research. The project ran from 1 September 2008 – 31 May 2012...." As summarized by Norbert Lossau, Scientific Coordinator of OpenAIRE and member of the PEER Executive Committee, "the economic research of the PEER project could not find any evidence for the hypothesis that self-archiving affects journal viability."
  • At pp. 160-161, I say, "If publishers acknowledge that gold OA can be sustainable, and even profitable, and merely wish to avoid making lower margins than they make today, then their objection takes on a very different color. They're not at risk of insolvency, just reduced profits, and they're not asserting a need for self-protection, just an entitlement to current levels of profit. There's no reason for public funding agencies acting in the public interest, or private funders acting for charitable purposes, to compromise their missions in order to satisfy this sense of publisher entitlement." Add this note:
    • See Robert Heinlein, "Life-Line," 1939: "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."
  • At p. 161, I say, "Even if green OA does eventually threaten toll-access journal subscriptions, green OA policies are still justified." Add these notes.
    • I elaborated this point in an article in the SPARC Open Access Newsletter for September 2012: "If rising levels of green OA do start to cause cancellations, for example, in fields outside physics, then we can decide what to do about it. We can act in light of the evidence, whatever it turns out to be. We can weigh the demonstrable degree of harm to publishers against the demonstrable degree of benefit to research, researchers, research institutions, and taxpayers. We can see to what extent the publishers experiencing cancellations are doing their best to adapt to the opportunities of the digital age, and to what extent they are laggards at adaptation who deserve no public assistance, especially at the expense of researchers and taxpayers. In short, we needn't let fear of harm serve as evidence of harm, and we needn't assume without discussion that even evidence of harm to subscription publishers would justify compromising the public interest in public access to publicly-funded research. Policy-makers must take seriously the argument that green OA mandates could be justified even if they do eventually cause cancellations. The case for this 'even if' argument can be long or short. It's essentially the argument for OA itself....[I]t's also the argument that public agencies should put the public interest ahead of private interests....But in either form, the argument is essential to avoid the mistake of letting public agencies make insurance for publishers a higher priority than access to publicly-funded research."
    • Apart from the continuing justification for OA, we would face what I've called the disentangling problem. See my Predictions for 2008, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, December 2, 2007: "[E]ven if subscriptions fall as OA archiving rises, it will be difficult to disentangle the cancellations caused by OA from the cancellations caused by natural attrition and librarian triage. Some part of the cancellations will be due to unbearable prices and onerous licensing terms....The disentangling problem will be aggravated by the fact that journals respond to cancellations by raising their prices, triggering new cancellations, and we already know (from the ALPSP study in March 2006) that high prices cause many more cancellations than OA archiving."

Chapter 9: Future

  • At p. 165, I say, "Time itself has reduced the panic-induced misunderstandings of OA." Add this note.
    • See my Predictions for 2008, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, December 2, 2007. After listing several OA initiatives from publishers formerly opposed to OA, I predict more of the same: "Some of these OA projects will be motivated by fear of OA and the desire to prepare for it. But some will be motivated, in effect, by the decline in fear. We're entering the post-panic period of the OA revolution, and as panic subsides, more and more former opponents will be willing to acknowledge the virtues of OA and try to benefit from them. It will be easier see nuance, rather than undifferentiated menace, and recognize that some variations on the theme may fit a given publisher's plans and research niche even if other variations do not."

Chapter 10: Self-Help

  • I restated many of the points from this chapter in a public talk at the Berkman Center, October 23, 2012. See the online handout I wrote to accompany the talk.
  • At p. 170, I say, "[A]bout 30 percent of OA journals charge author-side fees and about half the articles published in OA journals appear in those fee-based journals." Add these notes.


  • Add new entry: Students, 73, 174. See also Theses and dissertations.
  • Add new entry: Terry, Sharon, 204-205
  • Toll-access (or conventional) journals and publishers.
    • Add new sub-entry: Right to refuse to publish any work for any reason, 126-128
  • Add new entry: Translation, 27, 74