Not convinced?

For many of us, a guiding principle is that taxpayers and students paid for our research, so they ought to be able to read it. I don’t see any insurmountable obstacles remaining to achieve open access for almost all academic research. But progress toward that goal has been slow. For the reasons given above, the pledge would accelerate progress.

Arriving at this version of the pledge has been a struggle. Every researcher has their own priorities and constraints. I’ve tried to create a pledge that lots can sign onto, while still including a specific concrete commitment rather than just things like I will attempt to… or I will try to… The hoped-for result is a mass of people having made a specific commitment, which might make more of a splash than a vague pledge. So I hope you’ll sign on even if something best for you would be broader or have different emphasis.

There are many ways to support open access. One good step is ensuring that even the content of your closed-journal papers are freely accessible, and on a official website indexed systematically by academic search engines. Deposit the final draft of your articles (this version is owned by you even if you sign away copyright of a journal’s typeset version) in your institution’s repository. Stevan Harnad explains in this presentation.

2 thoughts on “Not convinced?


    Pledges have been signed before (e.g., by 34,000 biologists in 2001: ).

    OA pledges are hollow if they are signed by authors who do not themselves provide OA to their own articles.

    So before you sign a pledge, self-archive all your own articles in your institutional repository (green OA). That will prove you really mean it.

    And while you’re at it, lobby your institutions as well as your funder to mandate that all their other employees and fundees provide OA too.

    (By the way, it’s not quite true that ” the final draft of your articles… is owned by you even if you sign away copyright of a journal’s typeset version.” But that is indeed the version that has the fewest publisher restrictions on it. Over 60% of journals — including virtually all the top journals in every field — already endorse authors providing green OA to that version immediately upon acceptance for publication. But all papers can and should be deposited immediately upon acceptance, even if the author elects to comply with a publisher embargo on OA: They can deposit it as Closed Access during the embargo, and rely on the repository’s semi-automaic “email eprint request” button to provide “Almost-OA” during the embargo. So mandates can require immediate deposit of all articles, whether or not the publisher has endorsed immediate OA.)

    Universal deposit mandates are by far the most likely to bring universal OA. OA pledges are supplements to this strategy, not substitutes for it.

    Stevan Harnad
    EnablingOpenScholarship (EOS)

    • This website was designed to fill a gap, and so is dedicated to only one element of the effort, and doesn’t give the whole picture. Thanks for posting these important points that help balance the picture here, and the correction to the copyright point (I’ll edit the original to try to fix it). Personally I agree everyone should self-archive and lobby your institution and funder to mandate self-archiving.

      It’s interesting that the original PLoS pledgers evidently didn’t keep their OA pledges- I wonder how much of that is because of a lack of viable open-access outlets 10 years ago? Another factor is that the pledge was perhaps overly strong, requiring pledgers to review only for OA journals and also submit only to OA journals- even when OA journals are available, submissions intentions often founder on the conflicting needs of one’s co-authors. I am confident I can keep the pledge here, and its effect will be positive, although the size of the effect is hard to estimate and may be small. Certainly mandates will usually have bigger effects.