'Open access' for the rich only

January 9, 2004

The article "Call to put research free on websites" ( THES , Dec 19/26) is welcome, but it repeated the most frequent misunderstanding of open-access self-archiving - a persistent error that keeps slowing our progress towards open access. What I recommended to the Commons science and technology committee inquiry on scientific publications was that all UK researchers should provide open access to their research publications by self-archiving in addition to publishing them in peer-reviewed journals (not instead of publishing them) so as to maximise their usage and impact (and hence their benefits to the taxpayers). Self-archiving is a supplement to peer-reviewed journal publication, not a substitute for it.

Stevan Harnad
Professor of cognitive science
University of Southampton

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