Volume 15 Number 11/12
To the Editor
This letter was received by D-Lib Magazine in late October. It is a hypothetical dialogue that might occur between an author and an open access consultant.
To the Editor:
October 24, 2009
Dialog on the Green road to Open Access.
As imagined by Leo Waaijers, Open Access consultant, October 2009
Author A following the Green road to OA encounters "roadworker"
A: Hello, L. This morning my publisher has let me know that my manuscript has been accepted for publication in his journal.
L: Congratulations, A.
A: Now he wants me to assign my copyrights to him first.
L: That's quite classical.
A: But my funder has mandated that I deposit my manuscript in an institutional repository from where it will be circulated openly over the internet after half a year. I am not sure if my publisher will approve this.
L: You may be able to find out about that on a web site called RoMeo. For about 10.000 journals RoMeo gives an overview of what publishers will allow you to do.
A: But what if it turns out that my publisher seems less permissive or my journal is not on the list?
L: Maybe your funder has included an opt-out clause for this situation. Most of the so-called mandates do have such a clause.
A: The mandate of my funder seems quite rigorous.
L: In that case, don't assign your copyrights and write a letter to your publisher instead.
A: A letter?
L: It's not so difficult. The European Commission has drafted such letters in all European languages on their Open Access web site.
A: What if my publisher denies my request?
L: Then you have to look for another publisher.
A: Oh my God!
L: Well, I have never heard of a publisher refusing.
A: Thank goodness. And then?
L: Sign the copyright transfer and deposit your article.
A: That's it?
L: Yes, that's it. But don't forget to mention the half-year embargo period.
A: OK. Thanks.
L: My pleasure.
A walks on but returns after a few steps.
A: By the way, L. How can people find my publication during the embargo period?
L: Its metadata will be circulated over the internet.
A: What happens if someone wants to read it during this period?
L: She may request that you send her a copy.
A: So, that may generate extra readers for my publication?
A: And extra citations?
L: Yes, could be.
A: And extra prestige?
L: Well, it depends.
A: What do you mean?
L: Prestige comes from citation indexes like Web of Science or Scopus. Make sure that all citations of your publication culminate there.
L: Make sure that the official title, the journal issue and page numbers of the published version of your article are tagged to the manuscript that is in the repository. Then your repository could facilitate things so that these data are used for references in articles by others. You might check to see if they have a policy on that.
A: Hmm... And after the embargo period. What happens then?
L: Then both versions of your publication will be available. The official one only for those who work at institutes that can afford a subscription, and your manuscript for everybody.
A: Are these versions identical?
L: No, certainly not. But, as regards content, most differences are trivial and you can always incorporate any ultimate editorial correction in your manuscript afterwards.
A: Thus creating a third version let's say the post-post-print?
L: Yes, if you wish so.
A: And the reuse conditions of the versions may be different?
L: Yes, they probably will be. Usually, the reuse conditions of your manuscript are not very well defined.
A: Is it old fashioned if I feel a bit nervous about all this?
L: Some people might say so.
A: Well, I'll entertain the situation. Thank you very much. Good day, L.
L: Bon voyage, A.
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