Poynder, Richard and Harnad, Stevan
OA advocate Stevan Harnad withdraws support for RCUK policy
Open and Shut, Summer Issue
When on July 16th Research Councils UK (RCUK) published its updated Policy on Access to Research Outputs the Open Access (OA) movement greeted the news with enthusiasm. This was hardly surprising: unlike the recommendations in the controversial Finch Report (published a month earlier), RCUK stressed that it continues to view both gold OA publishing and green OA self-archiving as equal partners in any OA policy. One of the first to applaud the new policy was long-standing OA advocate, and self-styled archivangelist, Stevan Harnad. The minute the report was published a relieved Harnad began flooding mailing lists with messages congratulating RCUK on coming up with a policy that not only defied Finch, but was stronger than its current OA policy. But as Harnad set about talking up the policy, and seeking to win over sceptics and doubters, he himself began to have doubts. And eventually he was driven to the conclusion that he had no option but to withdraw his support for the RCUK policy — which he now characterises as “autistic”, and a “foolish, wasteful and counterproductive step backwards”. How has what at first sight seemed so desirable rapidly become something terrible? Curious to find out, I contacted Harnad. Below I publish the email interview that emerged from our conversation.
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