Pioneering open-access pledges

How can we reduce the ability of publishers to charge exorbitant fees to read articles we give them for free? This situation drains university budgets and prevents public access to scientific information.

One of many things we can do is referee manuscripts only for open-access journals. Another is to only publish in open-access journals. I’m trying to organize some kind of group pledge to make a stand on one of these or both. Let me know if you’re interested in joining. There are some complications in making a pledge that I’ll write about later. For now, I wanted to point people towards the real pioneers in this area.

Peter Suber, who has long chronicled and championed open access efforts, sent me some notes regarding previous pledges by individuals to support open access. I have pasted these notes below.

I find two kinds of individual OA pledges. In one, researchers pledge to make their own work OA, and in the other researchers pledge only to serve as referees for OA journals. Here are some examples of each:

* author pledges

–PLoS letter; originally a March 2001 letter to the editor of Science; here’s an archived copy and the signatures

Larry Lessig’s pledge (his original March 2005 post is offline, but here’s my post about it)

–Science Commons, Open Access Law: Author Pledge (June 2005)
–the signature link is now dead

Danah Boyd (February 2008; also see my comment on it)

–Open Access Philosophy pledge (June 2008)

* referee pledges

–PLoS letter (above)

Ted Bergstrom (2001)

Nick Montfort (December 2007) (also see the many comments)

–Chris Kelty; mentioned in this March 2008 blog post but no precise reference or deep link

Martin Weller (June 2010)

Michael Rees (June 2010) (following Martin Weller)

There are also some institutional pledges in which the faculty apparently don’t have the votes for a strong OA policy and vote for a pledge to make their work OA whenever possible. I’ve omitted them here, but could easily send a separate list.

UPDATE 12 Jan 2012: I’ve made a better list and added more pledgers here, which provides a webtool for you to make your own pledge.

[From Peter Suber]

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2 thoughts on “Pioneering open-access pledges

  1. Great ideas – what about pledging to limit our services as editors and encouraging article submissions to open access journals?

  2. [...] I know about are individual blogs stating personal pledges (like danah boyd’s or others linked here) or blanket statements inviting signatories (like Research Without Walls). The problem with the [...]

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