Stanford – Promoting open access while selling access to "closed" journals

Some people may have seen the press Stanford got a few weeks ago regarding the Open Access initiative of their School of Education. For some more information on this see

  • Stanford’s Education School Requires Open Access
  • Stanford University School of Education’s Open Access Mandate—Harvard Medical School Next?
  • Science Commons » Blog Archive » A new open access mandate at Stanford
  • Certainly sounds like a good move on their part. And then I got an interesting thing in the mail from the Stanford Alumni Association (I earned my PhD from Stanford) trying to get me to join the association (see letter below). What was the selling point? If I joined I would get access to newspapers, periodicals and even scientific journals, through their library. So Stanford is all for OA in some places. But while they have access to closed journals, they will use that as a recruitment tool to join the Alumni Association. Seems to me like a better way to push for Open Access would be for all of Stanford to take the School of Education’s position and for the university to immediately cancel all subscriptions to completely closed access journals.

    Author: Jonathan Eisen

    I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

    4 thoughts on “Stanford – Promoting open access while selling access to "closed" journals”

    1. <>Seems to me like a better way to push for Open Access would be for all of Stanford to take the School of Education’s position and for the university to immediately cancel all subscriptions to completely closed access journals.<>But the motive of the alumni association is to get you to join (and then make for feel guilty for not giving even more money — I know these alumni associations…).Not only would going all Open Access deprive the association of a benefit to entice people to join (since they could access the journals anyway), going open access would save Stanford so much money that alumni wouldn’t feel as guilty about not giving money.


    2. <> Giving Stanford the Wrong Advice<>First things first! Stanford canceling its journal subscriptions today would be absolutely absurd. It would immediately cut off access of Stanford researchers and students to most peer-reviewed research. That is the worst possible advice we could give anyone, in the name of open access! Stanford is doing exactly the right thing in mandating open access for its own research output, by mandating that it be self-archived. The only advice to be given Stanford is (1) that they should extend the mandate from the School of Education to the entire university and (2) they should < HREF="
      ” REL=”nofollow”>correct the small but crucial bug in the Harvard mandate model<> that they have adopted (rights-retention with opt-out) by adding an immediate deposit clause, without opt-out (and the option to make the deposit Closed Access during the embargo):


    3. This is one cool stuff, if you are interested in reading manually annotated sentences and facts for any abstract of your interest- then you must try this service Xtractor its absolutely free – http://www.xtractor.inXTractor is the first of its kind – Literature alert service, that provides manually curated and annotated sentences for the Keywords of user preference. XTractor maps the extracted entities (genes, processes, drugs, diseases etc) to multiple ontologies and enables customized report generation. With XTractor the sentences are categorized into biological significant relationships and it also provides the user with the ability to create his own database for a set of Key terms. Also the user could change the Keywords of preference from time to time, with changing research needs. The categorized sentences could then be tagged and shared across multiple users. Thus XTractor proves to be a platform for getting real-time highly accurate data along with the ability to Share and collaborate.


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