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The "Subversive Proposal" was an Internet posting by Stevan Harnad on June 27 1994 calling on all authors of "esoteric" writings -- written only for research impact, not for royalty income -- to archive them free for all online (in anonymous FTP archives or websites).

It initiated a series of online exchanges, many of which were collected and published as a book in 1995: Ann Okerson & James O'Donnell (Eds.) Scholarly Journals at the Crossroads: A Subversive Proposal for Electronic Publishing. Washington, DC., Association of Research Libraries, June 1995.

This led to the creation in 1997 of Cogprints, an Open Access Archive for self-archived articles in the Cognitive Sciences and in 1998 to the creation of the American Scientist Open Access Forum (initially called the "September98 Forum" until the foundation of the Budapest Open Access Initiative which first coined the term "Open Access"). The GNU Eprints software for creating OAI-compliant Open Access Institutional Repositories also evolved out of the Subversive Proposal.

The "Subversive Proposal" was in many ways naive and had many flaws, corrected one by one along the way, and summarized in the American Scientist Open Access Forum on its 10th anniversary: "June 27 2004: The 1994 'Subversive Proposal' at 10". A retrospective was also written by Richard Poynder: "Ten Years After" Information Today 21(9) October 1 2004

References:

Bosc, Helène Les idées et la technique : une rétrospective de ces 15 dernières années

Harnad, Stevan (2001/2003/2004) For Whom the Gate Tolls? Published as: (2003) Open Access to Peer-Reviewed Research Through Author/Institution Self-Archiving: Maximizing Research Impact by Maximizing Online Access. In: Law, Derek & Judith Andrews, Eds. Digital Libraries: Policy Planning and Practice. Ashgate Publishing 2003. (2003) Journal of Postgraduate Medicine 49: 337-342. and in: (2004) Historical Social Research (HSR) 29:1 (2003) Ciélographie et ciélolexie: Anomalie post-gutenbergienne et comment la résoudre. In: Origgi, G. & Arikha, N. (eds) Le texte à l'heure de l'Internet. Bibliotheque Centre Pompidou: Pp. 77-103.

Suber, Peter Timeline of the Open Access Movement

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