Wednesday, December 17. 2014
Steven Hill of HEFCE has posted “an overview of the work HEFCE are currently commissioning which they are hoping will build a robust evidence base for research assessment” in LSE Impact Blog 12(17) 2014 entitled Time for REFlection: HEFCE look ahead to provide rounded evaluation of the REF
Let me add a suggestion, updated for REF2014, that I have made before (unheeded):
Scientometric predictors of research performance need to be validated by showing that they have a high correlation with the external criterion they are trying to predict. The UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) -- together with the growing movement toward making the full-texts of research articles freely available on the web -- offer a unique opportunity to test and validate a wealth of old and new scientometric predictors, through multiple regression analysis: Publications, journal impact factors, citations, co-citations, citation chronometrics (age, growth, latency to peak, decay rate), hub/authority scores, h-index, prior funding, student counts, co-authorship scores, endogamy/exogamy, textual proximity, download/co-downloads and their chronometrics, tweets, tags, etc.) can all be tested and validated jointly, discipline by discipline, against their REF panel rankings in REF2014. The weights of each predictor can be calibrated to maximize the joint correlation with the rankings. Open Access Scientometrics will provide powerful new means of navigating, evaluating, predicting and analyzing the growing Open Access database, as well as powerful incentives for making it grow faster.
Harnad, S. (2009) Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise. Scientometrics 79 (1)
(Also in Proceedings of 11th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics 11(1), pp. 27-33, Madrid, Spain. Torres-Salinas, D. and Moed, H. F., Eds. 2007)
The Only Substitute for Metrics is Better Metrics (2014)
On Metrics and Metaphysics (2008)
REF2014 gives the 2014 institutional and departmental rankings based on the 4 outputs submitted.
That is then the criterion against which the many other metrics I list below can be jointly validated, through multiple regression, to initialize their weights for REF2020, as well as for other assessments. In fact, open access metrics can be — and will be — continuously assessed, as open access grows. And as the initialized weights of the metric equation (per discipline) are optimized for predictive power, the metric equation can replace the peer rankings (except for periodic cross-checks and updates) -- or at least supplement it.
Single metrics can be abused, but not only can abuses be named and shamed when detected, but it becomes harder to abuse metrics when they are part of a multiple, inter-correlated vector, with disciplinary profiles of their normal interactions: someone dispatching a robot to download his papers would quickly be caught out when the usual correlation between downloads and later citations fails to appear. Add more variables and it gets even harder.
In a weighted vector of multiple metrics like the sample I had listed, it’s no use to a researcher if told in advance that for REF2020 the metric equation will be the following, with the following weights for their particular discipline:
The potential list could be much longer, and the weights can be positive or negative, and varying by discipline.
"The man who is ready to prove that metric knowledge is wholly impossible… is a brother metrician with rival metrics…”
Comment on: Mryglod, Olesya, Ralph Kenna, Yurij Holovatch and Bertrand Berche (2014) Predicting the results of the REF using departmental h-index: A look at biology, chemistry, physics, and sociology. LSE Impact Blog 12(6)
The topic of using metrics for research performance assessment in the UK has a rather long history, beginning with the work of Charles Oppenheim."The man who is ready to prove that metaphysical knowledge is wholly impossible… is a brother metaphysician with a rival theory” Bradley, F. H. (1893) Appearance and Reality
The solution is neither to abjure metrics nor to pick and stick to one unvalidated metric, whether it’s the journal impact factor or the h-index.
The solution is to jointly test and validate, field by field, a battery of multiple, diverse metrics (citations, downloads, links, tweets, tags, endogamy/exogamy, hubs/authorities, latency/longevity, co-citations, co-authorships, etc.) against a face-valid criterion (such as peer rankings).
See also: "On Metrics and Metaphysics" (2008)
Oppenheim, C. (1996). Do citations count? Citation indexing and the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community, 9(2), 155-161.
Oppenheim, C. (1997). The correlation between citation counts and the 1992 research assessment exercise ratings for British research in genetics, anatomy and archaeology. Journal of documentation, 53(5), 477-487.
Oppenheim, C. (1995). The correlation between citation counts and the 1992 Research Assessment Exercise Ratings for British library and information science university departments. Journal of Documentation, 51(1), 18-27.
Oppenheim, C. (2007). Using the h-index to rank influential British researchers in information science and librarianship. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(2), 297-301.
Harnad, S. (2001) Research access, impact and assessment. Times Higher Education Supplement 1487: p. 16.
Harnad, S. (2003) Measuring and Maximising UK Research Impact. Times Higher Education Supplement. Friday, June 6 2003
Harnad, S., Carr, L., Brody, T. & Oppenheim, C. (2003) Mandated online RAE CVs Linked to University Eprint Archives: Improving the UK Research Assessment Exercise whilst making it cheaper and easier. Ariadne 35.
Hitchcock, Steve; Woukeu, Arouna; Brody, Tim; Carr, Les; Hall, Wendy and Harnad, Stevan. (2003) Evaluating Citebase, an open access Web-based citation-ranked search and impact discovery service Technical Report, ECS, University of Southampton.
Harnad, S. (2004) Enrich Impact Measures Through Open Access Analysis. British Medical Journal BMJ 2004; 329:
Harnad, S. (2006) Online, Continuous, Metrics-Based Research Assessment. Technical Report, ECS, University of Southampton.
Brody, T., Harnad, S. and Carr, L. (2006) Earlier Web Usage Statistics as Predictors of Later Citation Impact. Journal of the American Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) 57(8) pp. 1060-1072.
Brody, T., Carr, L., Harnad, S. and Swan, A. (2007) Time to Convert to Metrics. Research Fortnight 17-18.
Brody, T., Carr, L., Gingras, Y., Hajjem, C., Harnad, S. and Swan, A. (2007) Incentivizing the Open Access Research Web: Publication-Archiving, Data-Archiving and Scientometrics. CTWatch Quarterly 3(3).
Harnad, S. (2008) Validating Research Performance Metrics Against Peer Rankings. Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 8 (11) doi:10.3354/esep00088 The Use And Misuse Of Bibliometric Indices In Evaluating Scholarly Performance
Harnad, S. (2008) Self-Archiving, Metrics and Mandates. Science Editor 31(2) 57-59
Harnad, S., Carr, L. and Gingras, Y. (2008) Maximizing Research Progress Through Open Access Mandates and Metrics. Liinc em Revista 4(2).
Harnad, S. (2009) Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise. Scientometrics 79 (1) Also in Proceedings of 11th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics 11(1), pp. 27-33, Madrid, Spain. Torres-Salinas, D. and Moed, H. F., Eds. (2007)
Harnad, S. (2009) Multiple metrics required to measure research performance. Nature (Correspondence) 457 (785) (12 February 2009)
Harnad, S; Carr, L; Swan, A; Sale, A & Bosc H. (2009) Maximizing and Measuring Research Impact Through University and Research-Funder Open-Access Self-Archiving Mandates. Wissenschaftsmanagement 15(4) 36-41
Friday, December 5. 2014
Comments on "What would be the implications of a ‘gold’ Open Access REF policy?" (Ben Johnson, HEFCE)
Ben Johnson “this post ignores … the commonly heard prediction that universal green OA will somehow deliver a sustainable gold OA future all on its own…Let me spell out that commonly heard prediction, explaining exactly how and why today's pre-green gold OA is fool’s gold -- unaffordable and unsustainable -- and exactly how and why universal green OA, on its own, will deliver a sustainable gold OA future, in the form of post-green fair-gold:
0. Lost Impact: Journal subscriptions are costly, unaffordable and growing, research funds are scarce, hard to come by and shrinking, and research access, usage, impact, productivity and progress are being needlessly lost every day that we fail to provide OA.
1. Over-Pricing: Pre-green gold OA publication fees are arbitrarily and hugely over-priced. (We will see how much, and why, shortly.)
2. Double-Payment: Payment for pre-green gold is double payment: (i) subscription fees for incoming papers plus (ii) gold fees for outgoing papers. (Must-have subscription journals cannot be cancelled by an institution until those same articles are accessible to users in some other way.)
3. Double_Dipping: On top of that, paying the same "hybrid gold" journal (both subscription and optional gold) for pre-green hybrid gold also allows publisher double-dipping.
4. "Rebates": Even if the pre-green hybrid gold publisher promises all N of its subscribing institutions a full, 100% rebate on all hybrid gold income received, that only means that (N-1)/N of whatever hybrid gold any institution pays for its own outgoing hybrid gold papers becomes a subsidy to all the other N-1 subscribing institutions: The institution only gets back 1/Nth of its hybrid gold outlay. (The UK, for example, would get back a 6% subscription rebate for its hybrid gold outlay; the rest of the UK hybrid gold outlay would become a rebate to the other 94% of subscribing institutions in the countries that were not foolish enough to pay pre-emptively for pre-green gold.) Unless the full gold OA rebate goes to the same institution that paid for the gold (by deducting it from the subscription fee), it is still double-payment.
5. Repositories: Research funds are scarce, subscriptions are barely affordable, and pre-green gold payment is completely unnecessary, because green OA can be provided at no extra cost. (Institutional repositories already exist anyway, for multiple purposes, so their cost per paper is negligible, particularly compared to the grotesque cost per paper for pre-green gold.)
6. CC-BY: CC-BY is most definitely not so urgent today, compared to access itself, as to be worth the extra cost of pre-green gold today: CC-BY will come quite naturally of its own accord soon after universal green prevails, and at no extra cost. (We will see how and why shortly.)
7. Embargoes: Publisher embargoes on green are ineffectual because of the repositories’ copy-request Button -- if, but only if the paper was mandatorily deposited immediately upon acceptance for publication, exactly as HEFCE requires). The sole purpose of publishers' OA embargoes today is to try to ensure that -- come what may -- their current level of revenue per paper published, whether via subscriptions or via fool's gold, is sustained. (Please pause for a moment to think this through. It says it all.)
8. Cancelation: So post-green — i.e., once immediate-deposit green has been mandated and provided universally, by all institutions and funders, as HEFCE has done -- institutions can at last cancel their journal subscriptions, because then their users can access the content another way.
9. Obsolete Costs: The post-green unsustainability of subscriptions will force publishers to cut all publishing costs that have been made obsolete by the post-green OA era: Publishers will be forced to phase out the print edition, the online edition, access-provision and archiving: these functions will now be offloaded onto the distributed global network of green OA institutional repositories. And publishers current level of revenue per article will not be sustained.
10. Fair Gold: To cover the remaining post-green cost of peer-reviewed journal publishing — which is just the cost of managing peer review itself — post-green journals will convert to affordable, sustainable fair gold. Institutions will easily pay this service fee, per outgoing paper, out of a fraction of their windfall subscription cancelation savings on incoming papers.
In other words, post-green, subscriptions will be gone, embargoes will be gone, and all OA will be CC-BY (where desired).
Ben Johnson: “Would repositories disappear in a gold OA world? No, they’re still useful for theses etc. Monitoring would continue to be necessary for any OA policy.”In the Post-green fair-gold OA world there will no longer be any need to monitor OA policy. Everything published will be fair-gold OA! But there will certainly be a need for the worldwide network of green OA repositories — to provide access and archving in place of the pre-green subscription journals: For it will have been the cancelation pressure generated by universally mandated-and-provided green OA that drove the entire downsizing and transition to fair gold.
Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition. In: Anna Gacs. The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the Electronic Age. L'Harmattan. 99-106.
Thursday, October 23. 2014
The EC-commisioned Science-Metrix study has a lot of interesting and useful information that I hope the EC will apply and use.
Access Timing. The fundamental problem highlighted by the Science-Metrix findings is timing: Over 50% of all articles published 2007-2012 are freely available today. But the trouble is that their percentage in the most critical years, namely, the 1-2 years following publication, is far lower than that! This is partly because of publisher OA embargoes, partly because of author fears and sluggishness, but mostly because not enough strong, effective OA mandates have as yet been adopted by institutions and funders. I hope the Science-Metrix study will serve to motivate and accelerate the adoption of strong, effective OA mandates worldwide. That will narrow the gap at the all-important growth tip of research, which is its first 1-2 years.
A few things to bear in mind:
1. Delayed Access. Publishers have essentially resigned themselves to Delayed Access — i.e., free online access 1-2 years after publication. They know they can’t stop it, and they know it doesn’t have a significant effect on subscription revenues. Hence the real battle-ground for OA is the growth region of research: the 1-2 years following publication. That’s why OA mandates are so important.
2. Embargoes. Most OA mandates allow an OA embargo during the first year folllowing publication. But there are ways that immediate research needs can be fulfilled even during an OA embargo, namely, via institutional repositories’ semi-automatic copy-request Button. For this Button to fulfill its purposes, however, OA mandates must require deposit immediately upon acceptance for publication, not just after a 6-12-month OA embargo has elapsed. There are still too few such immediate-deposit mandates, but the Science-Metrix study would have missed the "almost-OA" access that they provide unless it also measured Button-based copy-provision.
3. Green OA, Gold OA and Non-OA. It is incorrect that "Green OA" means only repository-based OA. Of course OA (free online access) provided on authors' websites is Green OA too. The best way to define Green OA is OA provided by other than the publisher: Gold OA is provided by the publisher (though often paid for by the author or the author's institution or funder). Green OA is provided by the author, wherever the author provides the free online access. (And, although it is not the kind of OA advocated or mandated by institutions and funders, 3rd-party "bootleg" OA, apart from being hard to ascertain, is also Green OA: it certainly doesn't merit a color of its own -- and probably a lot of the back access is 3rd-party-provided rather than author-provided.) So the Science-Metrix data would be more informative and easier to interpret if it were all clearly classified as either Green OA, Gold OA, or non-OA. That would give a clearer idea of the relative size and growth rate of the two roads to OA.
4. The OA Impact Advantage. I am sure that Gold OA would show the same OA impact advantage as Green OA if it were equally possible to measure it. The trouble is determining the non-OA baseline for comparison. Green OA impact studies can do this easily, by comparing OA and non-OA articles published in the same journal issue and year; Gold OA impact studies have the problem of equating OA and non-OA journals for content and quality. And although there are junk journals among both non-OA and Gold OA journals, it is undeniable that their proportions are higher among Gold OA journals (see Beall's list) whereas the proportion of Gold OA journals themselves is still low. So their impact estimates would be dragged down by the junk-Gold journals.
5. From Fools Gold to Fair Gold. The Science-Metrix study is right that toll-access publishing will prove unsustainable in the long run. But it is mandatory Green OA self-archiving that will drive the transition to Fair-Gold OA sooner rather than later.
Harnad, S (2014) The only way to make inflated journal subscriptions unsustainable: Mandate Green Open Access. LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog 4/28
Vincent-Lamarre, P., Boivin, J., Gargouri, Y., Lariviere, V., & Harnad, S. (2014). Estimating Open Access Mandate Effectiveness: I. The MELIBEA Score. arXiv preprint arXiv:1410.2926.
P.S. I learned from Richard van Noorden's posting on this that the Open Access Button -- which names and shames publishers for embargoing OA whenever a user encounters a non-OA paper -- can now also email an automatic request to the author for a copy (if it can find the author's email address). This new capability complements the already existing copy-request Button implemented in many institutional repositories (see EPprints and DSpace), which is reliably linked to the author's email address. The purpose of the repositories' copy-request Button is to complement and reinforce institutional and funder OA mandates that require authors to deposit their final, refereed drafts immediately upon acceptance for publication rather than only after a publisher OA embargo has elapsed.
Tuesday, October 14. 2014
Estimating Open Access Mandate Effectiveness: I. The MELIBEA Score
Philippe Vincent-Lamarre, Jade Boivin, Yassine Gargouri, Vincent Lariviere, Stevan Harnad
ABSTRACT: MELIBEA is a Spanish database that uses a composite formula with eight weighted conditions to estimate the effectiveness of Open Access mandates (registered in ROARMAP). We analyzed 68 mandated institutions for publication years 2011-2013 to determine how well the MELIBEA score and its individual conditions predict what percentage of published articles indexed by Web of Knowledge is deposited in each institution's OA repository, and when. We found a small but significant positive correlation (0.18) between MELIBEA score and deposit percentage. We also found that for three of the eight MELIBEA conditions (deposit timing, internal use, and opt-outs), one value of each was strongly associated with deposit percentage or deposit latency (immediate deposit required, deposit required for performance evaluation, unconditional opt-out allowed for the OA requirement but no opt-out for deposit requirement). When we updated the initial values and weights of the MELIBEA formula for mandate effectiveness to reflect the empirical association we had found, the score's predictive power doubled (.36). There are not yet enough OA mandates to test further mandate conditions that might contribute to mandate effectiveness, but these findings already suggest that it would be useful for future mandates to adopt these three conditions so as to maximize their effectiveness, and thereby the growth of OA.
Monday, October 13. 2014
In response to the HEFCE Open Access Policy for REF2020, the Publishers Association has made the following counter-proposal, which is as predictable as the succession of night upon day:
1. Don't require deposit upon the date of acceptance, because publisher embargoes are timed to begin on the date of publication, not the date of acceptance.Now I find these four points so outrageous and presumptuous -- and so transparently self-interested, running roughshod over the interests of research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, and the tax-paying public -- that they don't need to be answered at all (and of course they need not and should not be heeded in any way).
But past experience has shown that the research community (like Schultz's Charlie Brown and the annual football that Lucy always manages to pull out from under him every time) somehow always manages to fall for publisher FUD. The FUD is invariably formulated to appear as if the publishers are just trying to help, and make things simpler and easier for the research community. But what keeps being missed by the naive research community is that the complications and difficulties that the publishers' proposals to "help" with are invariably complications and difficulties that are being imposed by the publishers themselves, in the form of embargoes and restrictions!
In the present case it's all about ensuring the one thing that is important to publishers about open access and open-access mandates: that publishers' embargoes on Green OA are faithfully obeyed (unless, even better, the author pays for immediate Gold OA). Nothing to do with ensuring OA, and as soon as possible.
The short answers to these four pieces of publisher FUD are, accordingly:
1. No thank you. We want deposit to be done as soon as the paper is refereed and accepted, because (i) that is when the paper is ready to be used by researchers, (ii) many publishers do not embargo OA, and (iii) even if there is a publisher OA embargo and an author wishes to comply, the author can provide individual copies to individual users with the repository's request-copy-Button immediately upon deposit during the embargo -- as long as the final draft is deposited immediately upon acceptance.That said, here is some tit-for-tat for the Publishers Association's letter to HEFCE:
PA: "Following the publication of HEFCE’s statement of policy in March 2014 The Publishers Association and its members have been consulting with other stakeholders as to how best we in the publishing community can assist researchers and institutions to comply with the policy, particularly with regards to the deposit requirements.
With regards (and all due respect), the deposit requirements have nothing to do with publishers (or with publisher embargoes on OA).PA: "In the course of these conversations it has become clear that this aspect of the policy is a source of widespread concern. Therefore I am writing to ask if HEFCE would give serious consideration to reviewing and revising certain elements of it."
No doubt there is publisher concern about the deposit requirement: That concern is precisely because deposits (unlike OA embargoes) cannot be controlled by publishers.PA: "For us, the problematic section is Section 18 which states that “the output must have been deposited as soon after the point of acceptance as possible and no later than three months after this date (as given in the acceptance letter or email from the publications to the author)”.
Section 19 then goes on to require that the output must have been deposited as the author’s accepted and final peer-reviewed text, which may later be updated by the version of record.
Never mind the version of record. It's another matter. We're talking here about the author's final draft, and the time it is to be deposited.PA: "For the avoidance of doubt, The PA and members are of course in no way opposed to the principle of deposit per se; rather we are concerned with the timing and form of the mandatory deposit."
Well, it's good to know that the PA are in no way opposed to something that is none of their business, and over which they have no control. But then why mention it at all?PA: "In paragraph 29 of the Consultation Document on the Policy (July 2013) HEFCE stated that:
“We also wish to make the process of compliance as simple as possible for authors and HEIs and have received advice that the point of acceptance would be more suitable.” The PA’s response to the Consultation (October 2013) spoke to this point by saying “it is unclear where this advice has come from and what the justification for it is. To ensure compliance with embargo periods, which commence from the date of publication, it is logical to coincide the deposit or linking of papers with the publication date.”"
Is the PA owed a justification for a deposit policy that is none of its business and out of its control?PA: "Our subsequent discussions have confirmed us in our view that it would be far preferable for HEIs, researchers and publishers that the timing of the deposit of papers be coincident with the date of the publication of the version of record. This is for two principal reasons:
It would allow for the clearer management of embargo periods. Since these begin at the point of publication, deposit in institutional repository at this point removes the potential for any confusion arising between the availability of the accepted author manuscript and the version of record. Repositories will need to know the date of publication in order to respect the embargo period but they cannot know this from the date of acceptance."
As stated, OA embargo periods are reckoned from the (variable) publication date, not from deposit date. They have nothing to do with deposit date.PA: "It would reduce the level of costs to HEIs, many of which have expressed concerns about the financial and administrative burden of ingesting author manuscripts in their repositories. We understand that for many institutions this will require a number of operations (for example, subsequent up-dating of data) to be performed manually which could be fulfilled automatically if deposit of the author manuscript is made upon publication. Not all HEIs have repositories capable of dealing with this requirement at present."
It is terribly good of publishers to worry about institutions' operating expenses! There is a very useful way in which publishers could help lower these expenses: charge less for journals, or drop OA embargoes.PA: "Some stakeholders have made proposals for mitigating what we would see as the adverse effects of the proposed policy: for example encouraging publishers to provide author manuscripts and metadata in a standardised format through the Jisc “Publishers Router”.
However, this would not address the central issue of the clear potential for confusion around the start date of the embargo period, which often will not be known at the point of acceptance. For many publishers, this proposed mitigation would imply an additional cost, which seems somewhat unreasonable to ask publishers to bear when we believe that deposit at the point of publication would eliminate these costs and concerns without compromising the policy’s goals to advance open access."
To repeat: determining the date of publication and the date of the end of the embargo has nothing whatsoever to do with date of deposit.PA: "Ultimately we believe that any of these mitigating or alternative solutions are poor substitutes for amending the underlying policy requirement.
It would greatly help our understanding of the HEFCE stance if you were able to share with us the justification for the policy – as referred to in last year’s consultation – and your perspective on the costs."
Publishers have no right to ask institutions and funders for "justification" of deposit policies if the deposits are not OA.PA: "We would be grateful if you would give consideration to amending this aspect of open access policy. We believe it will act as a hindrance to the widespread take up of open access in the UK research community, whereas a requirement to deposit in an institutional repository on publication would be a policy which would command support from a much wider range of sector stakeholders."
Good of publishers to be so concerned about compliance with the HEFCE deposit mandate, but, no, ceding control to publishers over deposit timing is not the way to ensure compliance. Making compliance a prerequisite for REF eligibility is.Stevan Harnad
Sunday, September 28. 2014
Here they are:
Cornée, Nathalie and Madjarevic, Natalia (2014) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2013/2014 RCUK open access compliance report. The London School of Economics and Political Science, Library, London, UK.Seventy-three (73) OA articles, at about £1,000 a shot via Gold -- vs. fifty (50) at no cost via Green!Abstract: In September 2014, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) reported to Research Councils UK on the School’s compliance with the recently introduced RCUK Policy on Open Access (OA). This reports provides detail around the article processing charges (APC) data and RCUK Call for Evidence report. Background In April 2013, the revised RCUK Policy on Open Access came into effect. The policy requires journal articles or conference proceedings arising from research funded wholly or partially by a RCUK grant should be made freely available online (or “Open Access”). There are two main routes to make papers open access: a) the Green route, which is the LSE preferred route, when the full text of papers are deposited into an institutional repository such as LSE Research Online. To select this route, embargo periods must be no longer than the 12 months permitted by RCUK (no charge applies); b) the Gold route, which provides immediate, unrestricted access to the final version of the paper via the publisher's website, often using a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence - it may involve payment of an APC to the publisher. In 2013, we received the RCUK OA block grant for 2013/14 of £62,862. We set up the LSE Institutional Publication Fund using this grant and this was managed by the Library, allowing eligible RCUK-funded researchers to apply for APC funds. Additionally, the School was awarded a pump-prime funding allocation from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for open access, which was also added to the fund. Of the 141 papers we identified as RCUK-funded for Year 1, 50 papers are open access via the Green route and 73 via the Gold, resulting in an 87% compliance rate.
That RCUK £62,862 could have funded 4 doctoral research students or 2 postdoctoral researchers. Instead, it is paying publishers even more than they are already being paid for subscriptions (and for hybrid Gold publishers it's even double-paying them).
For 73 articles!
And 73 articles that could have been provided for free via Green -- if instead of dangling scarce money in front of authors RCUK had simply insisted on immediate deposit, irrespective of embargo length.
One can only hope that the spot-on and timely new HEFCE policy of requiring immediate deposit, now, in order to be eligible for REF2020, will stanch this gratuitous, obdurate Finch/RCUK profligacy.
And that the EU's similar policy will help reinforce it.
Meanwhile there's nothing stopping institutions from being more sensible, by requiring immediate deposit and using the RCUK windfall to better purpose (till it is sensibly redirected to research).
Tuesday, September 16. 2014
“The world's most prolific writer: Sverker Johansson has created more than three million Wikipedia articles, around one tenth of the entire content of the site. How, and why, does he do it?” -- Norwegian Inflight Magazine]The question's interesting, though the right description is not that Sverker Johansson “wrote” millions of Wikipedia articles but that he wrote an online search algorithm (a “bot") that generated them automatically (otherwise the writer of a payroll algorithm would be the “author" of gazillions of paychecks…).
How and why indeed! It’s interesting, though, that so many Wikipedia entries can be generated algorithmically. The boundary between an encyclopedia and an almanac or even a chronicle of events has long been blurred by Wikipedia.
But it is a good idea to keep in mind that what is easy to generate algorithmically (and via its close cousin, crowdsourcing) in the googlized digital era, is simple or 1st-order facts: Answers to what?/when?/where? questions: Apples are red, the sky is blue, it rained in Burma on Tuesday, Chelsea beat Burnley 4-2..
The real source of all this factual information is Google’s global digital database, and the fact that Google has reverse-indexed it all, making it searchable by Boolean (and/or/not) search algorithms as well as by more complex computational (Turing) algorithms.
The questions that are much harder to answer algorithmically, even with all of the Google database and all the Boolean/Turing tools, are the higher-order how?/why? questions. If those could all be answered algorithmically, most of theoretical (i.e., non-experimental) science would be finished by now.
And the reason for that is probably that our brains don’t find all those how/why answers just algorithmically either, but also via dynamical (analog, sensorimotor) means that may prove accessible to future Turing-Test scale sensorimotor robots, but certainly not to today's purely symbolic bots, operating on purely symbolic databases.
In other words, it’s down to the symbol grounding problem again…
Friday, September 5. 2014
to rant about publishers
not doing right OA thing
than to do right OA thing?"
-- Master Basho (old Zen Koan)
There are two ways to provide Open Access (OA): (1) Publishing in an OA journal ("Gold OA") or (2) publishing in a subscription journal (like AAAS's Science) and self-archiving the article by depositing the final refereed draft in the author's institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication ("Green OA").
There are two kinds (or degrees) of OA: free online access ("Gratis OA") and free online access plus certain re-use rights ("Libre OA").
What funders and institutions are mandating is Green Gratis OA; not Gold OA. And they are only recommending, not requiring, Libre OA.
60% of journals endorse immediate, unembargoed Green Gratis OA. 40% of journals embargo OA.
The journals that do not embargo Green Gratis OA are the 60% that are advancing OA. (They are "on the side of the angels" regarding OA.)
All the AAAS journals, including Science, are on the side of the angels. They do not embargo immediate Green Gratis OA.
In contrast, Nature used to be -- but is no longer -- on the side of the angels: it embargoes Green Gratis OA for 6 months. (Many journals embargo it for 12 months; some even longer.)
It is both untrue and extremely unproductive (for OA -- both Gratis and Libre) to describe a publisher that is on the side of the angels for Green Gratis OA as one that "does not advance Open Access."
Once it is universally mandated by all research institutions and funders, Green Gratis OA will be universally provided. That is (Gratis) OA: online access to all peer-reviewed journal articles, not just for subscribers, but free for all.
Global Green Gratis OA will in turn lead to journal cancellations and a conversion of all journals to Libre Gold OA, at a fair price ("Fair Gold") paid out of the subscription cancellation windfall savings.
But Global Green Gratis OA is being held back by publisher embargoes.
To chastise AAAS as "not advancing Open Access" even though AAAS endorses immediate, unembargoed Gratis Green OA is to encourage publishers to embargo OA because they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.
Jon Tennant's field of geology (and several other fields) would benefit from Libre OA. In contrast, endorsing immediate Libre OA (which includes the right of a 3rd-party rival publisher to free-ride on and undercut the primary publisher's content, immediately, inducing immediate cancellations) is something it is quite understandable that a publisher would not want to do today: Better to wait for Global Green Gratis OA to be reached gradually via mandates, and all journals having to convert to Libre Fair-Gold, rather than having to do it pre-emptively, alone, today.
So please have patience and encourage institutions and funders to mandate Green Gratis OA rather than encouraging publishers to embargo it, by implying that if a publisher does not allow immediate Libre OA, it is slowing progress toward OA.
What is slowing progress toward OA is just the slowness of institutions and funders to mandate it (and hence the slowness of their authors to provide it).
To deprecate publishers that endorse immediate, unembargoed Gratis Green OA is to further slow the progress of OA.
Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition. In: Anna Gacs. The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the Electronic Age. L’Harmattan. 99-106.
______ (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine 16 (7/8).
______ (2013) The Postgutenberg Open Access Journal. In, Cope, B and Phillips, A (eds.) The Future of the Academic Journal (2nd edition). Chandos.
Wednesday, September 3. 2014
Comment on: Lemire, Daniel (2014) Though unrefereed, arXiv has a better h-index than most journals…Arxiv includes both unrefereed and refereed versions of papers.
Distinguish citation from access-date (early access) and access-locus.
Peer-reviewed publication is not the same thing as (or not only) access-provision:
Journals provide both peer review and access (to subscribers only, if journal is subscription-based).
Repositories provide access (to peer-reviewed journal articles and sometimes to earlier unrefereed drafts).
Hence repositories do not have citation counts or h-indexes: just access-locus statistics; their citation counts are parasitic on journal citation counts (and especially journal peer review).
Users access whatever version they can access, but they cite the journal article (the canonical, archival "version of record").
The only exception is unrefereed drafts -- but even there, it is the author's draft that is being cited; the repository is just the access-locus:
Unrefereed drafts used to be cited as "name, title, unpublished (or 'in prep')" and refereed, accepted drafts used to be cited as "name, title, journal, in press)."
Adding an OA access-locus to the journal citation is becoming an increasingly common (and desirable) scholarly practice, but it does not change the fact that what is being cited is the work, and the canonical version of the work is the refereed, published version-of-record, regardless of access-locus.
Hence repositories do not have citation counts; they just have access-locus (download) counts.
(Some interesting statistics can, however, be done on the citation of unrefereed vs refereed versions, i.e., early access.)
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