Friday, July 26. 2013
"Chorus" is a Trojan Horse
Note: David Wojick works part time as the Senior Consultant for Innovation at OSTI, the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, in the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy. He has a PhD in logic and philosophy of science, an MA in mathematical logic, and a BS in civil engineering. In the exchanges below, he sounds [to me] very much like a publishing interest lobbyist, but judge for yourself. He also turns out to have a rather curious [and to me surprising] history in environmental matters…
Let us fervently hope that the US Government/OSTP will not be taken in by this publisher Trojan Horse called "CHORUS." It is a tripping point, not a tipping point.
If not, we can all tip our hats goodbye to Open Access -- which means free online access immediately upon publication, not access after a one-year embargo.
CHORUS is just the latest successor organisation for self-serving anti-Open Access (OA) lobbying by the publishing industry. Previous incarnations have been the "PRISM coalition" and the "Research Works Act."
1. It is by now evident to everyone that OA is inevitable, because it is optimal for research, researchers, research institutions, the vast R&D industry, students, teachers, journalists and the tax-paying public that funds the research.[And why does the US Government not hire consultants who represent the interests of the research community rather than those of the publishing industry?]
Eisen, M. (2013) A CHORUS of boos: publishers offer their “solution” to public access
Giles, J. (2007) PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access. Nature 5 January 2007.
Harnad, S. (2012) Research Works Act H.R.3699: The Private Publishing Tail Trying To Wag The Public Research Dog, Yet Again. Open Access Archivangelism 287 January 7. 2012
1. The embargo length that the funding agencies allow is another matter, not the one I was discussing. (But of course the pressure for the embargoes comes from the publishers, not from the funding agencies.)
2. The Trojan Horse would be funding agencies foolishly accepting publishers' "CHORUS" invitation to outsource author self-archiving -- and hence compliance with the funder mandate -- to publishers, instead of having fundees do it themselves, in their own institutional repositories.
3. To repeat: Delayed Access is not Open Access -- any more than Paid Access is Open Access. Open Access is immediate, permanent online access, toll-free, for all.
4. Delayed (embargoed) Access is publishers' attempt to hold research access hostage to their current revenue streams, forcibly co-bundled with obsolete products and services, and their costs, for as long as possible. All the research community needs from publishers in the OA era is peer review. Researchers can and will do access-provision and archiving for themselves, in their own institutional OA repositories, at next to no cost. And peer review alone costs only a fraction of what institutions are paying publishers now for subscriptions.
5. Green OA is author-provided OA; Gold OA is publisher-provided OA. But OA means immediate access, so Delayed Access is neither Green OA nor Gold OA. (Speaking loosely, one can call author-self-archiving after a publisher embargo "Delayed Green" and publisher-provided free access on their website after an embargo "Delayed Gold," but it's not really OA at all if it's not immediate. And that's why it's so important to upgrade all funder mandates to make them immediate-deposit mandates, even if they are not immediate-OA mandates.)
WOJICK: "if delayed access is not open access in your view then why did you post the tipping point study, since it includes delayed access of up to 5 years? Most people consider delayed (green) access to be a paradigm of open access. That is how the term is used. You are apparently making your own language."That is the way publishers would like to see the term OA used, paradigmatically. But that's not what it means. And I was actually (mildly) criticizing the study in question for failing to distinguish Open Access from Delayed Access, and for declaring that Open Access had reached the "Tipping Point" when it certainly has not -- specifically because of publisher embargoes. [Please re-read my summary, above: I don't think there is any ambiguity at all about what I said and meant.]
But OA advocates can live with the allowable funder mandate embargoes for the time being -- as long as deposit is mandated to be done immediately upon acceptance for publication, by the author, in the author's institutional repository, and not a year later, by the publisher, on the publisher's own website. Access to the author's deposit can be set as Closed Access during the allowable embargo period, but meanwhile authors can provide Almost-OA via their repository's facilitated Eprint Request Button.
The Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access (ID/OA) Mandate: Rationale and Model
Public Access to Federally Funded Research (Response to US OSTP RFI)
Comments on Proposed HEFCE/REF Green Open Access Mandate
We are clearly not understanding one another:
Yes, the US funder mandates are extremely important, even if they still need a tweak (as noted).
Yes, OA has not yet reached a tipping point. (That was my point.)
But no, Delayed Access is definitely not OA, let alone Green OA, although that is how publishers would dearly love to define OA, and especially Green OA.
WOJICK: "As for your Trojan horse point (#2) there is no author archiving with CHORUS."Yes, that's the point: CHORUS is trying to take author self-archiving out of the hands and off the sites of the researchers and their institutions, to put it in the hands and on the site of publishers. That is abundantly clear.
And my point was about how bad that was, and why: a Trojan Horse for the research community and for the future of OA.
But the verb should be CHORUS "would be," not CHORUS "is" -- because, thankfully, it is not yet true that this 4th publishers' Trojan Horse has been allowed in at all.
(The 1st Trojan Horse was Prism: routed at the gates. The 2nd was the "Research Works Act; likewise routed at the gates. The 3rd was the Finch Report: It slipped in, but concerted resistance from OA Advocates and the research community has been steadily disarming it. The 4th publisher Trojan Horse is CHORUS, and, as noted, OA Advocates and the research community are working hard to keep it out!)
WOJICK: "The author merely specifies the funder from a menu during the journal submission process and the publisher does the rest. Thus there is no burden on the authors and no redundant repository. The article is openly available from the publisher after the Federally specified embargo period. This is extremely efficient compared to the old NIH repository model."Indeed it would be, and would put publishers back in full control of the future of OA.
Fortunately, the CHORUS deal is far from a fait accompli, and the hope (of OA advocates and the concerned research community) is that it never will be.
The only thing the "old NH repository model" (PubMed Central, PMC) needs is an upgrade to immediate institutional deposit, followed by automatic harvesting and import (after the allowable embargo has elapsed) by PMC or any other institution-external subject-based harvester. With that, the OSTP mandate model would be optimal (for the time being).
1. The "This" is US federal funding agency Open Access mandates.
2. The "self" is the author, who is also the fundee, the one who is bound to comply with the conditions of the funder mandate.
3. The "archiving" is making the fundee's paper accessible free for all on the Web
4. The "Trojan Horse" is the attempt by publishers to take this out of the hands of the author/fundee/mandatee and put it into the hands of the publisher, who is not the fundee, not bound by the mandate, and indeed has a conflict of interest with making papers free for all on the Web.
5. On no account should the compliance with the funder mandate be outsourced and entrusted to a 3rd party that is not only not bound by the mandate, but in a conflict of interest with it.
WOJICK: "It is about the design of the Federal program, where I see no reason for redundant Federal archiving."The web is full of "redundant archiving": the same document may be stored and hosted on multiple sites. That's good for back-up and reliability and preservation, and part of the way the Web works. And it costs next to nothing -- and certainly not to publishers. (If publishers wish to save federal research money, let them charge less for journal subscriptions; don't fret about "redundant archiving.")
PubMed Central (PMC) is a very valuable and widely used central search tool. Its usefulness is based on both its scope of coverage (thanks to mandates) and on its metadata quality. It borders on absurdity for publishers to criticize this highly useful and widely used resource as "redundant." It provides access where publishers do not.
Nor does PMC's usefulness reside in the fact that it hosts the full-texts of the papers it indexes. It's the metadata and search capacity that makes PMC so useful. It would be equally useful if the URL for each full-text to which PMC pointed were in each fundee's own institutional repository, and PMC hosted only the metadata and search tools. (Indeed, it would increase PMC's coverage and make it even more economical; many of us are hoping PMC and other central repositories like Arxiv will evolve in that direction.)
WOJICK: "There is nothing in the CHORUS approach to the Federal program design that precludes author self archiving in institutional repositories as a separate activity."
If authors self-archived of their own accord, "as a separate activity," there would have been no need for federal Open Access mandates.
The federal mandates do not require fundees to provide toll-free access only after a year after publication: They require them to provide toll-free access within a year at the latest. Publishers have every incentive to make (and keep) this the latest, by taking self-archiving out of authors' hands and doing it instead of them, as late as possible.
Moreover, funder OA mandates are increasingly being complemented by institutional OA mandates, which cover both funded and unfunded research. This is also why institutions have institutional repositories (archives), in which their researchers can deposit, and from which central repositories can harvest. This is also the way to tide over research needs during OA embargoes, with the help of institutional repositories' immediate Almost-OA Button.
And again, no need here for advice from publishers, with their conflicts of interest, on how institutions can save money on their "redundant archives" by letting publishers provide the OA in place of their researchers (safely out of the reach of institutional repositories' immediate Almost-OA Button).
WOJICK: "The journals are part of the research community and they have always been the principal archive."Journals consist of authors, referees, editors and publishers. Publishers are not part of the research community (not even university or learned-society publishers); they earn their revenues from it.
Until the online era, the "principal archive" has been the university library. In the online era it's the web. The publisher's sector of the web is proprietary and toll-based. The research community's sector is Open Access.
And that's another reason CHORUS is a Trojan Horse.
WOJICK: "With CHORUS they will be again."What on earth does this mean? That articles in the publishers' proprietary sector will be opened up after a year?
That sounds like an excellent way to ensure that they won't ever be opened up any earlier, and that mandates will be powerless to make them open up any earlier.
WOJICK: "After all the entire process is based on the article being published in the journal."Yes, but what is at issue now is not publishing but access: when, where and how?
WOJICK: "It is true that this is all future tense including the Federal program, but the design principles are here and now."And what is at issue here is the need to alert the Federal program that it should on no account be taken in by CHORUS's offer to "let us do the self-archiving for you."
WOJICK: "I repeat, immediate access is not a design alternative. The OSTP guidance is clear about that. So most of your points are simply irrelevant to the present situation."The federal mandates do not require fundees to provide toll-free access only 12 months after publication: They require them to provide toll-free access 12 months at the latest.
Immediate OA (as well as immediate-deposit plus immediate Almost-OA via the Button) is definitely an alternative -- as well as a design alternative.
But not if OSTP heeds the siren call of CHORUS.
Right now, there is a presidential (OSTP) directive to US federal funding agencies to mandate (Green) OA.
It is each funding agency that will accordingly design and implement its own Green OA mandate, as the NIH did several years ago.
WOJICK: "The mandate (requirement) will, as always, be on the fundees: the authors of the articles that are to be made OA, as a condition of funding."The only mandate is on the Federal funding agencies to provide public access to funder-related articles within 12 months of publication.
The presidential (OSTP) directive is to the US federal funding agencies to mandate (Green) OA, meaning that all published articles resulting from the research funded by each agency must be made OA -- within 12 months of publication at the latest.
The articles are by fundees. The ones bound by the mandates are the fundees. Fundees are the ones who must make their research OA, as a condition of funding.
WOJICK: "CHORUS does this in a highly efficient manner, rendering an author mandate unnecessary."CHORUS does nothing. It is simply a proposal by publishers to funding agencies.
And to suggest that the the reason funding agencies should welcome the CHORUS proposal is efficiency is patent nonsense.
To comply with their funder's requirements, fundees must specify which articles result from the funding. The few fundee keystrokes for specifying that are exactly the same few fundee keystrokes for self-archiving the article in the OA repository.
No gain in efficiency for funders or fundees in allowing publishers to host and time the OA: just a ruse to allow publishers to retain control over the time and place of providing OA.
Because of the monumental conflict of interest -- between publishers trying to protect their current revenue streams and the research community trying to make its findings accessible as soon and as widely as possible -- control over the time and place of providing OA should on no account be surrendered by funders and fundees to publishers.
WOJICK: "Search is no problem as there are already many ways to search the journals."And there are also already many ways to search OA articles on the web or in repositories.
So, correct: Search is no problem, and not an issue. In fact, it's a red herring.
What is really at issue is: in whose hands should control over the time and place of providing OA be?
Answer: Findees, their institutions and their funders; not publishers.
WOJICK: "DOE PAGES, described in the first article I listed in my original post, is a model of an agency portal that is being designed to use CHORUS. It will provide agency-based search as well. CHORUS as well will provide bibliographic search capability."To repeat: The same functionality (and potentially much more and better functionality) is available outside the control of publishers too, via the web, institutional repositories, harvesters, indexers and search engines.
The only thing still missing is the OA content. And that's what publishers are trying to hold back as long as possible, and to keep in their own hands.
WOJICK: "We simply do not need a new bunch of expensive redundant repositories like PMC."And the research community simply does not need to cede control over the locus and timetable of providing OA to publishers.
WOJICK: "I am also beginning to wonder about your Trojan horse metaphor. The Trojan horse is a form of deception, but there is no deception here, just a logical response to a Federal requirement, one that keeps a journal's users using the journal. The publishers are highly motivated to make CHORUS work."CHORUS is all deception (and perhaps self-deception too, if publishers actually believe the nonsense about "efficiency" and "expense"), and the "logic" is that of serving publishers' interests, not the interests of research and researchers.
The simple truth is that the research community (researchers and their institutions) are perfectly capable of providing Green OA for themselves, cheaply and efficiently, in their own institutional OA repositories and central harvesters -- and that this is the best way for them to retain control over the time and place of providing OA, thereby ensuring that 100% immediate OA is reached worldwide as soon as possible.
Letting in the publishers' latest Trojan Horse, CHORUS, under the guise of increasing efficiency and reducing expense, would in reality be letting publishers maximize Delayed Access and fend off universal Green OA in favor of over-priced, double-paid (and, if hybrid, double-dipped) Fools Gold OA, thereby locking in publishers' current inflated revenue streams and inefficient modus operandi for a long time to come, and embargoing OA itself, instead of making publishing -- a service industry -- evolve and adapt naturally to what is optimal for research in the online era.
Publishing Lobby's Latest Trojan Horse (CHORUS)
2.1 On Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 2:49 PM, David Wojick wrote:As far as I know, the publishers' CHORUS deal that you describe (and that I have referred to in my not-so-private language argument as a Trojan Horse) has not yet been accepted by the Federal Government, nor by its funding agencies.
Maybe they will accept it, maybe they won't. I and many others have been describing the many reasons they should not accept it.
You are repeating arguments about the redundancy and complexity and costliness of repositories to which I and many others have already replied.
But I am not trying to persuade you that researchers using their keystrokes to deposit in OA repositories is better for research and for OA than letting publishers do it for them: The ones I and many others are trying to persuade of that are the same ones that you and the rest of the publisher lobby are trying to persuade of the opposite: the Federal government and its research funding agencies.
May the best outcome (for the research community) win.
I want to close by reminding inquiring readers of just one of the many points that David Wojick and the other CHORUS lobbyists keep passing over in silence:
The Government directive is not to make funded research freely accessible 12 months after publication but within 12 months of publication.
The publishers' Trojan Horse would not only take mandate compliance out of the hands of fundees, making compliance depend on publishers rather than fundees, but it would also ensure that the research would not be made freely accessible one minute before the full 12 months had elapsed.
If I were a publisher, interested only in protecting my current income streams, come what may, I'd certainly lobby for that, just as I would lobby for untrammelled cigarette ads and zones, if I were a tobacco company, interested only in protecting my current income streams, come what may; or for the untrammelled manufacture and use of plastic bags, if I were a plastic bag company with similar "community" interests.
CHORUS is a terrific way of locking in publisher embargoes and Delayed Access for years and years to come, thereby leaving payment for Fools Gold as the sole option for providing immediate OA.
(Shades of Finch -- and RWA, and PRISM... The publishing lobby is a "part" of the research "community" indeed, heroically defending "our" joint interests! I'm ready for the usual next piece of rhetoric, about how un-embargoed Green OA would destroy journal publishing, and with it peer review and research quality and reliability... We've heard it all, many times over, for close to 25 years now...)
Here are the first few arguments you have not responded to. (I have no idea what you are attempting to sector off under the guise of responding only to "Federal system design" arguments):
1. that mandates are for public access within up to a year whereas CHORUS would provide it only at the very end
2. that OA mandates are intended to require authors to provide OA whereas CHORUS would take it out of authors' hands entirely (thereby mooting mandate compliance altogether, let alone earlier compliance or wider compliance, for unfunded and un-mandated research).
3. that repository deposit facilitates providing eprints during any OA embargo with the repository's eprint-request Button whereas CHORUS prevents it
4. that CHORUS locks in 1-year embargoes and puts and leaves publishers in control of both the hosting and the timetable for public access
5. that repository costs are small and mostly already invested, and for multiple uses, hence CHORUS would not save money but rather waste repositories
I have more, but that should be fine for a start...
WOJICK: "It is not an ad hominem to point out that the Federal policy is not anti-publisher, as many OA advocates are."I for one am not anti-publisher. But I'm very definitely against publisher anti-OA-mandate lobbying and I'm also against publisher embargoes on Green OA.
Apart from that, I have a long history of defending publishers against overzealous OA advocates or overpricing plainants -- as long as the publisher was on the "side of the angels," by endorsing immediate, unembargoed Green, as Springer and Elsevier did for many years.
The gloves came off when publishers started trying to renege on their prior endorsements of immediate Green.
WOJICK: "It is an important fact about the policy. I have to be repetitive because Harnad is presenting the same non-design arguments over and over."I have no idea what you mean by "non-design" arguments. The points above are against CHORUS as a means of implementing the funding agencies' Green OA mandate, that's all.
WOJICK: "Arguments such as that publishers cannot be trusted..."I have not said that. I said that compliance with funders' mandates on fundees to provide OA to their funded research should on no account be entrusted to publishers because of the obvious conflict of interest: The interest of research and researchers is that research should be OA immediately; the interest of publishers is that access should be delayed for as long as possible (12 months, within the "design" of the OSTP directive).
I fully trust that publishers would faithfully make articles publicly accessible -- on the very last day of the maximal allowable OA embargo
WOJICK: "[Arguments such as that] access should be immediate via institutional repositories…"I don't just repeat that over and over: I give the reasons why: Because Open Access means Open Access, and the reasons that make Open Access important at all make it important immediately upon publication, not 12 months later.
And it's institutional repositories because institutions are the providers of all research, funded and unfunded, in every discipline. Institutions have already created OA repositories. They have many reasons for wanting to archive, manage and publicly showcase their own research output in their own repositories -- over and above the reasons for OA itself (which are: maximizing research uptake, usage, applications, impact and progress).
And institutions themselves are also beginning to mandate Green OA. Hence funder and institutional mandates should be convergent and mutually reinforcing, not divergent and in conflict. All institutional research output should be deposited in the institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. (Its metadata and URLs can then be harvested by whatever central access points, databases, indices and search engines disciplines wish to create.)
And if the author wishes to comply with a publisher embargo, access to the deposit can be set as Closed Access instead of Open Access during the embargo, in which case the repository's eprint-request Button can provide Almost-OA during the embargo (while embargoes last -- which will not be long, one hopes, once mandatory Green OA has become universal).
All of these benefits are lost if publishers are in control of providing public access on their sites, a year after publication.
WOJICK: "[Arguments such as that] delayed access is not open access, etc. My response does not vary."Delayed access means losing a year of Open Access. Your response does not vary because the publisher lobby is interested in minimizing, not maximizing Open Access. If the maximal allowable delay is 12 months, publishers will happily make sure it is not a minute less than 12 months, and on their site, with no Almost-OA Button to tide over the embargo, no integration with institutional mandates, and authors entirely out of the compliance loop for mandates that are intended to generate as much OA as possible, as soon as possible.
My own response varies as much as possible, in an effort -- with each new iteration -- to present from every angle the case for implementing OA mandates in such a way as to provide the maximum benefit to research and researchers, rather than just to protect the proprietary interests of publishers at the expense of research, researchers, and the public that funds them.
At the expense (to research and researchers) of impeding the growth of OA and OA mandates and ensuring that the allowable embargo length is always the maximum 12 months. ("If you want immediate-OA, please pay the Fools-Gold OA fee!|)
WOJICK: "Studies suggest [publishers] are losing 20% to PMC."And while publishers' download sites have lost the traffic, research has gained a great deal of functionality, as well as OA. Those who consider it in terms of the interests of the research community see this outcome as perfectly natural and welcome, given the power and potential of the online era.
WOJICK: "The publishers believe this, whether it is true or not, thus their motivation."Their motivation is in no doubt. But the issue is not what is best for publishers but what is best for research, researchers and the public that funds them.
WOJICK: "The mandate is that the articles be made publicly accessible and the articles are the publisher's so they are not third party contractors, whatever that might mean."My articles are my publisher's, not mine?
I think you might mean that the publishers are the holders of the copyright, or exclusive vending rights.
Well we're talking about a mandate here -- by the party of the second part, the author's funder, requiring the party of the first part, the author, to make the research they've funded publicly accessible within a year of publication at the very latest.
That's a condition of a contract the author must sign before ever doing the research, let alone signing any subsequent contract with any party of the third part regarding vending rights.
WOJICK: "The fundees need play no role."The fundees play no role? No role in what? The funder mandates bind the fundees, not some other party.
WOJICK: "The publishers are making a ground breaking concession by agreeing to the Federal embargo deadlines."Agreeing? It seems to me they don't have much choice! Who are publishers conceding to? And conceding what?
If this is publisher largesse rather than federal government duress I would really like to know to what we owe publishers' newfound magnanimity...
WOJICK: "This is great news for OA. I have no idea what you mean by letting them sit. They will be on view in their on-line journals, which is arguably where they belong."I think Cristóbal Palmer's "let[ting] them sit" may have been an ill-chosen descriptor, but I can still make sense of it:
Ceding the provision of public access to the publisher's site and the publisher's timetable means that research articles must sit for 12 months, accessible only to subscribers, even though the mandate states that they must be made publicly accessible within 12 months at the latest. Fundees could have deposited them in repositories immediately, and made them publicly accessible earlier, or, if they wished to comply with a publishers embargo, made them immediately Almost-OA, via the repository's Button, instead of sitting inaccessibly for 12 months.
And before you reply "fundees can still do that if they want to," let me remind you of the fundamental purpose of Green OA mandates: It's to get authors to provide OA. Un-mandated, they don't. Not because they don't want to. But because without a mandate from their funders or institutions, they dare not: because of fear of their publishers. The mandate releases authors from that fear.
And the CHORUS variant -- in which "the fundee has no role" -- would leave authors stuck in that fear, contractually unprotected by a funder mandate, and that would render the funder policy empty and ineffectual beyond its absolutely minimum requirement, which is public access after 12 months (but not a moment before).
And that would of course suit publishers just fine. In fact, maybe that's the reason for their newfound magnanimity: "Concede" on public access after a 12-month embargo, take control of hosting and providing access, and maybe that pesky global clamor for immediate OA will go away -- or, better, maybe it will just redirect authors toward the Fools-Gold counter where they can pay hybrid publishers for immediate OA.
WOJICK: "The repository approach made sense when the publishers refused to provide access. That day has passed."Don't bank on it. The clamor for access is growing and growing. And that's immediate Open Access, not publisher-Delayed Access after 12 months.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Syndicate This Blog
Materials You Are Invited To Use To Promote OA Self-Archiving:
The American Scientist Open Access Forum has been chronicling and often directing the course of progress in providing Open Access to Universities' Peer-Reviewed Research Articles since its inception in the US in 1998 by the American Scientist, published by the Sigma Xi Society.
The Forum is largely for policy-makers at universities, research institutions and research funding agencies worldwide who are interested in institutional Open Acess Provision policy. (It is not a general discussion group for serials, pricing or publishing issues: it is specifically focussed on institutional Open Acess policy.)
You can sign on to the Forum here.
Last entry: 2015-07-10 13:44
1093 entries written
229 comments have been made