Thursday, November 24. 2005
The gist is simple: The RS implies that there is a movement afoot to mandate OA journal publishing (OA "gold") and that this will have "disastrous consequences" for journal publishing.
In reality, the RCUK is proposing to mandate not OA publishing (gold) but OA self-archiving (OA "green"), by RCUK fundees, of their own final drafts of their own articles, published in conventional journals (to which 93% of journals have already given their green light).
To "defend" against OA gold (which ino one is proposing to mandate) the RS attacks OA gold and OA green indiscriminately, conflating the two, and making no coherent case at all.
All evidence (from over 15 years of self-archiving) is that self-archiving has substantial postitive effects on research and researchers and no negative effects on journal publishing.
"Not a Proud Day in the Annals of the Royal Society"The following has already begun to appear in the press:
"Fight over 'open access' looming"Earlier threads (2004):
"The Royal Society and Open Access"
Thursday, November 17. 2005
DASER-2's theme is:Below is the summary of my own presentation:
Institutional Repository (IR) Models:
What Works (for Open Access, OA) and What Doesn't
Canada Research Chair
Université de Québec à Montréal
University of Southampton, UK
SUMMARY: Born under the influence of the Open Access (OA) movement, Institutional Repositories (IRs) for digital content are now all the rage; but whether or not they work depends on their raison d'etre. There are many things one can do with an IR. One can use it for content management, preservation, internal data-sharing, record-keeping; the content itself can be anything digital, whether courseware, "gray literature," multimedia, in-house publishing, or even bought-in 3rd-party content. None of this has anything whatsoever to do with OA, however. OA is about maximizing accessibility to institutional peer-reviewed research output in order to maximize its research impact (25%-250% of it lost if non-OA), thereby maximizing institutional research productivity and progress (and prestige and research revenue). OA content in IRs is so far very low (averaging less than 15% of annual research output) -- partly because OA has been eclipsed by the many other items on the IR wish-list, partly because even where it is the only item, wishing is not enough: not if librarians wish it, not even if researchers wish it. The two international UK JISC surveys have shown clearly exactly what is needed to fill IRs with their annual OA content: An extension of institutions' and research funders' "publish or perish" mandate to: "publish but also self-archive in your IR". The 5 institutions that so far have such a mandate (CERN, U. Southampton ECS, U. Minho, Queensland U. Tech, and U. Zurich) are well on their way to 100% OA. After a crashing failure by NIH to mandate immediate OA self-archiving, and a halting half-step by the Wellcome Trust (6-month embargo), Research Councils UK (RCUK) looks poised to do the right thing at last, and once it does, the rest of the world's research funders and institutions will follow suit. The race is now to the swift, the battle to the strong, for the 25%-250% OA impact advantage is partly a competitive advantage.
JISC Surveys (Swan & Brown): http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/11005/
OA Impact Advantage: http://www.crsc.uqam.ca/lab/chawki/graphes/EtudeImpact.htm
Institutional Policies: http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/policysignup/
Institutional Archives: http://archives.eprints.org/ (offline because of fire)
RCUK Policy Proposal: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/access/index.asp
Prior AmSci Threads:
"EPrints, DSpace or ESpace?" (started Feb 2003)
Thursday, November 10. 2005
All bold italic quotes are from:
Yes, but SSHRC should make sure that what they require to be deposited is the author's final draft, not necessarily the publisher's official version (PDF). That's all the RCUK is requiring; that's all the NIH and Wellcome require; and that's all that's needed for 100% OA.
The publisher's PDF can be deposited too, optionally, if the publisher agrees; but it is important to make sure SSHRC doesn't get bogged down by that irrelevancy, by needlessly insisting on the publisher's version instead of just the author's final draft.
Should such a regulation apply to all forms of research outputs (i.e. peer-reviewed journal articles, non-peer reviewed research reports, monographs, data sets, theses, conference proceedings, etc.)?It should be mandatory for authors' final drafts of journal and refereed-conference articles for sure.
It's up to SSHRC whether to make it mandatory for data too.
It is tricky to force authors to make unrefereed reports public if they don't wish to, so that should be optional: merely recommended, not required.
Monographs are even trickier, as there is no need to jeopardise securing OA's main target -- research articles -- by needlessly threatening authors' potential revenues from books: Of course SSHRC authors make next to no money that way; and of course many SSHRC authors will be happy to self-archive their monographs anyway; but SSHRC should on no account put the real OA target at risk by needlessly over-reaching: Require self-archiving for articles, but only recommend it (strongly, if SSHRC wishes) for books.
Theses too are tricky, because some are destined to become books, and SSHRC is not really subsidising the thesis itself, just the supervisor's research. So it might inspire less needless author opposition if thesis self-archiving too were strongly recommended, rather than required, as with articles.
Should there be exceptions for research outputs where there is an expectation of financial return to the author (i.e., monographs where royalties are accrued)?Yes, definitely exempt them: OA is intended for give-away texts, written for the sake of research impact; it is not intended for trade texts, written for the sake of sales-revenue.
In general, there are two accepted routes to open access: Self-archiving - depositing research results and materials in institutional repositories that can be searched by anyone with Internet access;OA self-archiving is exactly what can and should be mandated.
Open access electronic journals - peer-reviewed journals that provide Internet-based access for readers without subscription charges.OA journal-publishing cannot and hence should not be mandated, because:
(1) there aren't anywhere near enough suitable OA journals in most fields yet;Let journal reform take care of itself: SSHRC's concern should only be with research access (and impact). Mixing that up with forced journal-reform will again just elicit needless opposition and delay for the primary target: 100% OA for SSHRC-funded research article output (authors' final drafts) so that all users worldwide can access, use, apply and build upon it, and not just those users who (or whose institutions) happen to be able to afford to access the journal in which the publisher's official version happens to be published. Publishing in OA journals should be encouraged where possible, but not mandated. If SSHRC wishes, it can offer to help support authors' OA journal publishing costs.
In sum: Mandating OA self-archiving and encouraging (and supporting) OA publishing is all that's needed from SSHRC. The rest will come with the territory. But if SSHRC instead needlessly over-reaches, needlessly trying to strong-arm publishing reform directly, the whole thing will just get needlessly bogged down for years more.
Both routes present SSHRC and the research community with operational challenges:Institutional repositories present no "operational challenges," either for SSHRC or for institutions. Institutional Repositories (IRs) can and will take care of themselves. SSHRC should just mandate self-archiving, and the IRs will be created and filled.
SSHRC needs no central SSHRC or Canadian archive. Distributed institutional self-archiving is the most natural and efficient route to 100% OA: the IRs are all interoperable because they are OAI-compliant. If SSHRC wishes, it can harvest from them the articles it has funded. See the Swan/Brown JISC study on central vs. distributed institutional self-archiving and central harvesting:
Every Canadian university that does not have an IR already is less than $10,000 away from having an IR. Hence this is a red herring.Swan, A., Needham, P., Probets, S., Muir, A., Oppenheim, C., O'Brien, A., Hardy, R., Rowland, F. and Brown, S. (2005) Developing a model for e-prints and open access journal content in UK further and higher education. Learned Publishing 18(1):pp. 25-40.Currently, not all Canadian universities provide an institutional repository service. Some 26 repositories are now in place, or are in development, but this does not yet provide the necessary services for all SSHRC-funded researchers.
If required by SSHRC, would you be willing to send all outputs from SSHRC-funded research to an institutional repository?Of course. (I already do.) Another JISC Swan & Brown international survey has already reported that 90% of Canadian researchers worldwide would comply (80% willingly, 10% reluctantly). This is almost identical to the international average of 95% compliance (81% willingly, 14% reluctantly).
Erudit is not an institutional repository, it is a journal archive, though it does also offer space to authors for central archiving. See the the Institutional Archive Registry.Swan, A. (2005) Open access self-archiving: An Introduction. Technical Report, JISC, HEFCE.What range of electronic publications and institutional repository services are needed to fully meet the needs of the scholarly community? See, for example erudit.org (www.erudit.org), a Quebec-based electronic service provider. Should this model be extended across Canada?
Don't mix up journal repositories with institutional repositories. It is the latter that are needed, and all that's missing is the SSHRC mandate. Mandate institutional self-archiving and the archives will be created, and the archives will be filled, with the primary target content (author final drafts of refereed journal articles).
If SSHRC wants to emulate a Quebec self-archiving model, have a look at the institutional self-archiving policy shortly to be announced by l'Université du Québec à Montréal.
Or see the mandates of CERN, University of Minho, University of Zurich, Queensland University of Technology, or University of Southampton.
Open access journals: Revising the SSHRC Aid to Research and Transfer Journals Program. Although SSHRC financially supports the majority of social science and humanities journals produced in Canada , the Aid to Research and Transfer Journals Program does not provide support for non-subscription based journals. Scholarly peer-reviewed journals play a crucial role in the certification of research knowledge. In the context of open access, institutional repositories must be able to distinguish between peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed research outputs. Therefore, the continued existence, and financial viability, of journals is clearly a critical issue.The continued existence of peer-reviewed journals is not at issue, as long as SSHRC resists mixing up publishing reform (gold) with OA self-archiving (green).
It is the authors' final drafts of journal articles that need to be self-archived, and they will be tagged as "peer-reviewed final drafts" (plus journal name).Harnad, S. (2005) Fast-Forward on the Green Road to Open Access: The Case Against Mixing Up Green and Gold. Ariadne 43.
Journals' financial viability is not at issue; nor is there any objective evidence to date that it is at risk.
The only thing at issue is research access; and the only thing at risk (indeed 50%-250% of it is being outright lost today) is research usage and impact.
As a basis for an SSHRC OA policy? Very bad. Why are journal funding issues being mixed up with funded research access issues?Harnad, Stevan (2005) Making the case for web-based self-archiving. Research Money 19(16).Please comment on each of the three following possible ways to tackle this challenge, taking into consideration the fact that there are limited resources for the support of research:
Self-archiving should be immediate, upon acceptance of the final refereed draft for publication by the journal.
No "moving walls" (unless the journal wishes to make its own contents OA after a period of its choosing, which is fine, but completely independent from the issue of immediate self-archiving by the author, and an SSHRC requirement to do it).
Good idea, if the journal is an OA journal; absurd and irrelevant if it is not."Please Don't Copy-Cat Clone NIH-12 Non-OA Policy!" (Jan 2005)A publication fee, charged by journals to authors, to be considered an eligible expense within a SSHRC research grant. This would require researchers to have access to SSHRC or other grant funds.
A modification to the SSHRC support program for journals -- which currently covers 40 to 50 per cent of journal expenditures -- to allow grants to cover all peer review, administration = and manuscript preparation costs, but not costs associated with distribution.Only if the journals become OA. But this has nothing whatsoever to do with the SSHRC self-archiving requirement and should not be mixed up with it in any way.
As journal editors, do you allow your contributing authors to place their accepted articles in an institutional repository or on a Web site not connected with the journal? Why, or why not?Who is being asked? The Romeo registry lists the 8620 journals indexed so far for their self-archiving policy, and 93% of them endorse self-archiving, 7% do not. Journal editors should register their policies if they are not already registered:
As researchers/authors, would you be willing to comply with a SSHRC regulation that requires peer-reviewed articles to be published in an open access journal and/or placed in a publicly-accessible institutional repository?Why is this question being asked in this illogical and arbitrary composite/interwoven form (worthy of a gerry-rigged referendum query, contingent on all sorts of unfulfilled and unfulfillable premises) instead of being asked in a straight-forward way?
The two (separate!) straight-forward questions should have been:
(1) Would you be willing to comply with a SSHRC regulation that requires peer-reviewed articles to be placed in a publicly-accessible institutional repository?The replies would then very likely have been the same as those we already know from the two JISC international surveys: >80% willing compliance.)
(2) Would you be willing to comply with a SSHRC regulation that recommends peer-reviewed articles to be published in an open access journal when possible?(As this is a recommendation and not a mandate, and only pertains to cases when the author judges that a suitable journal exists, the outcome will not be terribly informative; in any case, the 2 JISC surveys have already polled authors worldwide on this score, and they are indeed favorably inclined toward suitable OA journals, if/when they exist. Now back to the real problem, with is the non-existence of OA for the 85% of worldwide research article output that is not yet being self-archived: That is what the SSHRC self-archiving mandate -- (1), above -- is for. The rest will take care of itself.)
Tuesday, November 8. 2005
On Sat, 29 Oct 2005, Subbiah Arunachalam wrote:
Arun: "We should try to understand why many people have problems in understanding what we think is simple English. For example, Lord Sainsbury, you say, has misunderstood the RCUK proposal as well as the earlier Select Committee proposal. He is [ Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Science and Innovation] in the UK Government and obviously must be an educated person. And English is his mother tongue...Dear Arun,
You are quite right that it is both puzzling and frustrating that such simple, transparent and even trivial things keep being systematically misunderstood by people who not only speak the language but are quite intelligent.
There are only a few possible explanations. I have no idea which is correct (though I have my hunches), but here they are:
(1): The premises of Open Access are wrong. There is in fact either (1a) no need for all those who do not currently have access to have access, or, if there is a need, then there is (1b) no way for all of them them to have access, or, if there is a way for all of them to have access, then (1c) it is either illegal or financially nonviable.My own hunch is that (2) is closest to the truth. There may be some in the publishing community who are closer to (3), but I do not believe that it is they who are holding back OA. OA is provided by and for the research community. It is in reality 100% in their hands, and always has been. Hence if they are not yet providing it, it is certain that this is not because of publishers. It is because of (2): the research community does not (yet) know that (1) is false, nor how, nor why.
It would be very helpful if it could be drawn to the attention of Great Britain's Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, Responsible for Promoting World Class Science & Innovation, Lord Sainsbury, that 93% of the 8620 journals indexed by Sherpa/Romeo have already given their green light to authors self-archiving their own research on the web, whereas it is Lord S who appears to be ambivalent about RCUK's proposal to mandate this practise, despite its obvious benefits to research, to researchers, and to the British tax-payer who funds the research. Lord S wrote:Prior AmSci Topic Thread:
Lord S: "what [RCUK] said effectively is we want you to publish it as soon as you can, subject to reaching agreement with the publishers as to when that would be. That seems to me to put researchers in an impossible position, ie, every individual researcher has got to start negotiating with the publisher as to what that means."I would say that the one nearer an impossible position is not the researcher, but Lord S, who does not appear to have understood the RCUK proposal; he has (yet again) conflated OA publishing (which is not what RCUK is proposing to mandate) with OA self-archiving (of published articles), which is what RCUK is proposing to mandate. Lord S is (yet again) drubbing Peter (OA self-archiving, green) to pox Paul (OA publishing, gold), as he did with the proposal of the UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology, which he also misunderstood:
With about 93% of journals already green on OA self-archiving, Lord S is being more royalist than the sovereign, more catholic than the pope..."Drubbing Peter to pox Paul"
The following (extremely hirsute) passage from Lord S alas does not attest to a clear grasp of what is at issue, even when he endeavours to consider OA self-archiving separately:
Lord S:"The question of institutional repositories is a slightly different one because I think there is a role for institutional repositories [SH: So far so good], but in rather specific circumstances, which is there is a whole series of fields of research where the people like publishing their papers and what they are doing before they send them to the journals, and this is a very good way of communication between research communities. The question here is what is the requirement or the desire for people to publish them alongside publishing them in the actual journals? [SH: Lord S seems here both to be conflating (1a) publishing with (1b) providing access to the publication and (2a) pre-peer-review preprints with (2b) post-peer-review postprints] I think that is for individual universities to decide for themselves as to whether that is a cost [SH: Cost? Cost of what? Cost to whom?] that they think is justified subject to whatever agreement is reached with the publishers on what is the proper thing to do."Agreement? 93% of journals have already given their blessing to author self-archiving. But so preoccupied is Lord S with the costs to and of the journal trade that he seems to be missing entirely the fact that the RCUK self-archiving mandate is meant to recover a needless ongoing cost to the British tax-payer, who funds RCUK research, namely, the loss of at least 50% of citation impact (i.e., about £1.5 billion's-worth) on the RCUK's annual £3.5 billion investment in research, a loss that occurs because currently the only researchers who can access a UK research finding are those whose institutions can afford access to the journal in which that finding happens to be published. Access denied to all the rest of its would-be users.
The RCUK self-archiving mandate is intended to make RCUK-funded research output accessible also to those would-be users who cannot afford the journal in which it happens to be published, so as to remedy the needlessly lost usage and impact of UK research findings, to maximise their uptake, usage, and applications, and thereby to maximise the benefits to British tax-payers resulting from the research that they have paid for.
Where do journal-costs and publishing-models figure at all in this equation? The transaction seems to be primarily one between the British tax-payer and the British research community that it funds to produce research, research which is in turn intended to be used and applied for the benefit of the British tax-payer, not to serve as a product to be sold, as in a supermarket, for the benefit of some other party. Publishers certainly add value (and earn revenue) from this transaction too, but their retail side-trade surely is not what it is all about!
Lord S is not merely another one of UK's trade ministers, but UK's science minister as well. As such, he should avoid conflating trade matters with research matters, for in this case it amounts to the tail (publishing) wagging the dog (research).
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