Friday, June 30. 2006
The three RCUK self-archiving mandates (ESRC, BBSRC, MRC), though extremely timely and welcome per se, are still needlessly wishy-washy about one important thing: When the deposit should take place. Some (ESRC and BBSRC) say, vaguely, "at the earliest opportunity." Others (BBSRC) say "within six months of publication". And there is also hedging with: "depends upon publishers' agreements with their author".
None of this is specific enough for a clear, effective mandate. These are open-ended loopholes needlessly inviting non-compliance or opt-out. But there is an extremely simple way to fix them, and I and others will be pushing very hard for the fix to be implemented and announced formally, so they can serve as emulable policy models for the rest of the research world.
(1) Deposit of the full text and metadata should take place immediately upon the article's acceptance for publication.So with immediate deposit mandated, but immediate OA-setting only strongly recommended where possible (94% of journals have already given immediate author OA self-archiving their green light), the EMAIL-EPRINT button will tide over any embargo period (max. 6 months) for the 6% of articles that are not immediately OA.
But the immediate-deposit requirement itself has to be made crystal clear, lest the mandate turn out to be so fuzzy and open-ended as to be no mandate at all!
Also, all councils should mandate deposit preferentially in the author's own institutional repository (IR). Central repositories can harvest from there, if they wish. Direct deposit in a central repository is unnecessary, nonoptimal, and does not scale; it should only be done in cases where an author's institution does not yet have an IR.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Wednesday, June 28. 2006
(1) The RCUK's decision today to let individual funding councils decide for themselves whether or not to mandate OA self-archiving is both good and bad.
It is good that the individual councils will be able to mandate it if they wish (and bravo to MRC, BBSRC & ESRC for already doing so: CCLRC is close, and I am sure other councils will be mandating too!), but too bad that consensus by all the councils could not be reached.
(2) The "plans to assess the impact of author-pays publishing and self-archiving on research publishing" are empty nonsense.
First, the most important impact of OA is on research, researchers, and the public that funds them, and that impact has already been tested and repeatedly demonstrated to be highly positive, with OA dramatically enhancing research usage and impact.
Second, the only objective way to assess the impact of mandated self-archiving on publishing is to mandate it and monitor the outcome yearly. So far, spontaneous, unmandated self-archiving remains at about 15% overall, and that's why OA needs to be mandated. So far spontaneous self-archiving has had zero impact on publishing (i.e., subscription revenues), even in the few fields (of physics) where it has been close to 100% for years.
In other words, the spontaneous self-archiving experiment has already been done, and it has had no impact on publishing. The only way to go on to assess the effects of mandated self-archiving is to mandate it, and review the effects each year.
As to testing the effects of OA publishing: Publishers are now offering Open Choice, whereby authors (and their institutions and funders) can decide whether or not they wish to pay for OA for their individual articles. That promises to be a lengthy experiment, and the decision on whether to mandate OA self-archiving now should certainly not wait for its outcome -- particularly because 100% of publication costs are currently being paid by institutional subscriptions, and it is not clear where or why to find extra cash for paid OA until and unless institutional subscriptions start getting cancelled (in which case the institutional cancellation savings themselves would be the natural source for the cash to pay for the OA publication).
In other words, this call for further studies to "assess impact" before mandating OA self-archiving is merely a cop-out in response to publishing community lobbying, which has already successfully filibustered self-archiving mandates for several years now: In reality, the self-archiving mandates themselves are the only objective test of their own impact.
Let us hope the other individual Research Councils will, like MRC, BBSRC and ESRC (CCLRC is already close) have the good sense to go ahead and conduct the tests, by adopting the mandates.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Tuesday, June 27. 2006
The following are excerpts from a series of exchanges between Jan Velterop and me (Stevan Harnad), in the American Scientist Open Access Forum, on the notion that if research funders are to mandate OA at all, it should not be (i) by mandating that authors self-archive, in their own institutional repositories, their own final drafts of articles that they publish (in any journal), but (ii) by mandating that authors publish in OA journals, and by also providing them with the funds to pay the publication charges. (Note that Jan is not actually recommending that OA publishing and its funding should be mandated: yet that is clearly the notion we are discussing, on the premise that research funders should mandate OA at all, as is currently being proposed in the US, UK and EC):
Re: Royal Society Offers Open Choice:
Velterop (Sat Jun 24 16:48)
Harnad (Sun Jun 25 04:35)
Jan Velterop (quoted below) has both priorities and event-order exactly backwards, and I suspect he may not even be aware of it.
The priority is Open Access, now. This is an immediate and direct research priority as well as a public-good priority, because it is the public that benefits from research impact and progress, and it is for that reason that the public funds research. Hence OA's first priority is OA, 100% OA -- not OA publishing, nor publishing reform: OA; 100% OA. Moreover, the order of events, leading to OA publishing through publishing reform, is, almost certainly: mandating OA self-archiving --> 100% OA --> possibly subscription cancellations --> possibly substantial subscription cancellations --> transition to OA publishing. The order of events is almost certainly not, instead: transition to OA Publishing --> 100% OA.
Let me repeat: the priority of OA is immediate and direct: In particular, there is zero evidence at the present time that there is any other problem (such as self-archiving causing subscription cancellations) that first has to be solved before we can have immediate 100% Open Access.
Still more particularly, it is simple false to say that we cannot have immediate 100% OA until we first solve the problem of subscription revenue losses for publishers, for there is as yet zero evidence of subscription revenue loss for publishers as a consequence of self-archiving, whereas there is already overwhelming evidence of the benefits of OA self-archiving to research, researchers, and the public that funds them.
There is also overwhelming evidence that merely inviting or recommending self-archiving does not generate rates of self-archiving above its spontaneous baseline level of 15%. The only way -- and the sure, demonstrated way -- to achieve 100% self-archiving is to mandate it.
And that is the issue on the table: mandating self-archiving. Not protecting publishers from hypothetical risk, but mandating self-archiving, for its demonstrated benefits to research.
Now, in weighing Jan Velterop's remarks below, please do keep this logic in your mind, because alas those in Jan's position -- indeed anyone whose primary allegiance is to what is best for publishers' bottom lines rather than what is best for research, researchers and the public that funds the research -- is bound to have great difficulty in keeping this logic in mind, being preoccupied with their own, conflicting, interests:
(1) 100% OA has been repeatedly demonstrated to benefit research, researchers and the public that funds research.Jan does not see it this way because his first allegiance is to making sure publishers make ends meet, and because he is convinced that they will not be able to make ends meet if self-archiving is mandated, even though there exists to date absolutely no evidence in support of this conviction. The conviction, in turn, warrants -- not for Jan, who, I believe, supports the self-archiving mandate despite his reservations, but for many other publishers -- trying to prevent research funders from mandating OA until and unless they can agree to pay in advance for the hypothetical subscription shortfall (of which there is as yet not the slightest sign).
The demonstrated and readily reachable immediate benefits of OA to research, researchers and the public are hence set aside, and hypothetical risks to the publisher's bottom line are instead given the priority, with the insistence that if OA is to be mandated at all, it is OA publishing that needs to be mandated (along with the extra funds to pay for it), not OA self-archiving.
I add only one other point to reflect upon, before turning to Jan's specific points:
Institutional subscriptions today are not paying only for online access, but also for the print edition (among other perks). Is the publishers' "realistic" asking price for author-institution-funder-paid OA meant to be covering the costs of supplying the paper edition to all those institutions too? (I take up this theme again in replying to Ian Russell of the Royal Society in another posting.)
I agree completely. I am advocating immediate OA, through immediate self-archiving mandates. What is your point?Harnad: "... if mandated SA does generate substantial institutional subscription cancellations, then those very same substantial institutional subscriptions cancellations will generate the institutional windfall savings out of which PA costs (again determined by the market and not by a-priori fiat) could be paid without taking any money away from research funding."Velterop: "I'm afraid Stevan fails to appreciate three things here:
I agree completely. I am advocating immediate OA, through immediate self-archiving mandates. What is your point?Velterop: "2. If the cost of essentials is seen as 'taking money away from research funding, then money is already being 'taken away' from research funding because subscriptions are largely paid out of the overhead that institutions take out of research grants (often more than 50%);
Advocating immediate OA, through immediate self-archiving mandates isVelterop: 3. Shifting payment patterns from subscriptions to open access via institutional self-archiving mandates (the 'windfall' argument) is unnecessarily disruptive and as such only delays open access [emphasis added] as it inevitably causes entirely predicatable and understandable doubt as to the real intentions and ulterior motives of the OA 'movement' (which often seems more about money than about access), and consequent defensive attitudes amongst publishers and scholarly societies, and even amongst researchers themselves.
unnecessarily disruptive and only delays open access? (Could you explain that please? because on the face of it it sure looks like the exact opposite.)
And whose real intention and ulterior motive is money rather than access? Those who support or those who oppose immediate OA, through immediate self-archiving mandates? (Who is hastening and who is delaying OA? Who is facilitating and who is disrupting OA? Are you perhaps, again, conflating OA with paid-OA publishing?)
Isn't that precisely what I said in your opening quotation from me, with which you were disagreeing? viz:Velterop:" Advocating open access should not be conflated with advocating cost-evasion (the ultimate free-ridership). Access and costs are two independent variables. Lower costs do not necessarily bring open access; and open access does not necessarily bring lower costs. But we would be able to make a great deal more progress on an equal-revenue basis, were that advocated more widely. The amount of money now being spent, Academia-wide, on subscriptions, could, almost by definition for the vast majority of journals, also fund full open access. That's what we should be focussing on. [emphasis added]
I keep focussing on immediate OA, through immediate self-archiving mandates, and you keep focussing on money.Harnad: "... if mandated SA does generate substantial institutional subscription cancellations, then those very same substantial institutional subscriptions cancellations will generate the institutional windfall savings out of which PA costs (again determined by the market and not by a-priori fiat) could be paid without taking any money away from research funding."
Can we agree to focus on money only if and when there is objective evidence that immediate OA, through immediate self-archiving mandates, is actually starting to make someone lose money? Until then, it would seem, focussing on money instead of access is "unnecessarily disruptive and only delays open access."
On Sun, 25 Jun 2006, Jan Velterop wrote:
Velterop: " I'm glad Stevan agrees with me on so many points. The only thing that seems to separate us is the judgement that an unfunded self-archiving mandate carries an appreciable risk of destroying the valuable system of formal peer-reviewed journals to communicate and preserve scientific findings. Stevan thinks there is no such risk. I think there is, and that it is a wholly unnecessary risk. My motive is to come to a solid, stable, economically sustainable, and reliable method to ensure open access to the formal research journal literature.
The gentle reader need not cringe at the prospect of yet another verbose Jan/Stevan exchange. The reply here is mercifully short:
With all his lurid analogies above, Jan is merely reasoning by escalating the shrillness of his prophecies of the doom and gloom that will befall us should the many research funders (US, UK, EC) who have proposed to mandate OA self-archiving actually go ahead and adopt their mandates (instead of paying publishers' asking price for paid OA).
The strategy is simple: To every point showing that one's own view is contrary to the evidence, improbable or illogical, one simply responds by escalating the direness of the consequences, should one's view (per impossibile) nevertheless prove right.
This reasoning is exactly the same as that of Pascal's Wager, which "proved" that it was more rational to believe and do as Scripture dictated, whether or not it was true, because otherwise one risked burning forever, if, against all evidence, Scripture turned out to be true after all.
"Pascal's Wager and Open Access (OA)" (Dec 2004)The trouble is that any belief and action and its opposite can be defended in this way, simply by raising the agony ante in the other direction!
Should I now reply with lurid stories about how CURES for diseases will be lost, and millions will perish, because we failed to provide access to research findings for the scientists who could have used and built upon them, simply because we were afraid the sky might otherwise fall down, as per publishers' rival prophecies?
Enough said. Time to mandate OA self-archiving.
Jan, let's cut to the quick (because the rest is really just ideology, hypothesis and posturing, on both of our parts):
Are you and Springer part of the publisher lobby opposing the FRPAA, RCUK, and EC proposals to mandate author self-archiving, right now?
Springer is green on author self-archiving. If it is not, at the same time, a part of the publisher lobby against mandating author self-archiving, right now, then Springer is on the side of the Angels and the rest of our quibbling does not amount to a hill of beans.
Remember that the postings by me on which you intervened were aimed against the publisher lobby opposing the self-archiving mandates -- in particular, the latest attempt to replace the author self-archiving mandate with a publisher paid-OA mandate.
And my objection to this attempt is conditional. If the funders have the cash and the willingness to mandate paid-OA, and pay for it, right now, and they implement that mandate, right now, not a peep of objection from me. Years of delay, disruption and non-OA will be over.
But if this move just results in still more delay and disruption, and still no OA mandate, after it has been dragging on like this for years already, then of course there will be more dissension.
I won't comment on your follow-up comments, except the very last one, which I think illustrates the yawning gap between the interests of publishers (whether OA or non-OA) and those of researchers (and it also limns who is delaying/disrupting what, and why). You wrote:
I think any disinterested 3rd party would see very clearly that the research community is not "waiting": Its funders are trying to mandate OA self-archiving, and it is publishers who are delaying and disrupting that, and forcing the research community to keep waiting for OA.Velterop: "why wait and in the mean time set up costly institutional repositories... not just costly, but OA-wise sub-optimal...?
And not only are the (small) costs of setting up Institutional Repositories utterly irrelevant to publishers (who are not being asked to pay for them) but IRs are being set up anyway, for a variety of reasons, OA being only one of them (and alas not always the primary one!).
And as to the "sub-optimality" of having access only to the author's refereed final draft, in an IR, instead of the publisher's proprietary PDF: Please tell that to the many, many would-be users all over the planet who have no access to either of those, and whose access to the "sub-optimal" OA draft is being delayed and opposed by the publisher lobby.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Press release synopsis:
The STI 'Professional Days' 2006 (4th edition) conference on "Archives institutionnelles et archives ouvertes" took place in Nancy from 19 - 21 June.
All the major French research organizations were represented: CNRS, INSERM, INRIA, INRA, INERIS, IRD, and ADEME are to sign a Joint Draft Agreement (already finalised), defining a coordinated approach, at the national level, for open-access self-archiving of French research output. Also to sign the agreement are the conference of university presidents (CPU), the conference of Grandes Ecoles (France's Elite Universities), and the Pasteur Institute.
This marks an important advance in the implementation of a French national policy for open access institutional archives (OA/IA). There is also a protocol of agreement about metadata to enrich the articles and some assistance to depositers on legal matters.
Elsewhere, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has also recommended that making results open access in open archives should be made a condition of R&D funding, and so have NIH and FRPAA in the US and RCUK in the UK.
In France there is first to be a 'statement' as a prelude to a 'directive'. The difference is important. NIH and CERN have different deposit rates, reflecting the difference between a request and a requirement.
NIH, with only a request, has a deposit rate of, 4%, whereas CERN, with a requirement, is approaching 100%. OA cannot achieve its objectives unless deposit rates approach 100%.
A laisser-faire policy, only requesting self-archiving, generates a deposit rate of a few percent. Systematic activism from librarians and information professionals (informing, encouraging, helping with deposits) raises the rate to about 12%. Adding a 'carrot and stick' component (e.g., making the deposit rate one of the criteria in annual evaluation) might raise rates to 20% but not much more. By contrast, organizations that have a contractual obligation to deposit (such as CEMAGREF, since 1992, and INERIS) have deposit rates near 100%, fulfilling their contract to have open institutional archives which reflect the full research output of their organizations.
The Joint Draft Agreement is being formulated at a time when France is considering many other questions about legal aspects, voluntary vs. obligatory deposit, and the purpose of knowledge repositories. For fear that restive researchers might resent the imposition of administrative rules, the question is mostly evaded (especially by the CNRS), but there is evidence of progress: at the Nancy conference, INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research), announced that it plans to make self-archiving in its open-access archive compulsory within the next few years -- but this progress is far too slow.
A sense of legal uncertainty is one of the factors holding back deposit rates. Paradoxically, it is information professionals (librarians and documentalists) -- not researchers or management -- who have been pressing for a clear legal framework on open access archiving from the directorate of the CNRS.
There is a French call for proposals (drawing on a total source of only 1 million euros) for studies on the creation and support of new Open Access Journals. In contrast, in the UK, the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) is spending approximately 115 million euros, much of it devoted to studies on the creation and support of the infrastructure for open access archives in British universities and research institutions. According to some of the participants at the Nancy conference, France's new National Agency of Research (ANR) refers in its contracts to requirement (or is it a request') linking its research funding to the provision of 'Open Access' to the results.
L’information : Les journées 2006 des professionnels de l’IST (4ème édition de ce rendez-vous) se sont déroulées à Nancy du 19 au 21 juin. Deux thèmes étaient inscrits au menu de ces journées qui sont devenues un classique et ne touchent plus uniquement les professionnels de l’information du CNRS, puisque aussi bien dans la salle qu’en tribune, tous les grands établissements de recherche français (INSERM, INRIA, INRA, INERIS, IRD, ADEME…) étaient représentés. Annonce majeure de ces journées : la signature d’un protocole d’accord (déjà finalisé), définissant une approche coordonnée, au niveau national, pour l’archivage ouvert de la production scientifique française. Outre le CNRS et les organismes déjà cités, la conférence des présidents d’université (CPU), la conférence des grandes écoles, l’Institut Pasteur, signeront cet accord. Celui-ci marque une avancée importante dans la mise en place d’une politique nationale en matière d’archives ouvertes (A0) et d’archives institutionnelles (AI).
L’analyse de la Dépêche : Le protocole « archives ouvertes » bientôt signé, qui au travers d’un guichet commun, prévoit la mise en place d’une « infrastructure nationale » OI/OA est à marquer d’une pierre blanche. Tout d’abord, il concrétise une volonté de coopération entre grands organismes de recherche (l’accord restant ouvert, sa signature va probablement avoir un effet d’entraînement sur d’autres EPST spécialisés), volonté qui est encore trop rare pour ne pas être soulignée – même si la mise en place sous l’égide de l’INIST du portail TermScience (cf. la Dépêche du 6 juin dernier) relevait déjà de cette mutualisation des stratégies et des moyens. Comme toute initiative négociée entre des entités ayant des objectifs et des rôles différents, les compromis nécessaires que reflète ce « traité multilatéral », ne satisfont pas tout le monde. Le guichet envisagé à ce jour, construit autour de la plate- forme HAL (mise en place et développée depuis 2001 par le Centre de communication scientifique directe – CCSD – du CNRS), a tous les avantages et tous les inconvénients d’une solution dont il n’était pas, dès l’origine, prévu qu’elle puisse jouer ce rôle d’infrastructure fédératrice. On n’entrera pas ici dans ce débat : il faut simplement souligner que le protocole d’accord définit bien une vraie « philosophie commune » en matière d’archives ouvertes et va assez loin dans des aspects directement fonctionnels : la définition du cœur de métadonnées qui doivent enrichir les articles déposés quelle qu’en soit l’origine ; la définition des procédures de travail collaboratif pour l’alimentation de ce guichet commun ; enfin la définition des besoins en terme «d’assistance aux déposants en particulier l’expertise juridique (1)».
Par une initiative « consortiale » qui ne relève que de leur propre volonté, ces organismes parent à ce qui semble une totale incurie des politiques et des pouvoirs publics français – et en tout premier lieu du Ministère de la Recherche (2) sur ces questions. La dimension politique de ces questions est pourtant désormais sur la place publique, bien au-delà des seuls milieux de la recherche. Le rapport de l’OCDE (septembre 2005) préconisant la généralisation systématique d’un lien obligatoire entre financement public de la R&D et mise à disposition des résultats de la recherche dans des archives ouvertes a fait grand bruit. La question de cette obligation est au cœur d’un très vif débat parlementaire aux Etats-Unis (projet de loi des sénateurs Lieberman (D) et Cornyn (R) et au Royaume-Uni (prise de position du House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee). La Commission devrait publier prochainement une « communication » sur ce thème, prélude à une éventuelle directive.
Le signal de réactivité et de mutualisation des approches et des moyens qu’envoient les acteurs de la recherche français au travers de ce protocole est donc important. Mais l’analyse ne serait pas complète si on ne posait la question des conditions de valeur d’usage à terme de ces archives ouvertes. Les grands modèles d’archives ouvertes (PubMed - piloté par le NIH aux Etats- Unis dans le secteur du biomédical ou ArXiv piloté en Europe par le CERN – dans le domaine de la physique) font apparaître des taux de dépôt très contrastés.
Si la logique communautaire fonctionne bien en physique et assure une réelle représentativité des matériaux déposés dans ArXiV, PubMed, malgré sa notoriété, n’obtient dans un cadre qui ne définit pas d’obligation, un tau Xde dépôt de 4% (c'est-à-dire que seuls 4% des articles reflétant des recherches biomédicales financées par le NIH sont versés dans PubMed). Or le taux de dépôt est un paramètre essentiel du développement des valeurs d’usage de ces gisements « ouverts » d’information scientifique élaborée. Que l’on assigne à ces AO des objectifs de simple communication directe des résultats de la recherche publique, ou des objectifs plus ambitieux de visibilité internationale des entités de recherche, de reflet exhaustif des activités de R&D financées sur fonds public, d’articulation de cette R&D avec l’économie de l’innovation (perspective OCDE), ces gisements en cours de constitution ne pourront atteindre ces objectifs que si le taux de dépôts sans atteindre 100% se rapproche asymptotiquement de cette limite. Puisque c’est une condition évidente de leur « représentativité » de la recherche en train de se faire. Or les « retours d’expériences » enregistrés ces derniers jours à Nancy confirment le « modèle PubMed » : trop d’énergies sont actuellement consacrées sur le terrain à la « bataille du dépôt » (convaincre les chercheurs de déposer), avec des résultats très mitigés. Pour simplifier, disons qu’une politique de « laisser faire » permet d’enregistrer un taux de dépôt de l’ordre de quelques %. Un investissement des professionnels de l’information dans la « bataille du dépôt » (sensibilisation, prise en charge de certaines tâches) permet d’atteindre un taux de dépôt de l’ordre de 12 %. L’association à l’invitation au dépôt d’une politique de la « carotte et du bâton » (en faisant par exemple du taux de dépôt des chercheurs l’un des éléments de leur évaluation annuelle) permettrait de porter la performance au-dessus de 20 % mais guère plus. Par contraste, les organismes (le CEMAGREF, qui a introduit cette obligation en 1992; l’INERIS, Institut national de l'environnement industriel et des risques où le taux de dépôt atteint 100 %) ont, pour des raisons évidentes, rempli leur contrat, à savoir disposer d’archives institutionnelles ouvertes qui reflètent de façon exhaustive l’activité de recherche de ces organismes.
Le protocole d’accord intervient donc en France à ce moment précis où commence à se poser la question essentielle de l’articulation entre « cadre réglementaire » (obligation de dépôt, pas obligation) et des finalités de ces entrepôts de connaissance. Même si, de crainte de prendre à rebrousse-poil la sensibilité des chercheurs rétifs à l’introductions de contraintes administratives la question est pudiquement éludée (en particulier au CNRS). Indice d’une évolution des esprits : lors des journées de Nancy, la représentante de l'INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale), a annoncé que cet organisme projette de rendre obligatoire le dépôt dans ses archives ouvertes dans les prochaines années. Une évolution de l’INSERM sur ce point aurait probablement valeur d’exemple en raison de l’importance et du prestige de cet EPST. Les mauvais esprits et les pessimistes souligneront qu’en raison des crédits dérisoires allant en France tant à ces outils qu’aux recherches sur ces questions, l’inutilité éventuelle (liée à un trop faible taux de dépôt) de ces « machins » ne pourrait cependant guère être qualifiée de gâchis de ressources. On se console comme on peut.
(1) Cette question de l’encadrement juridique du dépôt en archives institutionnelles ouvertes apparaissant lors des journées de Nancy comme un « point douloureux » surtout au sein du CNRS au sein duquel s’affrontent des sensibilités différentes, allant d’un laisser-faire laisser-passer minimisant l’importance du cadre juridique au profit d’une spontanéité autorégulée par les chercheurs et la sensibilité de ceux qui soulignent que l’actuelle insécurité juridique est l’un des freins importants au dépôt. Paradoxalement ce sont les professionnels de l’information – les documentalistes accompagnant les chercheurs dans leurs logiques de « publication sur archives ouvertes » qui - plus que les chercheurs ou les directions générales – formulent une demande très claire de définition au niveau de la direction du CNRS d’un cadre juridique clair. (2) Pour mesurer cette incurie, il suffit d’interroger le site www.recherche.gouv.fr avec les mots clés « archives ouvertes » « archives institutionnelles » ou « accès libre ». On constatera qu’aucun document de cadrage politique – ou même de simple synthèse didactique – sur ces questions ne figure dans la vitrine Web du Ministère. Le seul document (datant de 2004) qui s’approche d’un peu près de ce que pourrait être un cadre didactique/programmatique sur ces questions sont les deux pages d’ « exposé des motifs » pour un appel à propositions (royalement doté de 1 million d’euros, un montant sans doute inférieur au budget « petits fours » du ministère) visant à soutenir le développement de nouvelles revues scientifiques en ligne satisfaisant aux critères de l’Open Access. Il n’a pas été possible de vérifier sur le site du ministère si ce type d’opération s’est depuis 2004 inscrit dans une continuité d’action (mais il semble que la réponse soit négative). Pour mémoire rappelons que le JISC, Joint Information Systems Committee, l’entité jouant outre-Manche à la fois le rôle d’un consortium d’achat, d’un centre d’études et de gestionnaire d’une infrastructure réseau dédiée, a obtenu en octobre 2005 de ses autorités de tutelle une enveloppe de 80 millions de livres (environ 115 millions d’euros) qui seront essentiellement affectés au développement d’archives ouvertes d’articles scientifiques (« Open repositories ») au sein des universités et institutions de recherche britanniques et de l’ « infrastructure » (mise en réseau et exploitation à partir d’un moteur de recherche unique) nécessaire à l’exploitation de ces archives. La toute jeune Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) ne fournit pas non plus sur son site Internet de « cadre » sur ces questions. Il semble cependant, d’après certains participants aux journées de Nancy, que l’ANR, dans ses contrats inclut une clause posant le principe d’une obligation (ou d’un souhait ?) liant ses financements sur projets à une mise en œuvre d’une logique d’ « open access » pour les articles scientifiques résultant de ces projets.
Indexation : Information scientifique, technique et médicale
Suite à une erreur, la Dépêche diffusée hier était une dépêche qui vous avait déjà été transmise en date du 20 juin 2005. Nous vous prions de bien vouloir nous en excuser.
Mentions de responsabilité et de propriété : Dépêche élaborée par MV Etudes et Conseil, qui assume seul la responsabilité journalistique de ces contenus. Tous droits d'utilisation réservés GFII.
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 08:56:38 +0200
Reproduction possible à des fins non commerciales, sous réserve d'autorisation de notre part.
Sunday, June 25. 2006
In the SPARC Open Access Forum, Ian Russell -- Head of Publishing, The Royal Society and new CEO of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers -- wrote:
Assuming that subscription revenue fell to zero? But where is the evidence supporting that assumption? Indeed, where is the evidence of subscription revenue falling at all, as a result of authors self-archiving their own peer-reviewed final drafts online?IR: "The Publishing Board of the Royal Society... felt... the fees for EXiS Open Choice should be set at a level which would allow for a viable publishing operation should EXiS Open Choice become the dominant model. The fees would therefore allow us to recover our costs should all authors choose the EXiS route and assuming that subscription revenue fell to zero [emphasis added]."
And in setting the a-priori fee level, were all current products/services and their costs/revenues factored in? for example, the production and distribution of the print edition, which is currently subscribed to by institutions worldwide?
Are the authors then, today, expected to pay to supply the print editions to the subscribing libraries of the world, if they wish to make their own articles OA?
Or does the Royal Society have evidence that if authors self-archived their own final peer-reviewed drafts online, as the research funders propose to mandate, then subscribing institutions would no longer want the print edition?
And if the print edition were no longer wanted, would its costs not need to be subtracted from the products/services and the costs/revenues that the Royal Society is here factoring into the asking price for the author's costs, a priori?
And might there not be other products/services, with their associated costs/revenues (mark-up, PDF, the online edition), that might likewise prove redundant or obsolete in a world in which the author's own final peer-reviewed drafts were all that was wanted? (Is that not all part of "assuming that subscription revenue fell to zero"?)
And if so, might the publisher's contribution not then reduce to merely the provision of peer review?
And is this not a question that the market (rather than publishers, by a priori assumption) should decide, once research institutions and funders have exercised their natural and long-overdue online-age prerogative to mandate that publicly funded research should be made openly accessible to all of its would-be users online (through the self-archiving of the author's peer-reviewed final draft online) rather than just to those who can afford to pay for the publisher's version, as now?
The peer review is indisputably both an added value and a necessity in all this: The peers review for free, but the process of peer review needs to be implemented, and that implementation needs to be paid for. But that can hardly be said a priori about all the other associated products and services, and hence their associated costs and revenues.
Right now, peer review is being paid for by revenues from all those other associated products and services, and paid for by subscribing institutions. If/when the institutional subscription demand for all those other associated products and services were ever to "fall to zero" (as assumed here), surely the institutions' own associated annual windfall subscription savings will correspondingly "rise from zero" pari passu with that fall, to become the natural source out of which to pay for the implementation of the peer review, several times over.
As for the other associated products and services (print edition, PDF, archiving, distribution, access-provision): if indeed subscription revenue from them "falls to zero" (because the author's online final peer-reviewed drafts turn out to be all that anyone wants any more) then the market will have spoken: The author's final peer-reviewed drafts are all that anyone wants any more. Why should research funders, or anyone, keep paying for other things that no one wants enough any more to pay for? (And why should they now agree to do that at this time, in full, and in advance, a priori?)
Or perhaps the assumption that subscription revenue will fall to zero if the authors are mandated to self-archive their final peer-reviewed drafts online is incorrect? Who can know this a priori, without doing the empirical test that the proposed self-archiving mandate itself would amount to?
For until that empirical test is actually performed, the only sure thing is that OA and its already demonstrated benefits to research access, usage and impact are needed, and needed now -- indeed already well overdue. A self-archiving mandate will provide that OA. That too has been demonstrated already. But all the rest is an open empirical question, for the market to decide.
The market today is a subscription market, and it is paying all the costs of all products and services associated with journal publishing today. What is missing is OA. Mandated author OA self-archiving will provide that missing OA, and its demonstrated benefits to research, researchers, and the public that funds them, with certainty. The rest is all pre-emptive speculation in place of objective testing and evidence (and rather self-serving speculation at that, aimed at pre-setting arbitrarily what should really be for the market to decide: whether anything else needs to paid for, and if so, when, how much, and how (by user-institution subscription fee or by author-institution publication fee).IR: "We feel that most of the author fees in the market at present are set at an unsustainably low level and are setting unrealistic expectations among academics and other stakeholders. Some of the learned society publishers we have been speaking to have expressed concerns that the true author fee they would need to charge in an "author pays" world is much greater that the fees introduced by publishers so far and are concerned about looking uncompetitive. We want to introduce some clarity and go public with the fees that we - as a small learned society publisher with rejection rates of up to 75% - would need to charge in a fully "author pays" world."
Mandating author OA self-archiving, now, is the way to set the natural (and long-overdue) online-age process into motion that will determine whether OA can co-exist with the present subscription system, or requires a transition to OA publication -- and if the latter, what products and services still have a market, and what that market is willing to pay for them. What has already been delayed far too long, and should not be delayed a moment longer, is research institutions and funders mandating that the findings of the research they fund should immediately be made accessible to all of its would-be users online, and not only to those who can afford to pay for the publisher's version, as in the paper era.
Fine. Now what needs to be determined -- by the market, empirically -- is whether all the products and services wrapped into the current "publishing operation" still have a market in an OA world, or whether perhaps the only thing that is still needed is peer review. That is the way to find out what needs to be charged for what in order to stay in business in an OA world. Not by insisting that the research institutions and funders pay for it all up-front at this time (which is precisely what the Royal Society is doing, if it names its asking price for paid OA a-priori, and opposes funder-mandated OA self-archiving by authors).IR: "You can of course argue that our fees are high, but they are what they are: what we would need to charge to stay in business without the benefit of philanthropic grants to maintain our publishing operation. We are confident that we are cost efficient and that our fees are in line with what most learned society publishers would need to charge in a fully OA model."
American Scientist Open Access Forum
It is a very canny gambit on the part of publishers to offer a maximally priced Paid-Publisher-Archiving (PPA) alternative to free Author-Self-Archiving (ASA), and to focus their anti-mandate efforts now on trying to redirect the OA mandates that have been proposed by the US, UK and EC toward mandating OA through PPA instead of ASA.
It can even be stated (again) that if research funders feel they have the spare cash -- and researchers are ready to believe that that cash would be redirected from elsewhere, and not from their research allotments -- to pay whatever publishers ask today (or a capped amount that the funders impose) for PPA, then the outcome (namely, 100% OA) would be welcome and optimal for all.
But if the research funders do not have the spare cash today to match and duplicate the funds that are already changing hands today in the form of annual institutional subscriptions, paid by institutional libraries to publishers -- and/or if the prospect of committing to the payment of such sums today would result in the funders balking at the adoption of OA mandates at all today -- then it would make a good deal more sense for funders to insist, today, on the ASA mandate they have already proposed, rather than the publishers' counterproposal of a PPA mandate, and to let the market decide empirically, at its own tempo, whether ASA indeed generates institutional subscription cancellations.
For if mandated ASA does generate substantial institutional subscription cancellations, then those very same substantial institutional subscription cancellations will constitute the institutional windfall savings out of which PPA costs (again determined by the market and not by a-priori fiat) could be paid quite naturally, without taking any money away from research funding.
And if mandated ASA does not generate substantial institutional subscription cancellations, then there is no need for PPA.
This is an empirical question. Neither its probability nor its price are decidable a-priori, by fiat.
The thing to bear in mind is that publication costs today are bloated -- by the costs of continuing to provide the paper edition, for which there is still hefty subscription demand, as well as the deluxe online edition, and many other extras that subscribing institutions are still happy to pay for today. If/when subscribers should ever cease to want those extra features, and are satisfied with just the author's free, online, refereed final draft, then the cost of PPA can only shrink, and may well reduce to just the cost of implementing peer review.
Publishers are basically asking funders, today -- who have every right to insist on immediate OA for the research they fund, today -- to pay for the entire status quo (print edition and all), today, even though there are plenty of institutions paying for it all already, and even though no one knows whether they will be any less willing to pay for it once the entire system is supplemented, thanks to the ASA mandates, by a free online version of the author's refereed final draft for those who cannot afford all the rest!
But, to repeat, the need for OA would be fully met if funders (and institutions) found the extra cash to mandate and pay for PPA just as surely as the need for OA would be met if funders (and institutions) simply mandated ASA.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Friday, June 23. 2006
On Fri, 23 Jun 2006, Thierry Chanier wrote in the American Scientist Open Access Forum:
"Arnold Migus, the new head of the CNRS recommends depositing in HAL"Recommending has been demonstrated to be insufficient to generate self-archiving above the worldwide spontaneous self-archiving baseline of 15%: Only requiring (a mandate, directive, compulsory policy) will generate self-archiving that approaches 100% of institutional research output.
Moreover, this CNRS recommendation is not new. It was already registered in ROARMAP on 17 Mar 2005 under the former CNRS Directorate by the former Head of Scientific and Technical Information (Laurent Romary)
From the growth data for HAL, the deposit rate does not seem commensurate with all of CNRS's annual research output. If you consult by year of publication you will find that from the totatlity of the country's CNRS research units, there are, respectively, only 4430, 5462, and 2110 articles for 2004, 2005, and 2006, respectively.Institution's/Department's OA Self-Archiving Policy
It would be very helpful to know what percentage of CNRS's total annual research output this represents, and how it distributes across CNRS's many fields and research units.
"the researcher should [first] ask the publisher for permission to deposit."This is a big mistake. No permission is required from anyone merely to deposit.
The CNRS policy should be a requirement to deposit all published articles (full text and metadata) immediately upon acceptance for publication (no exceptions, no delays). The only optional component should concern when the access to the deposited full-text is set as Open Access. (Until then the deposited full-text is in Closed Access, but its metadata are already accessible webwide.) Setting full-text access immediately to Open Access should be recommended, but not required (for the 31% of postprints that might have a Closed Access embargo interval), in order to avoid further delay in adopting the policy, and in order to rule out all exceptions or delays in depositing).
"They suggest spending time to negotiate with the publisher when signing the copyright statement, even asking him the permission to deposit the preprint!"Nonsense. All deposits should be immediate; negotiation can come afterwards, if the author wishes, in order to decide when to set access to OA for the 31% of postprints that might have a Closed Access embargo interval. In the interim, I would strongly urge that HAL implements the semi-automatic EMAIL-EPRINT request feature of EPrints (now also implemented in DSpace).
Authors need no permission at all from anyone, however, to immediately set access to 100% of their unrefereed preprints to Open Access at the moment of deposit (which can be done even before the preprint is submitted to any journal for refereeing!) -- but the decision about whether or not to deposit an unrefereed preprint at all must be left entirely to the author: encouraged but not required.
"Hence if the publisher is against any form of deposit, the researcher should do nothing."Nonsense. Deposit should be de-coupled from access-setting. Postprint deposit should be mandatory and immediate, and with no exceptions. Access-setting should be left up to the author, with immediate OA strongly encouraged, but not required. For preprints, deposit itself should only be encouraged but not required -- but access to deposited preprints can always be set as OA immediately.
"I do not that know any French publisher appears on the Sherpa list. They avoided responding and taking any official position. Informally they are against We could consider this text as an invitation to open the debate with them"Please, before debating: deposit!
" - there is no statement that research funded with public money should in any case be made open access"It would be a good idea for French research funders to follow the example of other research funders worldwide, including the European Commission, the UK and the US, in requiring that the results of publicly funded research be made be deposited immediately -- and made Open Access as soon as possible.
" - there is no requirement in French research contracts, when claiming funds to deposit the resulting publications in an OA repository [like HAL]"There is alas no requirement in any other country's research contracts yet either! The EC, UK and US have so far only proposed to require self-archiving: they have not yet implemented their respective proposals. So far, only the Wellcome Trust, a private funder, plus 6 individual universities and research institutions worldwide, have actually implemented a self-archiving mandate. So there is still time for France to become the first...
" - [in any case] it is nonsense to ask the publisher for the right to deposit a preprint, the preprint not being part of any copyright statement"Correct. But it is also nonsense to ask the publisher for permission to deposit any article: If the publisher's policy is relevant to anything at all, it is relevant only to access-setting, not to depositing.
" - it is contrary to our current position to deposit first and then consider whether the deposit can be made free immediately or after a given delay."Then please change your current position, which is arbitrary, counterproductive, and has obvious not been thought through.
"What do you think of this position? Will it promote or hamper the development of OA?"Recommending self-archiving is better than not recommending self-archiving, but it is not enough. What is needed is requiring (i.e., a self-archiving directive or mandate). And the mandate should be an immediate-deposit mandate. Any delay and negotiation should only pertain to the date of Open-Access-setting, not to the date of deposit (which should be on the day of acceptance of the refereed, revised, final draft for publication)...
The failure to distinguish deposit from release, the failure to mandate immediate deposit, and the bad advice on copyright and negotiation would hamper rather than promote OA. But fortunately this is all very easy to correct. All that is required is to understand exactly how and why to correct it -- and then to correct it.
A l'attention de Mesdames et Messieurs les directeurs d'unité Sous-couvert de Mesdames et Messieurs les délégués régionaux Objet : Développement des archives ouvertes
Thursday, June 22. 2006
It is fine that the Royal Society is experimenting with the "EXiS Open Choice" option (giving individual authors the choice to pay their journal to make their article Open Access [OA] for them), but this is a minor gesture, given that the Royal Society is meanwhile also stoutly -- and so far successfully -- opposing the UK recommendation to mandate that all RCUK fundees must make their own articles OA by depositing them in their own institutional (or central) OA repositories.
What the research world needs today is OA, now: immediate 100% OA (not necessarily OA publishing: OA itself). It is a matter of historical record that (without consulting its membership) the Royal Society, driven by its publishing arm -- and exactly as many other (decidedly non-royal) publishers have done -- has shrilly opposed the RCUK proposal to mandate that UK-funded researchers provide immediate OA by self-archiving their research: opposed it on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, just speculative hypotheses of doom and gloom (eliciting great disappointment in the Royal Society's admirers, as well as an open letter of protest from 64 of its members, including 6 Nobel Laureates, opposed to the Royal Society's stance on OA). (See 1, 2, and 3.)
The fact that the Royal Society, like a number of other publishers, is now trying a leisurely experiment with Open Choice by offering their authors and their institutions the option of paying (a hefty and rather arbitrary fee) for OA is next to ludicrous in this context -- while institutional funds are still tied up in subscriptions, while there is no evidence that self-archiving reduces subscriptions, and while publishers are vigorously opposing self-archiving mandates on the grounds that they might reduce subscriptions.
Although the analogy is unfairly shrill, it is useful in order to make the underlying logic transparent if we note that this is not unlike a call for an immediate public-smoking ban being opposed by a royal tobacco company, with a counter-offer to sell individual clients an alternative smoke-free product, as a matter of (paid) personal choice.
We will never even come near 100% OA if we keep waiting passively for the 24,000 journals to convert to paid OA publishing, one by one, author by author, under these conditions. OA and hybrid OC (Open Choice) journals today are merely a sop for the ongoing worldwide need for immediate OA: They do little to stanch the daily, needless hemorrhaging of research usage and impact.
An OA self-archiving mandate for publicly funded research, as proposed by the RCUK, FRPAA and EC (and already implemented by the Wellcome Trust and 6 universities and research institutions) would (like a public-smoking ban) be a genuine remedy, but the Royal Society is opposing it.
This is a sad historical fact -- even though, to its credit, the Royal Society's 7 journals are among the 94% of journals that have endorsed their authors' right to exercise the choice of self-archiving their own papers, if they wish:
"the author(s) may... post the work in its published form on their personal or their employing institution's web site"It is just that the choice the Royal Society affirms with one hand, it lobbies vigorously with the other hand to discourage authors, their institutions and funders from actually exercising.
There is absolutely nothing in the Royal Society's ignoble deportment today that warrants making any reference whatsoever to its noble history in the evolution of research and publishing. The less said about that, the better. This is a business, acting in the interests of its bottom line, not a Learned Society acting in the interests of Learned Inquiry.
American Scientist Open Access Forum Topic Thread:
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Wednesday, June 21. 2006
The reason Open Access Journals are having trouble making ends meet today is quite obvious: The funds for paying author-institution publication costs are already tied up in paying user-institution subscription costs.
Open Access (OA) itself is urgent, for research, researchers and the public that funds the research, because every day without OA means another day of needless loss in research usage and impact. But conversion to OA publishing is not urgent, indeed it is premature, while funds are already tied up in subscriptions.
What needs to be done now is for researchers, funders and institutions to mandate OA self-archiving -- i.e., require their researchers to deposit their published articles in their own OA Institutional Repositories, for the sake of maximizing the uptake, usage and impact of their research output. Self-archiving is a supplement to -- not a substitute for -- conventional subscription-based journal publishing.
If and when OA self-archiving should ever generate cancellation pressure on institutional journal subscriptions, then, and only then, need there be a conversion to OA Publishing. For then the institutional windfall savings from the cancellation of incoming subscriptions will be available to pay the costs of outgoing publication, which will be based on downsizing publishing to the essentials, such as peer review, cutting obsolete costs once the network of institutional repositories become the archivers and access-providers.
Right now, however, there is no sign of any cancellation pressure from self-archiving, even in the fields that have been practising it the longest (15 years in physics) and the subfields that already reached 100% OA some time ago. What is urgent now is to mandate OA self-archiving.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Let 1000 RAE Metric Flowers Bloom:
Avoid Matthew Effect as Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
The conversion of the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) from the present costly, wasteful exercise to time-saving and cost-efficient metrics is welcome, timely, and indeed long overdue, but the worrying thing is that the RAE planners currently seem to be focused on just one metric -- prior research funding -- instead of the full and rich spectrum of new (and old) metrics that will become available in an Open Access world, with all the research performance data digitally available online for analysis and use.
Mechanically basing the future RAE rankings exclusively on prior funding would just generate a Matthew Effect (making the rich richer and the poor poorer), a self-fulfilling prophecy that is simply equivalent to increasing the amount given to those who were previously funded (and scrapping the RAE altogether, as a separate, semi-independent performance evaluator and funding source).
What the RAE should be planning to do is to look at weighted combinations of all available research performance metrics -- including the many that are correlated, but not so tightly correlated, with prior RAE rankings, such as author/article/book citation counts, article download counts, co-citations (co-cited with and co-cited by, weighted with the citation weight of the co-citer/co-citee), endogamy/exogamy metrics (citations by self or collaborators versus others, within and across disciplines), hub/authority counts (in-cites and out-cites, weighted recursively by the citation's own in-cite and out-cite counts), download and citation growth rates, semantic-web correlates, etc.
It would be both arbitrary and absurd to blunt the potential sensitivity, power, predictivity and validity of metrics a-priori, by biasing them toward the prior-funding counts metric alone. Prior funding should just be one out of a full battery of weighted metrics, adjusted to each discipline and validated against one another (and against human judgment too).
Shadbolt, N., Brody, T., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2006) The Open Research Web: A Preview of the Optimal and the Inevitable. In: Jacobs, N., Eds. Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects chapter 21. Chandos.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
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