Thursday, December 28. 2006
In "Quantum Game Theory and Open Access Publishing," Hanauske et al (2006) try to use game-theoretic modeling -- pitting "author-reputation" (in the form of citations) against "journal-reputation" -- to show that authors will inevitably switch from "traditional publishing" to "open access publishing." This would be a welcome conclusion if Hanauske et al's underlying assumptions and their definition of OA publishing had been valid. But the article defines "Green OA" as self-archiving in an Institutional Repository, "Gold OA" as publishing in an OA journal, and "OA Publishing" as a "third option," with self-archiving in Arxiv (a Central Repository) as its prime example. In reality, of course, self-archiving in Arxiv is not OA publishing at all, but simply another example of OA self-archiving (Green OA). Hence the assumption that "OA Publishing" (in this incorrect sense) pits "author-reputation" (citations) game-theoretically against "journal-reputation" (with citations eventually winning) is invalid too. The correct conclusion, requiring no game-theoretic modeling at all, is that OA will inevitably win over non-OA eventually (especially once accelerated by Green OA self-archiving mandates), simply because more citations are better than fewer citations. Nothing to do with OA publishing (Gold OA) in particular, which also benefits from more citations, nor with traditional publishing, which likewise benefits from more citations.
Harnad, S., Brody, T., Vallieres, F., Carr, L., Hitchcock, S., Gingras, Y., Oppenheim, C., Stamerjohanns, H. and Hilf, E. (2004) The Access/Impact Problem and the Green and Gold Roads to Open Access. Serials Review 30(4).Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Monday, December 25. 2006
Across the years, SPARC has often been a great help to the Open Access movement. But SPARC could help so much more if it could take advice, in addition to giving it (sometimes with insufficient information and reflection):
SPARC has given the Australian Research Council the following advice:- A Role for SPARC in Freeing the Refereed Literature (Jun 2000)
(SPARC's advice in boldface, followed in each case by my comment, indented, followed by Australian OA specialist Arthur Sale [AS] commenting on my comment, in italics, double-indented)SPARC: "Research funders should include in all grants and contracts a provision reserving for the government relevant non-exclusive rights (as described below) to research papers and data."
Fine, but this is not a prerequisite for self-archiving, nor for mandating self-archiving. It is enough if ARC clearly mandates deposit; the rest will take care of itself.SPARC: "All peer-reviewed research papers and associated data stemming from public funding should be required to be maintained in stable digital repositories that permit free, timely public access, interoperability with other resources on the Internet, and long-term preservation. Exemptions should be strictly limited and justified."AS: "A sensible fundee will take this action; how sensible they are will remain to be seen. The unsensible ones will have some explaining to do. ARC could have given advice like this, but didn't."
That, presumably, is what the ARC self-archiving mandate amounts to.SPARC: "Users should be permitted to read, print, search, link to, or crawl these research outputs. In addition, policies that make possible the download and manipulation of text and data by software tools should be considered."AS: "Exactly. And every university in Australia will have access to such a repository by end 2007. 50% already do."
All unnecessary; all comes with the territory, if self-archiving is mandated. (The policy does not need extra complications: a clear self-archiving mandate simply needs adoption and implementation.)SPARC: "Deposit of their works in qualified digital archives should be required of all funded investigators, extramural and intramural alike."AS: "Totally agree..."
Yes, the self-archiving mandate should apply to all funded research.SPARC: "While this responsibility might be delegated to a journal or other agent, to assure accountability the responsibility should ultimately be that of the funds recipient."AS: "It does."
Not clear what this refers to, but, yes, it is the fundee who should be mandated to self-archive.SPARC: "Public access to research outputs should be provided as early as possible after peer review and acceptance for publication. For research papers, this should be not later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This embargo period represents a reasonable, adequate, and fair compromise between the public interest and the needs of journals."AS: "Yes the onus is on the fundee(s), and especially the principal investigator who has to submit the Final Report."
The self-archiving mandate that ARC should adopt is the ID/OA mandate whereby deposit is mandatory immediately upon acceptance for publication, and the embargo (if any, 6 months max.) is applicable only to the date at which access to the deposit is set as Open Access (rather than Closed Access), not to the date of deposit itself. During any Closed Access embargo interval, each repository's semi-automatic EMAIL EPRINT REQUEST button will cover all research usage needs.SPARC: "We also recommend that, as a means of further accelerating innovation, a portion of each grant be earmarked to cover the cost of publishing papers in peer-reviewed open-access journals, if authors so choose. This would provide potential readers with immediate access to results, rather than after an embargo period."AS: "ARC is silent on timing, but I expect a quick transition to the ID/OA policy by fundees. Anything else is a pain - it is easier to do this than run around like a headless chook later. The Research Quality Framework (RQF) will encourage instant mandate because of its citation metrics. NOTE ESPECIALLY THAT THE ARC GUIDELINES DO NOT SIT IN A VACUUM BY THEMSELVES. The National Health and Medical Research Council and the RQF are equally important. "
The ID/OA mandate -- together with the EMAIL EPRINT button -- already cover all immediate-access needs without needlessly diverting any research money at this time. The time to pay for publication will be if and when self-archiving causes subscriptions to collapse, and if that time ever comes, it will be the saved institutional subscription funds themselves that will pay for the publication costs, with no need to divert already-scarce funds from research. Instead to divert money from research now would be needlessly to double-pay for OA; OA can already be provided by author self-archiving without any further cost.Stevan HarnadAS: "This recommendation will certainly be disregarded, correctly in my opinion. ARC has never funded publication costs and does not intend to start now. Australian universities are already funded for publication and subscription costs through the normal block grants and research infrastructure funding. All they have to do is redirect some of their funding as they see fit. The recommendation might accelerate innovation, but it is not the ARC's job to fund innovation in the publishing industry."
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Here are actual and projected growth rate statistics for France's national OA Repository, HAL, kindly supplied by HAL's architect and helmsman, Franck Laloe. France's annual research output is about 12,000 articles per month, so HAL's present spontaneous deposit rate of 1600 articles per month is about the same as the baseline of 15% for spontaneous (unmandated) self-archiving worldwide today.
[Linearlog/log fit and projections done via Origin]
Spontaneous self-archiving in HAL seems to have begun in about 2002, so it is not clear whether the monthly deposit rate will continue to accelerate or was simply catching up with the baseline at which all other unmandated self-archiving rates have been idling for years now. If HAL's monthly deposit growth rate is indeed exponential, then HAL will reach 100% self-archiving in 5 years without a mandate; if it is a power curve ("puissance") it will take 15 years; if (like Arxiv) it is linear, it will take even longer. (Arxiv's power exponent has been unchangingly quadratic for 15 years, HAL's so far seems ternary)
Franck Laloe: [translated from French] "There are also some small research institutes in France which are already self-archiving 100% of their research output, for example IN2P3, a component (high-energy physics) of CNRS. A team of 3 documentalists deposits 100% of IN2P3 article output in Hal-IN2P3, because on a small scale this is possible. Another example is IFREMER, a small institute for research on seas and oceans. They have a small, well-done archive containing 100% of their output. As to my own field of research, it has been self-archiving at 99% in ArXiv for a long time…"There seem to be two morals to this story: (1) Even a centralised national archiving system in a centralised country like France, cannot succeed without a national deposit mandate; (2) until France adopts a national deposit mandate, it too, like all other countries, will have to rely on individual institutional (and research-funder) mandates.
Pertinent Prior AmSci Topic Threads:
Are things otherwise in France? (began May, 1999)Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Thursday, December 21. 2006
Many thanks to Dr. Helio Kuramoto for his excellent, accurate summary of the recent Open Access (OA) workshop at U. Minho, Portugal. I just wanted to add that I (and other OA activists worldwide, notably Eloy Rodriques of U. Minho, organizer of the workshop) admire and applaud the efforts of Dr. Kuramoto and IBICT. Brazil is already a leader on the "golden" road to Open Access (OA) in the Developing World, namely, OA publishing, with its admirable Scielo journals initiative; but this is definitely not enough. What is urgently needed at this time is a strong Brazilian initiative along the faster, surer "green" road to OA: OA self-archiving, and especially OA self-archiving mandates from Brazil's research institutions and funders, exactly as summarized by Dr. Kuramoto:
"O estabelecimento dessa política e desse mandato só pode ser conseguido por meio do convencimento dos dirigentes das agências de fomento, das instituições governamentais, em espeical as universidades e os institutos de pesquisas, além, obviamente, dos pesquisadores."This was also the verdict of the recent OA congress in Bangalore, likewise attended by representatives from Brazil; its outcome, the "National Open Access Policy for Developing Countries" was precisely the one summarized above by Dr. Kuramoto.
(I regret that I could not write this comment in Portuguese, but, with the help of Ana Alice Baptista, I have tried to make up for that here.)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, December 16. 2006
On Fri, 15 Dec 2006, Heather Morrison wrote in the American Scientist Open Access Forum:
Arxiv has been showing this same, steady, unswerving linear increase in the number of deposits per month (quadratic acceleration of the total content) since the year 1991, and Arxiv has been tracking its own growth, monthly, since then.
The year 2006 is hence not the one in which to fete this as "very healthy" growth -- unless we want to wait till doomsday to reach 100% OA.
At this rate, Ebs Hilf estimates that it would take till 2050 to reach 100% OA in Physics. And that is without mentioning that Arxiv-style central self-archiving has not yet caught on in any other field (except possibly economics) since 1991. In contrast, distributed self-archiving in, for example, computer science, has already long overtaken Arxiv-style central self-archiving. See Citeseer (a harvester of locally self-archived papers in computer science, already twice the size of Arxiv):
Logic alone should alert us that ever since Institutional IRs and Central CRs became completely equivalent and interoperable, and seamlessly harvestable and integrable, with the OAI protocol of 1999, the days of CRs were numbered.
It makes no sense for institutional researchers either to deposit only in a CR instead of their own IR, or to double-deposit (in their own IR plus CRs, such as PubMed Central). The direct deposits will be in the natural locus, the researcher's own IR. And then CRs will harvest, as Citeseer, OAister -- and, for that matter, Google and Google Scholar -- do.
OA self-archiving is meant to be done in the interests of the impact, visibility, and recording of each institution's research output. Institutional self-archiving tiles all of OA space (whereas CRs would have to criss-cross all disciplines, willy-nilly, redundantly, and arbitrarily).
Most important, institutions, being the primary research providers, have the most direct stake in maximising -- and the most direct means of monitoring -- the self-archiving of their own research output. Hence institutional self-archiving mandates -- reinforced by research funder self-archiving mandates -- will see to it that institutional research output is deposited in its natural, optimal locus: each institution's own IR (twinned and mirrored for redundancy and preservation). CRs (subject-based, multi-subject, national, or any other combination that might be judged useful) can then harvest from the distributed network of IRs.
- "Central vs. Distributed Archives" (began Jun 1999)Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Thursday, December 14. 2006
Chris Armbruster seems to be a well-meaning supporter of OA + X (i.e., Open Access plus something else, "X," where in this case X seems to be: copyright reform, publishing innovation, and data-archiving).
The problem with well-meaning supporters of OA + X invariably arises when X gets in the way of OA. For then, support for OA + X becomes opposition to OA - X (especially when "X" turns out to be a bigger, more complicated, slower, vaguer or less certain agenda than OA itself).
But OA -- already long overdue, and now at last moving toward success via OA self-archiving mandates -- is not helped, at this point, by opponents of OA - X.
I reply to Chris Armbruster below, suggesting that with a little patience, he may find that the likelihood of the "X" he desires (copyright reform, publishing innovation and data-archiving) will be greatly enhanced by OA itself, and OA itself, 100% OA, is now within practical reach, via self-archiving and self-archiving mandates. It is unhelpful in the extreme to urge not grasping 100% OA at this point, and holding out instead for "X."
Failing to grasp the OA that is within reach already has a long history, alas (over a decade now), and the fallacy has a name -- "Zeno's Paralysis" -- and a long list of instances, which well-meaning supporters of OA + X would do well to consult, so as not to help history to repeat itself, inadvertently.
A point-by-point reply to Chris Armbruster (CA) follows:
CA:OA (to research articles, as defined) first has to be reached, before it can help foster data-archiving and innovation. OA is now within reach, via self-archiving, mandated by research institutions and funders, now spreading worldwide. Let us speak about using OA to foster data-archiving and innovation once we have OA, rather than continuing to hold OA at arm's length any longer, for any reason.
(Research, and OA to research, by the way, are global, interdigitating matters, not European ones; all research benefits, reciprocally, from OA, not just European research.)
CA: "The programme of the European Commission Conference: Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area - Brussels, 15-16 February 2007 includes speakers from the publishing industry such as Reed Elsevier and Springer, but it is clear that the proponents of Open Access are having their day in Brussels (on top of this - from Springer it is Jan Velterop). This vindicates those that read the outcome of the earlier study as an unequivocal support of OA, at least among the authors of the study and - presumably - among those in DG Research that commissioned the study."Let us hope it is so. Now why is an OA supporter, like Chris Armbruster, not happy about this?
CA: "Yet, it is far from certain that the conference will become a milestone on the way to OA. For the OA movement may be heading into a dead end. It is worrying to see the widespread incapacity to understand the importance of unblocking innovative capacities in scientific publishing, scholarly communication and access to data."The immediate objective is OA, and 100% OA will contribute immeasurably to "unblocking innovative capacities in scientific publishing, scholarly communication and access to data." Blocking or delaying immediate OA will not.
CA: "And here is the problem with the prior study of scientific publishing in Europe, with the so-called green road to access and with the new approach of Science Commons. The study by Dewatripont et al failed to address the issue of copyright and thus missed the importance of shifting the dissemination of research articles AND data from an IPR to nonexclusive licensing."The objective of the OA movement is OA. Copyright is addressed to the extent that it is pertinent to OA. Nonexclusive licensing of articles AND data is welcome and desirable, but it is not a precondition for OA, and insisting on it as a prerequisite for OA simply places further needless obstacles in the path of OA.
Self-archiving mandates require researchers to deposit their articles in their Institutional (or Central) Repositories. For the articles that are published in the 69% of journals that have already endorsed immediate OA self-archiving, access to the deposited article can be set to Open Access immediately upon acceptance for publication.
For the remaining 31%, access can be provisionally set to Closed Access during any allowed embargo interval, during which all research usage needs can be fulfilled via the semi-automatic EMAIL EPRINT button, whereby individual users, seeing the deposited article's globally accessible metadata, click to request an individual copy from the author via email, and the author can authorise the emailing via one click. That's not yet OA, but a close functional approximation, and will be followed by OA quite naturally once mandated depositing approaches 100% globally.
CA: "Many proponents of green OA seem to brazenly assume that they can go on self-archiving post-prints without paying attention to copyright"Please see above.
CA: "At some point in the future (when OA pressure has abated somewhat)"Why would it be imagined that OA pressure will abate rather than grow, as OA grows? Enjoying the benefits of OA will only increase the desire for and dependence upon OA by research and researchers, as well as their institutions and funders (the ones who mandate it), worldwide.
CA: "publishers will ask their authors to remove all openly accessible copies of the research article, word-wide, from all servers."This is being hypothesised here rather confidently a-priori on the basis of a subjective impression. The objective probabilities are look rather the opposite.
CA: "Publishers are not to be blamed - for as long as their business model of regarding research articles and data as 'property' is accepted by researchers, universities and research funders. Shareholders have every right to insist that publishers maximise profits from the property that they have acquired."On present evidence, publishers are to be praised, not blamed, for 93% of journals have already endorsed some form of self-archiving. There is also zero evidence to date that self-archiving causes cancellations. And even if it ever does, publishing can and will adapt. It is quite clear that maximising research usage and impact -- for research, researchers, their institutions and their funders, and for the tax-paying public that funds the funders and institutions, and for whose benefit the research is conducted -- takes precedence over insuring publishers' current revenues streams and current cost-recovery methods. Publishing can and will adapt; it will not be able to deny research the benefits of OA.
CA: "That Science Commons should now also be advocating self-archiving is unbelievable."On the contrary, it is quite sensible and welcome that Science Commons should recognise that access is the end and CC-licensing is merely one of the means:
No, Chris, it moots it, once one realizes that all the usage capabilities that researchers need already come with the (free, online) territory once the full-text is made freely accessible to all online:
Does this mean that not self-archiving research, free for all online, is in the best interest of researchers and universities? (OA - X is bad? It should be deferred until/unless we can have OA + X?)All the usage rights that researchers and research harvesters need for full-text journal-article content come with the free online territory (including linking, downloading, viewing, storing locally, printing-off locally, and data-crunching).CA: "The green road to OA and the Science Commons "author addenda" are not in the best interest of researchers and universities."
CA: "They are certainly detrimental to the interest of higher education institutions and their students."It is bad for students to have free online access to the research output of higher education institutions?
CA: "And they are ruinous to the economic future of Europe."Protecting the current revenue streams and cost-recovery models of journal publishers is more important for the economic future of Europe than maximising the usage, uptake, applications and impact of European research output (i.e., maximising research progress and productivity)?
CA: "Here is why: Given the expansion of research, the rise of the internet, the acceleration of innovation and the increasing importance of knowledge-based industry and services it is imperative that access to scientific knowledge (in the form of research articles and data that have been publicly funded and/or have been produced not-for-profit) be unrestricted and seamless."Is that not precisely what OA provides? And is that not precisely why self-archiving is to be mandated?
CA: "This would not only increase the quality of research (ease of peer review, availability of results, transparency of knowledge claims), it would also unblock the market for the creative emergence of new services to readers and authors."Note that all these benefits, on which there is full agreement with Chris, are benefits of OA, not of X. Yet it is against OA that Chris argues when he argues against OA - X.
CA: "Given the large number of knowledge claims, the enormous amount of publications in circulation and the requirement to handle ever more complex data, we urgently need services that help readers (be they researchers, students or companies) organize their activities more effectively and efficiently."What we need most urgently is the 80-85% of annual research output that is not yet OA to be made OA. Self-archiving mandates will generate this.
Yes, search and navigation services on this growing OA database can and will become ever more powerful as the OA database grows. But what is missing now is not the overlay services, but the OA content itself.
CA: "The challenge to the European Commission is not to take sides for or against OA."Isn't it? If immediate OA is reachable via mandated self-archiving, and its benefits to research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, and the tax-paying public are substantial, should the European Commission not take sides in the conflict of interest between those benefits and the risks to the current revenue streams and cost-recovery models of research publishers, in deciding whether or not to mandate OA self-archiving?
This "X" sounds rather abstract, vague, and general. Mandating OA self-archiving in order to maximise European research access and impact, in contrast, is concrete, specific, practical, testable, tested, has been demonstrated to be both implementable and successful, and has already been sporadically implemented in the UK, Switzerland, Portugal, Australia, and India, with proposals pending in the US and Europe. It is time to implement it systematically in Europe, for the sake of OA.Houghton, J., Steele, C. & Sheehan, P. (2006) Research Communication Costs in Australia: Emerging Opportunities and Benefits. Research Communication Costa in Australia: Emerging Opportinities and Benefits. A report to the Department of Education, Science and Training.CA: "It is to understand what legal, economic and technical regime would be best for the quality of research in the ERA, for the quality of higher education in the EHEA and for the economic prosperity of Europe as a whole."
Let us hope that the Brussels meeting will not instead be distracted by "X."
American Scientist Open Access Forum
(All quotes are from "The death of peer review" by Natasha Gilbert in Research notes, The Guardian, Tuesday December 12, 2006)(1) Peer review of research publications is conducted by the referees consulted by peer-reviewed journals.
(2) Peer review of competitive research grant applications is conducted by the referees consulted by research funding councils (RCUK).
(3) The RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) is neither a research journal nor a competitive research grant funding council.
(4) The RAE is part of a dual research funding system: (i) competitive research grant applications plus (ii) top-sliced funding based on RAE ranking of each university department's research performance.
(5) The RAE panel review is not peer review, and never has been peer review: It is a time-consuming, wasteful re-review of already peer-reviewed publications.
(6) "Metrics" are statistical indicators of research performance such as publication counts, citations, downloads, links, students, funding, etc.
(7) Metrics are already highly correlated with RAE rankings.
(8) What has (at long last) been replaced by metrics is the time-consuming, wasteful RAE panel re-review of already peer-reviewed publications.
We should be celebrating the long overdue death of RAE panel re-review, not prematurely feting the demise of peer review itself, which is alive and well.
A more worrisome question concerns which metrics will be used:
Guardian: "From 2010-11, science, engineering, technology and medicine (SET) subjects will instead be assessed using statistical indicators, such as the number of postgraduate students in a department and the amount of money a department brings in through its research."The fallacy here is that the RAE is supposed to be part of a dual funding system. If competitive funding is used as a heavily weighted metric, it is tantamount to collapsing it all into just one system -- competitive grant applications -- and merely increasing the amount of money given to the winners: A self-fulfilling prophecy and a whopping "Matthew Effect."
Yet in the OA world there are a rich variety of potential metrics, which should be tested and validated and customised to each discipline.
Metrics will put an end to wasting UK researchers' time re-reviewing and being re-reviewed, allowing them to devote their time instead to doing research. But a biassed and blinkered choice of metrics will sound the death-knell of the dual funding system (not peer review).
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Wednesday, December 13. 2006
President-Elect of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) on Open Access: An Exchange
On Tue, 12 Dec 2006, Sandy Thatcher wrote on liblicense:
ST: "Coming new to this list... as President-Elect of the AAUP (Association of American University Presses) charged with preparing a white paper on OA for the Association... [and] [n]ot knowing what may have been discussed previously, I begin by asking whether this list has focused any attention on the relatively new study from the Publishing Research Consortium titled "Self-Archiving and Journal Subscriptions: Co-existence or Competition? An International Survey of Librarians' Preferences. "Dear Sandy,
Welcome to the list and to your new post!
Everything you wrote in your opening message has been enlightened and constructive, and I think we may be on the verge of a new era of fruitful cooperation and collaboration between the research and publishing community.
Let me reply to the questions you addressed to me. There has indeed been previous discussion of the PRC study on this list.
There was Chris Beckett's response to my critique of the PRC study and my reply to Chris's response:
The point of disagreement, in essence, was that one of the main objectives of the PRC study had been to gather evidence on whether or not librarians will cancel journals as a consequence of author self-archiving (because there exists as yet no evidence at all that self-archiving causes cancellations, and, as you note, two publishers in the fields with the longest and most extensive self-archiving, APS and IOPP, have both reported that they can detect no correlation).
The PRC study tried to predict, via simulation and modeling, whether librarians would cancel if authors self-archived.
(1) The lesser point of my critique was that even asking librarians directly -- "Please predict how much of a journal's content would have to be available free via self-archiving to induce you to cancel it?" -- would have generated speculative guesses rather than evidence, because:
(1a) There is no way to know how much of any particular journal's content is being self-archived, since author self-archiving is gradual, distributed and anarchic;(2) My more critical point was a methodological one, concerning the indirect hypothetical choices and modeling used: To avoid bias (by mentioning either self-archiving or open access), the survey asked librarians for their preferences among various hypothetical competing journals with various hypothetical properties (among them: being free), and then used a model to extrapolate this to predict cancellations. This method actually made it impossible even to infer what librarians speculated they might do under the distributed anarchic conditions described above, because, as noted, no such journal-vs-journal information or options would ever be available to librarians: self-archiving does not grow on an individual journal-vs-journal basis, but on a global, distributed, anarchic, individual-article basis. The librarian's choice is hence never between cancelling a free journal in favour of another journal. (This sort of reasoning does fit "gold" OA journals, but it does not fit "green" OA self-archiving of individual articles by individual authors.)
Journals are acquired or cancelled on a comparative/competitive basis. Individual articles -- self-archived globally and anarchically by their individual authors across all journals -- are not the comparative/competitive journal acquisition/cancellation options that are familiar to acquisitions librarians, and that the PRC study was trying to simulate, and from which the model was trying to make predictions about the conditions that would cause cancellations. The model works for simulating actual comparative journal choices, but it fails for the special case of anarchic article self-archiving.
Hence the survey did not provide the evidence that still does not exist today: that self-archiving will cause cancellations.
Let me add, though, that I personally do believe that global self-archiving will eventually lead to cancellation pressure, but no one knows how much or when, as it will depend on how quickly global self-archiving and self-archiving mandates will grow. I must also add, though, that I do not believe that this likelihood of eventual cancellation pressure is any grounds for not self-archiving now, or for not mandating self-archiving now. Self-archiving brings substantial demonstrated benefits to research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, and the tax-paying public that funds the funders and institutions. OA is consequently optimal and inevitable for research (and already long overdue!). It is therefore publishing that will need to adapt to any eventual cancellation pressure that might arise from OA self-archiving; and publishing can, and will successfully adapt.
ST: "Another very interesting finding for me is that librarians care a lot that the material is peer-reviewed but care very little whether they have access to the final published version."Yes. In fact that was the one substantive finding of the study. But the same considerations (about global anarchic growth) apply either way (whether the self-archived draft is the author's postprint or the publisher's PDF).
ST: "Librarians seem to place little or no value on the final processing of manuscripts after acceptance, which should be an eye-opener to publishers"Yes! Hence this might be a region in which costs could already be cut, even before any cancellation pressure is felt.
ST: "Once we publishers think something is going to happen, we will act on those beliefs if they seem to be firmly supported, by such studies as the PRC's... behaviors will start to change based on beliefs, however erroneous they may be."I am not sure what publishers are contemplating doing, but it seems to me that self-archiving and self-archiving mandates are in the hands of researchers, their institutions and their funders. So cooperating and adapting to this new PostGutenberg reality would, I think, be the optimal strategy.
Indeed. And the same will be true of the global network of Institutional Repositories: They too will contain preprints as well as postprints.Berners-Lee, T., De Roure, D., Harnad, S. and Shadbolt, N. (2005) Journal publishing and author self-archiving: Peaceful Co-Existence and Fruitful Collaboration.ST: "(By the way, the PRC study directly confronts the "evidence" of the physics preprint archive not affecting cancellations of physics journals, by pointing out that the archive combines peer-reviewed and not peer-reviewed materials, thus making it less than fully reliable as a source of completely authenticated work in the field.)"
ST: "I think the tipping phenomenon, which we know already to have shown itself operative in this arena when e-journals came to displace print journals as the main product in the marketplace (rather more quickly than many people anticipated), is extremely important to keep in mind here. This is what I see as a real possibility: enough of the major commercial journal publishers in an ever more consolidated market (after the purchase of Blackwell by Wiley) become convinced that their subscriptions will erode seriously (if, say, the FRPAA becomes law) and therefore decide to abandon the arena of STM journal publishing because they cannot sustain the expected profit margins under the new regime (as outlined by Dr. Harnad)."As always, if a publisher decides to abandon a journal title, it can migrate to another publisher. There are now a growing number of new gold OA publishers, ready and willing to take over established titles (and to scale down to whatever there is still a market for, in the OA era).
But, to repeat, the growth of green OA via self-archiving is anarchic, not based on individual journals separately approaching 100% OA. Hence the "tipping point" is a global one, and still far away, and will approach gradually, so journals can adapt by phasing out goods and services for which there is no longer a market. There will always be a market for peer-review service provision. (And I wouldn't write off the market for the print edition, or even the publisher's enhanced PDF and copy-editing just yet!)
Sandy, I actually think you answer this question yourself, with:
Nothing sudden. And plenty of flexible ways to fend, in the portable online age!ST: "I long ago predicted that university press journals would migrate to the electronic environment [and that it] was therefore much more possible, and more likely, that journals could spring up online without the support of publishers, if they went OA and did not have to bother about the complications of outsourcing printing and handling subscription fulfilment. (And a journal only has to be designed once, and the template followed thereafter, while marketing takes care of itself if the journal is aimed at a niche community anyway.)"ST: "This could all happen very quickly, as "tipping" phenomena generally do. Where would that scenario leave the academy? With several thousand journals suddenly left to fend for themselves!"
ST: "the infrastructure of universities today is simply not prepared, in any shape or form, to deal with that "crisis" and find some way of sustaining those journals."There is no evidence at all for such an impending crisis, just as there is as yet no evidence of self-archiving causing cancellations. (There is, however, plenty of evidence for the benefts of self-archiving.)
ST: "Self-publishing would then proliferate, and chaos would ensue for some time to come. Are librarians prepared to deal with the consequences?"It's not up to librarians but to researchers. (And I'm afraid I have to say this sounds like hypothetical alarmism, rather than evidence-based reasoning and planning.) Titles will migrate, if need be. Peer review (done by and for researchers, for free, mediated and managed by the journal) will remaining intact. And the self-archiving of peer-reviewed articles is not self-publishing.
ST: "I do not depict this nightmare scenario in order to defend the existing system... But I do think university faculty, administrators, and librarians need to think through these issues and possible scenarios very carefully and "worst-case" planning would probably be appropriate here."I agree that cooperative planning for a possible eventual downsizing to peer-review service-provision alone and a transition to the OA cost-recovery model under cancellation pressure (and corresponding institutional windfall savings) would be an excellent idea -- and much more constructive than trying to wish away the proposed self-archiving mandates such as the FRPAA.
Best wishes,"The Urgent Need to Plan a Stable Transition" (began Sep 1998!)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
In "Scale and scalability," Jan Velterop writes:
"self-archiving is... not scalable. As long as... only a small number of authors... [self-archive] anarchically and unpredictably, it will work... [But] [t]ake the anarchy and unpredictability out of it... via self-archiving mandates – and... [n]o publisher... could afford to allow authors to self-archive... and ‘green’ would fade out of existence."Individual journals making 100% of their own contents Open Access (OA) (gold), all at once, and all in one place, right now, is indeed likely to cause cancellations.
But individual authors making their own articles OA (green) by self-archiving them in their own Institutional Repositories, anarchically and distributedly, does not provide 100% of the contents of any individual journal, and its extent and growth rate is hard to ascertain. (In other words, individual mandates are just as anarchic as individual self-archiving with respect to the contents of any individual journal.)
Hence self-archiving is unlikely to cause journal cancellations until the self-archiving of all articles in all journals is reliably at or near 100%. If/when that happens, or is clearly approaching, journals can and will scale down to become peer-review service providers only, recovering their much reduced costs on the OA model that Jan favors. But journals are extremely unlikely to want to do that scaling down and conversion now, when there is no pressure to do it. And there is certainly no reason for researchers to sit waiting meanwhile, as they keep losing access, usage and impact. Mandates will pressure researchers to self-archive, and, eventually, 100% self-archiving might also pressure journals to scale down and convert to the model Jan advocates.
Right now, however, journals are all still making ends meet through subscriptions, whereas (non-self-archiving) researchers are all still losing about half their potential daily usage and impact, cumulatively. The immediate priority for research, researchers, their institutions and their funders is hence obvious, and it is certainly not to pay their journals' current asking-price for making each individual article OA, over and above paying for subscriptions: It is to make their own individual articles OA, right now, by self-archiving them, and to pay for peer review only if and when journals have minimized costs by scaling down to the essentials in the OA era if/when there is no longer any sustainable way of recovering those costs via subscriptions.
(By that time, of course, subscription cancellation savings will have become available to pay those reduced costs up-front. Today they are not; and double-paying up front would be pure folly.)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
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