Sunday, April 29. 2007
Bill Hooker has already corrected the two main misunderstandings in Matt Hodgkinson's posting:
(1) The Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access (ID/OA) Mandate is a compromise deliberately designed to end deadlocks that have been delaying the adoption of self-archiving mandates for several years now, by making the issue of publisher copyright policies or embargoes moot if they are holding up the adoption of a full Green OA mandate. Green OA is still Green OA (immediate, direct, full access) but an ID/OA compromise mandate now is infinitely preferable to no self-archiving mandate at all. And together with the "Fair-Use" Button, ID/OA provides almost-immediate, almost-OA during any embargo period. (And, yes, I do add the speculation that ID/OA, once universally adopted, will very soon lead to the welcome death of embargoes, and hence to 100% Green OA; but nothing hangs on this speculation: It is an ID/OA mandate that should be adopted if there is deadlock or delay in agreeing on the adoption of a Green OA mandate.)
(2) All articles deposited in OAI-compliant Institutional Repositories (IRs) will be harvested and indexed by OAIster, Google Scholar, and many other harvesters and search engines. There is no discovery problem with articles that have been deposited. The discovery problem is with the articles that have not been deposited (i.e., 85% of the annual peer-reviewed journal literature) and the solution is to mandate Green OA -- or, failing that, to mandate ID/OA. Hence 100% Green OA will indeed have delivered OA's goal, irrespective of whether and when it goes on to lead to Gold OA.
A few other points:
(3) I don't criticise those who say Gold OA will lower publication costs. (I think it will too, eventually.) I criticise those who keep fussing about Gold OA and costs while daily, weekly, monthly, yearly usage and impact continues to be lost and Green OA mandates (or ID/OA) can put an end to it. My objection to Gold fever is a matter of immediate priorities. It is not only putting the Golden cart before the Green horse (or counting the Golden chickens before the Green eggs are laid), but it is leaving us year in and year out at a near-standstill, whereas self-archiving mandates have been demonstrated to fast-forward universities toward 100% OA for their output within two years. (See Arthur Sale's splendid studies.)
(4) I criticise the CERN Gold OA initiative for much the same reason: CERN could have done so much more. CERN has a successful Green OA mandate (not even the ID/OA compromise) and CERN could have done a far greater service for other disciplines and for the growth of OA if it had put its weight and energy behind promoting its own own Green OA policy as a model worldwide, instead of diverting attention and energy to the needless and premature endgame of Gold OA within its own subfields. (Saving subscription costs is utterly irrelevant once you have 100% Green OA: Journal subscriptions then become optional luxury items instead of basic necessities, as now.)
(5) Paying for Gold OA in a hybrid-Gold journal like Springer's Open Choice is indeed double-payment while subscriptions are still paying all publication costs, and hence doubly foolish. (Rationalizing that it can be corrected by "adjustments" in the subscription price is not only credulous in the extreme, but it blithely countenances locking in current asking-prices in a way that makes the "Big Deal" look like chump change.) Paying for Gold OA in a pure-Gold journal (like the BMC and PLoS journals) -- when one can simply publish in any journal and self-archive to provide OA -- is merely foolish (except for those with a lot of spare change). (At this time: not if and when 100% Green OA causes unsustainable institutional subscription cancellations, thereby releasing the funds to pay for institutional Gold OA publishing costs. (But -- speculation again -- it is likely that journals will have to cut costs and downsize in converting to Gold OA, so the asking price for Gold OA will not be what it is now.)
(6) I do not criticise depositing in Central Repositories (CRs) per se (though I do think it is foolish): I criticise depositing in CRs instead of depositing in Institutional Repositories (IRs), and I especially criticise mandating deposit in CRs instead of in IRs. Institutions are the primary research providers. IRs tile all of OA output space. Institutions and their researchers have a shared interest in maximising the visibility, usage and impact of their own research output. Institutions can mandate, monitor (and even monetarize) self-archiving in their own IRs (and funders can reinforce those mandates); CRs cannot. And CRs can harvest from IRs if they wish. Mandating self-archiving in researchers' own IRs is the systematic and scaleable -- hence optimal -- solution for generating 100% OA, not a panoply of arbitrary CRs criss-crossing research space.
(7) I have no interest in vying for priority for the term "open access". I used "free online access" for years without feeling any pressing need for a more formal term of art. I don't doubt that the descriptor "open access" can be googled before the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative decided (quite consciously, after surveying several alternatives) to adopt OA for the movement to which it subsequently gave rise. Before the BOAI, there was no OA movement, just a lot of notions in the air, among them: free online access, self-archiving, and journals funded by means other than the subscription model.
(8) Yes I (and no doubt others too, independently) mooted the notion of journals funded by means other than the subscription model (later to become Gold OA) in 1997 and even earlier (1994); but I never for a microsecond thought Gold OA would come before Green OA. And it hasn't; nor will it, at the current rate. Green OA, in contrast, can be accelerated to reach 100% within two years, if we just go ahead and mandate it, instead of continuing to fuss about Gold OA!
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, April 28. 2007
Four basic kinds of OA-related events keep being arranged periodically by various official organisations (librarians, universities, publishers, funders, government committees):
(1) Librarians and universities who think OA is all about journal affordability, preservation, digital curation (IRs) and interoperability (OAI);There is no recognized topic of (Green) OA self-archiving, no Green OA-specific interest group recognized or invited to any of these OA events.
So only two recourses are left to Green OA advocates: One is to do as we are doing, which is to keep on raising our voices on behalf of Green OA in writings and petitions and at the meetings we happen to be invited to.
The other possibility is the one Richard Poynder and Napoleon Miradon and others have mooted, which is a Green OA lobby.
Creating such an official Green OA lobby would be very timely and important (but it would have to be carefully protected against dilution by well-meaning but blinkered proponents of (1), (2) and (3), which would defeat both its focus and its purpose).
One good thing, though: The fact (sub specie aeternitatis) is that (1) - (X), are, respectively, (1) irrelevant, (2) premature, (3) premature, and (X) obsolete, and it is indeed Green OA and Green OA mandates that will win the day and usher in 100% OA, sooner or later.
Let us work to make it sooner, rather than later.
Open Access (OA) means free online access to the articles in the c. 24,000 peer-reviewed scholarly journals published annually across all disciplines, countries and languages.
The purpose of OA is to maximise research usage and impact, and thereby maximise research productivity and progress, by making all research findings accessible to all their potential users webwide, rather than just to those whose institutions can afford subscription access to the journal in which they happen to be published.
There are two roads to 100% OA:
(1) The "Golden" Road to OA is to convert all journals from recovering their publishing costs, as they do now, out of user-institution subscription charges, per journal, to recovering their publishing costs instead out of author-institution publication charges, per article. (Gold OA is also called "BOAI-2" -- the second of the two roads to OA proposed by the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), which first adopted the term "Open Access" in 2002 for the new movement it launched.)Gold OA and Green OA are clearly complementary, but there is considerable disagreement over which one should be given priority. The current level of OA worldwide is about 25%, of which about 10% is Gold and 15% is Green. This is because about 10% of journals are Gold (though mostly not the top journals), and because only about 15% of authors self-archive spontaneously.
So what is needed is either to increase the proportion of Gold OA journals (and their uptake) to 100%, or to increase the promotion of Green OA self-archiving by authors to 100% (or both).
The critical difference in the probability of increasing OA to 100% via Gold versus Green is that Gold OA depends on two further factors: (i) converting journals to Gold and (ii) finding the money to pay authors' Gold OA publication fees (particularly while most journals are subscription-based, and hence most potential publication funds are still tied up in subscriptions).
Publishers are reluctant to convert to Gold, and authors are reluctant to pay for Gold OA charges at this time.
The situation with Green OA is very different, because it does not depend on converting publishers, and it is virtually cost-free. Most institutions already have Institutional Repositories (IRs). The only problem is that they are largely empty because, as noted, only about 15% of researchers self-archive spontaneously -- even though a series of recent studies have demonstrated OA's dramatic benefits for all fields of scientific and scholarly research (doubled usage and citations).
There are, however, the two fundamental advantages of Green OA over Gold OA that were just noted: Gold OA requires (i) converting publishers to Gold OA publishing and it also requires (ii) finding the funds for authors to pay for it. Green OA merely requires authors' own institutions and funders to mandate that they self-archive their own postprints. And Green OA mandates have been repeatedly demonstrated to work.
Swan, A. (2006) The culture of Open Access: researchers' views and responses, in Jacobs, N., Eds. Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects, chapter 7. Chandos.Moreover, if and when mandated 100% OA from Green self-archiving should ever go on to cause journal subscriptions to be cancelled, thereby forcing journals to convert to Gold OA publishing, the cancellations themselves will release the institutional subscription funds that can then be used to pay for institutional authors' Gold OA publication charges.
So the pragmatics of the status quo and the goal would seem to indicate that mandating Green OA (by research funders and institutions) should be given priority, rather than focussing on trying to (i) convert journals to Gold OA and trying to (ii) find the funds to pay for it. Journal publishing is in the hands of publishers, but Green OA self-archiving is in the hands of authors and their institutions and funders.
Green OA self-archiving mandates are beginning to be adopted by funders and institutions, but not nearly quickly enough, even though they could easily be extended to 100% adoption worldwide. There are two reasons for the delay: (1) lobbying against Green OA mandates by the publishing industry and (2) distraction from mandating Green OA arising from the parallel efforts to promote Gold OA.
The pragmatics are clear, however: The research community (researchers, their employers and their funders) have no leverage over the publishing industry and its policies, only over their own employees, fundees and policies. OA is overwhelmingly in the best interests of the research community (as well as students, the vast R&D industry, the developing world, and the tax-paying public worldwide), and the research community itself is in a position to mandate 100% OA by mandating Green OA self-archiving. One cannot mandate Gold OA.
The only leverage that publishers have against Green OA mandates is (1) copyright, which they can try to invoke in order to embargo the provision of OA by their authors and (2) their claim that 100% Green OA would make subscriptions unsustainable.
As we have seen, (2) is not a valid deterrent to the research community, because if subscriptions did become unsustainable, this would merely mean a conversion to Gold OA publishing, which would be welcome.
As to (1) -- the use of copyright and embargoes by publishers to try to prevent Green OA self-archiving and Green OA self-archiving mandates -- there is a very simple compromise that provides 100% almost-OA immediately (a vast immediate benefit to research usage, impact, productivity and progress) and that will also usher in 100% Green OA very soon thereafter: The Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access (ID/OA) Mandate plus the "Fair Use" Button in Institutional Repositories.
Instead of trying to mandate both immediate deposit and immediate OA, funders and universities need merely mandate immediate deposit (of the postprint, immediately upon acceptance for publication). Sixty-two percent of journals already endorse immediate Green OA self-archiving, so access to at least 62% of these deposits can immediately be set to OA. For the remaining 38% of journals that have access embargoes, access to the deposit can be set as "Closed Access": The metadata (author, title, journal, date, abstract, etc.) are all openly accessible immediately, webwide, but the full-text of the article (postprint) is not.
Instead, for the 38% of deposited postprints that are published in an embargoed access journal (embargoes range from 6 months to 3 years or more!), the would-be user, who has reached the link to the deposited article, based on its visible metadata, reaches a "Fair Use" Button, provided by the software of each Institutional Repository: The user need merely cut-paste his email address in a box and click on the button. This automatically emails an immediate EMAIL EPRINT REQUEST to the article's author; the email conveys the request and provides a URL on which the author need merely click in order to authorize the automatic emailing of a single copy of the deposited postprint to the eprint-requester.
The difference between this compromise "almost-OA" and the current status quo is already the difference between night and day for all those would-be users worldwide who cannot afford access to the subscription version. It systematises and automatises email access to the author and the postprint, and it provides the required document almost immediately.
And it will very rapidly lead to 100% Green OA, as the universal benefits of OA became palpable to the entire research community.
So the research community's optimal strategy is to give priority to the adoption of Green OA mandates by universities and funders. An immediate-deposit, immediate-OA mandate is obviously optimal. But if that cannot be agreed upon immediately, adopting an ID/OA mandate is infinitely preferable to any further delay in adopting a mandate at all. To keep holding out instead for the successful adoption of a stronger Green OA mandate or to wait for a universal transition to Gold OA is merely to continue prolonging the loss in research access, usage and impact, needlessly and avoidably, to the detriment of research productivity and progress.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Tuesday, April 17. 2007
On Mon, 16 Apr 2007, Alexander Borbély, University of Zurich, wrote in the American Scientist Open Access Forum:
I was astonished to read that depositing the final version of the manuscript is prohibited [for Blackwell's European Journal of Neuroscience]... Making available only the version originally submitted is not very useful if major modifications based on the referees' recommendation are made:I am very familiar with these instructions. Blackwell's is a 12-month embargo publisher.Are you familiar with these instructions and what is your opinion?Blackwell Publishing PDF version of the Article
The solution is extremely simple: always deposit the postprint (i.e., the refereed, revised, accepted final draft) immediately upon acceptance for publication (definitely not 12 months later!) and set the access as "Closed Access" instead of "Open Access," if you wish, which means the metadata (author, title, journal, abstract) are openly accessible to anyone on the web immediately, but the full-text is not. In addition, as I wrote before, make sure to implement the "Fair Use" Button (in your university's repository, ZORA): EMAIL EPRINT REQUEST.
All searches will lead to the Closed Access Deposit, and that in turn has the Button, which will provide for all usage needs during the 1-year embargo, semi-automatically, almost immediately, via almost-OA.
Embargoes will all die (I promise!) a very quick death once all institutions mandate immediate deposit like this; but embargoes will win the day if institutions foolishly make the mandated deposit date contingent on the publisher embargo's say-so.
Several other points:
(1) Unlike Blackwell's journals, most journals (62%) already endorse immediate OA deposit.
(2) There is no reason whatsoever to hold out for the publisher's PDF: The author's postprint is just fine for all research purposes! The PDF is completely irrelevant, one way or the other.
(3) Although it must always be left as an individual judgment for the author to make in the case of each individual paper, it is also good scholarly practice, wherever possible, to also deposit, even earlier, the pre-refereeing preprint (especially if submitting to an embargo publisher): The repository will tag the preprint clearly as an unrefereed draft, with a prominent link to the refereed postprint (and from there to the "Fair Use" button); this will also allow search engines to pick up the full-text for full-text indexing in the case of a Closed Access deposit, leading to many more discoveries of both the preprint and the postprint.
I do not for one microsecond believe that any publisher's statement that "a corrected version of the preprint (i.e., the postprint) cannot be made OA immediately" has any legal validity; nor do I think such nonsense could ever be enforced, had it had any legal validity. But instead of wasting still more time to wait for people to at last realize this, and to set access to their immediately deposited postprints as OA immediately, the immediate-deposit/optional-access policy (plus the "Fair Use" button) are the best interim compromise solution.
Then nature can take its course. And meanwhile researcher access needs are taken care of, almost-immediately, through almost-OA, during any putative embargo period.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, April 14. 2007
EDINA, SHERPA and JISC have just announced DEPOT, which looks as if it will be a superb central service for the UK, and a model for all countries worldwide that wish to provide Open Access to their research output.
DEPOT is many things, but chiefly a mediator for UK Institutional Repositories (IRs):
(a) If your institution already has an IR, Depot will redirect your deposit there, while also registering it and tracking it centrally, to make sure the deposit is picked up by the major search engines.I have mostly only congratulations for the designers and implementers of Depot. It is the optimal synthesis: It reinforces the author's own IR as the canonical locus for OA content. It monitors and integrates all of the UK's IRs. And it provides a provisional locus for any researcher whose institution does not yet have an IR (or for researchers who are not affiliated with an institution).
I would, however, like to recommend three small but very important changes in the following:
These are the corresponding three small but crucial changes I would strongly urge:(1) Currently, Depot states that only postprints can be deposited.(The postprint is either the author's peer-reviewed final draft, accepted for publication, or the published PDF itself.)(2) Currently, Depot does not state when deposit should be done.(The depositor is referred to the Romeo directory of publisher policies on author self-archiving to ascertain whether and when he can deposit.)
(1') Do not restrict deposit to postprints: Include preprints too.(Preprints are pre-peer-review versions of articles that are to be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.)
(2') Make it clear that the deposit of the postprint should be done as soon as the article is accepted for publication.(The preprint should be deposited even earlier, to be followed by the postprint as soon as it exists.) And most important of all:
(3') Make it clear that the deposit itself, and its timing, does not depend in any way on publisher policy: only the OA-access-setting date might.The postprints of any articles for which the publisher has not yet endorsed immediate self-archiving can still be deposited immediately upon acceptance for publication, but the deposit can be provisionally set as Closed Access, instead of Open Access, if the author wishes, with only the metadata accessible to all.
Depot's FAQ is not quite clear on the relation between Depot and the many IRs. Presumably if the author's institution has an IR, Depot will redirect the deposit there. (In that case, excluding preprints is not a good idea, not only because they are crucial precursors of postprints, but because all IRs will welcome both preprints and postprints. It would be a very bad idea to try to draw a formal line between the two. Let peer review itself do that, and then the journal's name, both prominent metadata tags in EPrints as well as other IRs.)
Moreover, as it is stated that Depot itself will be based on the EPrints IR software, this means that Depot will have (i) the option for Closed Access deposit as well as (ii) the "Fair Use" Button -- REQUEST EMAIL EPRINT. With those features, almost-OA can be provided almost-immediately and semi-automatically for any Closed Access deposit:
Any would-be user webwide, led by the metadata to a deposit that turns out to be in Closed Access, can just copy/paste his email address into a box that is provided by the software, and then press the REQUEST EMAIL EPRINT button. This immediately sends the author an automated email eprint request, containing a URL on which the author need merely click in order to authorize the automated emailing of one copy of his eprint to the requester.
There is a vast difference between deferring deposit until the publisher endorses OA deposit, and doing an immediate CA deposit, deferring only the OA-setting. Depot should definitely facilitate the latter practice.
(Some clarification is also needed of the mechanism of transfer from Depot to the author's IR.)
But overall, the Depot service is near-perfect, and once optimised with these two small changes, it is worthy of not only admiration but emulation worldwide.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, April 7. 2007
From Driver News:
"After the good news from Liège, Flanders now also has an OA mandate: the FWO (major Flemish research funding body) obliges its researchers to self-archive all articles coming from research funded by the FWO, in OA repositories. This needs to be done at the latest one year after the publication date, to increase visibility and impact. More information on the conditions can be found in their general agreement for researchers."
This is indeed good news, but could easily be made even better by upgrading the mandate to Immediate Deposit (ID/OA): Setting access to the deposited article as Open Access can be delayed for up to a year (if FWO allows it and the author so chooses), but the deposit itself must be done immediately upon acceptance for publication, so the article's metadata are immediately visible webwide.
(1) "Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates: What? Where? When? Why? How?"(If the author chooses to delay setting Open Access (OA) to a deposit, access can be initially set as Closed Access (CA) until the chosen release date. Meanwhile, each Repository's "Fair-Use Button" can provide almost-immediate, almost-OA to all would-be users webwide who see the deposit's metadata: Requesters need merely paste in their own email addresses and click, thereby sending an automatic EMAIL EPRINT REQUEST to the author, who need merely click to authorize having one individual eprint of the deposit emailed to the requester.)
(3) "EPrints 'Request eprint' button"Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Thursday, April 5. 2007
Alma Swan's article "Open Access and the Progress of Science" has just appeared in American Scientist (the journal) May-June Issue 2007.
You can join the American Scientist Open Access Forum, post discussion to the Forum, and view the complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion (1998-2007) on providing open access to the peer-reviewed research literature online.
Sunday, April 1. 2007
As announced in Peter Suber's Open Access News, on 1 April 2007 two UK Research Councils, PPARC and CCLRC merged into a single Council: Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). PPARC had already mandated Green OA Self-Archiving; CCLRC had "strongly encouraged" it. STFC mandates it. That means that instead of 5 out of 8 UK Research Councils mandating OA, 5 out of 7 now mandate OA.
Worldwide, we have reached 23 Green OA Self-Archiving Mandates adopted (9 institutional, 3 departmental, 11 funder mandates, including the European Research Council, ERC) plus 6 more proposed (1 multi-institutional, 5 funder mandates), two of them (FRPAA in the US and EC A1 in Europe) big ones.
See Registry of Open Access Material Archiving Policies (ROARMAP)
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