Thursday, May 31. 2007
Matt Hodgkinson [MH] of BioMed Central has raised some important points about the Early Access Advantage in the SPARC Open Access Forum. I add a few supporting comments here:
MH: "in a famine it is no good if food is in the shops, but the prices are too high for the starving to afford it."Spot on.
MH: "I don't want to pay $25-50 to read an article I'm not sure is worth the money... Indeed, if it is not immediately available online then even a visit to the library... I would avoid if possible..."And it's virtually certain that huge quantities of potential usage and impact are being lost daily, worldwide, for this very reason. Indeed, a component in the OA usage/impact advantage is surely a competitive advantage (CA): The articles that are not yet freely accessible online lose out to the ones that are. CA is not the only component in the OA advantage, nor necessarily the biggest one. And CA (along with the self-selection Quality Bias QB -- the greater tendency for the better articles/authors to be among the self-archived/self-archiving ones) will of course vanish completely once everything is OA. But for now, CA is an extra -- and potentially substantial -- competitive edge that the OA articles have over the non-OA ones while much of research is still non-OA.
MH: "I don't quite understand something about [Early Access] - is it solely an effect of preprints/self-archiving?"No, it definitely applies to all OA papers, whether preprint or postprint, whether published in a non-OA journal and self-archived or published in an OA journal. Early Access means having the OA advantage earlier. The earliest possible moment for the refereed draft is the moment when the final version is accepted for publication; that is the latest time at which it should be made OA. (Until then there may still be changes and corrections from the refereeing; and in many fields cautious users will not want to risk relying on the unrefereed preprint. So preprint self-archiving must be discretionary; it is postprint self-archiving that must be mandatory.)
I strongly doubt the claim that Early Access just means phase-advancing the lifetime citation expectancy of an article -- i.e., the claim that the total number of citations remains the same: they just start happening earlier. I think it might look like that for fields that are virtually 100% OA already, like astrophysics: There it has been reported that the citation curves look the same for articles that are and are not self-archived as preprints, the only difference being that for the preprinted ones the citation curve starts earlier.
What this leaves out is when the curve ends! Two wave-fronts may look the same, apart from a phase difference, but then there's the question of the long-term total area under the wave. The way paper uploads generate downloads -- which then generate usage and citations, which then generate more downloads, which generate more usage and citations, etc. -- also suggests that this interactive cycle can increase not just the earliness of the onset time of citations but the total area (citations) under the curve. And not just horizontally, but vertically too: Other research is going on in parallel. If it is obvious that it is not irrelevant to the usage and impact of a finding whether it is published two months before it is needed for use in a related study by another researcher, or ten years after, then it should not take much imagination (just a change in time-scale) to see how Early Access does not just mean earlier usage and citations but more usage and citations, because of the widening self-potentiating cycle of research.
And this of course applies to both preprints and postprints: An article that is published at time T but only made OA at time T + 12 months (embargo) stands to lose a good deal of its potential impact (especially in fast-moving fields) -- some of it lost forever; and meanwhile research loses widening cycles of potential progress.
MH: "[Early Access] appears to be a somewhat complicated way of saying that if an article is available earlier, it can be read and cited sooner."Which is in turn a somewhat complicated way of saying that if an article is accessible, it can be read and cited, and the more it is accessible -- whether more widely or earlier -- the more it can be read and cited. In other words, OA applies to both time and space: The sooner and the more widely findings are accessible, the sooner and the more widely they can be taken up, applied, built upon, used, and cited. Early Access benefits are merely a particular case of OA benefits.
It is only to those who are straining to persuade us to resign ourselves passively to publisher embargoes -- as if they made no difference at all to our research usage, uptake, impact, and progress -- that these banal truths will be anything less than obvious.
MH: "Is the rapid dissemination of science not a good thing, and should this result not encourage all authors to deposit preprints and postprints?"Of course it is, and should. The only ones who would have us think otherwise are those who feel their revenues might be put at risk by such deposits (which, eventually, they indeed might). But instead of just coming out and saying that -- "Please don't self-archive, because it might make me lose some subscription revenue" -- publishers try to persuade researchers not to self-archive because it wouldn't make any difference to research. (And at the same time they lobby governments not to mandate OA self-archiving, as if the only thing at issue were publishers' potential revenue losses, rather than research's actual impact losses -- for all the world as if publicly funded research were being conducted in the service of the publishing industry, rather than vice versa.)
This strategy calls to mind nothing less than the efforts of polluting industries to persuade the public that the pollution makes no difference to their climate, or the efforts of tobacco companies to persuade smokers that the smoking will make no difference to their health. The strategy is essentially the same as that of OJ Simpson's Dream Team: Simply take every piece of empirical evidence (that is unfavourable to your client), find some ad hoc flaw in it, no matter how trivial, and crank and spin that so as to sow a seed of doubt in every instance. Such a strategy worked for the tobacco industry until the evidence became overwhelming. But meanwhile, smokers needlessly lost years of health, just as research is now needlessly losing years of impact and progress.
I have for years been restraining myself from making these analogies with the tobacco and pollution industries, because it seemed too shrill: impact, after all, is not as vital as health. Maybe, maybe not (the two are not unconnected!). But what is making me less inclined to continue to be so restrained and charitable is the relentless (and mostly successful) lobbying by the publishing industry against Green OA mandates. The motivation is identical: Do and say whatever it takes to protect your revenue streams, whether it's at the cost of research impact or health impact.
The gloves are now off...
American Scientist Open Access Forum
PS I don't particularly mean Sally Morris, of course, who wrote in SPARC Open Access Forum:
"[Early Access] is to do with the article being available sooner, not more widely (that would be the 'OA advantage', if any). Articles in OA journals are available no sooner than those in conventional journals - i.e. on publication."but the publishing industry's pit-bulls, who have so far successfully lobbied the DTI in the UK, NIH in the US, the Bundesrat in Germany, the EC in Brussels and the Industry and Finance ministries in Canada. OA has no lobby, but it has a far, far bigger constituency, which needs merely to be rallied to show its collective strength: researchers, research institutions, research funders, the vast R&D industry, and the public whose taxes support the research.
Wednesday, May 30. 2007
Bernard Rentier, Rector, U Liege, wrote:Authors are entitled to distribute individual copies to reprint/eprint requesters on an individual basis. This is called "Fair Use." It is exactly the same thing that authors have been doing for 50 years, in responding to individual mailed reprint requests, except that these are email eprint requests.
You may consult with copyright lawyers if you wish. Fair use is not a right that a copyright transfer agreement can take away from anyone, especially the author!
The reply of my colleague Prof. Charles Oppenheim, an expert in these matters. follows below.
It is hence important to clear up any lingering misunderstandings that may be making funders and institutions uncertain about whether to adopt
or to adopt instead(1) the Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access (ID/OA) Mandate (also called the Dual Deposit/Release Mandate by Peter Suber)
Clearly, mandating immediate deposit and allowing the deposit to be Open Access immediately where feasible but Closed Access while there is a publisher embargo period (1) is infinitely preferable to a mandate that allows depositing itself to be embargoed (2).(2) the equivocal "Delayed Deposit Mandate" that many mandators have adopted (essentially leaving it up to publishers when authors should deposit rather than just when they should make the deposit OA).
During the embargo, the article's metadata are still visible webwide (author, title, date, journal, etc.), so would-be users who need access immediately for their research can email the author to request a single fair-use copy of the deposit, to be sent by email. Hence it is important for all potential mandators to understand this clearly.
This is of course especially pertinent to the "Fair Use" Button that is part of the Institutional Repository's interface. If a would-be user reaches a Closed Access deposit, they can cut/paste their email address into a box, and click on the "Fair Use" Button, which sends an automatic email request to the author, asking for authorization to email one individual eprint to the requester, for personal research use. The author can then just click on a URL to authorize the emailing of that individual eprint.
The Fair Use Button is for an individual researcher's individual research papers, as the form-request should clearly state.
LB: - under UK law copying by anyone other than the copyright owner under the 1988 Act must generally be for research or private study, for non-commercial purposes.As above.
LB:- where distribution of "reprints" is by some digital format then only the owner of copyright in the reprint (who may not be the author) can authorise the copying and distribution IF it is for commercial purposes.As above.
LB:This would, I think, prevent an author who has assigned copyright from making or authorising the copying and sending of an item to someone IF the intended use is for commercial purposes (e.g. an author, who is not the copyright owner, could not send the published version to someone working in a pharmaceutical company's research laboratory). However, arcane this may seem, it is (in my view) the legal position.It is indeed arcane and seems to have nothing to do with the topic at hand (and the rationale for Open Access), which is individual research use for research purposes.
LB: Charles, I believe, is referring to section 29(3) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. That section permits one person to copy something on behalf on someone else in certain circumstances - and as long as it is for research or private study for non-commercial purposes.The only Fair Use Button directs the request to the author, who is the only one who can authorize the sending.
It is my impression that rights expertise is so focussed on the formal that it has lost sight of the functional: OA has nothing to do with commercial rights, either formally or functionally. It is about researcher use of research for research. That's the whole point. And that's why peer-reviewed research publication never belonged under the trade publication banner, with its many unwanted (for the researcher-author) "protections." In the Gutenberg era, the protections were reluctantly accepted by the researcher-author, who sought only impact, and never income, because the income was nonetheless needed by the paper publisher in order to cover true paper production and distribution costs. Otherwise there could be no publication (hence no impact) at all.
But in the PostGutenberg era the web makes it possible for the the researcher-author to supplement paper distribution with online distribution (self-archiving). (It also makes it possible to reduce all publication costs to just the costs of managing peer review, but that is not the issue here.) The Fair Use Button is for the authors of those articles that are publishing in that 38% of journals that still attempt to resist this obvious benefit for research and researchers made possible by the online medium. Instead of making the self-archived text immediately free for all upon acceptance for publication lie the authors in the 62% of journals that are Green, the remaining authors can use the Free Use Button until online access embargoes die their inevitable natural death. The Button makes it possible for research to improve all of our lives without having to wait.
QEDHarnad, Stevan (2001/2003) For Whom the Gate Tolls?LB: Where authors own the copyright or are using a version other than the publisher's final one then they can authorise what they want through any button and whatever the button is called.
I expect that one can waive one's right to breath air too, if one is silly enough to agree to do so, but that, too, is not the point under discussion here...
Yes, for simply emailing eprints, it makes no difference whether the author emails a copy of the publisher's PDF or the author's accepted final draft (postprint).
It also makes no difference which version is sent via the Institutional Repository's "Fair Use" Button, in the case of articles that have been deposited as Closed Access instead of OA because of publisher access embargoes.
But where it makes a huge difference is in institutional and funder self-archiving (Green OA) mandates. The default version that should be mandated for deposit is the author's final draft, not the publisher's PDF. The reason is that the author's final draft has far fewer restrictions imposed on it. (In other words, far more publishers endorse author self-archiving of the publisher's final draft, and far more publishers endorse immediate, unembargoed setting of access to the deposit of that draft as OA rather than Closed Access.)
So, if the publisher does happen to formally endorse immediate, unembargoed self-archiving of the publisher's proprietary PDF, it's fine to self-archive that. But the default version that mandates should specify for all other cases is the publisher's final draft.
By the way, the difference between the publisher's PDF and the author's final draft means next to nothing for those would-be users who currently have no access at all. Hence it would be absurd to keep on depriving them of access in order to hold out for a difference that makes no difference.
It would in principle be possible to deposit both the author's final draft and the publisher's PDF, the latter always in Closed Access, and, whenever a user requests an eprint via the Fair Use Button, always to send the PDF rather than the author's postprint. I would say that at a point in time when 85% of articles are not being deposited at all, any which way, and most institutions and funders have yet to adopt deposit mandates, this would be an example of a needless overcomplication, discouraging rather than accelerating progress. Both authors and their institutions and funders do best to forget about depositing the publisher's PDF at all, except in the specific cases where it has been endorsed by the publisher for immediate OA (and the author prefers to do so).
I not only prefer to deposit my final draft, but in addition to depositing it, I sometimes also deposit postpublication updates and corrections (clearly tagged as such!) of the published version, which would in any case supersede the PDF."
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, May 26. 2007
I've read Craig et al.'s critical review concerning the OA citation impact effect and will shortly write a short, mild review. But first here is Sally Morris's posting announcing Craig et al's review, on behalf of the Publishing Research Consortium (which "proposed" the review), followed by a commentary from Bruce Royan on diglib, a few remarks from me, then commentary by JWT Smith on jisc-repositories, followed by my response, and, last, a commentary by Bernd-Christoph Kaemper on SOAF, followed by my response.
Sally Morris (Publishing Research Consortium):Craig, Ian; Andrew Plume, Marie McVeigh, James Pringle & Mayur Amin (2007) Do Open Access Articles Have Greater Citation Impact? A critical review of the literature. Journal of Informetrics.A new, comprehensive review of recent bibliometric literature finds decreasing evidence for an effect of 'Open Access' on article citation rates. The review, now accepted for publication in the Journal of Informetrics, was proposed by the Publishing Research Consortium (PRC) and is available at its web site at www.publishingresearch.net. It traces the development of this issue from Steve Lawrence's original study in Nature in 2001 to the most recent work of Henk Moed and others.
It is notoriously tricky (at least since David Hume) to "prove" causality empirically. The thrust of the Craig et al. critique is that despite the fact that virtually all studies comparing the citation counts for OA and non-OA articles keep finding the OA citation counts to be higher, it has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the relationship is causal.Bruce Royan wrote on diglib:
I agree: It is merely highly probable, not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, that articles are more cited because they are OA, rather than OA merely because they are more cited (or both OA and more cited merely because of a third factor).
And I also agree that not one of the studies done so far is without some methodological flaw that could be corrected.
But it is also highly probable that the results of the methodologically flawless versions of all those studies will be much the same as the results of the current studies. That's what happens when you have a robust major effect, detected by virtually every study, and only ad hoc methodological cavils and special pleading to rebut each of them with.
But I am sure those methodological flaws will not be corrected by these authors, because -- OJ Simpson's "Dream Team" of Defense Attorneys comes to mind -- Craig et al's only interest is evidently in finding flaws and alternative explanations, not in finding out the truth -- if it goes against their client's interests...
Iain D.Craig: Wiley-BlackwellHere is a preview of my rebuttal. It is mostly just common sense, if one has no conflict of interest, hence no reason for special pleading and strained interpretations:
(1) Research quality is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for citation impact: The research must also be accessible to be cited.
(2) Research accessibility is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for citation impact: The research must also be of sufficient quality to be cited.
(3) The OA impact effect is the finding that an article's citation counts are positively correlated with the probability that that article has been made OA: The more an article's citations, the more likely that that article has been made OA.
(4) This correlation has at least three causal interpretations that are not mutually exclusive:
(4a) OA articles are more likely to be cited.(5) Each of these causal interpretations is probably correct, and hence a contributor to the OA impact effect:
(5a) The better the article, the more likely it is to be cited, hence the more citations it gains if it is made more accessible (4a). (OA Article Quality Advantage, QA)(6) In addition to QB and QA, there is an OA Early Access effect (EA): providing access earlier increases citations.
(7) The OA citation studies have not yet isolated and estimated the relative sizes of each of these (and other) contributing components. (OA also gives a Download Advantage (DA), and downloads are correlated with later citations; OA articles also have a Competitive Advantage (CA), but CA will vanish -- along with QB -- when all articles are OA).
(8) But the handwriting is on the wall as to the benefits of making articles OA, for those with eyes to see, and no conflicting interests to blind them.
I do agree completely, however, with erstwhile (Princetonian and) Royal Society President Bob May's slightly belated call for "an evidence-based approach to the scholarly communications debate."
John Smith (JS) wrote in jisc-repositories:
I wonder if we can come at this discussion concerning the impact of OA on citation counts from another angle? Assuming we have a traditional academic article of interest to only a few specialists there is a simple upper bound to the number of citations it will have no matter how accessible it is.That is certainly true. It is also true that 10% of articles receive 90% of the citations. OA will not change that ratio, it will simply allow the usage and citations of those articles that were not used and cited because they could not be accessed to rise to what they would have been if they could have been used and cited.
JS: Also, the majority of specialist academics work in educational institutions where they have access to a wide range of paid for sources for their subject.OA is not for those articles and those users that already have paid access; it is for those that do not. No institution can afford paid access to all or most of the 2.5 million articles published yearly in the world's 24,000 peer-reviewed journals, and most institutions can only afford access to a small fraction of them.
OA is hence for that large fraction (the complement of the small fraction) of those articles that most users and most institutions cannot access. The 10% of that fraction that merit 90% of the citations today will benefit from OA the most, and in proportion to their merit. That increase in citations also corresponds to an increase in scholarly and scientific productivity and progress for everyone.
JS: Therefore any additional citations must mainly come from academics in smaller institutions that do not provide access to all relevant titles for their subject and/or institutions in the poorer countries of the world.It is correct that the additional citations will come from academics at the institutions that cannot afford paid access to the journals in which the cited articles appeared. It might be the case that the access denial is concentrated in the smaller institutions and the poorer countries, but no one knows to what extent that is true, and one can also ask whether it is relevant. For the OA problem is not just an access problem but an impact problem. And the research output of even the richest institutions is losing a large fraction of its potential research impact because it is inaccessible to the fraction to whom it is inaccessible, whether or not that missing fraction is mainly from the smaller, poorer institutions.
JS: Should it not be possible therefore to examine the citers to these OA articles where increased citation is claimed and show they include academics in smaller institutions or from poorer parts of the world?Yes, it is possible, and it would be a good idea to test the demography of access denial and OA impact gain. But, again, one wonders: Why would one assign this question of demographic detail a high priority at this time, when the access and impact loss have already been shown to be highly probable, when the remedy (mandated OA self-archiving) is at hand and already overdue, and when most of the skepticism about the details of the OA impact advantage comes from those who have a vested interest in delaying or deterring OA self-archiving mandates from being adopted?
(It is also true that a portion of the OA impact advantage is a competitive advantage that will disappear once all articles are OA. Again, one is inclined to reply: So what?)
This is not just an academic exercise but a call to action to remedy a remediable practical problem afflicting research and researchers.
JS: However, even if this were done and positive results found there is still another possible explanation. Items published in both paid for and free form are indexed in additional indexing services including free services like OAIster and CiteSeer. So it may be that it is not the availability per se that increases citation but the findability? Those who would have had access anyway have an improved chance of finding the article. Do we have proof that the additional citers accessed the OA version (assuming there is both an OA and paid for version)?Increased visibility and improved searching are always welcome, but that is not the OA problem. OAIster's usefulness is limited by the fact that it only contains the c. 15% of the literature that is being self-archived spontaneously (i.e., unmandated) today. Citeseer is a better niche search engine because computer scientists self-archive a much higher proportion of their research. But the obvious benchmark today is Google Scholar, which is increasingly covering all cited articles, whether OA or non-OA. It is in vain that Google Scholar enhances the visibility of non-OA articles for those would-be users to whom they are not accessible. Those users could already have accessed the metadata of those articles from online indices such as Web of Science or PubMed, only to reach a toll-access barrier when it came to accessing the inaccessible full-text corresponding to the visible metadata.
JS: It is possible that my queries above have already been answered. If so a reference to the work will suffice as a response.Accessibility is a necessary (but not a sufficient) condition for usage and impact. There is no risk that maximising accessibility will fail to maximise usage and impact. The only barrier between us and 100% OA is a few keystrokes.
It is appalling that we continue to dither about this; it is analogous to dithering about putting on (or requiring) seat-belts until we have made sure that the beneficiaries are not just the small and the poor, and that seat-belts do not simply make drivers more safety-conscious.
JS: Even if the apparent citation advantage of OA turns out to be false it does not weaken the real advantages of OA. We should not be drawn into a time and effort wasting defence of it while there is other work to be done to promote OA.The real advantage of Open Access is Access. The advantage of Access is Usage and Impact (of which citations are one indicator). The Craig et al. study has not shown that the OA Impact Advantage is not real. It has simply pointed out that correlation does not entail causation. Duly noted. I agree that no time or effort should be spent now trying to demonstrate causation. The time and effort should be used to provide OA.
Bernd-Christoph Kaemper (B-CK) wrote on SOAF:I couldn't quite follow the logic of this posting. It seemed to be saying that, yes, there is evidence that OA increases impact, it is even trivially obvious, but, no, we cannot estimate how much, because there are possible confounding factors and the size of the increase varies.
All studies have found that the size of the OA impact differential varies from field to field, journal to journal, and year to year. The range of variation is from +25% to over +250% percent. But the differential is always positive, and mostly quite sizeable. That is why I chose a conservative overall estimate of +50% for the potential gain in impact if it were not just the current 15% of research that was being made OA, but also the remaining 85%. (If you think 50% is not conservative enough, use the lower-bound 25%: You'll still find a substantial potential impact gain/loss. If you think self-selection accounts for half the gain, split it in half again: there's still plenty of gain, once you multiply by 85% of total citations.)
An interesting question that has since arisen (and could be answered by similar studies) is this:
It is a logical possibility that all or most of the top 10% are already among the 15% that are being made OA: I rather doubt it; but it would be worth checking whether it is so. [Attention lobbyists against OA mandates! Get out your scissors here and prepare to snip an out-of-context quote...]Since it is known that (in science) the top 10% of articles published receive 90% of the total citations made (Seglen 1992), to what extent is the top 10% of articles published over-represented among the c. 15% of articles that are being spontaneously made OA by their authors today?
[snip]The empirical studies of the relation between OA and impact have been mostly motivated by the objective of accelerating the growth of OA -- and thereby the growth of research usage and impact. Those who are oersuaded that the OA impact differential is merely or largely a non-causal self-selection bias are encouraged to demonstrate that that is the case.
Note very carefully, though, that the observed correlation between OA and citations takes the form of a correlation between the number of OA articles, relative to non-OA articles, at each citation level. The more highly cited an article, the more likely it is OA. This is true within journals, and within and across years, in every field tested.
And this correlation can arise because more-cited articles are more likely to be made OA or because articles that are made OA are more likely to be cited (or both -- which is what I think is in reality the case). It is certainly not the case that self-selection is the default or null hypothesis, and that those who interpret the effect as OA causing the citation increase hence have the burden of proof: The situation is completely symmetric numerically; so your choice between the two hypotheses is not based on the numbers, but on other considerations, such as prima facie plausibility -- or financial interest.
Until and unless it is shown empirically that today's OA 15% already contains all or most of the top-cited 10% (and hence 90% of what researchers cite), I think it is a much more plausible interpretation of the existing findings that OA is a cause of the increased usage and citations, rather than just a side-effect of them, and hence that there is usage and impact to be gained by providing and mandating OA. (I can quite understand why those who have a financial interest in its being otherwise [Craig et al. 2007] might prefer the other interpretation, but clearly prima facie plausibility cannot be their justification.)
I also think that 50% of total citations is a plausible overall estimate of the potential gain from OA, as long as it is understood clearly that that the 50% gain does not apply to every article made OA. Many articles are not found useful enough to cite no matter how accessible you make them. The 50% citation gain will mostly accrue to the top 10% of articles, as citations always do (though OA will no doubt also help to remedy some inequities and will sometimes help some neglected gems to be discovered and used more widely). In other words, the OA advantage to an article will be roughly proportional to that article's intrinsic citation value (independent of OA).
Other interesting questions: The top-cited articles are not evenly distributed among journals. The top journals tend to get the top-cited articles. It is also unlikely that journal subscriptions are evenly distributed among journals: The top journals are likely to be subscribed to more, and are hence more accessible.
So if someone is truly interested in these questions (as I am not!), they might calculate a "toll-accessibility index" (TAI) for each article, based on the number of researchers/institutions that have toll access to the journal in which that article is published. An analysis of covariance can then be done to see whether and how much the OA citation advantage is reduced if one controls for the article's TAI. (I suspect the answer will be: somewhat, but not much.)
B-CK: Could we do a thought experiment? From a representative group of authors, choose a sample of authors randomly and induce them to make their next article open access. Do you believe they will see as much gain in citations compared to their previous average citation levels as predicted from the various current "OA advantage" studies where several confounding factors are operating? Probably not - but what would remain of that advantage? -- I find that difficult to predict or model.From a random sample, I would expect an increase of around 50% or more in total citations, 90% of the increased citations going to the top 10%, as always.
B-CK: As I learned from your posting, you seem to predict that it will anyway depend on the previous citedness of the members of that group (if we take that as a proxy for the unknown actual intrinsic citation value of those articles), in the sense that more-cited authors will see a larger percentage increase effect.I don't think it's just a Matthew Effect; I think the highest quality papers get the most citations (90%), and the highest quality papers are apparently about 10% (in science, according to Seglen).
B-CK: To turn your argument around, most authors happily going open access in expectation of increased citation might be disappointed because the 50% increase will only apply to a small minority of them.That's true; but you could say the same for most authors going into research at all. There is no guarantee that they will produce the highest quality research, but I assume that researchers do what they do in the hope that they will, if not this time, then the next time, produce the highest quality research.
B-CK: That was the reason why I said that (as an individual author) I would rather not believe in any "promised" values for the possible gain.Where there is life, and effort, there is hope. I think every researcher should do research, and publish, and self-archive, with the ambition of doing the best quality work, and having it rewarded with valuable findings, which will be used and cited.
My "promise", by the way, was never that each individual author would get 50% more citations. (That would actually have been absurd, since over 50% of papers get no citations at all -- apart from self-citation -- and 50% of 0 is still 0.)
My promise, in calculating the impact gain/loss that you doubted, was to countries, research funders and institutions. On the assumption that the research output of each roughly covers the quality spectrum, they can expect their total citations to increase by 50% or more with OA, but that increase will be mostly at their high-quality end. (And the total increase is actually about 85% of 50%, as the baseline spontaneous self-archiving rate is about 15%.)
B-CK: That doesn't mean though that there are not enough other reasons to go for open access (I mentioned many of them in my posting).There are other reasons, but researchers' main motivation for conducting and publishing research is in order to make a contribution to knowledge that will be found useful by, and used by, and built upon by other researchers. There are pedagogic goals too, but I think they are secondary, and I certainly don't think they are strong enough to induce a researcher to make his publications OA, if the primary reason was not reason enough to induce them.
(Actually, I don't think any of the reasons are enough to induce enough researchers to provide OA, and that's why Green OA mandates are needed -- and being provided -- by researchers' institutions and funders.)
B-CK: With respect to the toll accessibility index, I completely agree. The occasional good article in an otherwise "obscure" journal probably has a lot to gain from open access, as many people would not bother to try to get hold of a copy should they find it among a lot of others in a bibliographic database search, if it doesn't look from the beginning like a "perfect match" of what they are looking for.You agree with the toll-accessibility argument prematurely: There are as yet no data on it, whereas there are plenty of data on the correlation between OA and impact.
B-CK: An interesting question to look at would also be the effect of open access on non-formal citation modes like web linking, especially social bookmarking. Clearly NPG is interested in Connotea also as a means to enhance the visibility of articles in their own toll access articles. Has anyone already tried such investigations?Although I cannot say how much it is due to other kinds of links or from citation links themselves, the University of Southampton, the first institution with a (departmental) Green OA self-archiving mandate, and also the one with the longest-standing mandate also has a surprisingly high webmetric, university-metric and G-factor rank:
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Bollen, J., Van de Sompel, H., Smith, J. and Luce, R. (2005) Toward alternative metrics of journal impact: A comparison of download and citation data. Information Processing and Management, 41(6): 1419-1440.
Brody, T., Harnad, S. and Carr, L. (2006) Earlier Web Usage Statistics as Predictors of Later Citation Impact. Journal of the American Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) 57(8) pp. 1060-1072.
Craig, Ian; Andrew Plume, Marie McVeigh, James Pringle & Mayur Amin (2007) Do Open Access Articles Have Greater Citation Impact? A critical review of the literature. Journal of Informetrics.
Davis, P. M. and Fromerth, M. J. (2007) Does the arXiv lead to higher citations and reduced publisher downloads for mathematics articles? Scientometrics 71: 203-215.
See critiques: 1 and 2.
Diamond, Jr. , A. M. (1986) What is a Citation Worth? Journal of Human Resources 21:200-15, 1986,
Eysenbach, G. (2006) Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles. PLoS Biology 4: 157.
Hajjem, C., Harnad, S. and Gingras, Y. (2005) Ten-Year Cross-Disciplinary Comparison of the Growth of Open Access and How it Increases Research Citation Impact. IEEE Data Engineering Bulletin 28(4) pp. 39-47.
Hajjem, C. and Harnad, S. (2006) Manual Evaluation of Robot Performance in Identifying Open Access Articles. Technical Report, Institut des sciences cognitives, Universite du Quebec a Montreal.
Hajjem, C. and Harnad, S. (2006) The Self-Archiving Impact Advantage: Quality Advantage or Quality Bias? Technical Report, ECS, University of Southampton.
Hajjem, C. and Harnad, S. (2007) Citation Advantage For OA Self-Archiving Is Independent of Journal Impact Factor, Article Age, and Number of Co-Authors. Technical Report, Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton.
Hajjem, C. and Harnad, S. (2007) The Open Access Citation Advantage: Quality Advantage Or Quality Bias? Technical Report, Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton.
Harnad, S. & Brody, T. (2004) Comparing the Impact of Open Access (OA) vs. Non-OA Articles in the Same Journals, D-Lib Magazine 10 (6) June
Harnad, S. (2005) Making the case for web-based self-archiving. Research Money 19(16).
Harnad, S. (2005) Maximising the Return on UK's Public Investment in Research. (Unpublished ms.)
Harnad, S. (2005) OA Impact Advantage = EA + (AA) + (QB) + QA + (CA) + UA. (Unpublished ms.)
Harnad, S. (2005) On Maximizing Journal Article Access, Usage and Impact. Haworth Press (occasional column).
Harnad, S. (2006) Within-Journal Demonstrations of the Open-Access Impact Advantage: PLoS, Pipe-Dreams and Peccadillos (LETTER). PLOS Biology 4(5).
Henneken, E. A., Kurtz, M. J., Eichhorn, G., Accomazzi, A., Grant, C., Thompson, D., and Murray, S. S. (2006) Effect of E-printing on Citation Rates in Astronomy and Physics. Journal of Electronic Publishing, Vol. 9, No. 2, Summer 2006
Henneken, E. A., Kurtz, M. J., Warner, S., Ginsparg, P., Eichhorn, G., Accomazzi, A., Grant, C. S., Thompson, D., Bohlen, E. and Murray, S. S. (2006) E-prints and Journal Articles in Astronomy: a Productive Co-existence Learned Publishing.
Kurtz, M. J., Eichhorn, G., Accomazzi, A., Grant, C. S., Demleitner, M., Murray, S. S. (2005) The Effect of Use and Access on Citations. Information Processing and Management, 41 (6): 1395-1402.
Kurtz, Michael and Brody, Tim (2006) The impact loss to authors and research. In, Jacobs, Neil (ed.) Open Access: Key strategic, technical and economic aspects. Oxford, UK, Chandos Publishing.
Lawrence, S, (2001) Online or Invisible?, Nature 411 (2001) (6837): 521.
Metcalfe, Travis S (2006) The Citation Impact of Digital Preprint Archives for Solar Physics Papers. Solar Physics 239: 549-553
Moed, H. F. (2006) The effect of 'Open Access' upon citation impact: An analysis of ArXiv's Condensed Matter Section (preprint)
Perneger, T. V. (2004) Relation between online 'hit counts' and subsequent citations: prospective study of research papers in the British Medical Journal. British Medical Journal 329:546-547.
Seglen, P.O. (1992) The skewness of science. The American Society for Information Science 43: 628-638
Wednesday, May 16. 2007
The following query has been anonymized:
Anon.: "Journal [JX] has a useful (but declining) revenue stream for the hard copy version. At the moment authors have to wait for 1 year before being permitted to put up their published papers on their own website. I'd like to see JX go OA and was hoping that all the UK Research Councils would insist on this for any papers published as a result of public money distributed in the form of research grants."At this point in time it makes much more sense for a journal like JX to (1) go Green on author OA self-archiving than to convert to (2) OA Gold publishing.
(1) Going Green means endorsing immediate author self-archiving (no embargo).
(2) Going Gold means either:
Going Green entails some possibility of risk to subscriptions, but that is unlikely to be significant -- it has not caused detectable cancellations for the other 62% of journals that are Green, including the physics journals that have been Green longest (over a decade) and some of whose contents have been 100% self-archived for years now.(2a) making the entire online edition free for all and continuing to sell the hard copy edition for subscriptions, as now, or
Going Gold via (2a) would be far riskier, and needlessly so, than going Green (1), because Green OA grows anarchically, article by article, whereas Gold OA is total and immediate for the journal.
Going hybrid Gold via (2b) would essentially be to make a gratuitous extra author charge for self-archiving -- a highly retrogressive step (unless also coupled with going Green), while continuing to sell the hard copy edition for subscriptions.
And (2c) would be to needlessly jettison the hard copy edition and subscription revenue pre-emptively, for no particular reason.
JX should go Green and then wait to see what happens. Green might eventually propel all journals to (2c), but it certainly won't do it to JX alone, nor soon. (Going Green (1) and hybrid Gold (2b) is also a reasonable option, though you will not have many takers for optional Gold, with or without mandates, unless the fee is negligibly low.)
Anon.: "However, I'm told that EPSRC is holding out, for the moment, against OA as a result of protests from [Society SX] and [Society SY] that they'll be in serious trouble if they lose the revenue stream from their hard copy journals (but in the end this is going to happen anyway it seems to me ...)"It is not entirely clear why EPSRC is holding out against mandating Green OA. Whatever the reason, it's a bad and counterproductive one, for research, and if SX and/or SY are behind it, all three ought to be named and shamed. In any case, I agree that Green OA is going to happen anyway.
Anon.: "Can you confirm that this is the case? Are EPSRC the only refuseniks? What about MRC?"Five of the 7 UK research councils have already mandated Green OA (including the MRC). The only two holdouts are EPSRC and AHRC (and AHRC are considering adopting a Green OA mandate). EPSRC have instead decided to wait for the outcome of a long-term "study" of the impact of mandating Green. (Nonsense, of course, because the only way to study its effects is to mandate it.)
Anon.: "As you can imagine UK publicly-funded researchers who want to submit to [JX] are more likely to be getting money from EPSRC than any other of the Councils so this is the one I really need to know about."Sorry I don't know any more -- except that there is a chance that the UK universities may also mandate Green OA (as a few, such as Southampton and Brunel have already done). In that case, whether or not they are funded by EPSRC, UK authors will all be self-archiving, no matter what journal they publish in.
And of course there is also the European ERC Green OA mandate, and the prospect of more mandates, worldwide.
Anon.: "Any other insight(s) gratefully received."My suggestion: Urge JX to go Green (and, optionally, also hybrid/optional Gold, 2b) and leave it at that for now. Journal embargoes are in any case easily defeasible by ID/OA mandates (Immediate-Deposit, Optional-Access) paired with the "Fair Use" Button
Anon.: "Sorry to bother you again but it's been drawn to my attention that that [the publisher (PX) of Journal JX already has a hybrid-Gold "Open Choice" policy of selling OA as an option to the author-institution, by the article, for a fee, but PX otherwise embargoes author self-archiving for a year.]I think the answer is already implicit in what I recommended above: Optional Gold (2b) is only justified and welcome if the publisher's policy is also Green on immediate author self-archiving (1) (i.e., should the author elect not to opt for the Gold OA option). Otherwise, with a self-archiving embargo, Optional Gold is a Trojan Horse, to be rejected decisively.
As to the asking price for optional-Gold: this currently varies between $500 and $3000 per article and tends to be reckoned by calculating the journal's annual revenue and dividing it by the annual number of articles. A self-serving figure, of course.
(If and when Green OA eventually causes subscriptions to become unsustainable, it will not only release the institutional subscription funds to be used instead to pay for Gold OA publishing charges, but it will also drive those charges down to a fair and realistic price -- probably just the cost of implementing peer review. So Caveat Pre-Emptor!)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Sunday, May 13. 2007
Chris Armbruster wrote in the SPARC Open Access Forum:
"...the publishers' lobbyists on this occasion were successful - they had their position written into the Bundesrat opinion, almost to the letter.Probably not.
And although an OA Lobby is a good idea, the research community (researchers, their universities and their funders) can do it all amongst themselves already, even without a Lobby. There is a simple way, if we can only get the research community to listen, and understand, and act: The Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access (ID/OA) Mandate removes the publishers and the publishing lobby from the decision loop completely. Government intervention is not needed either.
All I can do is keep repeating this message, amidst all the hubbub and indirection, hoping that it will be understood that all else becomes moot if the research community itself (universities and funders) just mandate ID/OA: Absolutely nothing else matters. Nothing can stop the worldwide research community from doing it. And it will work. And it will bring 100% OA very soon. Everything else just means years more of the confusion and delay we have now. To reach for either less or more is to get next to nothing. ID/OA is completely within our reach; all we need do is grasp it, now.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, May 5. 2007
A fellow OA advocate has just asked me whether I know any research or data on the costs of research journal publication, globally and broken down by discipline and/or journal types.
I had to reply that I wish I did, but even 25 years as editor in chief of a very high impact journal did not give me those figures, even for that one journal!
What is easily calculated, journal by journal and field by field, is the price a subscribing institution pays per article. (That's just the annual institutional subscription price divided by the annual number of articles.)
The publisher's revenue per article is a bit harder to determine: Asking the journal publisher for the number of institutional subscribers may provide it in some cases. Using the average ball-park figure of 800-1200 institutional subscriptions for journal sustainability gives a rough estimate.
But that's still all revenues. Costs are another matter, and not only are those data closely guarded by publishers, but in several respects, their reckoning is arbitrary. There is the usual arbitrary figure of "overhead" and "infrastructure." But apart from that it is very hard to tease out how much the print-run, mark-up, distribution, fulfillment, and advertising cost. And then there is the even vaguer task of estimating what expenses would be left if the paper version were scrapped altogether, and the journal were online only.
And last, and in fact most important, no one can say what costs would be left if there were no online edition either: If all text-generation, access-provision and archiving were offloaded onto the distributed network of institutional repositories, what would be left for a journal publisher to do? To implement the peer review (and possibly a certain amount of copy-editing). The only way to find out how much that would cost, per submitted paper, is not to try to infer and extract it from all of the added costs and services with which it is currently (and hopelessly) co-bundled by conventional publishers, but to see what it is costing, per submitted paper, for an OA publisher that is providing that peer-review service, and that service only.
I suspect that if that figure were looked at directly, in actual cases, the only two factors modulating the size of the cost would be the journal's submission and rejection rates (which might require a separate submission fee and, for accepted papers, an acceptance fee), not the journal's discipline or subject matter. This is because on the service-implementational side (which is all that is being paid for) the only variables are the submission and rejection rates. The thoroughness and rigor of the peer review itself, and the effort put in by referees, will no doubt vary from field to field and journal to journal, but that is not what is being paid for (since the referees are unpaid!). Peer review processing costs are just volume-based.
So I am sorry I could not help with the top-down answer. I do think the bottom-up answer can be derived from actual cases of pure OA journals doing nothing but peer review, or almost nothing but that, today. Then that bottom-up answer can be used to estimate how much would be saved by downsizing today's conventional hybrid (paper/online) journals into such peer-review-only OA journals -- and, more important, it could give us a much more realistic idea of what Gold OA is likely to cost per article, once we have 100% OA (rather than the arbitrary asking prices we have from today's Gold OA and hybrid Gold "open choice" journals -- based usually on dividing their current annual revenues from a journal by the annual number of articles published in that journal).
It does not follow, of course, that established journals will willingly downsize to just the peer-review service and its price! But this brings us back to the far more important and urgent matter of Green OA self-archiving, and Green OA self-archiving mandates:
What might possibly have the eventual side-effect of inducing this downsizing by conventional journals is mandated Green OA self-archiving. The competing functional and cancellation pressure from the free Green OA version might force publishers first to cut needless costs, products and services (the paper edition, then the online edition) and to offload all of those instead onto the network of Green OA IRs. Then still further cancellation pressure might not only force a conversion to the Gold OA cost recovery model, but it would then by the very same token release the institutional subscription cancellation funds that would pay for the institutional per-article Gold OA publishing costs.
Estimates like the ones we've just discussed here -- of the ratio between the current per-article revenue of conventional journals and the per-article costs of an OA peer review service alone -- will give an idea of just how much money would be saved by the cancellations and conversion. A conservative estimate might be 3/1 or 4/1, but the ratio could conceivably even turn out to be as much as an order of magnitude.
The real objective of OA, however, is not to save money on subscriptions: it is to put an end to needlessly lost research usage and impact, so as to maximize research productivity and progress.
The Green-to-Gold transition scenario is just speculation, of course; but as there is already so much idle speculation rampant, I would call it counterspeculation. It is not speculation, however, that the real objective of the OA movement, namely, 100% OA, can be reached by mandating Green OA self-archiving, whether or not it leads to an eventual transition to Gold OA.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Friday, May 4. 2007
On Thu, 3 May 2007, Rick Anderson (RA), Director of Resource Acquisition,
University of Nevada-Reno Libraries, wrote in liblicense, regarding the newly announced Russian and Turkish Green OA Self-Archiving Mandates:
RA: "Bravo in particular to the Russian institution, whose policy allows for a reasonable embargo period."(1) It is odd (and rather sad) to see a librarian applauding an embargo on researchers' access to research findings.
(2) The Russian ROARMAP entry says this:
There is some linguistic ambiguity there, which I wrote to ask Professor Parinov to clarify (see his replies below). My guess was that CEMI is anxious to have the pre-refereeing preprints deposited too, and so what the director meant here was that if an economist writes a paper, it needs to be deposited within 6 months of its completion.All researchers of the Central Economics and Mathematics Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences are mandated by a director's decree to immediately deposit their papers/articles in the institutional Open Archive.
Reply from Prof. Parinov: "The CEMI OA self-archiving mandate policy means exactly this. Any completed research has to be deposited for public access within 6 months of completion, even if it still has the status of a pre-refereeng preprint at that time."Hence this is not a reference to embargoing access to the final, refereed draft (the postprint).
I also asked Prof. Parinov to clarify:
(a) whether the statement meant that the clock starts at the moment of the completion of the preprint [Prof. Parinov's reply: "Exactly"],
(b) whether the postprint must be deposited immediately on acceptance [Prof. Parinov: "Yes]", and
(c) whether, if access to the postprint is not immediately set to "Open Access," then the "Fair Use Button" (allowing for semi-automatic EMAIL EPRINT REQUESTS) will be implemented to cover any research usage needs during any Closed Access embargo period. [Prof. Parinov: "Yes. We have in our "to-do" plan an implementation of such an "eprint request" button]."(Economics has an established preprint self-archiving practice analogous to that in physics. In no field is it possible, or advisable, to force authors to make their unrefereed drafts public if they do not wish to. Hence my guess is that the 6-month window is intended more to ensure that completed papers are submitted for publication, rather than sat upon. In other words, it is just a manifestation of "publish or perish.")
RA: "The policy of the Turkish institution is presented much more sketchily in ROARMAP":Again, the Turkish statement could be made clearer, specifying that the deposit should be immediately upon acceptance of the refereed final draft (postprint) and that "legal objections", if any, pertain only to the date of access-setting (Open Access vs. Closed Access), not to the date of the deposit itself, which should be done immediately upon acceptance for publication. (Again, the Fair Use Button can tide over research usage needs during any embargo period.) Hélène Bosc of Euroscience, Eloy Rodriques of Minho, Derek Law of Glasgow; there are many, many others too.)Require... researchers to deposit a copy of all their Masters and Ph.D. theses, published and refereed articles in the Institutional Repository of Middle East Technical University, if there are no legal objections..."So there may be also be sufficient flexibility in the Turkish model to allow for commercial publishing prior to the OA deposit, but it's not at all clear."
And history will make it clear that the real problem that delayed OA for well over a decade beyond the time when it was already fully within reach was not those in the library community who favored embargoing OA (or ignoring OA altogether); nor was it "legal objections." The historic cause of the unnecessary and conterproductive delay was the vast majority (85%) of the research community itself -- the very one ones who are both the providers and the beneficiaries of OA. Their causal role can best be described as inertial inaction. That is why mandates by their institutions and their funders became necessary at all.
Applauding access embargoes strikes me as a paradigmatic example of the regressive role of some parts of the library community. But researchers sitting on their hands until the keystrokes were mandated trumps that several times over:
"...why did the Give-Away authors not flock to the new medium, and the free, open, global access to their work that it would provide? This is what next year's millennium is poised to chide us for. There are some excuses, but at bottom it will be seen to be the sluggishness of human nature and its superstitious cleavage to old habits." (D-lib Magazine 1999)(I shall abstain from the inevitable ensuing round of speculation and counterspeculation about the destruction of journal publishing if immediate OA self-archiving is mandated: It is in order to moot and thereby bypass all of that idle conjecturing -- and equally idle "legal objections" -- that the Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access compromise mandate plus the Fair Use Button were designed.)
"The Immediate-Deposit/Optional Access (ID/OA) Mandate: Rationale and Model"Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Thursday, May 3. 2007
Martin J. Osborne (MJO), Department of Economics, University of Toronto, wrote in the American Scientist Open Access Forum:
SH: "...This journal will charge about $1000 to publish, which is within the current going rate for OA journal publication fees."
MJO: The "going rate" surely depends on the field. Theoretical Economics, an Open Access journal (of which I happen to be the Managing Editor) charges a submission fee of $75 and no publication fee for authors who use the software standard in our field (LaTeX).You are quite right. In fact, as Peter Suber frequently points out, the majority of the Gold OA Journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) do not charge for publication at all. They either continue to cover publishing costs out of subscriptions, while making their online version freely accessible to all, or they have other sources of funding, such as subsidies or voluntarism.
The (unidentified) journal under discussion here, however, as well as all of the high-profile journals usually associated with OA (such as the PLoS and BMC journals) do charge for publication, and in the same range as the (unidentified) journal under discussion (not yet listed in DOAJ). In addition, there is now a very large number of hybrid-Gold OA journals that offer OA as an option to the author, likewise in the price range in question. (Those journals, not being OA journals, but merely offering an extra OA option to the author are, rightly, not covered by DOAJ.)
So I think the description "current going rate for OA journal publication fees" was quite representative and accurate.
Please note that although I of course endorse publishing in Gold OA journals for authors who can afford to do so today, and I also happen to believe that one day all journals will convert to Gold OA, I am not an advocate of publishing in Gold OA journals as the means of providing OA today. There are nine reasons for this, the decisive three being (3) - (6).
Publishing in OA journals in order to provide OA to one's research output, is nonoptimal and premature today because:
(1) Most journals (90%) are still subscription-based journals today.
(2) Hence institutions' potential publication funds are still tied up in paying for ongoing journal subscriptions today.
(3) OA publishing charges are still far too high today; they need to be reduced to just the true costs of implementing peer review alone (and the price you quote, though on the low side, is much closer to those true costs).
(4) 100% OA can be achieved, immediately, today, through (Green) OA self-archiving, by authors, in their own Institutional Repositories (IRs), depositing their own articles, published in today's conventional, subscription-based journals (90%).
(5) Green OA self-archiving can be, and is being, mandated by researchers' institutions and funders worldwide, in order to maximize research usage and impact, and thereby research productivity and progress.
(6) 100% OA is urgently needed today, indeed it is already greatly overdue; research usage and impact, productivity and progress are being lost daily, and cumulatively, as long as we delay mandating Green OA self-archiving (e.g., waiting instead for Gold).
(7) 100% Green OA may also force cost-reduction and downsizing to the true essentials on the part of conventional subscription-based journals, eventually.
(8) 100% Green OA may also force conventional subscription-based journals to convert to Gold OA, eventually, thereby also freeing the subscription cancellation funds to pay for it.
(9) 100% OA, however, is needed today, not eventually, and Green OA mandates can and will provide it, today, without continuing to wait and hope for an eventual, affordable conversion to Gold OA by all journals, perhaps, some day.
SH: "...This means that for now OA publishing charges are over and above what is already being spent on subscriptions."
MJO: I don't understand the meaning of this claim. Suppose journal X charges a subscription and then journal Y, which is OA, enters the scene. If everyone who used to submit to X switches to Y, the subscription fees will be replaced by submission/publication fees. If X charged $500 per volume to 300 libraries and Y publishes 40 papers per volume, even with a publication fee of $1000, the scientific community will save $110,000 (= 300x$500 - 40x$1000).Your calculation is absolutely correct -- and I have made it many, many times before: apologies for not posting the links to the Forum this time: they were included in the blogged version of the same posting. "
The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review)"However, that calculation misses the critical elements for this transition:
(a) Subscriptions are paid by user-institutions; publication fees are paid by author-institutions.Hence one can do the hypothetical a-priori arithmetic all one likes, but that does not convert journals to OA, let alone Gold OA at a price that reflects its true costs; nor does it convert committed institutional subscription budgets to institutional publication-fee budgets for paying those true costs, across all subscribing institutions.
The downsizing and transition to Gold OA is likely to happen eventually, but only after it has first been preceded (and driven) by the transition to 100% Green OA. The transition to Green OA, however -- unlike the transition to Gold OA -- is entirely within the hands and reach of the research community (researchers, their institutions and their funders) today: It merely has to be mandated.
The good news is that the transition to Gold OA -- which is not in the research community's hands -- is far less urgent or consequential than the transition to Green OA, which is in their hands. And the transition to Green OA will already provide the 100% OA that the OA movement is all about, and for.
OA is not about journal affordability; it is about research accessibility. Although it will not solve the journal affordability problem, 100% Green OA will reduce it to a far more minor problem, lacking the urgency it has today, when it is still wrapped up with the research accessibility problem. Research accessibility is the true motivation for OA, for the research community, who are the only ones who can provide OA, and are also its primary beneficiaries.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
This is a reply to an anonymized query:
Identity Deleted:"What do you know about this new journal? [Journal Name deleted](1) OA Journals are a good idea, though a bit premature right now, if the goal is OA: OA can be achieved right now through author self-archiving of articles published in conventional subscription-based journals.
(2) Nevertheless, it is a good idea to support and promote OA journals if one can.
(3) This particular journal will charge about $1000 to publish, which is within the current going rate for OA journal publication fees.
(4) It is specifically because of this publication charge that OA journals are still premature: Right now, most journals are not OA, and most of the potential institutional funds to pay for publication are currently tied up in paying for it via subscriptions.
(5) This means that for now OA publishing charges are over and above what is already being spent on subscriptions.
(6) $1000 per article is not much for some authors, but a lot for others.
(7) What all authors should be doing is self-archiving their articles, to make them OA.
(8) That will not only provide OA, but it will force subscription journals to cut costs and it may eventually force them to convert to OA publishing (at a much lower price).
(9) The existence of viable OA journals today, however, despite the extra costs (some) entail for authors, helps demonstrate that OA publishing is possible, and refutes the claim by some subscription journals that OA means the destruction of journals.
(10) This, in turn, helps encourage authors to self-archive, and encourages institutions and funders to mandate self-archiving, thereby accelerating the provision of OA (and the eventual transition to OA publishing).
So my advice would be this:
(a) If you would otherwise have agreed to serve on the editorial board of a journal like this, then the fact that it is an OA journal should be another point in its favour.Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
The Central Economics and Mathematics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Middle East Technical University of Turkey have adopted Open Access Self-Archiving Mandates and registered them in ROARMAP
Bravo to these institutions. Worldwide, that now makes:
11 institutional mandates(and some of the proposed mandates are big ones!)
If your institution has an Institutional Repository, please register it in the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR), which will then track its growth and contents.
And if your institution has adopted or is proposing to adopt an OA Self-Archiving Mandate, please register it in ROARMAP, for others to see and emulate.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
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