Wednesday, January 30. 2008
This is a guest posting (written at the invitation of Gavin Baker) for the new blog
"Open Students: Students for Open Access to Research."
Other OA activists are also encouraged to contribute to the Open Students blog.
My guess is that Open Access (OA) already sounds old hat to the current generation of students, and that you are puzzled more about why we are still talking about OA happening in the future, rather than in the distant past (as the 80's and 90's must appear to you!).
Well, you're right to be both puzzled and impatient, but let me try to explain why it's been taking so long. (I say "try" because I have to admit that I too am still somewhat perplexed by the slowness of OA growth, even after sampling the sluggishness of its pace for nearly 2 decades now!) And then I'll try to suggest what you students can do to help speed OA on its way to its obvious, optimal, and long overdue destination.
What OA Is Not
First, what is Open Access (OA)? It's not about Open Source (OS) software -- i.e., it's not about making computer programs either open or free (though of course OA is in favor of and compatible with OS).
It's not about Creative Commons (CC) Licensing either -- i.e., it is not about making all digital creations re-usable and re-publishable (though again OA is in favor of and compatible with CC licensing).
Nor is it about "freedom of information" or "freedom of digital information" in general. (That's much too broad and vague: OA has a very specific kind of information as its target.)
And, I regret to say, OA is not about helping you get or share free access to commercial audio or video products, whether analog or digital: OA is completely neutral about that. OA's target is only author give-aways, not "consumer sharing" (though of course free user access webwide will be the outcome, for OA's special target content).
What Is OA's Target Content?
So let's start by being very explicit about OA's target content: It is the 2.5 million articles a year that are published in the planet's 25,000 peer-reviewed scholarly and scientific journals.
Eventually OA might also extend to some scientific and scholarly books (the ones that authors want to give away) and also to scholarly scientific data (if and when the researchers that collected them are ready to give them away); it may also extend to some software, some audio and some video.
But the only content to which OA applies without a single exception today is peer-reviewed journal articles. They are the works that their authors always wrote just so they should be read, used, applied, cited and built upon (mostly by their fellow researchers, worldwide). This is called "research impact". They were never written in order to earn their authors income from their sale.
These special authors -- researchers -- never sought or received any revenue from the sale of their journal articles. Indeed, the fact that there was a price-tag attached to accessing their articles (a price-tag usually paid through institutional library subscriptions) meant that these researcher-authors, and research itself, were losing research impact, because subscriptions to these journals were expensive, and most institutions could only afford access to a small fraction of them.
What Is OA?
To try to compensate for these access barriers in the old days of paper, these special give-away authors would provide supplementary access, by mailing free individual reprints of their articles, at their own expense, to any would-be user who had written to request a reprint. You can imagine, though, how slow, expensive and inefficient it must have been to have to supplement access in this way, in light of what the web has since made possible: First, the possibility of emailing eprints was an improvement, but the obvious and optimal solution was to put the eprint on the web directly, so any would-be user, webwide, could instantly access it directly, at any time.
And that, dear students, is the essence of OA: free, immediate, permanent, webwide access to peer-reviewed research journal articles: give-away content -- written purely for usage and impact, not for sales revenue -- finding, at last, the medium in which it can be given away, free for all, globally, big-time.
OA = Gold OA or Green OA
You thought OA was something else? Another form of publishing, maybe? with the author-institution paying to publish the article rather than the user-institution paying to access it? That is OA journal publishing. But OA itself just means: free online access to the article itself.
There are clearly two ways an author can provide free online access to an article: One is by publishing it in an OA journal (this is called the "golden road" to OA, or simply "Gold OA") and the other is by publishing it in a conventional subscription journal, but also self-archiving a supplementary version, free for all, on the web (this is called the "green road" to OA, or simply "Green OA").
OA ≠ Gold OA Only (or even Primarily)
Gold OA publishing is probably what peer-reviewed journal publishing will eventually settle on. But for now, only about 3000 of the 25,000 journals are Gold OA, and the majority of the most important journals are not among that 3000.
Moreover, most of the potential institutional money for paying for Gold OA is currently still tied up in each university's ongoing subscriptions to non-OA journals. So if Gold OA is to be paid for today, extra money needs to be found to pay for it (most likely out of already insufficient research funds).
Yet what is urgently needed by research and researchers today is not more money to pay for Gold OA, nor a conversion to Gold OA publishing, but OA itself.
And 100% OA can already be provided by authors -- through Green OA self-archiving -- virtually overnight.
It has therefore been a big mistake -- and is still one of the big obstacles slowing progress toward OA -- to imagine that OA means only, or primarily, Gold OA publishing. (This mistake will keep getting made, repeatedly, in the Open Student blog too -- mark my words!)
The "Subversive Proposal"
It was in 1994 that the explicit "subversive proposal" was first made that if a supplementary copy of each peer-reviewed journal article were self-archived online by its author, free for all, as soon as it was published (as some authors in computer science and physics had already been doing for years), then we could have (what we would now call) 100% (Green) OA virtually overnight.
But that magic night hasn't arrived -- not then, in 1994, not in the ensuing decade and a half, and not yet today. Why not?
There are at least 34 reasons why it has not yet happened, all of them psychological, and all of them groundless. The syndrome even has a name: "Zeno's Paralysis":
"I worry about self-archiving my article because it would violate copyright... or because it would bypass peer review... or because it would destroy journals... or because the online medium is not reliable... or because I have no time to self-archive..."Meanwhile, evidence (demonstrating the obvious) was growing that making your article OA greatly increases its usage and impact:
Yet still most authors' fingers (85%) remained paralyzed. The solution again seemed obvious: The cure for Zeno's Paralysis was a mandate from authors' institutions and funders, officially stating that it is not only OK for their employees and fundees to self-archive, but that it is expected of them, as a crucial new part of the process of doing research and publishing their findings in the online era.
"Publish or Perish: Self-Archive to Flourish!"
The first explicit proposals to mandate self-archiving began appearing at least as early as 2000; and recommendations for institutional and funder Green OA self-archiving mandates were already in the Self-Archiving FAQ even before it became the BOAI Self-Archiving FAQ in 2002, as well as in the OSI EPrints Handbook. But as far as I know the first officially adopted self-archiving mandate was that of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton in 2002-2003.
Since then, 91% of journals have already given self-archiving their official blessing:
Yet Alma Swan's surveys of authors' attitudes toward OA and OA self-archiving mandates -- across disciplines and around the world -- have found that although authors are in favor of OA, most will not self-archive until and unless it is mandated by their universities and/or their funders. If self-archiving were mandated, however, 95% of authors state that they would comply, over 80% of them stating they would comply willingly.
Arthur Sale's analyses of what authors actually do with and without a mandate have since confirmed that if unmandated, self-archiving in institutional repositories hovers at around 15% or lower, but with a mandate it approaches 100% within about 2 years:
What Students Can Do to Hasten the Optimal and Inevitable but Long Overdue Outcome:
To date, 37 Green OA self-archiving mandates have been adopted worldwide, and 9 more have been proposed. Some of those mandates (such as that of NIH in the US, RCUK in the UK and ERC in Europe) have been very big ones, but most have been research funder mandates (22) rather than university mandates (12), even though virtually all research originates from universities, not all of it is funded, and universities share with their own researchers and students the benefits of showcasing and maximizing the uptake of their joint research output. Among the proposed mandates, two are very big multi-university proposals (one for all 791 universities in the 46 countries of the European University Association and one for all the universities and research institutions of Brazil), but those mandate proposals have yet to be adopted.
The world's universities are OA's sleeping giant. They have everything to gain from mandating OA, but they are being extremely slow to realize it and to do something about it. Unlike you students, they have not grown up in the online age, and to them the online medium's potential is not yet as transparent and natural as it is to you. You can help awaken your university's sense of its own need for OA, as well as its awareness of the benefits of OA, and the means of attaining them, by making yourselves heard:
1. OA Self-Archiving Begins At Home: First, let the professors and administration of your university know that you need and want (and expect!) research articles to be freely accessible to you on the web -- the entire research output of your own university to begin with (and not just the fraction of its total research output that your university can afford to buy-back in the form of journal subscriptions!) -- so that you know what research is being done at your own university, whom to study with, whom to do research projects with (and even to help you select a university for undergraduate or graduate study in the first place).
2. Self-Archive Unto Others As You Would Have Them Self-Archive Unto You: Second, point out the "Golden [or rather Green!] Rule" to the professors and administration of your university: If each university self-archives its own research output, this will not only make it possible for you, as students, to access the research output of all other universities (and not just the fraction of the total research output of other universities that your own university can afford to buy-in in the form of journal subscriptions!), so that you can use any of it in your own studies and research projects. Far more important, it will also make it possible for all researchers, at all universities (including your own), to access all research findings, and use and apply them in their own research and teaching, thereby maximizing research productivity and progress for the entire university community worldwide -- as well as for the tax-paying public that funds it all, the ones for whose benefit the research is being conducted.
But please make sure you get the rationale and priorities straight! The (successful) lobbying for the NIH self-archiving mandate was based in part on a premise that may have gone over well with politicians, and perhaps even with voters, but if thought through, it would not be able to stand up to close scrutiny. The slogan had been: We need to have OA so that taxpayers can have access to health research findings that they themselves paid for. True. And sounds good. But how many of the annual 2.5 million peer-reviewed research journal articles published every year in the 25,000 journals across all disciplines does that really apply to? How many of those specialized articles are taxpaying citizens likely ever to want (or even be able) to read! Most of them are not even relevant or comprehensible to undergraduate students.
So the overarching rationale for OA cannot be public access (though of course public access comes with the territory). It has to be peer-to-peer access. The peers are the research specialists worldwide for whom most of the peer-reviewed literature is written. Graduate students are entering this peer community; undergraduates are on the boundaries of it. But the general tax-paying public has next to no interest in it at all.
By the very same token, you will not be able to persuade your professors and administration that OA to the peer-reviewed research literature needs to be mandated because students have a burning need and desire to read it all! Students benefit from OA, but that cannot be the primary rationale for OA. Peer-to-peer (i.e., researcher to researcher) access is what has to be stressed. It is researchers worldwide who are today being denied access to the research findings they need in order to advance their research for the benefit of us all -- for the benefit of present and future students for whom the findings will be digested and integrated in textbooks, and for the benefit of the general public for whom the findings will be applied in the form of technological advances and medicines for illnesses.
So it is daily, weekly, monthly research impact that is needlessly being lost, cumulatively, while we keep dragging our feet about providing OA. That's what you need to stress to your professors and administration: all those findings that could not be used and applied and built upon because they could not be accessed by all or even most of their potential users, because it simply costs too much to subscribe to all or most of the journals in which they were published.
Updating the Academic Mandate for the Online Era
Point out also that OA policies always fail if they are merely recommendations or requests. The only thing that will embolden and motivate all researchers to self-archive is self-archiving mandates. "Mandate" is not a bad word. It doesn't mean "coercion" or punishment. It's all carrots, not sticks. Professors have a mandate to teach, and test, and give marks. They also have a mandate to do research, and publish (or perish!). If they teach well and do good research, they earn promotions, salary increases, tenure, research funding, prizes. If they don't fulfill their mandate, they don't. It's the same with students: You have a mandate to study and acquire knowledge and skills. If you don't fulfill your mandate, you don't earn good marks.
Mandates and Metrics
So it is not so much a matter of adopting a new "Green OA self-archiving mandate" for faculty, but of adapting the existing mandate. OA self-archiving is a natural adaptation to the PostGutenberg Galaxy and its technical potential (just as we adapted to reading and writing, printing, libraries and photocopying). It is no longer enough to just do, write up, and publish research: It has to be self-archived too. And the carrots are already there to reward doing it: Faculty are already evaluated on how well they fulfill their research performance mandate not only by counting their publications, but by assessing their impact -- for which one of the most important metrics is how much it is taken up, used and cited by further research. And citation counts are among the things that OA has been shown to increase.
It's rather as if -- as a part of your mandate as students -- you now had to submit your work online (as most of you already do!) instead of on paper in order to be evaluated and graded. Except it's even better than that for faculty, because self-archiving their work will actually increase their "grades."
In short, it's a win/win/win situation for your university, for your professors and for you, the students -- if only your university gets round, at long last, to fast-forwarding us to the optimal and inevitable: by mandating Green OA self-archiving. Rather than be puzzled and impatient that they have not done it already, you should provide a strong show of support for their doing it now. Be ready with the answers to the inevitable questions about how and why (and when and where). And beware, the 34-headed monster of "Zeno's Paralysis" is still at large, and growing back each head the minute you lop one off...
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Sunday, January 27. 2008
On Thu, 24 Jan 2008, James J. O'Donnell [JJO'D] wrote (on liblicense):
JJO'D: "...Whether to include [books] in OA "mandates" is Stevan Harnad's question, and since I regard such mandates with skepticism, that question doesn't concern me."But the question of mandates does concern a bigger and bigger constituency, now that the Australian Research Council, 6 of 7 UK Research Councils, the European Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the US National Institutes of Health, and a growing number of universities have already mandated OA self-archiving -- and the vast sleeping giant of universities worldwide is just about to awaken and follow suit:
plus22 funder mandates,
That's a total of5 proposed funder mandates,
So this might be an opportune time to re-examine the basis of one's skepticism about OA mandates...37 mandates already adopted and
JJO'D: "I am struck by the assertion that "all authors would want OA for their articles" if certain conditions are met. That's an interesting hypothesis, but I would simply underscore that the number of authors who currently do want OA for their articles is low enough that Harnad and others recommend they be coerced to achieve the goal. That fundamental disjuncture is important to understand and is advanced by empirical work, not by thought experiments."(1) "Coerced" is a rather shrill term! (Is every rule that is in the public interest -- smoking bans? seatbelt laws? breathalyzer tests? taxes? -- coercion? Is academia's "publish or perish" mandate "coercion"?)
(2) It is empirically incorrect to assume that the number of authors that do want OA for their articles is the same as the number who spontaneously self-archive or publish in an OA journal today:
(3) Considerable empirical work has been done on these questions: The surveys by Alma Swan and others have repeatedly shown that (a) many authors still don't know about OA, and (b) many of those who know about it agree that they would want it for their articles, but they fear (wrongly) that it might be illegal, prejudicial to their publishing in their journal of choice, or just plain (c) too complicated and time-consuming to do it.
(4) As a matter of empirical fact, (a) - (c) are all wrong.
(5) More important, the surveys have found that although most authors still do not self-archive, 95% report that they would self-archive if their institutions and/or funders mandated it -- and 81% of them report they would do so willingly.
(6) In other words, most authors regard Green OA self-archiving mandates not as coercion, but as facilitation, for doing what they would want to do, but otherwise daren't (or otherwise could not assign it the proper priority in their academic publish-or-perish obligations).
(7) By way of still further empirical confirmation, Arthur Sale's many studies have shown that institutional self-archiving policies are successful -- and institutional OA repositories successfully approach capture of 100% of institutional research output -- if and only if they are mandates.
(8) All of that is empirical; there is one thought-experiment, however, and that is the various speculations and counter-speculations about whether or not Green OA self-archiving mandates will "destroy peer-reviewed journal publication" (see APPENDIX below).
(9) I fully agree that the only way to settle that question too, is empirically -- and the mandates will do just that.
(10) All indications are that if and when mandated Green OA should ever make the journal subscription model unsustainable, the only thing that will happen is a natural transition to Gold OA publishing, with (a portion of) the institutional subscription savings simply redirected to paying the (reduced but nonzero) costs of Gold OA: implementing peer review.
Would all peer-reviewed journal article authors indeed want OA for their published articles if they knew copyright was no obstacle and knew that self-archiving time/effort was trivial?APPENDIX:
As noted above, I think we already know the answer to that question, indirectly, from the multidisciplinary surveys that have already been conducted and published. But suppose we wanted a still more direct answer:
Suppose we were to ask authors -- only about peer-reviewed journal articles (not books, irrespective of whether books are peer-reviewed) -- the following question (which needs to be as detailed as it is, in order to short-circuit irrelevancies, enthymemes, and incorrect assumptions):
I am willing to wager that the vast majority of authors in all disciplines would reply FOR (and that if we added a box "if AGAINST, please state WHY," the reasons given by the minority who were AGAINST would all, without exception, be either factually incorrect, logically incoherent, or simply irrelevant)."IF there existed no legal or practical copyright obstacles to doing it, and IF doing it involved negligibly little time and effort on your part (< 5 minutes of keystrokes per paper over and above all the time it took to write it), THEN would you be FOR or AGAINST making your own published journal articles Open Access so that all their potential users could access them, rather than just those whose institutions could afford paid access to the journal in which your article happened to be published?"
That, I think, is the only real issue (especially given that a huge wave of institutional and funder self-archiving mandates is now growing worldwide: See Peter Suber's forthcoming SPARC Open Access Newsletter on February 2, 2008).
Some critics of OA mandates still seem to be seeing the self-archiving and the self-archiving mandate question as somehow imperiling the publication of articles in the author's peer-reviewed journal of choice: But articles published in the author's chosen peer-reviewed journal were part of the conditional (IF/THEN) in the above conditional question.
Hence any remaining reluctance about self-archiving can only be based on speculations ("thought experiments") about the future of journal publishing; those speculations would go into the "WHY" box, and then each one (they are all well-known by now!) could easily be shown to be groundless, empirically and logically:
(a) Self-archiving would bypass peer review. (Incorrect: The premise of the question had been that you deposit your published, peer-reviewed journal articles.)Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
European University Association Unanimously Recommends OA Self-Archiving Mandates for its 791 Universities in 46 Countries
These recommendations by the EUA Working Group on Open Access were adopted unanimously on January 25 2008 by the Council of the European University Association, representing 791 universities in 46 countries throughout Europe.
Many thanks to Professor Bernard Rentier, Rector, University of Liege and founder of EurOpenScholar, who forwarded the report to the American Scientist Open Access Forum for posting, with permission. This clearly represents a new era for Green OA self-archiving mandates, moving now from funder mandates to university mandates, thereby covering all research, funded and unfunded, across all disciplines, worldwide, at its source.
Below are the highlights of the recommendations, followed by the recommendations in full. In essence, the recommendation is that
all European Universities should create institutional repositories and should mandate that all research publications must be deposited in them immediately upon publication (and made Open Access as soon as possible thereafter)as already mandated by RCUK, ERC, and NIH, and as recommended by EURAB. In addition, the EUA recommends that
these (funder) self-archiving mandates should also be extended to all research results arising from EU research programme/project funding.HIGHLIGHTS:
A. Recommendations for University Leadership
The basic approach... should be the creation of an institutional repository. These repositories should be established and managed according to current best practices (following recommendations and guidelines from DRIVER and similar projects) complying with the OAI-PMH protocol and allowing inter-operability and future networking for wider usage....B. Recommendations for National Rectors' Conferences
All National Rectors' Conferences should work with national research funding agencies and governments in their countries to implement the requirement for self-archiving of research publications in institutional repositories and other appropriate open access repositories according to best practice models of the ERC and existing national research funding agencies operating open access mandates...C. Recommendations for the European University Association
EUA should continue to contribute actively to the policy dialogue on Open Access at the European level with a view to a self-archiving mandate for all research results arising from EU research programme/project funding, hence in support of and building upon the ERC position and other international initiatives such as that of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Recommendations from the European University Association Working Group on Open Access
I. WG: Aims and Scope
In January 2007 EUA established a 'Working Group on Open Access' for a one year period as a platform of expert opinion to provide both a voice for, and visibility to European universities as stakeholders in the policy debate. Its mission was dual-fold: to raise awareness of the importance of 'open access' issues to the wider university community, both in terms of its impact upon the research process and its financial implications for university libraries, and to develop recommendations for a common strategy for the university sector as key stakeholders in policy development in the field. The decision to set up the Working Group had reflected the general view that the interests of universities were not being heard in the growing policy debate on the issue of the wide implications of rapid development of digital ICT for publishing which tended to be dominated by the commercial interests of the major scientific publishing companies.
The Working Group membership drew upon the range of different university perspectives on the concept of 'Open Access' from those of academic researchers, librarians and university management. In the course of its three meetings in 2007 the Working Group gathered expert opinion on open access publishing business models, legal and copyright issues, technical development of national digital repositories and their European networking, and the policies being developed towards open access publishing by funding agencies at the national level and the European Commission.
Professor Sijbolt Noorda (Chair of the WG) and members contributed also to several European Conferences held in 2007 including the major conference on 'Scientific Publishing in the Digital Age' held jointly by the European Commission DG Research and DG Information and Media in Brussels in February 2007 in which the university sector were recognised formally as a major 'stakeholder' in the open access policy debate.
In reaching its recommendations that are addressed to three audiences - university leaders at the institutional level,Â National Rectors Conferences and the EUA - the Working Group has borne in mind the full spectrum of issues involved; these range from the clear opportunity offered to widen access to the results of research, to the implications of open access publishing for peer eview and quality assurance in academic research and the rapidly rising costs of scientific publications for university libraries (through high subscription prices for both electronic and printed journals, including 'bundling' marketing strategies by publishers).
II. European and Global Context of the Recommendations
The WG recommendations seek to build upon the findings of the 'Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of Scientific Publications Markets in Europe' (European Commission, DG Research, project report, January 2006), and public statements issued by the European Research Council (ERC) and the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) on Open Access as well as the current practices of some funding agencies such as UK Research Councils and the newly adopted policy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States concerning open access mandates for peer-reviewed publications arising from grants.
In the European context the most recent significant development has been the ERC announcement on 17th December 2007 of its position on open access, as follows:
"The ERC requires that all peer-reviewed publications from ERC-funded research projects be deposited on publication into an appropriate research repository where available, such as PubMedCentral, ArXiv or an institutional repository, and subsequently made Open Access within 6 months of publication."WG recommendations seek also to provide support to European level initiatives promoting institutional repositories, their networking and wider accessibility through the future Confederation of European Repositories being developed by the DRIVER project consortium (funded under the European Commission 7th Research Framework Programme) and other university-led initiatives such as EurOpenScholar and the UNICA network.
The WG recommendations (below) are based upon the following core premises: the university's role and responsibility as guardian of research knowledge as a 'public good'; the results of publicly-funded research should be publicly-available as soon as possible; and quality assurance peer review processes are pre-conditions for scholarly publishing and therefore are essential to be maintained in the digital publishing mode.
It is important to emphasise that the scope of the WG recommendations cover as a priority the need for the enhancement of open access to peer-reviewed published research literature only, and not scientific research data, teaching materials etc. Issues of access to research data, its archiving and preservation need further attention from universities, funding agencies and scientific professional bodies, and are subject to several initiatives at the national and European level which are not addressed here (e.g. the Alliance for Permanent Access and European Digital Information Infrastructure).
A. Recommendations for University Leadership
1. Universities should develop institutional policies and strategies that foster the availability of their quality controlled research results for the broadest possible range of users, maximising their visibility, accessibility and scientific impact.
2. The basic approach for achieving this should be the creation of an institutional repository. These repositories should be established and managed according to current best practices (following recommendations and guidelines from DRIVER and similar projects) complying with the OAI-PMH protocol and allowing inter-operability and future networking for wider usage.
3. University institutional policies should require that their researchers deposit (self-archive) their scientific publications in their institutional repository upon acceptance for publication. Permissible embargoes should apply only to the date of open access provision and not the date of deposit. Such policies would be in compliance with evolving policies of research funding agencies at the national and European level such as the ERC.
4. University policies should include copyright in the institutional intellectual property rights (IPR) management. It should be the responsibility of the university to inform their faculty researchers about IPR and copyright management in order to ensure the wider sharing and re-use of the digital research content they have produced. This should include a clear policy on ownership and management of copyright covering scholarly publications and define procedures for ensuring that the institution has the right to use the material produced by its staff for further research, educational and instructional purposes.
5. University institutional policies should explore also how own resources could be found for author fees if 'author pays model' of open access publishing prevails in the future in some scientific fields/domains.
B. Recommendations for National Rectors' Conferences
1. All National Rectors' Conferences should work with national research funding agencies and governments in their countries to implement the requirement for self-archiving of research publications in institutional repositories and other appropriate open access repositories according to best practice models of the ERC and existing national research funding agencies operating open access mandates. National Rectors' Conferences should encourage government to work within the framework of the Council of the European Union Conclusions on Scientific Information in the Digital Age: Access, Dissemination and Preservation" adopted at the EU Competitiveness Council meeting on 22nd-23rd November 2007.
2. National Rectors' Conferences should attach high priority to raising the awareness of university leadership to the importance of open access policies in terms of enhanced visibility, access and impact of their research results.
C. Recommendations for the European University Association
1. EUA should continue to contribute actively to the policy dialogue on Open Access at the European level with a view to a self-archiving mandate for all research results arising from EU research programme/project funding, hence in support of and building upon the ERC position and other international initiatives such as that of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
2. EUA should continue to be visible and to rally expertise from Europe's universities on Open Access issues to provide input to European and International events advancing open access to scientific publications, research data and their preservation.
Friday, January 25. 2008
Highlights from the 1st DRIVER Summit Report:
"On 16 and 17 January 2008, DRIVER II successfully carried out its first Summit in Goettingen, Germany. Approximately 100 invited representatives from the European Community, including representatives of the European Commission, over 20 spokespersons of European repository initiatives as well as experts in different repository related fields from Europe, the U.S., Canada and South Africa came together to discuss their experiences and concrete actions with respect to the further building of cross-country repository infrastructures...From Norbert Lossau's Summary:
"The conditions to populate repositories with content and to implement a coherent European and global digital repository based eInfrastructure are more favourable than ever before. The Council's Conclusions on Scientific Information, the European Research Council Open Access mandate and the current preparation of an Open Access mandate for all EC funded research publications can draw from the existing infrastructure efforts which must be accelerated in the coming months...
Thursday, January 24. 2008
One more Australian university Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate (CSU, Australia's 6th mandate: thanks to Arthur Sale for the news) and one Italian funder mandate (ISS, Italy's first: thanks to Valentina Comba via Peter Suber) have been announced. (Also a "strong encouragement" policy from Hokkaido University brings us closer to a first Japanese mandate.)
Worldwide, that now makes:
22 funder mandates,
12 institutional mandates,
3 departmental mandates,
5 proposed funder mandates,
1 proposed institutional mandate,
2 proposed multi-institutional mandates
That's a total of
37 mandates already adopted and
8 more proposed so far
(plus at least 31 registered self-archiving institutional and funder "OA policies" and probably many more unregistered policies -- all of them still shy of a mandate, encouraging/inviting/rquesting instead of requiring/mandating, but within easy reach of upgrading to a mandate, exactly as NIH did recently).
= at least 76 known to be adopted, proposed, or poised
(Arthur Sale whispers that we should expect more announcements soon, from Australia.)
The Self-Archiving Sweepstakes are on -- and let us hope for a planetary sweep in 2008, particularly from the sleeping giant: the university sector. (The world deserves at least a bit of good news for a change!)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Wednesday, January 23. 2008
[Update: See new definition of "Weak" and "Strong" OA, 29/4/2008]
The arch-analyst of apertivity, Richard Poynder, has published yet another excellent interview, this time time with Peter Murray-Rust, a dedicated advocate of Open Data (OD).
Here are a few comments on some important differences between Open Access (OA) and Open Data (OD).
The explicit, primary target content of OA is the full-texts of all the articles published in the world's 25,000 peer-reviewed scholarly and scientific journals. This is a special case, among all texts, partly because (i) research depends critically on access to those journal articles, because (ii) journals are expensive, because (iii) authors don't seek or get revenue from the sale of their articles, and hence have always given them away to any would-be user, and because (iv) lost access means lost research impact.
Research data are also critical to research progress, of course, but the universal practice of publishing research findings in refereed journal articles has not extended to the publication of the raw data on which the articles are based. There have been two main reasons for this. One was the capacity of the paper medium: There was no affordable way that data could be published alongside articles in paper journals. The other was that not all authors wanted to publish their data, or at least not right away: They wanted the chance to fully data-mine the data they had themselves gathered, before making it available for data-mining by other researchers.
The online era has now made it possible to publish all data affordably online. That removed the first barrier (although there are still technical problems, which Peter Murray-Rust and others discuss and are working to overcome). But the question of whether and when an author makes his data open is still a matter for the author to decide. Perhaps it ought not to be the author's choice -- but that is a much bigger and more complicated question than OA (for in OA all authors already want to make their published articles freely accessible online).
That difference in scope and universality is one of the reasons the OA and OD movements are distinct ones: OD has both technical and political problems that OA does not have, and it is important that OA should not be slowed down by inheriting these extraneous problems -- just as it is important that OD should not be weighed down by the publisher copyright problems of OA (which do not apply to OD for the simple reason that the authors do not publish their data, hence do not transfer copyright to a publisher).
So far, this is all simple and transparent: OA and OD have different target contents, with different problems to contend with. OA's solution has been for researchers' institutions and funders to mandate the self-archiving of all of OA's target content, making it free for all online. But an interesting overlap region is thereby created between OA and OD: for article texts are themselves data! And one of the most important purposes for which the OD movement has sought to make data freely available online -- apart from the purpose of making it available for collaboration and use by all researchers -- is data-mining, by individuals as well as by software, and for re-publication in further 3rd-party online databases. Data-mining can be done not only on raw research data, but on article texts too, treating them as data: text-mining.
Here too, the interests of OA and OD are perfectly compatible and complementary -- except for one thing: If text-minability and 3rd-party re-publication were indeed to be made part of the definition of OA (i.e., not just removing price barriers to access by making research free for all online, but also "removing permissions barriers" by renegotiating copyright) then this would at the same time radically raise the barriers to achieving OA itself (just as insisting on making the paper edition free would), making it contingent on authors' willingness and success in renegotiating copyright with their publishers.
The online medium itself had been the critical new factor that had made it possible to remove price barriers to access, by making research articles toll-free online. But the price for going on to insist on the removal of both price barriers and "permissions barriers" jointly, as part of the very definition of OA, would have been to raise the problem of overcoming permissions barriers as a barrier to overcoming price barriers! For the new online medium that made toll-free online access possible, did not, in and of itself, redefine copyright, any more than it redefined ownership of the paper edition.
Toll-free online access (OA) will lead to copyright reform (and publishing reform, and perhaps eventually also to the demise of the paper edition). But the online medium alone, in and of itself, simply made toll-free online access possible -- and that is hence the proper definition of OA. (After all, copyright retention by authors was perfectly possible in the paper era. In and of itself, it is not an online matter at all -- although the online medium, and OA itself, will eventually lead to it.)
Peter Murray-Rust is right that there was some naivete about some of this at the time of the drafting of the BOAI definition of OA (which I signed, even though I later opted for an updated definition of OA, one that resolved this ambiguity in favor of immediate OA and its capacity to grow). More than naivete, there was ignorance and lack of foresight, both about the technical possibilities and about the practical obstacles. It was the online medium that had made OA possible: Toll-free access for all users had not been possible or even thinkable in the paper era, either to articles or to data, for both economic and practical reasons. But with the advent of the online era, toll-free access online became thinkable, and possible. Indeed it was already within reach: The only thing authors had to do was to make their articles and data accessible free for all, online.
But most article authors did not make their articles freely accessible online -- even though they all, without exception, sought no income from them their sale, wanting them only to be used, applied, cited and built upon. Most authors remained paralyzed because (1) they were worried about copyright and because (2) they didn't know how to provide OA, imagining that it might require a lot of time and effort.
The solution was Green OA self-archiving mandates on the part of their universities and funders, as an extension of their already existing publish-or-perish mandate. In particular, the IDOA (Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access) Mandate requires researchers to deposit their articles in their Institutional Repositories (IRs) immediately upon publication (with access temporarily set to Closed Access for those journals that impose an access embargo period).
The IDOA solution works for OA -- it provides immediate OA for all the articles that are published in the 62% of journals that already endorse immediate OA. And for the 38% that do not, the articles are deposited as Closed Access; the IR's semi-automatic "email eprint request" button then provides users with almost-immediate, almost-OA during any embargo period.
But this solution does not work for OD, because (a) depositing data cannot be mandated, it can only be encouraged and because (b) making article-texts re-usable by 3rd-party text-miners and re-publishers as data requires permission from the copyright holder. That is not part of IDOA, and the "email eprint request" button does not cover it either.
So the strategic issue is whether to insist on something stronger than IDOA -- at the risk of not reaching consensus on any mandate at all -- or waiting patiently a little while longer, to allow IDOA mandates to become universal, generating toll-free online access (OA), with its immediate resultant benefits to research and researchers -- and to trust that the pressure exerted by those very benefits will lead to the demise of embargoes as well as to OD (for both data and texts) in due course.
I would accordingly urge patience on the part of the OD community, as well as to the Gold OA (publishing) and copyright-reform communities (even though I am by no means patient by nature myself!). Their day will come soon too!
But first, please allow Green OA to take the natural course that is now wide open for it, paving the way with universal IDOA mandates generating toll-free online access to research, and all its immediate benefits. The strategic course to take now is to allow those mandates to propagate globally. This is not the time for over-reaching, raising the ante for OA higher than what the mandates can provide, and thereby only jeopardizing their chances of being adopted in the first place.
Brody, T., Carr, L., Gingras, Y., Hajjem, C., Harnad, S. and Swan, A. (2007) Incentivizing the Open Access Research Web: Publication-Archiving, Data-Archiving and Scientometrics. CTWatch Quarterly 3(3).Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Sunday, January 20. 2008
Les Carr (U.Southampton) wrote:(1) I would be very surprised if it were not the case that (in some disciplines at least) books count as the outputs of funded research. (Book citations certainly redound to an author's research credit as surely as article citations do.)"Do ERC (or other short-term funders') research projects result in books? I am only an engineer who gets a bit lost outside STM, but I thought that books were written independently by researchers and that funded research projects had papers (and similar low-investment texts) as explicit research outputs?
(2) Insofar as OA (and Green OA self-archiving mandates) are concerned, however, the relevant question is not whether books count as the outputs of funded research. (OA is for the outputs of research, whether or not the research is funded. And Green OA self-archiving mandates apply to the research output of a university's salaried academics, whether or not their research receives external funding, just as the university's publish-or-perish mandate applies to publications irrespective of whether they are the result of external funding.)
(3) Another way to put this is that even an academic who receives no external funding is institutionally funded to do research, inasmuch as research and publishing are part of his job-description.
(4) So the relevant variable is not funding but whether the research publication is an author give-away, written purely for the sake of research uptake, usage and impact -- the way all peer-reviewed articles are written -- or whether it is also written in the hope of royalty income (as many books are -- even though their hopes are usually not realized!)
(5) Perhaps trumping even the impact vs royalty question is the question of the cost of publication, and with it the question of whether a print run of the publication is desired.
(6) For better or worse, books are still preferentially published and read as conventional print-runs, rather than online-only, plus local print-offs by users.
(7) As long as that is true, the essential costs of producing and distributing a print-on-paper book will differ from the essential costs of producing and distributed a journal article (which can all be done online).
(8) Those essential costs of book publication need to be recovered regardless of whether the author hopes for royalty revenues over and above them.
(9) Some have suggested that making a book OA online will not hurt but help the sales of the print edition, but this is far from empirically established as the general rule (although it has happened in a few cases).
(10) Hence, although funders and institutions can and should mandate the self-archiving of peer-reviewed articles, they cannot and should not mandate the self-archiving of books.
(11) If it were proposed to extend Green OA self-archiving mandates to books, there would be (justified) resistance from both authors and publishers, and that would needlessly reduce the chances of adoption of what would otherwise have been an articles-only mandate.
(12) Once the 2.5 million articles published annually in the world's 25,000 peer-reviewed journals have been made OA by universal Green OA self-archiving mandates, the number of books and publishers that show an interest in pursuing a similar option will no doubt increase -- but that's not the same as subsuming books under the Green OA self-archiving mandates themselves.
Klaus Graf wrote:Much as I may wish it were otherwise, Klaus Graf unfortunately has it exactly backwards:"Stevan Harnad wrote: '(9) Some have suggested that making a book OA online will not hurt but help the sales of the print edition, but this is far from empirically established as the general rule (although it has happened in a few cases).'
The burden of proof is most definitely not on those who think that making books free online will hurt sales, to provide evidence that it is so. The burden is on those who think it is not so, to show that it is not.
The default or null hypothesis -- not just in this instance, but in the much more general one, of which books are just a special case -- is that, ceteris paribus, yes, if you make a digital version of a product available free for all online, you will hurt its sales (digital and analogue). There may be exceptions, but they have to be demonstrated.
And evidence is a tricky matter, especially for a negative hypothesis. It is not sufficient evidence that a platypus does not lay eggs, to show photos of some platypuses, not laying eggs.
For journal articles, although the evidence so far seems to be that Green OA self-archiving has not caused cancellations, it remains a possibility that it eventually will. However, as has been pointed out repeatedly, in that very special case, it does not matter, either way:
But none of that carries over to books and book publishing -- neither to books in general, nor to scholarly/scientific books in particular.i. because research usage and impact is far more important than sustaining the current journal-publishing cost-recovery model;
Neither for journal articles nor for books can free online access be attained through wishful thinking and righteous indignation alone. Fortunately, for journal articles, it needn't be.(a) It is not true that books are mostly written only for research usage and impact. (Most are also written in the hope of royalty income.)
Let us not, then, needlessly handicap the strong special case for OA -- which covers all of peer-reviewed journal articles and authors without a single exception -- with the unneeded extra baggage of the uncertain, untested and equivocal case of books. Some books may eventually go the way of OA too; but right now, when the research community is finally on the verge of successfully inducing its funders and universities worldwide to adopt Green OA self-archiving mandates, this is definitely not the time to try to change the rules, raise the stakes, and insist on mandating book-deposit too.
Leave book-deposit as an author option, like access-setting itself, and give OA, already so grotesquely overdue, the chance to come into its own at long last.
Klaus Graf wrote:I am afraid that Klaus Graf has not understood what is meant by the default or null hypothesis: To demonstrate [proof is possible only in mathematics] that the null hypothesis is false you need to provide compelling evidence to the contrary. The null hypothesis is that vitamin C does not cure cancer. The evidential burden is on those who think it does, to provide compelling evidence that it does, not on those who think it doesn't, to provide evidence that it doesn't. (Most things do not cure cancer, by default. No one has to give evidence that vitamin C does not cure cancer.) The occasional report that some people who were diagnosed with cancer took vitamin C and are still alive is not compelling evidence. The jury is still out on vitamin C. It has been out for a long time."Is there any empirical proof for this default hypothesis? There is only empirical evidence for the contrary. It's purely nonsense to state a "default hypothesis" if empirical facts should be given."
(Apologies for the shrillness of the example. I did not want to use miracles or telekinesis, because that would be too exacting and dismissive. I just wanted to give an illustration of the evidential burden on the null hypothesis with a case where -- some believe -- closure has not yet been reached. Another example would be the legal presumption of innocence until compellingly "proved" guilty: There is no burden to "prove" innocence: it is the default hypothesis.)
As with vitamin C, with book sales it is not sufficient merely to cite self-selected positive evidence; it is necessary to do systematic controlled comparisons, on sufficiently large and representative samples: N new books, selected at random, half of them then made freely accessible online, half not, and then a comparison of their sales for several years. Perhaps even a replication or two...
Pablo Ortellado wrote:Mandatorily "in many cases"? How many? And which? and who decides, how?"You may call it OA or not, but books in many cases should be mandatorily made available on the Internet..."
Please take a moment to reflect.
The substantive issue is not what we do and don't call "OA."
The issue is what we can and cannot consensually mandate (and what a mandate is).
After much too long a delay, the momentum is finally gathering for funders and universities to adopt Green OA mandates to deposit all peer-reviewed research journal articles in OA repositories. (Not "in many cases": all, without exception: that's why/how it's a mandate.)
The reason those mandates proved possible was that all the authors of all those articles (as well as their universities and their funders) without exception, wanted to give away those articles for free online.
None of them sought royalty revenues or print sales -- they sought only maximal research impact.
None of this is true without exception, or even majoritarily, of books. It is true of some authors of some books. And those authors are all free to deposit them in their OA IR if they wish.
(Not only are the same OA IRs there, ready for books to be deposited into them too; they can even be deposited IDOA, if the author wishes: Closed Access but with the option of emailing one copy to any requesters the author approves.)
And as with Gold OA journal publishing, book publishers are more than welcome to experiment with offering free online access, as National Academies Press does, extremely successfully and valuably.
But if you insist on including books in the deposit mandates, you will simply prevent the adoption of the mandates themselves, because they were predicated on consensus among authors, their institutions and their funders that their articles were intended as give-aways all along (even before the online era). There is no such consensus on books (in fact, I suspect, far from it).
Hence on no account should we needlessly jeopardize the spread of Green OA self-archiving mandates today, just when adoptions are at last beginning to gather speed, by raising the goal-posts, this time to a height for which the research community can no longer sustain its natural consensus, by now declaring that book deposit is to fall under the OA mandates too.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Thursday, January 17. 2008
Please don't mix up the problem of University Course Packs with Open Access Provision.
Universities have long-standing frustrations about what 3rd-party buy-in content they can and cannot include in Course Packs for student use.
That's an old story, and universities should continue to strive to get the best deal they can with AAP publishers for that, as Hofstra, Marquette, and Syracuse Universities have been trying to do.
But on no account should this unending saga be conflated with Open Access (OA) provision (by those same three universities). Universities provide OA to their own research output, by self-archiving it in their own OA Institutional Repositories (IRs). That is 1st-party OA content.
The connection between the two is this: In its efforts to strike a deal with AAP Publishers for their ("fair") use of 3rd-party content (originating, say, from, Hofstra University), Marquette and Syracuse need not worry about the content that they include in their course packs that consists of links to Hofstra's OA articles, deposited in Hofstra's IR. Nor vice versa. All they need do is link to it. And no need to download, print or photocopy it for with course packs. The link is enough, and the students can do the rest (if they lack affection for trees).
And as Green OA self-archiving of 1st party content in authors' OA IRs grows, the frustrations of jostling for 3rd party content will simply shrink and disappear.
So, in keeping with the Golden Rule, universities should be mandating Green OA self-archiving, alongside whatever deals they may be cutting for fair use in course packs.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Wednesday, January 16. 2008
Here is the video of my presentation to the DRIVER Summit:
Institutional Versus Central Deposit:
Optimising DRIVER Policy for the OA Mandate and Metric Era
Also to be discussed at the DRIVER Summit is this statement by the EU Council (not to be confused with the European Research Council (ERC), which has mandated OA self-archiving!) The EU Council's Conclusions show the tell-tale signs of penetration by the publisher anti-OA lobby; familiar slogans, decisively rebutted many, many times before, crop up verbatim in the EU Council's language, though the Council does not appear to realize that it has allowed itself to become the mouthpiece of these special interests, which are not those of the research community:
Council of the European Union: Conclusions on scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservationHere is my critique of this EU Council statement (all boldface quotes are from the Council's statement, the underscores have been added):
"the importance of scientific output resulting from publicly funded research being available on the Internet at no cost to the reader under economically viable circumstances, including delayed open access"(1) 'At no cost to the reader' conflates site-licensing and Open Access (OA). This wording was no doubt urged by the publisher lobby. The focus should be on providing free online access webwide. That is OA, and that makes the objective clear and coherent.
(2) 'Delayed open access' refers to publisher embargoes on author self-archiving. If embargoes are to be accommodated, it should be made clear that they apply to the date at which the access to the embargoed document is made OA, not to the date at which the document is deposited, which should be immediately upon acceptance for publication. The DRIVER network of Institutional Repositories (IRs) can then adopt the 'email eprint request' button that will allow individual users to request and receive individual copies of the document semi-automatically.
(3) What should be deposited in the author's own institutional IR immediately upon acceptance for publication is the author's peer-reviewed, accepted final draft ('postprint'), not the publisher's PDF (or XML). There are far more publisher embargoes on the PDF/XML than on the postprint, and the postprint is all that is needed for research use and progress. The postprint is a supplementary version of the official publication, provided for OA purposes; it is not the version with the primary digital preservation problem.
(4) Digital preservation should not be conflated with OA provision: There is a (separate) problem of the digital preservation of the publisher's PDF/XML, but this is not the same as the problem of providing OA to the author's postprint. The postprint, though it can and should be preserved, is not the canonical copy of the publication, so the two preservation tasks should not be conflated.
(5) Self-archiving research data is also a different matter from self-archiving research publications. Data-archiving is not subject to a publisher embargo, and it needs independent preservation, but data-access and data-preservation should not be conflated with OA provision.
(6) Deposit should be directly in each author's own IR: Distributed institutional depositing and storage should not be conflated with central harvesting and indexing: Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally.
(7) Direct central deposit should be avoided except in cases where the author is institutionally unaffiliated or the author's institution does not yet have an IR. For those cases, there should be at least one provisional default repository such as DEPOT.
(8) Research (publications and data) should not be conflated with other forms of digital content. The problems of cultural heritage archiving, for example, are not the same as those of research publication archiving. Nor are the problems of archiving the same as the problem of access-provision (OA).
"ensure the long term preservation of scientific information -including publications and data"This is an example of the complete conflation of OA-provision with digital preservation, including a conflation of authors' supplementary postprints with the publisher's original, as well as a conflation of research publications with research data.
DRIVER will not have a coherent programme unless it clearly and systematically de-conflates OA-provision from digital preservation, primary publications from authors' supplementary postprints, and publication-archiving from data-archiving, treating each of these separately, on its own respective terms.
"experiments on and wide deployment of scientific data infrastructures with cross-border, cross-institution and cross-discipline added-value for open access to and preservation of scientific information"This again conflates OA provision with digital preservation and conflates publications with data. It also conflates both of these with IR interoperability, which is yet another matter. (And webwide OA is, by definition, cross-institution, cross-border and cross-discipline, so that is a non-issue.)
What is an issue, however, is institutional versus central depositing, and it is crucial that DRIVER have a clear, coherent policy (insofar as research archiving is concerned -- this does not necessarily apply to other forms of digital content): Deposit Institutionally: Harvest/Index/Search Centrally.
The emphasis of DRIVER should accordingly be on ensuring that the distributed IRs have the requisite interoperability for whatever central harvesting, indexing, search and analysis are needed and desired.
"promoting, through these policies, access through the internet to the results of publicly financed research, at no cost to the reader, taking into consideration economically sustainable ways of doing this, including delayed open access"Economic sustainability is again a red herring introduced by the publishing lobby into language that should only concern the research community and research access. The economic sustainability of publishing is not DRIVER's concern.
DRIVER's concern should be interoperable OA-provision (plus whatever cultural-heritage and other forms of archiving DRIVER wishes to provide the infrastructure for).
Nor are publisher access-embargoes DRIVER's concern: DRIVER should merely help ensure immediate deposit in IRs, and it should facilitate research usage needs through IR interoperability as well as the IRs' email eprint request button.
"2008 working towards the interoperability of national repositories of scientific information in order to facilitate accessibility and searchability of scientific information beyond national borders"Insofar as research is concerned, it is not the interoperability of national repositories that is crucial but the interoperability of all OA IRs.
"2009 contributing to an effective overview of progress at European level, informing the Commission of results and experiences with alternative models for the dissemination of scientific information."This is again a red herring (for both the EU and for DRIVER) introduced by the publishing lobby: Research archiving and OA-provision are neither a matter of alternative publishing models nor a matter of alternatives to the generic peer-reviewed publication model. Publishing reform and peer review reform are not DRIVER matters. They can and will evolve too, but DRIVER should focus on the deposit of current published research as well as research data in IRs, and the interoperability of those IRs. That is the immediate problem. The rest is merely speculative for now.
"B. Invitation to the Commission to implement the measures announced in the Communication on "scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation", and in particular to: 1. Experiment with open access to scientific publications resulting from projects funded by the EU Research Framework Programmes by: defining and implementing concrete experiments with open access to scientific publications resulting from Community funded research, including with open access."This is a vague way of saying that the publishing lobby has persuaded the EU not to do the obvious, but to keep on 'experimenting' as if what needed to be done were not already evident, already tested, already demonstrated to work, and already being done, worldwide (including by RCUK, ERC, NIH, and over a dozen universities):
The EU should mandate that all EU-funded research articles (postprints) are deposited in the fundee's IR immediately upon acceptance for publication. Access can be set in compliance with embargoes, if desired. And data-archiving should be strongly encouraged. DRIVER's concern should be with ensuring that the network of IRs has the requisite interoperability to make it maximally useful and useable for further research progress.
THE FEEDER AND THE DRIVER:
Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally
DRIVER is designing an infrastructure for European and Worldwide Open Access research output, stored in institutional and disciplinary repositories, now increasingly under institutional and research-funder mandates. It is critical for DRIVER to explicitly take into account in its design (as some research funders have not yet done, because they have not yet thought it through) that institutional and disciplinary (central) repositories (IRs and CRs), although they are fully interoperable and at a par in that respect, nevertheless play profoundly different roles.
Universities and research institutions are the FEEDERS-- the primary providers of research, funded and unfunded, in all disciplines -- for both kinds of repositories (IRs and CRs).
This difference in role and function must be concretely reflected in the design of the DRIVER infrastructure. The primary locus of deposit for all research output is the researcher's own institution's IR (except in the increasingly rare case of institutionally unaffiliated researchers). Thanks to OAI-interoperability, the metadata for those deposits, or even the full-text deposits themselves, can also be harvested by (or exported to) any number of CRs -- discipline-based CRs, funder-based CRs, theme-based CRs, national CRs, European CRs, global CRs.
Neither IRs nor CRs will fill without deposit mandates. This is a hard lesson, that has been learned very late (NIH, for example, made the mistake of requesting rather than requiring deposit, the NIH policy failed, and three years of research impact was consequently lost); but the lesson has now at long last indeed been learned. So the number of institutional and funder mandates is now set to grow dramatically. Institutions of course always mandate deposit in their own IRs. Many funders have mandated deposit, indicating that deposit can be in either IRs or CRs. But a few funders still stipulate, dysfunctionally, that deposit must be in CRs.
This is a symptom of not having thought OA through. Funders are of course greatly to be commended for mandating OA, but their short-sightedness on the question of locus and means of deposit needs correction, and DRIVER can and should help with this, pre-emptively, rather than blindly following the unreflective and incoherent trends in the air today. Indeed DRIVER must take a coherent position, if it wants OA content to be provided and OA repositories to be filled, reliably and fully.
The model that DRIVER should adopt in designing its infrastructure is "Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally." That is the way to scale up -- simply, swiftly, systematically and surely -- to 100% OA. I give the reasons in detail in my talk tomorrow, but for now, I just want to point out the principle points:
Institutions (i.e., universities and research institutes) are the providers -- the source -- of all research. Institutions have a direct interest in showcasing and managing their own research output, but they have been even more sluggish than funders in adopting mandates. If funders mandate central deposit, they neither cover all of OA output nor do they collaborate coherently with the providers (the institutions) to scale up systematically to providing OA to all of their institutional research output. The OAI protocol makes it possible to harvest content from all OAI-compliant repositories. That is the coherent, systematic pattern of content provision for which DRIVER should be designed, not an incoherent patchwork of arbitrary institutional and central depositing and repositories that will neither scale up to all of OA nor accelerate its attainment.
Not all research is funded; not all research fits into defined disciplines; disciplines are not all independent. Disciplines, being overlapping and redundant, would entail that discipline-based depositing had to be be overlapping and redundant. Depositing can be mandated once, but not multiply. The natural way to ensure that a paper is present in multiply loci (institutional, (multi)-disciplinary, national, etc.) is to deposit it at source – i.e., institutionally – and then harvest or import its metadata (or both its metadata and the paper itself) into whatever CRs we decide we need. That is what the OAI interoperability protocol itself was designed for.
And, not to put too fine a point on it, the very notion of Central Repositories already betrays something of a misunderstanding of the online medium: Is Google a central repository? Is it a repository at all? Do people deposit directly in Google?
OAIster, Citebase (and many other central OAI services like them) are an even better model: OAIster and Citebase were explictly designed to be OAI service-providers -- functional overlays on the distributed OA content-providers. Do CRs -- disciplinary, interdisciplinary, national and international -- really need to be any more than that?
American Scientist Open Access Forum
First DRIVER Summit:
Towards a Confederation of Digital Repositories
16-17 January 2008 Goettingen, Germany
DRIVER responds to the vision that all relevant scientific content should be easily accessible through internet-based infrastructures. Achieving this vision reaches beyond technology - it is also the organisational dimension that allows a stable and trusted network of content providers. DRIVER is working with repository federations in Europe, and reaches out to further international communities (for example in the US, China, India, and Africa) in order to determine the practical requirements for a confederation of digital repositories.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
13:00-13:15 Opening Address (Norbert Lossau, DRIVER)
13:15-14:00 Opening Keynote - EC Research Infrastructure & Digital Repository Roadmap
(Mario Campolargo, EC)
14:00-14:30 Organising Infrastructures: Experiences from D-Space, Open Content Alliance and other community efforts
(Michele Kimpton, D-Space Foundation)
Chair: Sylvia van Peteghem, DRIVER
15:00-15:30 DRIV(ER)ing Research Infrastructures
(Yannis Ioannidis, DRIVER)
15:30-16:00 Growing Repositories
(Bill Hubbard, DRIVER)
16:00-16:30 Repository Landscape - DRIVER Studies
(Kasja Weenink, DRIVER)
Chair: Sijbolt Noorda, EUA
17:00-18:30 Panel Discussion "Open Access and Repository Infrastructures": Responding to the "Council Conclusions on Scientific Information"
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Chair: Rüdiger Klein, ESF (tbc)
09:00-09:30 Institutional versus Central Deposit: Optimising DRIVER Policy for the OA Mandate and Metric Era
(Stevan Harnad, Université du Québec à Montréal & University of Southampton )
09:30-10:00 Challenges in DRIVER-II
(Donatella Castelli, DRIVER)
Chair: Carlos Morais-Pires, EC
10:00-10:30 Disciplinary Repository Projects
EuroVO-AIDA: Astronomical virtual observatories, repositories and data access (Sebastien Deriere, Thomas Boch)
METAFOR -- Climate Modelling (Michael Lautenschläger)
11:00-12:30 Disciplinary Repository Projects
Genesi-DR -- Earth Science (Luigi Fusco, Donatella Castelli)
D4Science -- Environmental Monitoring (Donatella Castelli)
eCrystals -- Crystallography (Simon Coles, Liz Lyon)
OLAC: The Open Language Archives Community (Gary Simons)
Language Resource Management and Discovery in CLARIN (Peter Wittenburg)
Nereus/Neeo -- Economists (Vanessa Proudman)
Chair: Wolfram Horstmann, DRIVER
13:30-14:45 National & International Repository Networks
EIFL -- Open Access Program (Susan Veldsman, Rima Kupryte)
Open Access Repositories in Finland (Rita Voigt)
OpenAccess.se (Jan Hagerlid)
NORA - The Norwegian Experience (Jan Erik Frantsvåg)
eLABa - Lithuanian Academic e-Library (Vilius Kuciukas)
Local Integration, National Federation: TARA, TCD-RSS, IReL-Open, Expertise Ireland (Niamh Brennan)
OAI Spain (Alicia Lopez-Medina)
14.45-15.50 Discussion: Building a Joint Digital Repository Infrastructure
(Moderator: Carlos Morais-Pires, EC; Norbert Lossau, DRIVER)
15.50-16.00 Wrap-up (Norbert Lossau, DRIVER)
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Last entry: 2017-03-27 13:12
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