Sunday, November 30. 2008
The JISC/SIRIS "Report of the Subject and Institutional Repositories Interactions Study" (November 2008) "was commissioned by JISC to produce a set of practical recommendations for steps that can be taken to improve the interactions between institutional and subject repositories in the UK" but it fails to make clear the single most important reason why Institutional Repositories' "desired ‘critical mass’ of content is far from having been achieved."
The following has been repeatedly demonstrated (1) in cross-national, cross-disciplinary surveys (by Alma Swan, uncited in the report) on what authors state that they will and won't do and (2) in outcome studies (by Arthur Sale, likewise uncited in the report) that confirm the survey findings, reporting what authors actually do:
Most authors will not deposit until and unless their universities and/or their funders make deposit mandatory. But if and when deposit is made mandatory, over 80% will deposit, and deposit willingly. (A further 15% will deposit reluctantly, and 5% will not comply with the mandate at all.) In contrast, the spontaneous (unmandated) deposit rate is and remains at about 15%, for years now (and adding incentives and assistance but no mandate only raises this deposit rate to about 30%).The JISC/SIRIS report merely states: "Whether deposit of content is mandatory is a decision that will be made by each institution," but it does not even list the necessity of mandating deposit as one of its recommendations, even though it is the crucial determinant of whether or not the institutional repository ever manages to attract its target content.
Nor does the JISC/SIRIS report indicate how institutional and funder mandates reinforce one another, nor how to make both mandates and locus of deposit systematically convergent and complementary (deposit institutionally, harvest centrally) rather than divergent and competitive -- though surely that is the essence of "Subject and Institutional Repositories Interactions."
There are now 58 deposit mandates already adopted worldwide (28 from universties/faculties, including Southampton, Glasgow, Liège, Harvard and Stanford, and 30 from funders, including 6/7 Research Councils UK, European Research Council and the US National Institutes of Health) plus at least 11 known mandate proposals pending (including a unanimous recommendation from the European Universities Association council, for its 791 member universities in 46 countries, plus a recommendation to the European Commission from the European Heads of Research Councils).
It is clear now that mandated OA self-archiving is the way that the world will reach universal OA at long last. Who will lead and who will follow will depend on who grasps this, at long last, and takes the initiative. Otherwise, there's not much point in giving or taking advice on the interactions of empty repositories...
Swan, A., Needham, P., Probets, S., Muir, A., Oppenheim, C., O’Brien, A., Hardy, R., Rowland, F. and Brown, S. (2005) Developing a model for e-prints and open access journal content in UK further and higher education. Learned Publishing, 18 (1). pp. 25-40.Hi Neil,
I was referring to the JISC report's recommendations, which mention a number of things, but not how to get the repositories filled (despite noting the problem that they are empty).
It seems to me that the practical problems of what to do with -- and how to work together with -- empty repositories are trumped by the practical problem of how to get the repositories filled.
Moreover, the solution to the practical problem of how the repositories (both institutional and subject/funder) can work together is by no means independent of the practical problem of how to get them filled -- including the all-important question of the locus of direct deposit:
The crucial question (for both policy and practice) is whether direct deposit is to be divergent and competitive (as it is now, being sometimes institutional and sometimes central) or convergent and synergistic (as it can and ought to be), by systematically mandating convergent institutional deposit, mutually reinforced by both institutional and funder mandates, followed by central harvesting -- rather than divergent, competing mandates requiring deposits willy-nilly, resulting in confusion, understandable resistance to divergent or double deposit, and, most important, the failure to capitalize on funder mandates so as to reinforce institutional mandates.
Institutions, after all, are the producers of all refereed research output, in all subjects, and whether funded or unfunded. Get all those institutions to provide OA to all their own refereed research output, and you have 100% OA (and all the central harvests from it that you like).
As it stands, however, funder and institutional mandates are pulling researchers needlessly in divergent directions. And (many) funder mandates in particular, instead of adding their full weight behind the drive to get all refereed research to be made OA, are thinking, parochially, only of their own funded fiefdom, by arbitrarily insisting on direct deposit in central repositories that could easily harvest instead from the institutional repositories, if convergent institutional deposit were mandated by all -- with the bonus that all research, and all institutions, would be targeted by all mandates.
It is not too late to fix this. It is still early days. There is no need to take the status quo for granted, especially given that most repositories are still empty.
I hope the reply will not be the usual (1) "What about researchers whose institutions still don't have IRs?": Let those author's deposit provisionally in DEPOT for now, from which they can be automatically exported to their IRs as soon as they are created, using the SWORD protocol. With all mandates converging systematically on IRs, you can be sure that this will greatly facilitate and accelerate both IR creation and IR deposit mandate adoption. But with just unfocussed attempts to accommodate to the recent, random, and unreflecting status quo, all that is guaranteed is to perpetuate it.
Nor is the right reply (2) "Since all repositories, institutional and subject/funder, are OAI-interoperable, it doesn't matter where authors deposit!" Yes, they are interoperable, and yes, it would not matter where authors deposited -- if they were indeed all depositing in one or the other. But most authors are not depositing, and that is the point. Moreover, most institutions are not mandating deposit at all yet and that is the other point. Funder mandates can help induce institutions -- the universal research providers -- to create IRs and to adopt institutional deposit mandates if the funder mandates are convergent on IR deposit. But funder mandates have the opposite effect if they instead insist on central deposit. So the fact that both types of repository are interoperable is beside the point.
Une puce à l'oreille (not to be confused with a gadfly),
The Immediate-Deposit/Optional Access (ID/OA) Mandate: Rationale and Model
Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates: What? Where? When? Why? How?
How To Integrate University and Funder Open Access Mandates
Ian Stuart (IS) and Charles Oppenheim (CO) added, in JISC-REPOSITORIES:
IS: "Is [it] strictly true [that 'Institutions, after all, are the producers of all refereed research output, in all subjects, and whether funded or unfunded.']? My understanding was that, particularly on the social sciences arena, a number of academics continue to write & publish, even though they have retired. No? (another example of research output that requires the like of the Depot for an OA deposit service...)"Yes, both "problems" are trivially easily solved, and neither is an exception to the fact that both institutional and funder deposit mandates need to be systematically convergent -- on institutional repository (IR) deposit -- rather than arbitrarily divergent (on willy-nilly institutional and funder/subject repository deposit):
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, November 29. 2008
SUMMARY: A publisher that has a Green policy on OA self-archiving (by the author) is removing the single biggest obstacle to Green OA (hence to OA), as well as to Green OA Mandates by authors' institutions and funders, namely, the author's worry that to self-archive would be to violate copyright and/or to risk not being published by his journal of choice. No one is asking non-OA publishers to support OA -- just not to oppose it. What will ensure that not only a small fraction of authors but all authors provide Green OA is Green OA mandates. Green OA mandates are facilitated by publishers with Green policies on OA self-archiving. That does not, however, require that publishers agree to allow 3rd parties to download their proprietary files automatically (simply because authors themselves cannot be bothered to do the requisite keystrokes), for that would be tantamount to asking publishers to become Gold OA publishers.
On 26 November 2008, Colin Smith [CS], Research Repository Manager of the Open University's Open Research Online (ORO), sent the following posting to UKCORR-DISCUSSION (which I reposted on the American Scientist Open Access Forum):
CS: "A short while ago I mentioned on this list that Elsevier are producing PDFs of the final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript and publishing them online as part of their 'Articles in Press' system (see attached example). The 'Accepted Manuscript' will stay online until the 'Uncorrected Proof' replaces it.Elsevier's Senior Vice President Karen Hunter [KH] followed up with this clarification:
I [SH] , in turn, followed up with this AmSci posting:KH: "As much as Elsevier appreciates praise for its policies, we also want to prevent misunderstanding.
SH: Karen Hunter's response is very fair, and Elsevier's policy on author self-archiving is both very fair and very progressive -- indeed a model for all Publishers that wish to adopt a Green OA policy.Mike Eisen [MBE], of Public Library of Science, then responded on AmSci. His response is excerpted here and interwoven with my replies:
MBE: "...I will proudly claim the mantle of an OA extremist if it means calling [them] on Elsevier's policy. I am very happy to see Karen Hunter's message, because it confirms what I and many others have been saying for years - that Elsevier only supports Green OA publishing because they know it will be adopted by a small fraction of their authors."
SH: (1) There is no Green OA publishing, there is only Green OA self-archiving (by the author).
MBE: "What more evidence do you need that Elsevier is not actually committed to OA than this explicit statement that they prohibit the clearest and easiest path towards achieving Green OA to their published articles?"
SH: The clearest and easiest path to achieving Green OA to all published articles is for their authors to deposit them in their institutional repositories and for their institutions and funders to mandate that they deposit them in their institutional repositories. It is not Elsevier that is holding up that process. It is authors, in failing to self-archive of their own accord, and their institutions and funders, in failing to mandate that they self-archive.
MBE: "Why should Elsevier care whether authors download the articles themselves or if someone else does it for them other than the expectation that in the former case, the practical obstacles will prevent most authors from doing so."
SH: Because construing a Green Light for authors to self-archive as a Green Light for 3rd-party "self"-archiving, and 3rd-party archives would be a carte blanche to 3rd-party rival publishers to free-ride on Elsevier content.
MBE: "Unless and until Elsevier radically restructures its business model for scientific publishing, they will only permit Green OA so long as it is largely unsuccessful - the moment it becomes possible to get most Elsevier articles in IRs they will have to end this practice, as their current policy against IR downloads makes abundantly clear."
SH: On this point, Mike, I am afraid we will have to continue to disagree, profoundly. You are an advocate of a direct transition to Gold OA publishing; I am not, because I see so clearly that universal Green OA is within reach, awaiting only universal Green OA mandates by authors' institutions and funders. Those universal Green OA mandates by authors' institutions and funders (which Elsevier's Green policy greatly facilitates) -- along with time itself -- make it increasingly difficult for publishers even to contemplate back-tracking on their Green policies.The discussion reached closure with Colin Smith's reply to Karen Hunter:
CS: "Karen, I very much appreciate you pointing out that my posting could have been interpreted as a rallying call to IR Managers and Administrators to systematically download Elsevier items on behalf of authors. This is not what I meant - my apologies.Elsevier Still Solidly on the Side of the Angels on Open Access
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Tuesday, November 18. 2008
"The standard EPrints public demo repository has been supporting SWORD for some time now..."
-- Leslie Carr
So henceforth "I've already done the keystrokes once" is no longer an excuse for not depositing all your research article output in your Institutional Repository (nor an impediment to adopting an institutional Green OA mandate!
Monday, November 3. 2008
Les Carr has posted a call:
Looking for Evidence of Researcher Engagement with Repositoriesand the redoubtable Alma Swan has, as always, responded with data, posting:"a collection of success stories - anecdotes of how repositories have been able to improve the lot of researchers - for appealing to institutional repository nay-sayers and open access agnostics"
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