Wednesday, December 31. 2008
An invaluable friend to Open Access, University of Southampton's Professor Wendy Hall, as Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science from 2002 to 2007, not only presided over the adoption and implementation of the world's first Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate, but she quietly went on to help get Green (ID/OA) Mandates adopted at the European level, as a founding member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council as well as President of the British Computer Society (BCS) and member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology. It is no small thanks to Wendy's support that the UK in particular and Europe in general are leading the world in its inexorable progress toward the optimal and inevitable outcome for scientific and scholarly research, at long last.
And this is but one part of what Wendy has done for computer science, and science in general. (Dame Wendy was, among other things, the inventor of Microcosm, a harbinger of the Semantic Web, whose inventor -- an obscure courtly figure by the name of Sir Tim Berners-Lee -- has since likewise become one of Wendy's Southampton departmental colleagues.)
Let us all celebrate her latest honour.
Monday, December 29. 2008
(1) Two Kinds of OA: Gratis and Libre: There are two kinds of Open Access (OA) -- "gratis" (free online access) and "libre" (free online access plus certain re-use rights) -- but Gideon Burton seems to be writing about OA as if there were only one kind ("libre"). (See: "Open Access: 'Gratis' and 'Libre'")
The gratis/libre distinction matters a lot, because it is critical to the strategy for successfully achieving OA (of either kind) at all. There is still very little OA today, but most of what OA there is is gratis, not libre. The fastest and surest way to achieve 100% OA is for universities and funders to mandate OA, and they are at last beginning to do so. But universities and funders can (and hence should) only mandate gratis OA, not libre OA. All peer-reviewed journal article authors are "give-away authors": They want their work to be freely accessible online. But most do not want their texts themselves (as opposed to just their findings) to be re-used and re-mixed as if they were data, software, or disney cartoons. Author-sanctioned re-use rights can come after we have reached 100% gratis OA; needlessly insisting on them pre-emptively only hampers progress toward reaching 100% OA itself. (See: "The Giveaway/NonGiveaway Distinction")".
(2) Two Ways to Reach 100% OA: The Golden Road and the Green Road: There are two roads to 100% OA, the "golden road" of authors publishing in OA journals and the "green road" of authors publishing in conventional journals but also self-archiving their articles in their own Institutional Repositories (IRs) to make them OA. (See: "OA Publishing is OA, but OA is Not OA Publishing").
The green/gold distinction matters even more than the gratis/libre distinction, because Green OA can be mandated by universities and funders, whereas gold OA cannot. Moreover, most journals already have a green (63%) or pale-green (32%) policy on author OA self-archiving, whereas only about 15% of journals are gold OA journals, and the rest cannot be mandated by universities and funders to convert. Universal green OA self-archiving mandates may eventually induce publishers to convert to gold, but they cannot do so if we do not first adopt the green mandates. "Gold Fever" -- treating OA as if it just meant gold OA -- is the single most common error made by commentators on OA (whether proponents or opponents). (See: "Please Don't Conflate Green and Gold OA").
(3) Two Ways Not to Try to Mandate OA: Too Strong and Too Weak: Gideon Burton is a proponent of a green OA mandate at his own university (Brigham Young University, BYU), and this is very timely, valuable, and welcome. But in advocating the Harvard mandate model -- which is not just a mandate to provide green, gratis OA by depositing articles in the institutional repository, but a requirement for authors to successfully negotiate with their publishers the retention of certain re-use rights -- Gideon is advocating a mandate that is both stronger and weaker than necessary. Not only does such a nonoptimal mandate model make it less likely that a consensus will be successfully reached on adopting an OA mandate at all (has BYU adopted this OA mandate?) but it also makes full author compliance uncertain even if a consensus on adoption is successfully achieved. (See: "Which Green OA Mandate Is Optimal?")
The reason the Harvard mandate model is too strong is that it requires more than just self-archiving in the university's IR: It requires successful rights renegotiation by each author, with each publisher. But since only Harvard authors are subject to the mandate, and not their publishers, the successful outcome of such a negotiation cannot be guaranteed. So the Harvard mandate allows authors to opt out -- which in turn weakens it into something less than a mandate, as authors need not comply. The mandate is too strong, in that it demands more than necessary, which in turn makes it necessary to allow opt-out, weakening it more than necessary. And the mandate is also needlesly weak in that it fails to require immediate deposit, without opt-out, irrespective of the success or failure of rights renegotiations. On the Harvard model, if any author elects to opt out of rights renegotiation, he need not deposit at all.
And yet a mandate to deposit the author's final, peer-reviewed draft, immediately upon acceptance for publication, regardless of whether rights have or have not been successfully renegotiated, can provide immediate OA to at least 63% of deposits (as noted above, because 63% of journals are already green on author OA self-archiving) and immediate "Almost-OA" for the remaining 37% (thanks to the IR's semi-automatic "email eprint request" Button, whereby any user webwide who reaches any deposit to which access is closed rather than open -- because the publisher has vetoed or embargoed OA to the deposit -- can, with just one click, request a single copy for personal research use, and the author can in turn, likewise with just one click, authorize the immediate automatic emailing of that single copy to the requester by the IR software).
"Almost OA" can tide over research usage needs during any publisher embargo period -- but only if immediate deposit is mandated, without opt-out. The Harvard model does not mandate immediate deposit, without opt-out. Most Harvard authors may have the clout and the gumption to successfully negotiate rights retention anyway, but it is far from clear that all, most or even many authors at other universities worldwide would have Harvard-authors' clout or gumption. So not only are many likely to opt out of such an opt-out mandate, but they and their institutions are hence far less likely to opt for adopting such a needlessly strong (and weak) mandate in the first place.
So I suggest that BYU (and all other universities -- and funders too) opt for the optimal green gratis OA mandate -- Immediate Deposit (without Opt-Out) plus Optional Access-Setting (as OA or Closed Access plus the "Almost-OA" Button). (I call this mandate the IDOA mandate and Peter Suber calls it the DDR (Dual Deposit Release) mandate.) If a stronger mandate can successfully achieve consensus on adoption, then by all means adopt that! But on no account delay or imperil achieving successful consensus on adopting a mandate at all, by insisting on a needlessly stronger mandate -- and on no account needlessly weaken the mandate by allowing opt-out from deposit itself. The devil is indeed in these seemingly minor details. (See: "Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates: What? Where? When? Why? How?")
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Monday, December 15. 2008
Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services (NORWAY* institutional-mandate)
Institution's OA Eprint Archives
Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services (Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter for helsetjenesten, NoKC) adopted an Institutional Policy for Open Access to Scientific Publications, November 25, 2008.[From Peter Suber's Open Access News]
Wednesday, December 10. 2008
Richard Stallman (at the Free Sofware Free Society Conference today in Kerala, India) seems to have come to the mistaken conclusion (from my own talk, presumably) that I am somehow against Free Software!
"Open Access, Free/Open Software, Open Data, Creative Commons and Wikipedia: Commonalities and Distinctions"
(Powerpoints) But Richard (whom I admire very much) doesn't seem to understand that what I am actually trying to do, for concrete, pragmatic, strategic reasons, is to very explicitly distinguish the special case of ("gratis" Green) OA from the other 4 "open" cases (free/open software, open data, creative commons licensing, and wikipedia) that resemble OA in some respects, but only partially. The purpose of highlighting this distinction is so that we can at long last reach universal Green (gratis) OA. Universal Green OA will then in turn help strengthen and accelerate reaching the goals of the other 4 "open" movements. Conflating all 5 goals today will not.
The reason Richard does not seem to grasp or accept this is also related to the reason he is so effective where he is indeed effective: He is on an ethical crusade (an ethical crusade in which he is just as right as if he were crusading for providing free health care for all, the curing of all diseases, the feeding of all the hungry, the remedying of all injustices). But ethical rectitude in principle is alas insufficient to elicit ethical practice, or at least not on a scale that is anywhere near universal: To achieve that, you sometimes have to appeal to self-interest too, at least initially.
For OA, it is simply hopeless to try to get all or even most creators of digital content to provide OA to their creations today if they do not even want to make them freely available. They all ought to want to, perhaps; but telling them they ought to want to (or that it is more ethical to want to), and why, is not enough.
That is why it is essential to have a practical strategy that is aimed explicitly at that special subset of creators which, without exception, already want to give away their creations (because it already happens to be in their own interest to do so). Those are the authors of the 2.5 million annual articles that are the target of OA and of Green OA mandates: OA's target content. They publish their research only for the sake of uptake, usage, application and impact, not for revenues or fees. That simply cannot be said of the authors of most software (or other kinds of digital content) today.
What I was trying to explain at FSFS was just that this special case (of calling on authors to provide OA to their refereed research articles) has to be distinguished from the general case of calling on all authors of all kinds of digital content (whether it be books, data, software, music, movies, or "knowledge") to make their content free or open.
And the reason is that OA's target content all consists of exception-free creator give-aways already: No ethical case for openness or give-away needs to be made in the special case of OA's target content, because its authors already give it all away. Moreover, although most of them won't go on to do so of their own accord (because they are too busy and/or worried about copyright), most of those authors, when surveyed, state that they would go on to make their give-away articles OA too, willingly, if their institutions or funders were to mandate it: And the evidence is that, when it is indeed mandated, these authors do indeed comply and do it.
So mandates work for author-give-away content. Authors say they will make it OA, willingly, and the actual mandate adoptions confirm that authors do as they said they would do.
There is no reason, however, to expect mandates to work for non-give-away content, today. Authors certainly have not said they would willingly make their non-give-away products (books, software, music, video, data) OA if it were so mandated; nor are there any mandates that test whether they would comply, willingly or unwillingly.
It is not even thinkable today to try to mandate providing OA to content for which its creators not only don't provide OA spontaneously of their own accord, but don't want to provide OA, because they don't want to give it away in the first place (hoping instead to make money from it).
OA mandates have already been sluggish enough so far in just reaching consensus on adoption for just give-away content. What they need is to provide much better and clearer information for authors, their institutions and their public funders on what OA and OA mandates really entail -- and what benefits they bring for authors, their research, their institutions, and the public that funds them -- rather than an unrealistic and confusing raising of the existing hurdles to reaching consensus on mandate adoption by conflating giveaway content with content that its creators do not (yet) even wish to give away, and for which a credible case based on self-interest cannot yet be made.
Having said that, I of course agree completely with Richard Stallman that if software authors are publicly funded for developing their code, the funder can and should mandate that it be made FS/OS! That is a special case in which OA and FS/OS have far more in common than they do in general. But relative to all the software being written today, the portion that is being developed with public funding is, I suspect, quite small (which is not to say that it should not be mandated to make that portion FS/OS!)
Apercus of WOS Meeting: Making Ends Meet in the Creative Commons
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Tuesday, December 9. 2008
Napier University (UK* institutional-mandate)
Institution's/Department's OA Eprint Archives
Institution's/Department's OA Self-Archiving Policy
"The mandate will be enforced from Jan2009...
"Material which represents the total publicly available research and scholarly output of the University is to be located and deposited as fulltext in the digital “Repository@Napier”. It is University policy to maximise the visibility, usage and impact of its research output by enabling central online access to that corpus of work for all potential users and for researchers throughout the world...
"All research output is to be self-deposited, so that the repository forms the official record of the University’s research publications; all publication lists required for administration or promotion will be generated from this source...
"The comprehensive, online, University repository will be used in future to respond to bibliometric research assessments with reduced input and effort from staff...
"Journal articles or conference papers may be submitted as accepted drafts not yet refereed (preprints) but it is mandatory that the refereed, final, submitted, accepted, version (postprint) is later entered into the repository as the last university owned version of the document...
"Staff are not required to deposit the full text of books or research monographs, but are required to supply references along with abstracts and metadata to identify the works...
"Uploading of items in the Repository@Napier is the responsibility of authors and researchers, as advised and supported by Learning Information Services (LIS)....
"It is University policy that each depositor should be required to make the minimum effort in order to provide open online access to their research output, so the “Repository@Napier” is designed to enable uploading of documents and entry of minimal extra data...
"Initially, the repository manager or a designated assistant will upload files sent to a designated email address, but depositors will be encouraged to make their own deposits and information on the process will be made available by LIS....
Sunday, December 7. 2008
The following are replies to some queries I received about Elsevier's Authors' Rights Policy on Green OA Self-Archiving:
Q: "The Elsevier Authors' Rights policy states that authors may...'Post a personal manuscript version of the article on the author's personal or institutional website or server... This means an author can update a personal manuscript version (e.g., in Word or TeX format) of the article to reflect changes made during the peer-review process. Note [that] such posting may not be for commercial purposes... and may not be to any external, third-party website.'"Does this not exclude posting to a repository? And if so, can Elsevier still qualify for Green status given such a restriction?"The Green OA author-rights policy of Elsevier (and of many other Green publishers) explicitly excludes posting to a 3rd-party repository (in order to avoid sanctioning free-riding from rival publishers). The author's own institutional repository, in contrast, is of course simply an institutional website/server.
And that is just fine for OA -- in fact, better than fine, for the following reasons:
All Open Access repositories -- whether institutional or institution-external -- are interoperable, because they comply with the OAI metadata harvesting protocol. So if you deposit your full-text in any one of them, it is functionally as if you had deposited it in any or all of them, because central harvesters (such as OAIster and Elsevier's own Scirus) can and do harvest the metadata from all those repositories, and then provide a search interface that collects the links to all the distributed repository contents into one searchable global OA repository (or several, by subject, or nation, or funder, or what-have-you) -- just as Google and Google Scholar likewise do.
So not only does Elsevier's Green author-self-archiving policy acknowledge the right of every single Elsevier author to make (the author's refereed final draft of) every single one of his Elsevier articles OA, but it helps correct an extremely counterproductive and ill-thought-out -- though well-intentioned -- bug in many of the current OA self-archiving funder-mandates, in which direct central deposit (in PubMed Central) is mandated, needlesly, instead of direct institutional deposit (which can be followed by central metadata-harvesting or automatic SWORD-based export to PubMed Central).
It is quite natural to ask: "If all repositories are interoperable, what difference does it make whether mandates specify central self-archiving or institutional self-archiving?"
To understand the reply, one must first clearly apprehend that:
As all research originates from a university or other research institution, institutions are the universal providers of all refereed research output. Hence, to systematically ensure that all refereed research -- from all institutions, in all fields, whether funded or unfunded -- is self-archived, it is essential that all self-archiving mandates -- whether from institutions of funders -- be convergent and mutually reinforcing, rather than divergent and competitive.-- not all research is in one field
In other words, both funders and institutions need to mandate self-archiving in the author's own institutional repository. That way funder and institutional mandates reinforce one another: For example, NIH's mandate, which technically applies only to NIH-funded biomedical research, would vastly increase its scope if it stipulated institutional deposit; that would immediately extend the reach of the NIH mandate to all institutions receiving NIH funding, thereby encouraging each of them to adopt institutional mandates of their own to cover all their research output, and not just the NIH-funded subset. And it would of course also encourage universities to create institutional repositories, if they have not done so already. (Institutions -- already quite obsessively involved in preparing and vetting their research grant proposals, are also the natural ones to monitor and ensure compliance with the funder's deposit mandate as part of the grant's fulfillment conditions, and especially if they have a institutional deposit mandate of their own. And again, one convergent deposit and locus -- institutional -- is enough for an author; the rest can be handled by automatic harvesting or exportation.)
Nothing whatsoever is lost with convergent mandates: NIH can still harvest all of its funded research into PubMed Central; so can any other harvesters, into their own collections. (And import/export can also be done automatically, via the SWORD protocol.) There is absolutely no need for -- and many reasons against -- authors depositing directly in PubMed Central or any other central collection: Not only does that fail to encourage and reinforce the adoption of institutional mandates for all the rest of each institution's (non-NIH) research output, but, apart from creating needless confusion and ambiguity about locus of deposit, it even puts authors at (perceived) risk of having to do multiple deposits in order to fulfill both funder and institutional mandates. (Here too, the risk is perceived rather than real, because the SWORD protocol can of course transfer contents in both directions, whereas the real problem is inducing the adoption of mandates from both funders and institutions, and particularly from the universal providers, the institutions: It is precisely there that collaborative, convergent mandates from funders are a great help whereas divergent, competitive mandates are a gratuitous hindrance.)
So some of the funder mandates to date, welcome though they were and are, have failed to think things through (and failed to fully understand IRs, and OAI-interoperability and OA itself) in needlessly mandating direct central deposit. (That's rather like requiring providers to deposit directly in google, instead of depositing on their own distributed websites, from which google can then harvest.)
This inadvertent error can and will still be corrected, of course, but the correction needs to happen sooner rather than later, because meanwhile divergent funder mandates are slowing the growth of the potential institutional mandates that represent the real lion's share of global research output across all disciplines (and research access and impact continues to be needlessly lost).
NIH has so far been unresponsive about reconsidering its unnecessary and counterproductive requirement to deposit directly in PubMed Central (and a number of CopyCat funders elsewhere have been simply aping NIH, equally unreflectively). The work of those who are trying to create a systematic synergy that will result in the rapid global growth of OA mandates by the sleeping giant (the world's universities and research institutions), is thereby made more difficult than necessary -- but here, Green publishers' restrictions on depositing in 3rd-party central repositories may prove to be a serendipitous aid in converging on convergent deposit mandates and practices.
Q: "Having made the case for Immediate Deposit/Optional Access-setting (ID/OA), it's not clear how you can be so complacent about the Optional Access-setting part. Surely in order to achieve the goal of genuine open access, articles must not only be deposited immediately, but also made freely available. Now clearly, the weaker the mandate, the more likely is its adoption; this is a matter of tactics. But what if all institutions adopt ID/OA, but then do not Open Access on the deposits? Has anything been gained? (Perhaps you’d reply yes, because one has to win the first battle before being free to fight the second?)"(1) I am not at all worried about the (37% of) articles that might, under the ID/OA mandate, be deposited as Closed Access (hence not OA but only "Almost-OA," thanks to the repositories' semi-automatic, almost-instantaneous, "email eprint request" button). I have been at this for over a decade and a half now, and for that decade and a half, we have not had the at-least 63% OA plus 37% Almost-OA that we could have had, if we had adopted ID/OA mandates. Instead, all we had is what we have now: the <15% of all articles that are being self-archived spontaneously (unmandated), plus the even smaller percentage of all articles that are being published in Gold OA journals.
(2) So I am unworried about universal ID/OA mandates, but definitely not unworried about continuing to do without them, just waiting instead in the hope that (a) either spontaneous self-archiving will somehow increase to 100% on its own, without the need of any mandate at all, (b) or that agreement on even stronger OA mandates will somehow be reached, or (c) that all publishers will somehow agree to convert to Gold OA publishing!
(3) Just continuing to advocate and wait for (a) or (c) is, I hope all will agree, not a sensible strategy after all these years.
(4) As for stronger mandates, consider the options: In place of the ID/OA (Immediate Deposit, Optional Access-setting) mandate -- which immediately guarantees at least 63% OA plus 37% Almost-OA, moots all objections on copyright grounds, and does not put the author's choice of journal at risk by requiring individual licensing negotiations by the would-be author with the publisher -- we have the following alternative candidates:
(4a) There is the stronger Immediate Deposit/Immediate Access (ID/IA) mandate. But how can such a mandate manage to reach consensus on adoption as long as 37% of journals don't endorse immediate OA self-archiving? (Invariably this has meant having to allow an author opt-out for such cases, in which case the policy is no longer a mandate at all -- hence weaker than ID/OA. Not one of the existing 58 mandates is ID/IA.)It is because of this logic and these pragmatics that ID/OA is the default baseline mandate: Anything weaker than ID/OA is gratuitously weaker than necessary (and generates less OA than ID/OA). Anything stronger (such as ID/IA without opt-out, or mandatory licensing without opt-out) is more than welcome, if an institution can successfully reach consensus and compliance -- but no institution (or funder) has yet managed that, hence holding out for an over-strong mandate leads to the adoption of no mandate at all.
The most common mandates are DD/DA, with and without embargo caps, but those are all weaker than ID/OA, and hence should be upgraded to at least ID/DA, whether with or without an embargo cap.
Licensing mandates are rarer, but as they have opt-outs, they too are weaker than ID/OA. Again, however, they can easily be upgraded to add ID/OA (without opt-out) alongside the "mandatory" licensing (with opt-out), and then they are fine.
So the reason we can all be relaxed and satisfied with ID/OA is that it is the default baseline for all OA mandates. Where a stronger one can be agreed, it should of course be adopted. And it makes no sense to arbitrarily adopt a still weaker mandate -- DD/DA or author-licensing with opt-out -- since upgrading either of those to ID/OA is free of objections, either in institutional copyright worries or in author worries about journal choice. But on no account should no mandate at all be adopted, in favor of an unending quest for a mandate stronger than ID/OA: Adopt ID/OA now, and then try to agree on a stronger upgrade thereafter (and meanwhile, designate deposit as the sole means of submitting refereed publications for performance evaluation).
(Note that I did not list a universal conversion to Gold OA publishing on the part of publishers as being among the mandate options, because, on the one hand, institutions and funders can only impose mandates on their own employees and fundees; not on publishers. And, on the other hand, continuing to sit around trying to persuade publishers to convert to Gold OA of their own accord is likely to extend our waiting time even closer to the time of the heat death of the universe than continuing to sit around trying to reach agreement on stronger mandates, instead of just going ahead and adopting ID/OA right now.)
Q: "How do you know that the university servers/websites in which Elsevier allow authors will be OAI compliant?"Because just about all Institutional Repositories today are OAI-compliant! OAI-interoperability was part of the rationale for the institutional repository movement -- a movement that was itself set in motion by the OA movement (in 2000) but has alas since moved off in other directions of its own (often vague and aimless ones, not carefully thought through in advance).
Q: "Why do you think Elsevier has adopted a Green policy on self-archiving?"I cannot second-guess the motivation. Elsevier is a commercial company. Unlike (some) Learned Society and University publishers, its primary allegiance is not to science but to the bottom line.
My guess is that Elsevier realized that OA is inevitable, and unstoppable. So they have settled on just trying to slow it down, if possible. At first, I think Elsevier's Green policy on author self-archiving was based on three calculations: (1) that a Green policy on author self-archiving might quiet the growing clamour for OA, perhaps even (2) reducing the widespread hostility against Elsevier for their aggressive pricing policies, while (3) not many individual authors would be likely to actually go ahead and self-archive. If this was indeed Elsevier's reasoning, then they were right on all three counts.
But what Elsevier did not reckon on was the emergence and growth of the movement for institutional and funder self-archiving mandates. (While it was adopting a Green Policy on author self-archiving, in order to satisfy the author demand for OA, Elsevier was also lobbying -- vigorously, but in the end unsuccessfully -- against Green OA self-archiving mandates. (Elsevier, along with the American Chemical Society [the non-Green publisher giving Learned Societies such a bad name] had been among the prime supporters of the notorious "prism"/pitbull anti-OA coalition that backfired so badly when exposed in Nature.] So I am quite ready to forgive and forget Elsevier's failed attempt to lobby against Green OA self-archiving mandates; their Green policy on author self-archiving (though it too was not necessary for Green OA to prevail in the end) has nevertheless been more helpful than the lobbying has been harmful, and historians will make due note of that.
Finally, before anyone asks (again), my own view of the way things will go in the future for publishing (about which I no longer speculate publicly, because speculation and counterspeculation on this question has been for far too long yet another distraction from practical action toward providing immediate Green OA) is described here, here, and here. Speculations aside, all empirical evidence to date has been that conventional subscription-based publishing and Green OA self-archiving can co-exist peacefully, even in fields where Green OA self-archiving has already reached 100% years ago.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Wednesday, December 3. 2008
On 2-Dec-08, at 7:08 AM, Leo Waaijers [LW] wrote (in SPARC-OAForum):
LW: "this is about a comparison between a ‘mandate to self-archive’ and the usage of a ‘licence to publish’."For comparability, it needs to be a comparison between a 'mandate to self-archive' and a 'mandate to successfully adopt a license to publish'. Neither self-archiving nor licensing is being done spontaneously by authors, hence we are talking about mandates in both cases, and the question is (1) for which mandate is it more likely that consensus on adoption will be achieved at all, and (2) what is the likelihood of compliance, if mandated?
Moreover, both questions have to be considered separately for (i) funder mandates and for (ii) institutional mandates, as funders and institutions have different prerogatives.
(Institutional consortia on mandates are yet another category, though at a time when consensus on adopting even individual institutional mandates is still hard to achieve, reaching successful consortial consensus on mandates is all the more difficult; the analogy with consortial consensus on subscription licensing is, I think, highly misleading: Subscription licensing consortia are based on strong shared interests on the part of institutional libraries, and no countervailing interests on the part of institutional authors; author licensing mandates, in contrast, involve the problem of authors' free choice of journals and author risk of journal nonacceptance.)
Hence the reason an author licensing mandate has a much higher consensus/compliance hurdle to surmount is that it raises the problem of authors' free choice of journals and author risk of journal nonacceptance, whereas author deposit mandates face only the inertia about doing the few extra author keystrokes required -- and both surveys and outcome studies on actual practice show that most authors will comply with a deposit mandate, willingly.
LW: "Both tools only apply to the domain of toll-gated publishing where they try to improve the accessibility of publications. It is the copyright owner who decides about the conditions of access and reuse and the toll-gated domain is characterized by many access limitations and conditions that only may be lifted after payment. However, there is an important legal exception to that model; the fair use clause states that these access limitations do not apply for a personal copy."Digital documents that are made freely accessible on the web can be accessed, read on-screen, downloaded, stored, printed-off, and data-crunched by any individual user. (They can also be harvested by harvesters like google.) That is the use that access-denied researchers urgently need most today, and that is all the use that ("Gratis") OA need provide today. (Moreover, the best chance of eventually fulfilling the stronger demands of "Libre" OA, and even an eventual transition to universal Gold OA publishing, is first to mandate and provide universal Green Gratis OA.)
LW: "In the self-archiving approach the author assigns the full copyrights to a publisher and subsequently utilises the fair use clause to facilitate access to the publication. The licence to publish leaves the copyrights with the author, gives the publisher the right of first publishing and adopts an embargo period for other publishing modes."This is incorrect, I am afraid. In the self-archiving approach, the author makes the article freely accessible online, and the rest comes with the territory. As I said, this is done with the official blessing of the journal for 63% of journals, providing full OA for all those articles. For the remaining 37%, the author has the option of intially depositing them in Closed Access rather than Open Access (but depositing them immediately in nonetheless) and letting users rely on the "email eprint request" button during any publisher embargo. This is "Almost OA" -- and once immediate-deposit mandates are universally adopted, the resultant universal deposit itself will -- over and above immediately providing 63% OA + 37% almost-OA -- soon usher in 100% OA as a matter of natural course. All along, the only real hurdle has been keystrokes; hence all we really need to surmount that hurdle is universal keystroke mandates.
It makes no sense at all to keep delaying still further the certainty of immediately providing 63% OA + 37% almost-OA (by mandating immediate-deposit) -- in order to keep trying instead for a much stronger mandate (mandatory author licensing) on which a consensus for adoption is much harder to achieve (because of the problem of authors' free choice of journals and author risk of journal nonacceptance) and author compliance much more uncertain -- just because of the interim possibility of 37% almost-OA owing to publisher embargoes with an immediate-deposit mandate. Indeed, even the successful universal adoption of a "licence to publish [that] leaves the copyrights with the author, gives the publisher the right of first publishing and adopts an embargo period for other publishing modes" would leave users worse off during the embargo than universal ID/OA.
Providing 63% OA + 37% almost-OA immediately is already fully within reach and long overdue. We should not delay grasping it for one minute longer, in quest of something stronger yet not now within rich and far less certain. ID/OA, but that ID/OA is the default option, the mandate for which consensus on adoption is most easily achieved and all legal concerns are completely mooted. If success can be achieved on adopting a stronger mandate -- such as Immediate-Deposit/Immediate-OA, or Immediate-Deposit plus a 6-month cap on embargoes, or Immediate-Deposit [without Opt-Out] plus Author Licensing with Opt-Out -- then by all means adopt the stronger mandate. But on no account delay the adoption of the weaker, certain mandate that is already within immediate reach, in order to hold out for a stronger, uncertain mandate that is not!
LW: "For a fair comparison of the two tools, let’s assume that in both cases an institutional mandate applies."I am afraid that that is not at all a realistic comparison, because it simply assumes (a) that the probability of success in achieving consensus on adopting the mandate in the first place is equally probable for both mandates, the weaker and the stronger one, and that (b) compliance is equally probable in both cases, weaker and stronger. Neither of these assumptions is correct because of the problem of authors' free choice of journals and author risk of journal nonacceptance. Neither handicap is shared by the weakest, easiest and surest ID/OA mandate, which is only about keystrokes, and already fully within all institutions' immediate rich.
LW: "When it comes to mandating self-archiving, the only party involved is the author. That makes such a mandate relatively easy of course. But it also has a high price. Open Access remains to the publisher’s discretion."The weakest mandate is always relatively the "easiest" (to agree on, adopt, and comply with) but it is also infinitely preferable to no mandate at all, with continued delay and debate, instead, about stronger mandates. Let the weaker mandates be adopted universally, now, and then let's debate about strengthening them!
What the ID/OA guarantees, immediately, is 63% OA + 37% almost-OA. Every day we keep delaying and speculating about stronger mandates, less certain of consensus and compliance, we are simply losing yet another day of 63% OA + 37% almost-OA, needlessly, after already having allowed years and years of needless delay, and needlessly lost research access, progress and impact.
LW: "Currently that’s a complete mess. Publishers’ policies vary widely when it comes to permitting access to different versions (pre-print, post-print, pdf) for different uses (author’s web site, institutional window, educational usage, commercial usage) after different embargo periods. In the meantime for personal copies an end user may use the request button in the same way as she uses the SFX button of her library. (Why not combine the two buttons?). Under the circumstances the request button is a smart invention. Kudos for you!"(1) The variation in publisher policy is completely described and covered by 63% OA + 37% almost-OA for OA's target content: the peer-reviewed postprint. (For the preprint, the figure is even higher; and the publisher's proprietary PDF is completely irrelevant.)
(2) The SFX button is largely for licensed (i.e., toll-gated) content for institution-internal users. The "email eprint request" ("Almost-OA") Button, in contrast, is for all IR-deposited content, worldwide, for any user. There is a world of difference there (and again, the institutional-library subscription-licensing perspective is profoundly misleading, just as it is with the analogy of multi-institution subscription-licensing consortia.)
Nevertheless, yes, it would be fine to add to SFX all links to Closed Access IR deposits and their "email eprint request" buttons (if Ex Libris is interested). The objective, after all, is to interlink all citations. But to make the exercise worthwhile, we must first mandate deposit...
LW: "When an institution considers mandating the usage of the licence to publish they should involve the publishers as well. It would be unfair just to issue such a mandate and leave the authors to the mercy of the publishers."(a) Institutions' employees, and funders' fundees can be mandated, but publishers cannot: They are not within employers' and funders remits.
(b) A big funding agency like NIH might be in a position to summon publishers to the table, and to apply their clout for the research they fund, but individual universities certainly cannot.
(c) Institutional library consortia have clout on subscription licensing agreements, but author licensing is another matter, and involves another party: authors.
(d) Meanwhile, authors would indeed be left "to the mercy of their publishers" (because of the problem of authors' free choice of journals and author risk of journal nonacceptance) if individual institutions adopted the stronger author licensing mandates without prior successful consortial negotiations.
(e) So let's go ahead and adopt the weaker ID/OA mandate that is already within universal reach, at no risk to the author; and let's pursue stronger mandates thereafter, rather than needlessly continuing to delay OA still longer, this late in the day, in order to keep holding out for a possible future stronger-mandate.
LW: "It’s my guess that negotiations with publishers may not be prospectless. A common interest, not only for authors and their institutions but also for (some) publishers is to raise their social and academic profile and clear the operational situation. In order to have a stronger position institutions should combine their efforts in (national) consortiums. By the way, I allready know of several occasions where a publisher (including Elsevier and even Wiley) has published articles without the copyrights being transferred to them."(i) It is not at all evident that the interests in and benefits from OA to authors, institutions and funders are matched by corresponding interests and benefits to publishers!
(ii) Yes, by all means, if such consortial negotiations are "not prospectless," pursue them: But not at the price of failing to grasp what is already immediately within reach, which is individual institutional (and funder) Green OA self-archiving mandates.
(iii) (The occasional individual exception to copyright transfer that has been accommodated for decades by publishers is not the same as a blanket acceptance of universal copyright retention.)
LW: "To conclude. Indeed, in the toll gated domain I prefer mandating the usage of the licence to publish over mandating of self-archiving. The first option involves a higher commitment of the institutions which makes it tougher of course. But the operational result is much clearer and better sustainable."It is fine to prefer to have a stronger benefit rather than a weaker one if both are within reach and you have a choice; but it is certainly not fine to fail to grasp a weaker benefit that is already fully within reach in order to keep holding out for a stronger but much less certain benefit that is not yet within reach -- especially when they are not mutually exclusive: Weaker will lead to Stronger.
Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.
LW: "Thanks for your reply. You have a point that there are 58 self-archiving mandates and no licence-to-publish mandates so far. I will allow for that in the future."
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Monday, December 1. 2008
In Ariadne 57, October 2008, Leo Waaijers has written an article on "What Institutions Can Do to Ease Open Access."
Since Open Access (OA) itself needs no "easing," I assume that what Leo meant was something more like: "What Institutions Can Do to Facilitate a Transition to Open Access."
In his article, Leo made three recommendations, which I discuss in an exchange below:
On 1-Dec-08 Leo Waaijers wrote in SPARC-OAForum:
LW:Leo, you are quite right that in order to induce authors to provide Green OA, their institutions and funders must be induced to mandate that they provide Green OA, as far too few authors will otherwise do the few requisite keystrokes. Authors can be mandated by their institutions and funders to do the keystrokes, but institutions and funders cannot be mandated to mandate (except possibly by their governments and tax-payers) -- so how to persuade them to mandate the keystrokes?
The means that I (and others) have been using to persuade institutions and funders to mandate that their authors provide OA have been these:
(1) Benefits of Providing OA: Gather empirical evidence to demonstrate the benefits of OA to the author, institution, and funder, as well as to research progress and to tax-paying society (increased accessibility, downloads, uptake, citations, hence increased research impact, productivity, and progress, increased visibility and showcasing for institutions, richer and more valid research performance evaluation for research assessors, enhanced and more visible metrics of research impact -- and its rewards -- for authors, etc.).
(2) Means of Providing OA: Provide free software for making deposit quick, easy, reliable, functional, and cheap, for authors as well as their institutions. Provide OA metrics to monitor, measure and reward OA and OA-generated research impact.
(3) Evidence that Mandating (and Only Mandating) Works: Gather empirical data to demonstrate that (a) the vast majority of authors (> 80%) say, when surveyed, that they would deposit willingly if it were mandated by their institutions and/or funders, but that they will not deposit if it is not mandated (< 15%) (Alma Swan's surveys); and that (b) most authors (> 80%) actually do what they said in surveys they would do (deposit if it is mandated [> 80%] and not deposit if it is not mandated [< 15%] even if they are given incentives and assistance [< 30%] (Arthur Sale's Studies).
(4) Information about OA: Information and evidence about the means and the benefits of providing OA has to be widely and relentlessly provided, in conferences, publications, emails, discussion lists, and blogs. At the same time, misunderstanding and misinformation have to be unflaggingly corrected (over and over and over!)
There are already 58 institutional and funder Green OA mandates adopted and at least 11 proposed and under consideration. So these efforts are not entirely falling on deaf ears (although I agree that 58 out of perhaps 10,000 research institutions [plus funders] worldwide -- or even the top 4000 -- is still a sign of some hearing impairment! But the signs are that audition is improving...)
LW:But alas it is not agreement that we need, but mandates (and keystrokes)! And now -- not in some indeterminate future.
LW:I am one of the many admirers of your splendid efforts and successes in the Netherlands, with SURF/DARE, "Cream of Science," and much else.
But I am afraid I don't see how the three recommendations made in the Ariadne article will make mandates emerge (nor how they make mandates superfluous). On the contrary, I see the challenge of making the three recommendations prevail to be far, far greater than the challenge of getting Green OA self-archiving mandates to be adopted. Let me explain:
LW Recommendation 1: Transferring the copyright in a publication has become a relic of the past; nowadays a “licence to publish” is sufficient. The author retains the copyrights. Institutions should make the use of such a licence part of their institutional policy.Persuading authors to retain copyright is a far bigger task than just persuading them to deposit (keystrokes): It makes them worry about what happens if their publisher does not agree to copyright retention, and then their article fails to be published in their journal of choice.
Doing the c. 6-minutes-worth of keystrokes that it takes to deposit an article -- even if authors can't be bothered to do those keystrokes until/unless it is mandated -- is at least a sure thing, and that's the end of it.
In contrast, it is not at all clear how long copyright retention negotiations will take in each case, nor whether they will succeed in each case.
Moreover, just as most authors are not doing the deposit keystrokes spontaneously, but only if mandated, they are not doing the copyright retention negotiations either: Do you really think it would be easier to mandate doing copyright retention than to mandate a few keystrokes?
(Harvard has adopted a kind of a copyright-retention mandate, though it has an opt-out, so it is not clear whether it is quite a mandate -- nor is it clear how well it will succeed, either in terms of compliance or in terms of negotiation [nor whether it is even thinkable for universities with authors that have less clout with their publishers than Harvard's]. But there is a simple way to have the best of both worlds by upgrading the Harvard copyright-retention mandate with opt-out into a deposit mandate without opt-out that is certain to succeed, and generalizable to all universities -- the Harvards as well as the Have-Nots. To instead require successful copyright renegotiation as a precondition for providing OA and for mandating OA, however, would be needlessly and arbitrarily to raise the bar far higher than it need be -- and already is -- for persuading institutions and funders to mandate deposit at all: "Upgrade Harvard's Opt-Out Copyright Retention Mandate: Add a No-Opt-Out Deposit Clause.")
LW Recommendation 2: The classic impact factor for a journal is not a good yardstick for the prestige of an author. Modern digital technology makes it possible to tailor the measurement system to the author. Institutions should, when assessing scientists and scholars, switch to this type of measurement and should also promote its further development.This is certainly true, but how does using these potential new impact metrics generate OA or OA mandates, or make OA mandates superfluous? On the contrary, it is OA (and whatever successfully generates OA) that will generate these new metrics (which will, among other things, in turn serve to increase research impact, as well as making it more readily measurable and rewardable)!
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).
LW Recommendation 3: The traditional subscription model for circulating publications is needlessly complex and expensive. Switching to Open Access, however, requires co-ordination that goes beyond the level of individual institutions. Supra-institutional organisations, for example the European University Association, should take the necessary initiative.The European University Association has already taken the initiative to recommend that its 791 member universities in 46 countries should all mandate Green OA self-archiving! Now the individual universities need to be persuaded to follow that recommendation. The European Heads of Research Councils have made the same recommendation to their member research councils. (I am optimistic, because, for example, 6 of the 7 RCUK research funding councils have so far already followed the very first of these recommendations to mandate -- from the UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology.) And the 28 universities that have already adopted Green OA self-archiving mandates show that institutional mandates are at last gathering momentum too.
But if it is already considerably harder to mandate author copyright-retention than it is to mandate author self-archiving in their institutional repositories (Green OA), it is surely yet another order of magnitude harder to mandate "Switching to Open Access" from the "traditional subscription model":
If authors are likely to resist having to renegotiate copyright with their journal of choice at the risk of not getting published in their journal of choice, just in order to provide OA, they are even more likely to resist having to publish in a Gold OA journal instead of in their journal of choice, just in order to provide OA -- especially as they need do neither: They need merely self-archive.
And journal publishers are likely to resist anyone trying to dictate their economic model to them. (Moreover, publishers' economic policies are beyond the bounds of what is within the university community's mandate to mandate!)
So mandating Green OA is still the fastest, surest, and simplest way to reach universal OA. Let us hope that the "enlightened echelon" of the institutional hierarchy will now set in motion the long overdue "mandating cascade."
American Scientist Open Access Forum
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