Wednesday, February 25. 2009
In response to my critique of his Chronicle of Higher Education posting on Evans and Reimer's (2009) Science article (which I likewise critiqued, though much more mildly), I got an email from Paul Basken asking me to explain what, if anything, he had got wrong, since his posting was based entirely on a press release from NSF (which turns out to be a relay of a press release from the University of Chicago, E & R's home institution). Sure enough, the silly spin originated from the NSF/Chicago Press release (though the buck stops with E & R's own vague and somewhat tendentious description and interpretation of some of their findings). Here is the NSF/Chicago Press Release, enhanced with my comments, for your delectation and verdict:
NSF/U.CHICAGO:(1) If you offer something valuable for free, people will choose the free option unless they've already paid for the paid option (especially if they needed -- and could afford -- it earlier).
(2) Free access after an embargo of a year or more is not the same "something" as immediate free access. Its "value" for a potential user is lower. (That's one of the reasons institutions keep paying for subscription/license access to journals.)
(3) Hence it is not in the least surprising that immediate (paid) print-on-paper access + online access (IP + IO) generates more citations than immediate (paid) print-on-paper access (IP) alone.
(4) Nor is it surprising that immediate (paid) print-on-paper access + online access + delayed free online access (IP +IO + DF) generates more citations than just immediate (paid) print-on-paper + online access (IP + IO) alone -- even if the free access is provided a year or longer after the paid access.
(5) Why on earth would anyone conclude that the fact that the increase in citations from IP to IP + IO is 12% and the increase in citations from IP + IO to IP + IO + DF is a further 8% implies anything whatsoever about people's preference for paid access over free access? Especially when the free access is not even immediate (IF) but delayed (DF) and the 8% is an underestimate based on averaging in ancient articles: see E & R's supplemental Figure S1(c), right [with thanks to Mike Eisen for spotting this one!].
NSF/U.CHICAGO:What on earth is an "open source outlet"? ("Open source" is a software matter.) Let's assume what's meant is "open access"; but then is this referring to (i) publishing in an open access journal, to (ii) publishing in a subscription journal but also self-archiving the published article to make it open access, or to (iii) self-archiving an unpublished paper?
What (many) previous studies had measured (not "postulated") was that authors (ii) publishing in a subscription journal (IP + IO) and also self-archiving their published article to make it Open Access (IP + IO + OA) could more than double their citations, compared to IP + IO alone.
NSF/U.CHICAGO:No, Evans & Reimer (E & R) did nothing of the sort; and no "theory" was tested (nor was there any theory).
E & R only analyzed articles from subscription access journals before and after the journals made them accessible online (to paid subscribers only) (i.e., IP vs IP + IO) as well as before and after the journals made the online version accessible free for all (after a paid-access-only embargo of up to a year or more: i.e., IP +IO vs IP + IO + DF). E & R's methodology was based on comparing citation counts for articles within the same journals before and after being made free online (by the journal) following delays of various lengths.
NSF/U.CHICAGO:In other words, the citation count increase from just (paid) IP to (paid) IP + IO was 12% and the citation count increase from just (paid) IP + IO to (paid) IP + IO + DF was a further 8%. Not in the least surprising: Making paid-access articles accessible online increases their citations, and making them free online (even if only after a delay of a year or longer) increases their citations still more.
What is surprising is the rather absurd spin that this press release appears to be trying to put on this decidedly unsurprising finding.
NSF/U.CHICAGO:We already knew that OA increased citations, as the many prior published studies have shown. Most of those studies, however, were based on immediate OA (i.e., IF), not embargoed OA. What E & R do show, interestingly, is that even delaying OA for a year or more still increases citations, though (unsurprisingly) not as much as immediate OA (IF) does.
NSF/U.CHICAGO:A large portion of the citation increase from (delayed) OA turns out to come from Developing Countries (refuting Frandsen's recent report to the contrary). This is a new and useful finding (though hardly a surprising one, if one does the arithmetic). (A similar analysis, within the US, comparing citations from America's own "Have-Not" Universities (with the smaller journal subscription budgets) with its Harvards might well reveal the same effect closer to home, though probably at a smaller scale.)
NSF/U.CHICAGO:And it will be interesting to test for the same effect comparing the Harvards and the Have-Nots in the US -- but a more realistic estimate might come from looking at immediate OA (IF) rather than just embargoed OA (DF).
NSF/U.CHICAGO:It would be interesting to hear the authors of this NSF/Chicago press release -- or E & R, for that matter -- explain how this paradoxical "preference" for paid access over free access was tested during the access embargo period...
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Tuesday, February 24. 2009
Basken, Paul (2009) Fee-Based Journals Get Better Results, Study in Fee-Based Journal Reports. Chronicle of Higher Education February 23, 2009(Re: Paul Basken) No, the Evans & Reimer (E & R) study in Science does not show that
"researchers may find a wider audience if they make their findings available through a fee-based Web site rather than make their work freely available on the Internet."This is complete nonsense, since the "fee-based Web site" is immediately and fully accessible -- to all those who can and do pay for access in any case. (It is simply the online version of the journal; for immediate permanent access to it, an individual or institution pays a subscription or license fee.) The free version is extra: a supplement to that fee-based online version, not an alternative to it: it is provided for those would-be users who cannot afford the access-fee. In E & R's study, the free access is provided -- after an access-embargo of up to a year or more -- by the journal itself. In studies by others, the free access is provided by the author, depositing the final refereed draft of the article on his own website, free for all (usually immediately, with no prior embargo). E & R did not examine the latter form of free online access at all. (Paul Basken has confused (1) the size of the benefits of fee-based online access over fee-based print-access alone with (2) the size of the benefits of free online access over fee-based online-access alone. The fault is partly E & R's for describing their findings in such an equivocal way.)
(Re: Phil Davis) No, E & R do not show that
"the effect of OA on citations may be much smaller than originally reported."E & R show that the effect of free access on citations after an access-embargo (fee-based access only) of up to a year or longer is much smaller than the effect of the more immediate OA that has been widely reported.
(Re: Phil Davis) No, E & R do not show that
"the vast majority of freely-accessible scientific articles are not published in OA journals, but are made freely available by non-profit scientific societies using a subscription model."E & R did not even look at the vast majority of current freely-accessible articles (per year), which are the ones self-archived by their authors. E & R looked only at journals that make their entire contents free after an access-embargo of up to a year or more. (Cumulative back-files will of course outnumber any current year, but what current research needs, especially in fast-moving fields, is immediate access to current, ongoing research, not just legacy research.)
See: "Open Access Benefits for the Developed and Developing World: The Harvards and the Have-Nots"
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, February 21. 2009
16 February 2009Consultation on Role of the Depot
The role of the Depot must change before the end of 2009.
We have come to the view that we should not decide upon the future of the Depot without first consulting wider among those who are working to promote and enable sharing of research through Open Access (OA) self-archiving, both in the UK and internationally. For the first part of that consultation process we approached a small number of individuals and we are grateful for their comments; those have helped frame the options we are considering. We now seek your input in a short period of consultation over the next four weeks.
The initial role of the Depot has been to provide the UK academic community with an online deposit facility for eprints during the interim period while Institutional Repositories (IRs) were being set up. Among other policy issues this was to put in place material support for the prospect of mandates for Open Access self-archiving. The initial purpose for the Depot has been judged to have been completed, and the project funding from JISC for the Depot as part of JISC RepositoryNet is coming to an end.
The Depot was never planned to be a central repository that would rival institutional repositories; rather it has complemented them by assisting both researchers-as-authors by providing two support functions. The first is that of re-direction, linking the potential depositor of an eprint with the appropriate UK institutional repository. This uses identity recognition and the OpenDOAR registry of IRs. The second is that of ingest, enabling deposit of that eprint, and thus exposure under terms of Open Access for those UK academic authors not having an appropriate IR. Both functions are computer-aided and without mediation by library or other support staff. We have also carried out some project work (EM-Loader project) to investigate how extraction of metadata from extant sources could improve the deposit process, both assisting the depositor but also helping to ensure good quality metadata.
Within EDINA and SHERPA, which developed and supports the Depot, we have been carrying out an appraisal of options for an exit strategy beyond its project funding. Could the Depot add value by continuing as support activity for the open access agenda, or else when and how to close the Depot? Please give us your views.
Preliminary discussion with advocates of OA self-archiving have indicated that there is value in continuing the Depot in order to assist OA sharing of research output internationally, especially where IR capacity is not yet comprehensive. There has also been discussion about how to develop the re-direction capabilities more generally, including support of OA deposit mandates by funding bodies - for example, by helping their funded researchers locate the appropriate IR.
The existing Depot service will be fully supported until at least 30 September 2009. Next month (March) or shortly thereafter we will decide what to do based upon feedback from yourselves, and any other developments, using the following six months to enact an agreed plan. This might include re-branding or change of mission and message, as well as arranging the transfer of the limited content that we have in the Depot to some other repository or even handing over the running of the Depot to another body.
Your comments are welcome, and should be sent to email@example.com, marked 'Role of the Depot'.
Thursday, February 19. 2009
The portion of Evans & Reimer's (2009) study (E & R) is valid is timely and useful, showing that a large portion of the Open Access citation impact advantage comes from providing the developing world with access to the research produced by the developed world. Using a much bigger database, E & R refute (without citing!) a recent flawed study (Frandsen 2009) that reported that there was no such effect (as well as a premature response hailing it as "Open Access: No Benefit for Poor Scientists").
E & R found the following. (Their main finding is number #4):
#1 When articles are made commercially available online their citation impact becomes greater than when they were commercially available only as print-on-paper. (This is unsurprising, since online access means easier and broader access than just print-on-paper access.)
#2 When articles are made freely available online their citation impact becomes greater than when they were not freely available online. (This confirms the widely reported "Open Access" (OA) Advantage.)
(E & R cite only a few other studies that have previously reported the OA advantage, stating that those were only in a few fields, or within just one journal. This is not correct; there have been many other studies that likewise reported the OA advantage, across nearly as many journals and fields as E & R sampled. E & R also seem to have misunderstood the role of prepublication preprints in those fields (mostly physics) that effectively already have post-publication OA. In those fields, all of the OA advantage comes from the year(s) before publication -- "the Early OA Advantage", which is relevant to the question, raised below, about the harmful effects of access embargoes. And last, E&R cite the few negative studies that have been published -- mostly the deeply flawed studies of Phil Davis -- that found no OA Advantage or even a negative effect (as if making papers freely available reduced their citations!).#3 The citation advantage of commercial online access over commercial print-only access is greater than the citation advantage of free access over commercial print plus online access only. (This too is unsurprising, but it is also somewhat misleading, because virtually all journals have commercial online access today: hence the added advantage of free online access is something that occurs over and above mere online (commercial) access -- not as some sort of competitor or alternative to it! The comparison today is toll-based online access vs. free online access.)
(There may be some confusion here between the size of the OA advantage for journals whose contents were made free online after a pospublication embargo period, versus those whose contents were made free online immediately upon publication -- i.e., the OA journals. Commercial online access is of course never embargoed: you get access as soon as its paid for! Previous studies have made within-journal comparisons, field by field, between OA and non-OA articles within the same journal and year. These studies found much bigger OA Advantages because they were comparing like with like and because they were based on a longer time-span: The OA advantage is still small after only a year, because it takes time for citations to build up; this is even truer if the article becomes "OA" only after it has been embargoed for a year or longer!)#4 The OA Advantage is far bigger in the Developing World (i.e., Developing-World first-authors, when they cite OA compared to non-OA articles). This is the main finding of this article, and this is what refutes the Frandsen study.
What E & R have not yet done (and should!) is to check for the very same effect, but within the Developed World, by comparing the "Harvards vs. the Have-Nots" within, say the US: The ARL has a database showing the size of the journal holdings of most research university libraries in the US. Analogous to their comparison's between Developed and Developing countries, E & R could split the ARL holdings into 10 deciles, as they did with the wealth (GNI) of countries. I am almost certain this will show that a large portion of the OA impact advantage in the US comes from the US's "Have-Nots", compared to its Harvards.
The other question is the converse: The OA advantage for articles authored (rather than cited) by Developing World authors. OA does not just give the Developing World more access to the input it needs (mostly from the Developed World), as E & R showed; but OA also provides more impact for the Developing World's research output, by making it more widely accessible (to both the Developing and Developed world) -- something E & R have not yet looked at either, though they have the data! Because of what Seglen (1992) called the "skewness of science," however, the biggest beneficiaries of OA will of course be the best articles, wherever their authors: 90% of citations go to the top 10% of articles.
Last, there is the crucial question of the effect of access embargoes. It is essential to note that E & R's results are not based on immediate OA but on free access after an embargo of up to a year or more. Theirs is hence not an estimate of the increase in citation impact that results from immediate Open Access; it is just the increase that results from ending Embargoed Access.
It will be important to compare the effect of OA on embargoed versus unembargoed content, and to look at the size of the OA Advantage after an interval of longer than just a year. (Although early access is crucial in some fields, citations are not instantaneous: it may take a few years' work to generate the cumulative citation impact of that early access. But it is also true in some fast-moving fields that the extra momentum lost during a 6-12-month embargo is never really recouped.)
Evans, JA & Reimer, J. (2009) Open Access and Global Participation in Science Science 323(5917) (February 20 2009)Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
SUMMARY: NIH's Acting Director, Raynard Kington, writes that "NIH [is] open to closer collaboration with institutional [repositories]... [D]irect feeds from [institutional repositories (IRs) are] worthwhile [but] raise important technical and logistical challenges..."
In his "Analysis of Comments and Implementation of the NIH Public Access Policy," Dr. Raynard Kington, Acting Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH), writes that
"direct feeds from [institutional repositories (IRs) are]... worthwhile... but... raise important technical and logistical challenges regarding author approval, copyright permissions, quality control, and formats for electronic transfer. The NIH remains open to closer collaboration with institutional [repositories] and will consider this issue as the Policy matures."It is virtually certain that all technical and logistical challenges to designating Institutional Repositories (IRs) as NIH's preferred locus of direct deposit (followed by "direct feed" to PubMed Central (PMC)) can be successfully met (and most already have been: see below). The benefits of NIH/institutional collaboration on direct feeds will be enormous, and will far exceed the current reach of the NIH mandate (which is now restricted to the 80,000 articles a year resulting from NIH funding, no more, no less).
The NIH mandate touches the institutions of every one of NIH's fundees. If the NIH mandate preferentially encourages its fundees to deposit their NIH-funded output in their own respective IRs (with direct feed to to PMC therefrom, instead of direct deposit in PMC, as now), it will also motivate their fundees to deposit -- and motivate their fundees' institutions to mandate the deposit of -- the rest of their institutional output in their IR too, not just the NIH-funded fraction of it. Not so if the 80,000 NIH articles must be directly deposited institution-externally (in PMC): That has the exact opposite effect, competing with and complicating, hence demotivating institutional deposits and mandates. (And we must not forget that the institutions are the universal providers of all research output: funded and unfunded, across all disciplines.)
The "technical and logistical challenges" for "direct feeds" from IRs to PMC have already been largely met:
(1) The SWORD transfer protocol has already solved the problem of automatically exporting IR deposits to other respoitories.It is very welcome and timely news that NIH's Acting Director is "open to closer collaboration with institutional archives." The sooner a collaborative deposit policy, with IR deposit and direct feed to PMC can be adopted and announced, the sooner its potentially enormous knock-on effects will begin to make themselves felt in helping to wake the "slumbering giant" -- the US and global network of universities and research institutes, not only the NIH-funded ones, but all of them: the universal providers of research, worldwide -- to create their own IRs (if they don't have them already) and to mandate the deposit of all of their own research output into them, not just NIH-funded research.
This global enabling effect of the NIH mandate for accelerating and facilitating universal OA should also be cited in the defense of NIH's historically invaluable public access policy against the Conyers Bill's attempt to overturn it.
(And the other research funding councils worldwide, too, should be encouraged to consider the enormous potential OA gains -- at no loss -- from stipulating IR deposit rather than institution-external deposit in their own OA policies as well.)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Wednesday, February 18. 2009
Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) (funder-mandate):
1. All researchers are required to lodge their publications resulting in whole or in part from SFI-funded research in an open access repository as soon as possible after publication.
Tuesday, February 17. 2009
SUMMARY: Publishers are increasingly adapting to the growing number of Green OA self-archiving mandates now being adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders worldwide. Some of the conditions they impose are reasonable (such as endorsing the self-archiving of the author's refereed final draft but not the publisher's proprietary PDF, or endorsing institutional repository deposit but not institution-external, 3rd-party repository deposit) and pose no problem for authors, their institutions or their funders. Some conditions are less reasonable (such as 6-12-month embargoes on making access to the deposit Open Access), but these can be adapted to by authors, institutions and funders for the time being, with the help of the Institutional Repositories' "email eprint request" Button. Some of the conditions, however, are technically arbitrary or even incoherent (such as the distinction between the author's institutional website and the author's institutional repository, or conditions based on metadata or metadata harvestability, rather than the full-text). Technically arbitrary or incoherent conditions should accordingly be ignored by authors, institutions and funders. They are merely leftovers of paper-based thinking that simply do not make sense in the digital medium.
[Excerpted from JISC-REPOSITORIES]
Here's my tuppence worth on this one -- and it's never failed me (or anyone who has applied it, since the late 1980's. when the possibilities first presented themselves) as a practical guide for action: (A shorter version of this heuristic would be "If the physicists had been foolish enough to worry about it in 1991, or the computer scientists still earlier, would we have the half-million papers in Arxiv or three-quarter million in Citeseerx that we have, unchallenged, in 2009?"):
When a publisher starts to make distinctions that are more minute and arbitrary than can even be made sense of technologically, and are unenforceable, ignore them:
The distinction between making or not-making something freely available on the Web is coherent (if often wrong-headed).
The distinction between making something freely available on the web here but not there is beginning to sound silly (since if it's free on the web, it's effectively free everywhere), but we swallow it, if the "there" is a 3rd-party rival free-riding publisher, whereas the "here" is the website of the author's own institution. Avec les dieux il y a des accommodements: Just deposit in your IR and port metadata to CRs.
But when it comes to DEPOT -- which is an interim "holding space" provided (for free) to each author's institution, to hold deposits remotely until the institution creates its own IR, at which time they are ported home and removed from DEPOT -- it is now bordering on abject absurdity to try to construe DEPOT as a "3rd-party rival free-riding publisher".
We are, dear colleagues, in the grip of an orgy of pseudo-juridical and decidedly supererogatory hair-splitting on which nothing whatsoever hinges but the time, effort and brainware we perversely persist in dissipating on it.
This sort of futile obsessiveness is -- in my amateur's guess only -- perhaps the consequence of two contributing factors:
(1) The agonizingly (and equally absurdly) long time during which the research community persists in its inertial state of Zeno's Paralysis about self-archiving (a paralysis of which this very obsession with trivial and ineffectual formal contingencies is itself one of the symptoms and causes). It has driven many of us bonkers, in many ways, and this formalistic obsessive-compulsive tendency is simply one of the ways. (In me, it has simply fostered an increasingly curmudgeonly impatience.) The cure, of course, is deposit mandates.and
(2) The substantial change in mind-set that is apparently required in order to realize that OA is not the sort of thing governed by the usual concerns of either library cataloguing/indexing or library rights-management: It's something profoundly different because of the very nature of OA.Rest your souls. Universal OA is a foregone conclusion. It is optimal, and it is inevitable. The fact that it is also proving to be so excruciatingly -- and needlessly -- slow in coming is something we should work to remedy, rather than simply becoming complicit in and compounding it, by giving ourselves still more formalistic trivia with which to while away the time we are losing until the obvious happens at long last.
Bref: Yes, this is "one of those questions one shouldn't really ask"!
Your importunate Archivangelist
Even incoherently? I think Talat underestimates the supra-legal power of the Law of the Excluded Middle.
"You may deposit this article on the web if you have a blue-eyed maternal uncle AND you may not deposit this article on the web if you have a blue-eyed maternal uncle."Unverifiable, unenforcable, and incoherent. But Talat feels it would be "frankly inappropriate to tell others to break the law at their own risk" by ignoring something like this.
There's no accounting for feelings.
Be sensible (as the half-million physicists and three-quarter million computer scientists have been, for two decades now): Take the "risk."
Let me make my position clear.
Comments that I make have no legal authority.
Nor am I addressing 3rd parties.
(I am addressing only the authors of refereed journal articles.)
And all I am advising is that they not take leave of their common sense in favor of far-fetched flights of formal fancy -- especially incoherent ones.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Sunday, February 15. 2009
Corbyn, Zoë (2009) "Conflict of interest warning over Evidence sale" [to Thompson Reuters]. Times Higher Education Supplement. 22 January 2009There is indeed not only a potential but an actual conflict of interest when the party that is comparing and assessing the different candidate data and databases that can be used in UK national research assessment is the commercial producer of one of the candidate databases.
HEFCE is sleep-walking in letting this happen, and in several other decisions it is making without thinking them through properly, including the failure to test and validate a rich variety of other potential research-assessment metrics, over and above the few that either Thompson-Reuters ISI or its (now disadvantaged) rival SCOPUS can offer, especially the ones provided by the growing worldwide network of Open Access Repositories.
HEFCE is well on the way to foolishly locking itself into dependence on only what is available from a single commercial provider -- under the guise of an objective assessment by an independent honest broker.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Harnad, S. (2001) Research access, impact and assessment. Times Higher Education Supplement 1487: p. 16.
Brody, T., Kampa, S., Harnad, S., Carr, L. and Hitchcock, S. (2003) Digitometric Services for Open Archives Environments. In Proceedings of European Conference on Digital Libraries, Trondheim, Norway.
Harnad, S., Carr, L., Brody, T. & Oppenheim, C. (2003) Mandated online RAE CVs Linked to University Eprint Archives: Improving the UK Research Assessment Exercise whilst making it cheaper and easier. Ariadne 35.
Harnad, S. (2006) Online, Continuous, Metrics-Based Research Assessment. Technical Report, ECS, University of Southampton.
Carr, L., Hitchcock, S., Oppenheim, C., McDonald, J. W., Champion, T. and Harnad, S. (2006) Extending journal-based research impact assessment to book-based disciplines. Technical Report, ECS, University of Southampton.
Harnad, S. (2007) Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise. In Proceedings of 11th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics 11(1), pp. 27-33, Madrid, Spain. Torres-Salinas, D. and Moed, H. F., Eds.
Brody, T., Carr, L., Harnad, S. and Swan, A. (2007) Time to Convert to Metrics. Research Fortnight 17-18.
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).
Harnad, S. (2008) Self-Archiving, Metrics and Mandates. Science Editor 31(2) 57-59
Harnad, S. (2008) Validating Research Performance Metrics Against Peer Rankings. Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 8 (11) doi:10.3354/esep00088 (Special issue: The Use And Misuse Of Bibliometric Indices In Evaluating Scholarly Performance)
Harnad, S., Carr, L. and Gingras, Y. (2008) Maximizing Research Progress Through Open Access Mandates and Metrics. Liinc em Revista 4(2).
Harnad, S. (2009) Multiple metrics required to measure research performance. Nature (Correspondence) 457 (785) (12 February 2009)
Friday, February 13. 2009
[As the Conyers Bill in the US seeks to undo the good done by the NIH Public Access Policy, here is some sunnier news from Spain. It is no exaggeration that open access to health research advances research progress and saves lives, whereas the Conyers Bill seeks to protect publisher access to profits at public expense. Iberia has different priorities. Many thanks to Eloy Rodrigues and Alicia Lopez Medina for posting this information about Spain's Draft Open Access Law on the American Scientist Open Access Forum.]
Draft of the National Law of Science in Spain includes Open Access.
Monday, February 9. 2009
SUMMARY: Imre Simon asks:
Why are Institutional Repositories (IRs) near empty unless mandated, whereas Central Repositories (CRs) like ArXiv and CiteSeerX appear to be full without a mandate?
Here is the answer:
(1) Authors deposit papers directly in Arxiv, whereas CiteseerX (like Google Scholar) is harvested from authors' websites.
(2) The crucial factor is central vs. institutional locus-of-deposit. Search is always at the CR level.
(3) These CRs (Arxiv for physics, Citeseerx for computer science) are fuller than IRs because: (3a) An entire discipline is bigger than an institution. (3b) The global unmandated deposit rate is about 15% of OA's total target: all annual journal articles, across all disciplines and institutions. (3c) But deposit rate is the ratio of deposits to total output, which is much bigger for an entire discipline than a single institution. Physics and Computer Science have been depositing, one centrally, one institutionally, unmandated, for years, but OA's problem is all the disciplines that are not.
(4) Locus-of-deposit and mandates are closely related issues.
(5) Deposit mandates can be either funder or institutional mandates.
(6) Funder mandates only cover funded research, and not all research is funded.
(7) But all research output is institutional.
(8) So if all institutions mandated OA, that would generate universal OA.
(9) So what is most needed is universal institutional OA mandates.
(10) Funder mandates would help far more if they could facilitate the deposit not only of the research they fund, but all research.
(11) To do this, funder mandates need only change one small detail. This would lose none of their funded content, but could help gain the rest of the output of each of its fundees' institutions.
(12) Funders need to stipulate the fundee's own IR as the preferred locus-of-deposit for complying with the funder's deposit mandate.
(13) The fundees' deposits can be harvested to CRs from IRs.
(14) The issue of search and functionality at the harvester level is a red herring.
(15) The special features of the few disciplines that began spontaneously self-archiving long ago, unmandated, have nothing to do with the IR vs CR deposit-locus issue; hence unmandated CRs do not offer a viable alternative to universal IR mandates.
Imre Simon wrote (in the American Scientist Open Access Forum):
"It is an unquestionable reality that unmandated IR's [Institutional Repositories] remain all but empty.The answer is highly instructive. Let me try to map it out as 15 simple points, one following from the other:
(1) There is a profound difference between (1a) Arxiv (and perhaps also SSRN), which are Central Repositories [CRs] in which authors deposit papers directly, and (1b) CiteseerX (and partly also Repec), which are harvested CRs, their papers and metadata being harvested from local repositories, usually at the author's host institution, where they have been directly deposited. Harvested CRs are like OAIster -- or, for that matter, Google Scholar!
(2) The difference is crucial, because central vs. institutional locus-of-deposit is what is really under discussion here; no one is disputing that navigation and search are done, and should be done, at the central level, irrespective of whether CR deposit is direct or CR contents are harvested.
(3) There are several reasons why these particular CRs (Arxiv, Repec, SSRN, and the biggest of all, Citeseerx) are fuller than IRs:
(3a) An entire discipline is bigger than a single (multidisciplinary but local) institution(4) The reason all this matters -- and the reason it is so important not to conflate direct-deposit CRs with harvested CRs, nor to conflate deposit locus with search locus -- is that the locus-of-deposit issue is very deeply interrelated with the issue of mandates.
(5) Deposit mandates can be funder mandates or institutional mandates.
(6) Funder mandates only cover funded research, and not all (perhaps not even most) research output is funded; moreover, this would be true even if all funders already mandated OA.
(7) In contrast, (virtually) all research output (and hence all of OA's target content) is institutional. Institutions are the universal research providers.
(8) So if all institutions mandated OA, that would generate universal OA.
(9) Hence if all of OA's target content is institutional output, it follows that, inasmuch as the 85% of research that is not being deposited spontaneously will be deposited once it is mandated, what is most needed is universal institutional OA mandates.
(10) Funder mandates already help, for their subset of OA's total target content, but they would help far more if they could facilitate the deposit not only of the research they fund, but all research: in other words, if funder mandates could help induce institutions, too, to mandate OA, for all of their own research output, not just the subset mandated by the funder.
(11) In order to be able to do this, funder mandates need only standardize one implementational detail, one that does not lose any of their own target content, but has the potential to extend the reach of the funder mandate to touch the rest of the research output of each one of its fundees' institutions.
(12) Funders need to stipulate the fundee's own IR as the preferred locus-of-deposit for complying with the funder's deposit mandate (with an interim backup repository like DEPOT -- which was created to host deposits until the depositor's institution sets up an IR of its own, to which the DEPOT deposits can then be automatically exported: currently, DEPOT has had only 66 deposits in its nearly 2 years of existence, and that is because most UK funders are either requiring CR deposit or leaving it open which repository their choose fundees deposit in).
(13) The contents can be harvested to CRs from IRs.
(14) The issue of search and functionality at the harvester level is a red herring. (Citeseerx is a perfect example of the functionality of a CR that harvests from distributed IRs.)
(15) Nor do the special features of the few disciplines -- such as computer science, the first, and physics and economics, which took spontaneously to self-archiving long ago, without waiting for a mandate -- have anything to do with either (a) the IR/CR issue, or (b) viable alternatives to mandates, because no one has so far demonstrated any alternatives (apart from waiting and waiting) that can generate the 85% of content missing from IRs, and from OA as a whole.
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The American Scientist Open Access Forum has been chronicling and often directing the course of progress in providing Open Access to Universities' Peer-Reviewed Research Articles since its inception in the US in 1998 by the American Scientist, published by the Sigma Xi Society.
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