Tuesday, March 31. 2009
Following University of Michigan's Library's Open Access Week
Molly Kleinman has blogged Lessons from Open Access Week
Question: Surely there was some discussion of Michigan congressman John Conyer's Bill HR 801 attempting to overturn the NIH OA mandate?
Comment 1: Whether one accepts the definition of the two kinds of Open Access ("gratis" and "libre") or one prefers to deny free access the honorific of "open," the fact is that we do not even have free online access (whatever we choose to call it), and that asking nonproviding authors to do more, and asking institutions and funders to mandate that they do more is even more difficult than just getting them to provide the free online access, which only 72 institutions and funders -- out of perhaps 10,000 worldwide -- are so far doing. (Without even that, it's all just a name-game.)
(Whether there is really any burning need for "re-use rights" for the verbatim texts of peer-reviewed research journal articles (as opposed to research data, or Disney cartoons) is perhaps also worth giving some more thought.)
Comment 2: For how students can help OA, see: "The University's Mandate To Mandate Open Access."
Comment 3: Before getting too caught up in the theory of the "Great Conversation," it might be a good idea to make sure free access (at the very least) is provided to its target content -- by mandating OA (for example, at University of Michigan!)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, March 28. 2009
Pre-emptive Gold Fever seems to be spreading.
Following hard on the heels of University of California's Gilded New Deal with Springer -- UC subscribes to the Springer fleet of journals for an undisclosed fee, but, as part of the Deal, UC authors get to publish their articles as Gold OA for free in those same Springer journals -- now Universities UK (UUK) and the Research Information Network (RIN) are jointly dispensing advice on the payment of Gold OA fees (which is fine) but without first giving the most important piece of advice:
A university should on no account spend a single penny on Gold OA fees until and unless it has first adopted a Green OA mandate to deposit all of its own refereed journal article output in its own institutional repository.
There is still time for UUK and RIN to remedy this, by prominently setting the priorities and contingencies straight. I fervently hope they will do so!
(Peter Suber is expressing the very same hope, but in his characteristically gentler and less curmudgeonly way.)
On Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 4:30 AM, David Prosser, Director of SPARC-Europe, wrote in the American Scientist Open Access Forum:Stevan HarnadAs all of the UK research councils, as well as some of the major UK funding charities, have green mandates in place I don’t see how this can possibly be described as ‘pre-emptive gold fever’.I'm so glad you said that, David! Here is the very specific reply that should fully elucidate this question, which cuts to the very heart of what is at issue:
American Scientist Open Access Forum
A second university mandate (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) plus a second funder mandate (Madrid Autonomous Community) from Spain, raising the worldwide total of Green OA self-archiving mandates to 72!
Friday, March 27. 2009
One more of Richard Poynder's revealing and insightful OA Interviews, this time of France's first and foremost OA champion, Hélène Bosc.
For the full Poynder/Bosc interview, click here.
Peter Suber, writes:
"This is another richly textured interview, unearthing details about the early history of OA, OA in France, OA in Europe, and the career of one of Europe's first and most influential OA activists.... It's difficult to excerpt, but here's a little to whet your appetite..."Here are some excerpts from Peter's excerpts:
Former INRA librarian, [convenor for the EuroScience Working Group on Science Publishing,] and passionate champion of Open Access (OA) in France, Hélène Bosc began advocating for OA in 1995, before the term even existed...
Here is the Quicktime Movie of:
"On the affinities and disaffinities among free software, peer-to-peer access, and open access to peer-reviewed research."a talk by Stevan Harnad on March 26 at: Oekonux and P2P Foundation Conference. Manchester, UK, 27-29 March 2009.
SUMMARY: Free/Open Software (notably the first Free Software for creating OAI-compliant Open Access Institutional Repositories, EPrints, created in 2000, distributed under the GNU license, and now used worldwide) has been central to the growth of the Open Access Movement.
However, there are also crucial distinctions that need to be made and understood, among the movements for (1) Free/Open source software, (2) Open Access (to peer-reviewed research), (3) P2P file-sharing, (4) Open Data, (5) Creative Commons licensing, and (5) Wikipedia-style collective writing. Open Access (OA) is focussed primarily on refereed research articles.
The crucial distinctions revolve mostly around (a) the fundamental difference between author giveaway vs. non-giveaway work and (b) the functional differences between the re-use/re-mix/re-publication needs for peer-reviewed research article texts on the one hand, and data, software and other kinds of digital content on the other.
Thursday, March 19. 2009
The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) has reported the results of a study they commissioned by Evidence Ltd that found that the ranking criteria for assessing and rewarding research performance in the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) changed from RAE 2001 to RAE 2008. The result is that citations, which correlated highly with RAE 2001, correlated less highly with RAE 2008, so a number of universities whose citation counts had decreased were rewarded more in 2008, and a number of universities whose citation counts had increased were rewarded less.
(1) Citation counts are only one (though an important one) among many potential metrics of research performance.
(2) If the RAE peer panel raters' criteria for ranking the universities varied or were inconsistent between RAE 2001 and RAE 2008 then that is a problem with peer ratings rather than with metrics (which, being objective, remain consistent).
(3) Despite the variability and inconsistency, peer ratings are the only way to initialise the weights on metrics: Metrics first have to be jointly validated against expert peer evaluation by measuring their correlation with the peer rankings, discipline by discipline; then the metrics' respective weights can be updated and fine-tuned, discipline by discipline, in conjunction with expert judgment of the resulting rankings and continuing research activity.
(4) If only one metric (e.g., citation) is used, there is the risk that expert ratings will simply echo it. But if a rich and diverse battery of multiple metrics is jointly validated and initialized against the RAE 2008 expert ratings, then this will create an assessment-assistant tool whose initial weights can be calibrated and used in an exploratory way to generate different rankings, to be compared by the peer panels with previous rankings as well as with new, evolving criteria of research productivity, uptake, importance, influence, excellence and impact.
(5) The dawning era of Open Access (free web access) to peer-reviewed research is providing a wealth of new metrics to be included, tested and assigned initial weights in the joint battery of metrics. These include download counts, citation and download growth and decay rates, hub and authority scores, interdisciplinarity scores, co-citations, tag counts, comment counts, link counts, data-usage, and many other openly accessible and measurable properties of the growth of knowledge in our evolving "Cognitive Commons."
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 2003, pp. 207-220, Trondheim, Norway.
Brody, T., Carr, L., Harnad, S. and Swan, A. (2007) Time to Convert to Metrics. Research Fortnight pp. 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).
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.
Hajjem, C., Harnad, S. and Gingras, Y. (2005) Ten-Year Cross-Disciplinary Comparison of the Growth of Open Access and How it Increases Research Citation Impact. IEEE Data Engineering Bulletin 28(4) pp. 39-47.
Harnad, S. (2001) Research access, impact and assessment. Times Higher Education Supplement 1487: p. 16.
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.
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 The Use And Misuse Of Bibliometric Indices In Evaluating Scholarly Performance
Harnad, S. (2009) Multiple metrics required to measure research performance. Nature (Correspondence) 457 (785) (12 February 2009)
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., Carr, L. and Gingras, Y. (2008) Maximizing Research Progress Through Open Access Mandates and Metrics. Liinc em Revista.
OA Self-Archiving Policy: Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Full list of institutions
Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (US* institutional-mandate)
Institution's/Department's OA Eprint Archives
[growth data] http://dspace.mit.edu/
Institution's/Department's OA Self-Archiving Policy
MIT Faculty Open-Access Policy
Passed by Unanimous of the Faculty, March 18, 2009
The Faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy: Each Faculty member grants to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology nonexclusive permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles for the purpose of open dissemination. In legal terms, each Faculty member grants to MIT a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy. The Provost or Provost's designate will waive application of the policy for a particular article upon written notification by the author, who informs MIT of the reason.
To assist the Institute in distributing the scholarly articles, as of the date of publication, each Faculty member will make available an electronic copy of his or her final version of the article at no charge to a designated representative of the Provost's Office in appropriate formats (such as PDF) specified by the Provost's Office.
The Provost's Office will make the scholarly article available to the public in an open- access repository. The Office of the Provost, in consultation with the Faculty Committee on the Library System will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Faculty.
The policy is to take effect immediately; it will be reviewed after five years by the Faculty Policy Committee, with a report presented to the Faculty.
The Faculty calls upon the Faculty Committee on the Library System to develop and monitor a plan for a service or mechanism that would render compliance with the policy as convenient for the faculty as possible.
Monday, March 16. 2009
Many thanks to Amy Brand, Program Manager of the Harvard University Library Office for Scientific Communication (OSC), for forwarding this press release announcing the adoption of Harvard's 3rd Green OA Mandate, this time by the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
And yet another well-deserved round of congratulations to Stuart Shieber, Faculty Director of the OSC and the architect of this remarkable (and seemingly unending) series of Green OA mandates from Harvard! (Harvard Medical School looks like it will be next!)
One can only echo what is stated at the end of the press release, which is that although this is the world's 69th Green OA self-archiving mandate, "none are... as far-reaching as the one put forth at Harvard"! (Nor, I might add, is there now any better model for emulation worldwide.) -- S.H.
Saturday, March 14. 2009
On Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 8:32 AM, Ivy Anderson (UCoP) (IA) wrote (about University of California’s (UC’s) arrangement with Springer to renew Springer journals on condition that all UC authors’ articles published in Springer journals are made Gold OA and deposited in UC’s Institutional Repository (eScholarship) by Springer):
IA: “Researchers’ apathy toward voluntary self-deposit (except in narrow disciplines) has begun to be viewed by some as an indicator of indifference – if scholars truly cared (the argument goes), the game should be changing much more rapidly, since they themselves are the true owners of the system.”It is not quite accurate to say that researchers are apathetic about self-deposits. Rather, most universities and funders (with the exception of the 68 that have already done so) seem to be apathetic (or, more accurately, narcoleptic) about mandating self-deposit (Green OA).
The attitude of researchers themselves has been surveyed in several international, interdisciplinary studies, and their expressed view is consistent:
"The vast majority of authors (81%)...[in a Key Perspectives] international, cross-disciplinary author study on open access [with] 1296 respondents... would willingly comply with a mandate from their employer or research funder to deposit copies of their articles in an institutional or subject-based repository. A further 13% would comply reluctantly; 5% would not comply with such a mandate." (Swan 2005)
These author attitude-survey outcomes have since been confirmed in actual author behavior by Arthur Sale, whose studies have shown that, if (and only if) deposit is actually mandated, authors do indeed self-deposit, and their deposit rates rise from the global spontaneous (i.e., unmandated) rate of c. 15% to approach 100% within about 2 years of the adoption of the Green OA mandate. The 68 university and funder mandates to date are further confirming this (including NIH’s delayed upgrade to a mandate, with deposits up from <5% before the mandate to 60% within the first year of adoption).
The three main reasons researchers are not self-archiving until it is mandated are (1) worries that it might be illegal, (2) worries that it might put acceptance by their preferred journal at risk, and (3) worries that it might take a lot of time. They need Green OA mandates from their institutions and funders not in order to coerce them to self-archive but in order to embolden them to self-archive, making it official policy that it is not only okay for them to deposit their research article output in their institution's repository, but that it is expected of them, and well worth the few minutes worth of extra keystrokes per paper.
UC renewing Springer’s fleet of 2000 journals may have merits of its own, but apart from that it seems a pricey way to spare UC authors’ a few minutes’ worth of (Green OA) keystrokes.
IA: “The same can be said of author-sponsored gold OA (it is not that hard for an editorial board to resign and take its journal elsewhere – at least it should not be, if there were an obvious somewhere else to go).”But a rather crucial difference is that universities and funders can mandate that their employees and fundees self-deposit, but they cannot mandate that their employees and fundees resign from editiorial boards, nor can they mandate that publishers provide Gold OA, as publishers are neither their employees nor their fundees.
Universities and funders can pay publishers to provide OA, evidently, but it is the wisdom as well as the scalability of that strategy that is at issue here! What looks as if it will work locally for one university, dealing with one publisher, does not scale up to 10,000 universities doing it with the publishers of 25,000 journals, not even for the subset of those journals that each university currently subscribes to: Annual university subscriptions to incoming journals or journal-fleets are fundamentally different from annual university “memberships” in exchange for the publication of outgoing articles: Articles are not published on the basis of an annual journal/publisher quota but on the basis of the individual peer-review outcome, per article, per journal.
IA: “Gold OA journals that require a one-to-one correspondence between ‘membership’ fees and author uptake are beginning to lose library support”Exactly. (And "memberships" would never have had library support in the first place, if their incoherent scaling scenario had been thought through in advance, as above.)
Librarians have been at the vanguard of the Open Access movement from the beginning, often trying heroically, but in vain, to convince the faculty in other disciplines university-wide to deposit, as well as to convince the university itself to mandate deposit. There is now something the Library Faculty can do on its own, to provide an example for the rest of the university, along the lines of Arthur's Sale's suggestion that rather than just waiting for university-wide mandates, "patchwork mandates" should be adopted at the laboratory, department or faculty level. The Library Faculty at Oregon State University has just shown the way, adopting the planet's first Green OA Mandate by a Library Faculty.
IA: “My own conversations and observations lead me to believe that for most authors, the difficulties and uncertainties, rather than the desirability of the outcome, are the main obstacle. But if academic administrators believe that researchers don’t care, then support for institutional repositories, which entail their own costs, will wither in difficult times. Large acts are needed, ones which place a significant amount of research output on an open access footing in ways that capture people’s interest and imagination. Harvard’s mandate is certainly one such act.”You seem to have answered your own question: Mandate Green OA, as Harvard did.
And as to difficult times: We're in them! And there are few lower-cost investments for a university today -- a linux server, a piece of free software, a few days sysad set-up time, and a few days a year sysad maintenance time... plus the adoption of a (free of charge) Green OA self-archiving mandate -- that can generate benefits anywhere near the order of magnitude of the benefits of OA.
IA: “UC’s largescale arrangement with a major publisher is another...”Not unless you can explain how it is to scale from just an ad hoc local arrangement between one university (even one as big as UC) and one (big) fleet-publisher to something that can work for all universities and all journals without dissolving into Escher-drawing incoherence.
IA: “In UC’s arrangement with Springer, UC-authored articles will be deposited in our eScholarship repository. If enough other institutions followed suit (and 3 other European organizations have already preceded us), a large number of papers in those journals will be available in institutional repositories. Some of my librarian colleagues (the ones most skeptical of this experiment) have told me that if that happens, their institutions will cancel, and the system will convulse.”Please explain to me how paying for Gold OA for a university’s own article output, in a particular journal or journal-fleet, via a university subscription/membership for that journal or journal fleet, will induce cancellations of that journal or journal-fleet: Who will cancel? The nonsubscribing institutions? (They have nothing to cancel.) The subscribing institutions? But then what happens to their own authors’ Gold OA output to that journal or journal-fleet? And what happens to their own users’ need for access to that journal or journal-fleet, if the Gold OA is no longer being paid for? And how do you cancel journals when they are still part Gold OA and part not?
My guess is that not even a small fraction of these awkward contingencies has even been considered by UC, let alone thought-through, in this somnambulistic plunge into institutional gilded OA deals. Nor is it in any publisher’s interest, in negotiating a Big Deal like this, to awaken their client to any of these troublesome complications (since complications concern how that client is to deal with that publisher's competitors, further down the road, once this particular “Big Deal” is no longer the only deal in town...).
Just to clarify: My beef is not at all with Springer, for trying to make the best deal they can. Springer is fully Green on immediate, unembargoed self-archiving by their authors. That means Springer is squarely on the Side of the Angels, insofar as OA is concerned. My beef is with the naivete of the universities who keep somnambulating toward the Escherian glitter without first grasping the green that is within their reach: Mandate Green OA and then make whatever subscription/membership deal you like and can afford. Just don't go for the Gold without first grasping the Green!
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Friday, March 13. 2009
From Peter Suber's OA News: This is the planet's first Green OA Mandate by a Library Faculty. Librarians have been at the vanguard of the Open Access movement, often trying heroically, but in vain, to convince other faculty university-wide to deposit, as well as to convince the university to mandate deposit. Here is something they can do on their own, to provide an example and show the way: mandate deposit within their own department or faculty. (This is also an instance if Arthur's Sale's suggestion that "patchwork mandates" be adopted at the laboratory, department or faculty level, rather than waiting for university-wide mandates)
The OSU mandate is even the optimal ID/OA (DDR) mandate, as Peter notes below. To the Library Faculty at Oregon State University, who have now put their own work where their heart (and hard work) is, kudos! -- SH
Comment [from Peter Suber]. Kudos to the OSU Library Faculty Association (LFA) for this strong policy. I applaud the mandatory language, the dual deposit-release strategy (or what Stevan Harnad calls immediate deposit / optional access), and the clarity in making waivers apply only to OA, not to deposits. I like the way the LFA will help faculty deposit their articles as well as obtain better terms from publishers. You can classify this as a "faculty vote" policy, as opposed to an administrative policy, and as a departmental rather than university-wide policy. Now that the library faculty have taken the lead, it's time for other departments and divisions of OSU, already operating under a policy to encourage self-archiving, to strengthen their policy as well.
Posted in OA News by Peter Suber at 3/13/2009 05:13:00 PM
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