Thursday, December 31. 2009
Well, this is a rather unflattering account, but since (though a few are a tad out of context) not a word of it is untrue, I'm in no position to object! All I can add is that perhaps it is not the frequency of comments that matters, but their substance. And that I was not so ferocious a decade and a half ago, when the "naive but important" comments were still new.
One is tempted to reply to Lord Drayson that since the US is now contemplating a directive a good deal more ambitious than the one Lord Drayson thinks would be a "real seismic shock" to the UK, perhaps it will prove just a mild post-tremor aftershock here. But the truth is that the UK is already far ahead of the US in mandating open access, with all the UK Research Councils having already mandated it whilst the US is still contemplating the move...
Monday, December 28. 2009
With the adoption of Abertay Dundee's and Dublin Institute of Technology's Green Open Access Self-Archiving Mandates, the worldwide total at the end of 2009 comes to 139 -- except if a few more get registered in ROARMAP before 1 January 2010...
Sunday, December 20. 2009
What do I have to do to comply with the Open Access Policy?
"Here is the two-word answer: always deposit..."
"...Most importantly, whether or not you included the addendum or the publisher accepted it, you should always deposit the author's final version of your article in the DASH repository. Even if you had the license waived, you should still deposit the article; it can be made available immediately or after a delay or kept "dark"[*] depending on the publication agreement, and the OSC can help with that determination..."
My gratitude to Iryna Kuchma for having pointed out my error, and my sincere apologies to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) for having thought otherwise, even for a moment! (I ought to have known, for I had registered the CAS mandate and announced it on 19 August 2009!)
Unlike the Netherlands, U California, U. Goettingen, Max-Planck Institutes, the COPE members, and indeed SCOAP3, the Chinese Academy of Sciences did indeed first mandate Green OA, before committing to pay for Gold OA.
This policy is exemplary and unexceptionable. Let's hope the rest of the world will follow it. (And shame on me for having imagined otherwise!)
The recent criticisms of ACM's stance on open access (OA) by Naty Hoffman (and others) are misguided. ACM is on the side of the angels regarding OA.
(1) ACM is Green. ACM is among the 51% of publishers (publishing 63% of journals) who are completely green on self-archiving. (ACM endorses immediate, unembargoed OA self-archiving of the author's refereed final draft in the author's institutional repository.)
(2) Locus of Deposit Matters for Mandates. For authors -- as well as for institutions and funders who are attempting to mandate OA -- it makes an enormous difference where deposit is mandated: Divergent central (i.e., institution-external) vs. institution-internal deposit mandates from authors' funders and institutions (2a) require multiple deposit of the same paper by authors, and thereby (2b) put funder mandates in competition with institutional mandates (needlessly handicapping and discouraging, especially, the all-important institutional mandates), whereas convergent inititutional deposit mandates by both funders and institutions reinforce and facilitate one another.
(3) Locus of Deposit Does Not Matter for Users. For users, it does not matter in the least where an OA paper is deposited (as long as the repository is OAI-compliant), because all deposits can be, and are being, centrally harvested, by multiple central OAI harvesters (like citeseer, base, oaister, scirus, google scholar, and the ever more powerful central harvesters whose creation will be inspired by Green OA deposit mandates) -- if only we help OA happen by grasping what is already fully within our reach (by supporting Green OA institutional deposit mandates, and those publishers, like ACM, that facilitate rather than obstruct them) rather than over-reaching and insisting on more than we need now, only to continue to get next to nothing.
Yes, the interests of learned-society publishers like ACM -- and indeed those of any refereed journal publisher -- are not more important than the interests of research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, and the tax-paying public that funds the funders. But research interests are not well-served if we demonize even those publishers, like ACM, who are already on the side of the angels on OA, nor if we gratuitously over-reach instead of grasping what's already within reach.
Please send OSTP and President Obama the simple, convergent message that is guaranteed to bring us universal OA in short order, at long last: Mandate depositing the final refereed draft of all funded research into the fundee's own institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. -- No more, no less.
ACM -- unlike the other 49% of publishers -- is not standing in our way.
(And there is absolutely nothing wrong with ACM continuing to produce their fee-based Digital Library to try to compete with the free central harvesters of OA content, just as there is nothing wrong with ACM continuing to produce their fee-based proprietary ACM print and online editions of the journal articles to try to compete with the OA drafts [and to recover the cost of peer review]. The future will take care of itself, but please let us not keep holding it back by gratuitously insisting on more than necessary today.)
See also: "APA Kerfuffle Redux: No, ACM is NOT Anti-OA"
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, December 12. 2009
Critique of Criteria for "Full Membership" in OASPA ("Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association")
Commentary on "Why did OASPA admit the BMJ Group and OUP? and other questions about membership" (Caroline Sutton, Director, OASPA):
From the bylaws of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA):
"To be considered an OA scholarly publisher and eligible for full membership... the Publisher must... Publish at least one OA journal that regularly publishes original research or scholarship, all of which is OA... [which] includes... Copyright holders allow users to "copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship..."[i.e., "libre" OA]Now let us look at what these criteria imply: Full OASPA membership for BMJ, for example, is perhaps arguable, because all refereed research articles in the flagship BMJ are OA and hybrid OA is available as an option for all 27 BMJ journals, but all BMJ authors are also free to provide immediate Green OA by self-archiving. In contrast, Oxford University Press (OUP) publishes 246 journals, only 6 of them full Gold OA; the rest of the OUP journals embargo Green OA self-archiving by authors for a year (90 of them offering authors the generous "option" of paying to do it immediately, if they pay OUP's hybrid Gold OA fee). (In contrast, Cambridge University Press (CUP) offers paid hybrid Gold OA for 15 journals, but endorses immediate Green OA self-archiving for every single one of its 283 journals. In other words, CUP hybrid Gold is a noncoercive OA option for authors who want to pay for hybrid Gold OA; OUP's is not. All CUP authors are free to provide immediate Green OA to their articles by self-archiving them; OUP authors are not. Yet OUP is a "full member" of OASPA and CUP is not.)
It is exceedingly difficult to see the value to OA itself of the following:
(1) OASTP officially includes, as "full members" of its "OA Scholarly Publishers Association," publishers that oppose immediate OA Self-Archiving by their authors. (Such publishers can now even proudly advertise themselves as "full OA" journal publishers in good standing if they publish one single libre Gold OA journal while forbidding Green OA self-archiving for their other 999 journals.)Richard Poynder seems to have been right (again): "officially" sanctioning this perverse play on words will not only:
(a) allow being an "OA publisher," "Gold OA publisher" and "full OA" publisher in good standing to be touted and promoted in a self-interested, word-bending way by publishers that are just about as far from being OA as a publisher can be,Full members should only be publishers all or most of whose journals are Gold OA (and all of whose journals are Green OA); otherwise just "Associate" members. (And gratis OA journal publishers should either be full OASPA members or we should stop repeating the slogan that "most OA journals do not charge for publication.")
Of course it is the publisher that represents the journal. But reserving full OASPA membership for publishers all or most of whose journals are Gold OA would rule out the obvious abuse of "full OA" status by a publisher that publishes a fleet of 1000 journals, only one of them OA, yet is currently entitled to call itself an official "OA publisher" in virtue of full membership in good standing in OASPA. Such a publisher would then simply be an Associate Member of OASPA. (An independent journal, by the way, not associated with a "publishing house," is simply its own publisher.) That would remedy abuse of full membership status by non-OA and anti-OA publishers.
But to remedy the very meaning of OA and OA journal, it would be just as important to admit as full members the publishers of (all or mostly) gratis OA journals (including gratis OA journals that do not charge either authors or their institutions/funders for publication, but make ends meet from subscriptions or subsidy). Yes, fee-free gratis OA journals represent a different "business model," but nevertheless they are "fully" OA in every OA-relevant respect.
(It also seems fine to accept hybrid Gold OA publishers as Associate Members, given that the Association's interest seems to be primarily in OA publishing business models rather than OA itself.)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Chris Armbruster wrote in the American Scientist Open Access Forum:
CA: "I have some doubts that the juxtaposition of institutional versus central repository is helpful (any longer)"No longer helpful for what?
It is not only helpful but essential if what one is interested in is filling repositories with the target content of the OA movement (refereed journal articles). For in order to fill repositories, you have to get their target contents deposited. And to get their target contents deposited you have to mandate deposit. And to mandate deposit you have to specify the locus of the deposit. And the only two locus options are institutional and central. And for the probability of achieving consensus and compliance with mandates it makes a huge difference where the mandates propose to require the author to deposit: institutionally or centrally, because that in turn determines whether the author will have to deposit once, in one place, institution-internally, or more than once, in more than one place, institution-externally. The prospect of having to do multiple deposit is a deterrent to the depositor. And the prospect of having to compete with institution-external deposit mandates is a deterrent to achieving consensus and compliance with institutional deposit mandates.
So those for whom the distinction between institutional and central repositories is not "helpful" are perhaps those for whom it is immaterial or secondary whether repositories get filled or remain near-empty, because their primary concerns are instead at some other, more abstract or idealized level:
CA: "that is why the proposition is to henceforth distinguish between four ideal types of repositories on an abstract level, so as to be able to examine each specific repository in more detail."Alas, while we are theorizing at an abstract level about ideal repository types, real, concrete repositories remain mostly empty, in no small part because of some funders' failing to adopt practical, realistic mandates on locus of deposit, mandates that converge rather than compete with institutional mandates.
The abstract distinctions among the four "ideal types of repositories" (apart from three of them being of doubtful substance) have nothing to do with this crucial concrete distinction, three of the four being "subtypes" of central repository.
To repeat: Only a portion of OA's target content is funded, but all of it originates from institutions.
CA: "For example PMC was a subject-based repository, but it languished before it became a research repository (capturing publication outputs) due to a national mandate, which is compatible with also having a UK PMC and PMC Canada."The only thing that changed with PMC was that it went from being an empty repository to being a less-empty repository when full-text deposit was mandated for NIH-funded articles.
That had nothing to do with its changing from being a "subject" repository to a "research" repository. Its target contents were always the same: biomedical research articles. The only difference is that the mandates increased somewhat the proportion of PMC's total target content that actually got deposited.
But the cost of that welcome increase was also a greater opportunity lost and a bad example set -- because NIH (and now its emulators) insisted on direct deposit in a central repository (PMC, and now its emulators) instead of allowing -- indeed preferring -- institutional deposit, and then harvesting, importing or exporting (one or many) central collections and services therefrom.
That would have facilitated institutional mandates for all the rest of OA's target content, not just research funded by NIH (and its emulators), by spurring institutions -- the universal providers of all research output -- to mandate institutional deposit for all the rest of their research output too, funded and unfunded.
Not all funders copied NIH, however, and there is still hope that NIH will rethink its arbitrary and counterproductive locus-of-deposit policy, in the interest of all of OA's target content: "NIH Open to Closer Collaboration With Institutional Repositories"
CA: "The point here is to examine (here: for the life sciences) past and (possible) future repository development and help stakeholders make informed decisions."Help which stake-holders make which decisions about what, and why?
While repositories remain near empty -- and that includes PMC (or its emulators) whose target contents comprise all of US (or other nations' or funders') biomedical research -- the only substantive thing at stake is content; and the "stake-holders" are mostly institutions and their researchers, who also happen to be the providers of all that content, funded and unfunded, across all nations and funders.
CA: "Another example: the Dutch system looks like a network of institutional repositories, but is now part of a national gateway (NARCIS)."But what does this example show? The only relevant question is: what proportion of their own annual research output are those Dutch institutional repositories actually capturing?
The last time I asked Leo Waaijers, he admitted quite frankly that no one has checked. But unless there is something different about the air breathed in the Netherlands, all indications are that their institutional repositories, like repositories everywhere, are only capturing about 15% of their target output. That is the approximate deposit rate for spontaneous (unmandated) self-archiving, worldwide. Only deposit mandates can raise that deposit rate appreciably -- and so far the Netherlands has no OA mandates.
It matters how you do the arithmetic. An institutional repository can calculate its annual deposit rate by dividing its annual full-text article deposits for that year by the institution's annual article publication total for that year.
But for a central repository -- or for a "network of institutional repositories" -- you have to make sure to divide by their respective annual total target output. For the Netherlands, that's the total annual article output from all the institutions in the NARCIS network. And for PMC it's all of US biomedical research article output.
Otherwise one gets carried away in one's idealized abstractions by the spurious fact that central repositories often have much more content, in absolute terms, than individual institutional repositories. But remedying this "denominator fallacy" by dividing annual deposit counts by their total annual target content count quickly puts things back into practical perspective.
(And this is without even mentioning the question of time-of-deposit, which is almost as important as locus-of-deposit: Many of the central repositories -- e.g. PMC -- have access embargoes because funder mandates have allowed them (and have even left it in the hands of publishers rather than fundees to do the deposits, even though it is fundees, not their publishers, who are subject to funder mandates). Institutional repositories have a powerful solution for providing "Almost OA" to closed access deposits during any embargo period -- the "email eprint request" Button. This Button is naturally and easily implemented by the repository software at the local institutional level, but would be devilishly difficult -- though not impossible -- to implement at the central level (especially where there is proxy deposit by publishers) because it requires immediate email approval by the author of eprint requests from the would-be user, mediated automatically by the repository software.)
[Leo Waaijers has since responded on jisc-repositories as follows: "Currently 25% of the Dutch national research output published in 2008 is available in Open Access... For the moment we have no mandates. The Netherlands Research Organisation NWO has announced one. Six or seven universities have a mandate for doctoral theses."]
25-30% is the level to which Arthur Sale showed that deposit rates can be laboriously raised if one provided incentives (of which the Dutch "Cream of Science" is an example), but only mandates can propel deposits toward 100%.
CA: "Moreover, the major institutions in the network are research universities. Thus the question arises, if Dutch repository development could be improved if stakeholders used the notion of research repository and national repository system to consider their options (rather than thinking that the institutions must do the job)."What on earth does this "arising question" mean at this late stage of the game? We have researchers, the ones who do the research and write the articles. They are (mostly, 85%) not depositing until and unless it is mandated by their institutions and/or funders. This is now unchangingly true for decades.
Now what -- in specific, concrete, practical terms -- is it that using "the notion of research repository and national repository system to consider their options (rather than thinking that the institutions must do the job)" is supposed to do to fill those empty repositories? Is there any evidence that theorists' abstract contemplations about ideal repository subtypes translate into concrete, practical action on the part of researchers 85% of whom consistently fail to deposit unmandated into any-which repository across the years?
CA: "In two decades of immersion in digital worlds, we have witnessed the development of various repository solutions and accumulated a better understanding of what works and what doesn't. The main repository solutions may be distinguished as follows:"Before we go on: The only thing we have learned in two decades -- apart from the fact that computer scientists, physicists and economists deposit spontaneously, unmandated (two of them institutionally, one of them centrally) at far higher than the global baseline 15% rate -- is that the only thing that will raise the spontaneous deposit rate is deposit mandates (from institutions or funders).
That lesson has nothing whatsoever to do with "various repository solutions" (central or institutional, abstract or concrete, real or ideal, actual or notional).
CA: "Subject-based repositories (commercial and non-commercial, single and federated) usually have been set up by community members and are adopted by the wider community. Spontaneous self-archiving is prevalent as the repository is of intrinsic value to scholars."Spontaneous self-archiving is "prevalent" at the steadfast rate of about 15%, and that is the problem.
The nature of the repository has absolutely nothing to do with this, one way or the other. It is a matter of "community" practice.
And, as noted, the few scholarly "communities" that have adopted spontaneous self-archiving practices unmandated (computer scientists, physicists and economists) did so very early on in these two decades, continuing their pre-Web pratices, two of them institutionally and one of them centrally; and they did so mainly to share preprints of unrefereed drafts early in their research cycle. The value they found in that practice predated the Web and had absolutely nothing to do with repository type (since two communities did it institutionally and one did it centrally).
(And if it's hard to get authors to make their final drafts of refereed, published articles publicly accessible unless the practice is mandated, it would be incomparably harder to get authors from the "communities" that have their own reasons for not wanting to make their unrefereed drafts public to do so, against their wills: their institutions and funders certainly cannot mandate it!)
"Commercial" vs. "non-commercial" also sounds like a can of worms: In speaking of "repositories," are we mixing up the Free-Access (OA) ones with the Fee-Access ones? And those that contain full-texts with those that contain only metadata? And those that contain articles with those that contain other kinds of content? If so, we are not even talking about the same thing when we speak of repositories, for all I mean is OA repositories of the full-texts of refereed research journal articles.
CA: "Much of the intrinsic value for authors comes from the opportunity to communicate ideas and results early in the form of working papers and preprints, from which a variety of benefits may result, such as being able to claim priority, testing the value of an idea or result, improving a publication prior to submission, gaining recognition and attention internationally and so on."We are comparing apples and oranges. OA's primary target is not and has never been unpublished, unrefereed drafts.
Distinguish the self-archiving of OA's target content -- refereed articles -- from the self-archiving of unrefereed preprint drafts. The latter practice has been found very useful by some disciplines (computer science, physics, economics) for a long time -- indeed before the Web. But this practice has not caught on with other disciplines, for an equally long time, in all likelihood because most disciplines are not interested in making their unrefereed drafts public. (Some may find this practice unscholarly; others might find it potentially embarrassing professionally; in some disciplines it might even be dangerous to public health.)
And the overall global self-archiving rate remains the baseline 15% unless self-archiving is mandated.
CA: "As such, subject-based repositories are thematically well defined, and alert services and usage statistics are meaningful for community users"This not only conflates unrefereed draft-sharing with OA and repositories with services over repositories, but it also mixes up cause and effect. There is no central repository functionality that cannot just as well be provided over distributed or harvested repositories. And there is no repository that cannot succeed if it manages to capture its target content. Otherwise, the rest of the functional details are merely decorative, for empty repositories.
And neither OA's nor OA mandates' target is unrefereed drafts (though they are of course welcome if the author wants to deposit them too).
CA: "Research repositories are usually sponsored by research funding or performing organisations to capture results. This capturing typically requires a deposit mandate."It makes no difference whether one calls a repository of, say, biomedical research a "subject" repository or a "research" repository. That's just words. And both institutions and funders "sponsor" them. All that matters is whether or not deposit is mandated, because that is what determines whether the repository is full or near-empty.
Armbruster & Romary are conflating "mandated repository" with "central research repository." All OA repositories are "research repositories" because all have the same target content: refereed research articles. And both central and institutional deposit can be mandated.
Armbruster & Romary seem to keep missing the sole substantive point at issue, which is that institutions are the universal providers of all of OA's target content, funded and unfunded, across all research subjects and all nations -- and funder mandates requiring direct central deposit compete with and discourage institutional mandates for all the rest of OA's target content, by requiring (from already-sluggish authors) divergent, multiple institution-external deposit instead of convergent one-stop institution-internal deposit (which can then be imported, exported or harvested by central collections and services).
CA: "Publications are results, including books, but data may also be considered a result worth capturing, leading to a collection with a variety of items."It's nice to get more ambitious in speculating about what one would ideally like to see deposited, but let us not lose sight of practical reality today: Authors (85%) are not even depositing their refereed research articles until it is mandated. These are articles that -- without a single exception -- authors want to be accessible to any would-be user, for they have already published them.
In contrast, it is certainly not true that all, most or even many authors today want to make their unpublished research data (perhaps still being data-mined by them) or their published books (perhaps still earning royalty revenue, or hoping to) or their unrefereed drafts (perhaps embarrassing or even dangerous until validated by peer review) publicly accessible to all users today.
Now, does it not make more sense to try to encourage authors to provide OA to content that they would already wish to see freely accessible to any would-be user today -- by mandating the practice -- rather than imagining (contrary to fact) that authors are already providing OA to content that many of them may not yet even wish to see freely accessible to any would-be user today?
CA: "Because these items constitute a record of science, standards for deposit and preservation must be stringent."Stringent standards for deposit? When most authors are not even bothering to deposit at all? That seems an odd way to try to generate more deposits! Rather like raising the price of a product that no one is bothering to buy at current prices.
(No, it's not raising the quality of the product either: Users are the ones who benefit from repository functionality; but it is authors that we are trying to induce to provide the content to which this user-functionality is applied.)
And is the scientific record not already in our journals and libraries, on paper and online? And is peer review not a already stringent enough standard?
Yes, peer-reviewed articles need to be preserved, but what has that to do with authors depositing it in an OA repository? and usually deposited in the form of a refereed final draft which is not the canonical "version of record," but merely a supplementary version, to provide OA for those would-be users who do not have subscription access to the journal in which the canonical version -- the one that really needs the preservation -- was published).
This is the old canard, again -- conflating digital preservation with Open Access provision -- and perhaps also conflating unpublished preprints with published postprints.
And as to record-keeping: Yes, both institutions and funders need to keep records -- indeed archives -- of the research output that they employ and fund researchers to produce. Again, the natural locus for that record is the institutional repository, which the institution can manage, monitor and show-case, and from which the funder can import, export or harvest its funded subset if it wishes. Direct institution-external deposit, willy-nilly, would be like institutions relying on their banks to do their record-keeping instead of themselves.
CA: "The sponsor of the repository is likely to tie reporting functions to the deposit mandate, this being, for example, the reporting of grantees to the funder or the presentation of research results in an annual report."Yes, both grant fulfillment and annual research output recording and evaluation can and should be implemented through repository deposit mandates, by both funders and institutions. But the question remains: What should be the locus of deposit? and should there be one convergent locus of deposit, for a researcher and/or article, or multiple divergent ones?
The obvious answer, again, is one-time, one-place institution-internal deposit, mandated by both institutions and funders, and the rest by institution-external import/export/harvesting therefrom.
CA: "Research repositories are likely to contain high-quality output. This is because its content is peer-reviewed multiple times (e.g. grant application, journal submission, research evaluation) and the production of the results is well funded."This is extremely blurred and vague.
Inasmuch as refereed journal articles report funded research, they have been both grant-reviewed and peer-reviewed, so that's double-counting.
Accepted grant proposals are not part of OA's target content, and are just a book-keeping matter for institutions and funders.
Research evaluation is done on the basis of research performance and impact, including refereed publications as their primary input. We are again double-counting if we dub as triply peer-reviewed content that is simply standardly peer-reviewed articles, deposited for research evaluation in a repository.
This sounds mostly like massaging the obvious without stating the obvious: None of it happens if the content in question is not deposited. Deposit needs to be mandated, and the locus of the deposit needs to be institutional, not central, to avoid needlesly placing divergent multiple-deposit burdens on the (already sluggish) author.
CA: "Users who are collaborators, competitors or instigating a new research project are most likely to find the collections of relevance"Yes indeed -- if they are deposited. And they will only be deposited if deposit is mandated. And mandates need to be convergent rather than competitive in order to reach consensus on adoption and compliance. And hence the sole stipulated locus of deposit needs to be institutional. The rest is all just a matter of harvesting and services over distributed institutional repositories.
CA: "National repository systems require coordination - more for a federated system, less for a unified system. National systems are designed to capture scholarly output more generally and not just with a view to preserving a record of scholarship, but also to support, for example, teaching and learning in higher education. Indeed, only a national purpose will justify the national investment. Such systems are likely to display scholarly outputs in the national language, highlight the publications of prominent scholars and develop a system for recording dissertations. One could conceive of such a national system as part of a national research library that serves scholarly communication in the national language, is an international showcase of national output and supports public policy, e.g. higher education and public access to knowledge"You are talking about a harvesting service. No need for it to be a direct locus of deposit.
Which brings us back to the sole real priority, which is concerted, convergent mandates from institutions and funders (and national governments) to deposit (once only) in institutional repositories, minimizing the burden on authors.
CA: "Institutional repositories contain the various outputs of the institution."And all other repositories -- subject-based, funder-based, or national -- likewise contain "the various outputs of the institution," institutions being the sole universal providers of all research output.
CA: "While research results are important among these outputs, so are works of qualification or teaching and learning materials. If the repository captures the whole output, it is both a library and a showcase. It is a library holding a collection, and it is a showcase because the online open access display and availability of the collection may serve to impress and connect, for example, with alumni of the institution or the colleagues of researchers."It is highly desirable for universities to make their courseware freely accessible online. But it is a different agenda from OA's. And it has an even lower deposit rate today than OA: MIT is the only institution that has a policy of making its courseware openly accessible.
If people are not yet recycling their waste, what needs to be done is to mandate waste recycling, not to find other worthy things it would be a good idea to do, but that people are likewise not doing, such as giving up cigarettes -- or other worthy things that a (near-empty) waste-recycling depository could host, aside from its target contents, such as charity-donation booths.
Besides, some courseware -- especially material prepared in the hope of writing a best-selling textbook -- is more like data, books, unrefereed preprints (and software, and music and movies): discretionary give-aways, depending on the author, rather than universal give-ways, written solely for uptake and impact, like refereed research articles.
So let's not remain oblivious to the vast shortfall in OA's target content by blurring it with fantasies about other kinds of content (much of it absent too!).
As for theses: The natural solution for them is to treat them the same way as journal articles: mandate deposit in the institutional repository (as more and more universities are now beginning to do).
CA: "A repository may also be an instrument of the institution by supporting, for example, internal and external assessment as well as strategic planning."Yes, and this is yet another rationale for mandating deposit of OA's target content: refereed research publications. Australia and the UK are beginning to link their institutional repositories to submissions for research assessment nationally, and universities like Liège are doing so for internal performance assessment.
CA: "Moreover, an institutional repository could have an important function in regional development. It allows firms, public bodies and civil society organisations to immediately understand what kind of expertise is available locally."Yes, all true. These are further rationales for institutions mandating institutional deposit -- and for funder mandates to reinforce institutional deposit mandates rather than compete with them.
CA: "These four ideal types have been derived partly from the history of repositories, partly through logical reasoning. This includes an appreciation of the relevant literature on scholarly communication, open access and repositories, though the [paper] is not a literature review but an argument that moves back and forth between abstract ideal types and specific cases. Ideal types should not be misunderstood as a classification, in which each and every repository may be identified as belonging unambiguously to a category. Rather, the purpose of creating ideal types is to aid our understanding of repositories and provide a tool for analysing repository development."The "argument" does not seem to be grounded in a grasp either of what (OA) repositories are for, or of the practical problem of filling them. The distinctions among central repositories are largely arbitrary and spurious; they are more about services and functionality than about locus of deposit or repository type. The fundamental and sole substantive point is completely missed: Deposit needs to be mandated (by the universal providers of the target OA content -- institutions -- reinforced by funders) and the locus of deposit needs to be institutional.
The rest is just counting abstract chickens before their concrete eggs are fertilized, let alone laid or hatched.
CA: "Some publication repositories may be identified easily as resembling very much one ideal type rather than another. Some of the classic repositories conventionally identified as subject-based, such as arXiv and RePEc, exhibit few features of another type. Yet, one of the more interesting questions to ask is in how far other elements are present and what this means. ArXiv, for example, is also a research repository, with institutions sponsoring research in high-energy physics being important to its development and success. RePEc, by comparison, has a strong institutional component because the repository is a federated system that relies on input and service from a variety of departments and institutes."Arxiv is based on direct central deposit of preprints (and postprints) in physics; Repec amalgamates distributed institutional deposits of preprints in economics; Citeseer harvests distributed institutional deposits of preprints and postprints in computer science. There is nothing to be learned here except that the spontaneous preprint (and postprint) deposit practices in these three research subject communities have failed to generalise to other research subject communities and therefore postprint deposit mandates from institutions and funders are needed, with one convergent locus of deposit: the repositories of the universal providers of all research, funded and unfunded, across all subjects and nations: the world's universities and research institutes.
CA: "To continue with another example, PubMed Central (PMC), at first glance, is a subject-based repository. Acquisition of content, however, only took off once it was declared a research repository capturing the output of publicly funded research (by the NIH). Notably, US Congress passed the deposit mandate, transforming PMC into a national repository. That a parallel, though integrated, repository should emerge in the UK (UK PMC) and Canada (PMC Canada) is thus not surprising. Utilisation of the ideal types outlined above would thus be fruitful in analysing the development of PMC and, presumably, be equally valuable in discussing the future potential of PMC, for example the possible creation of a Europe PMC."This just repeats the very same incorrect analysis made earlier: PMC is and always was a US central research subject repository for refereed biomedical research publications (so are its emulators, for their own "national" output). What changed was not that NIH rebaptized PMC by "declaring" it a "research repository." What changed was that NIH mandated deposit (after two years wasted in the hope that a mere "invitation" would do).
The rest is just monkey-see, monkey-do. What those aping the US missed, however, was all the rest of OA's target content, funded and unfunded -- across all nations, subjects and institutions -- and how not only mandating deposit, but mandating convergent institutional deposit is essential in order to have universal OA to refereed research in all subjects, worldwide.
(The various national PMCs are a joke, and will be quietly rebaptized as harvested archival national collections -- if those are desired at all -- once worldwide OA content picks up, as institutional deposit mandates become universal. The global search functionality will not be at the level of all these absurd and superfluous national PMC clones, but at the level of global harvesting/search services. Why would any user -- peer or public -- want to search the world's biomedical literature by country (or institution, for that matter) -- other than for parochial actuarial purposes?)
CA: "National solutions are increasingly common (and principally may also be regional in form), but vary especially with regard to privileging either research outputs or the institutions. The French HAL system is powered by the CNRS, the most prestigious national research organisation, and thus is strong on making available research results."Strong on making them available if/when deposited, but no stronger than the default 15% on getting them deposited at all. (The denominator fallacy again...)
CA: "In Japan, the National Institute of Informatics has supported the Digital Repository Federation, which covers eighty-seven institutions, with mainly librarians working to make the system operational."Unless librarians in Japan have executive privileges over authors' writings that librarians elsewhere in the world lack, they will not be able to raise the deposit rate without mandating deposit either...
CA: "In Spain, an aggregator and search portal, Recolecta, sits atop a multitude of institutional repositories, with a large variety of items."A large variety of "items": But what percentage of Spanish annual refereed article output is being deposited? My guess is that -- apart from Spain's 4 institutional mandates and 1 funder mandate -- that percentage will be the usual baseline 15% (looking spuriously bigger because aggregated centrally across multiple institutions: the denominator fallacy yet again...).
CA: "In Australia, institutional repositories are prominently tied to the national research assessment exercise, with due emphasis on peer reviewed publications."That's promising, because being required to submit for research assessment via institutional repositories is effectively a deposit mandate. Moreover, with 1 funder mandate and 5 institutional mandates -- including the world's first institution-wide mandate at QUT -- Australia is neck-and-neck, proportionately, with the UK, in the worldwide national OA sweepstakes: The UK has 13 funder mandates, 11 institutional mandates, and 3 departmental mandates, including the world's very first OA mandate (U Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science); the UK too is moving toward linking deposit to the new national research assessment scheme.
CA: "Any Internet 101 course will include plenty of examples where deposit, content and service are assembled within a single site (by one provider, company etc.) - the list is really very long, from ArXiv to Amazon, SSRN to Flickr, RePEc to Facebook and so on. Internet 101 theory will then elucidate why this is so an (e.g. network effects, economies of scale and so on). Creating thousands of little repositories was probably never a good idea..."Umm, I guess Internet 101 will also tell us that creating billions of little sites was never a good idea and we should all be depositing directly in Google...
CA: "More here:"Let the reader be prepared for a rather confused and practically unproductive mashup of OA repository-content, deposit-locus, and central-service issues in the Armbruster & Romary paper.
Yet the resolution is a simple one-liner: All research institutions and funders worldwide need to mandate institutional deposit, and then reap the harvest centrally, with search services, subject collections, national collections, language collections, and any other "ideal" on which hearts are set.
(But don't let the function-tail wag the content-dog now, when it's only at 15% body weight and needs to settle down and eat.)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 [identity deleted] wrote:
"Re: PubMedCentral (PMC) [is] (relatively) well populated."PMC is only better populated than any other repository to the degree that some funders have mandated deposit. But there is a "denominator fallacy" here:
Mandates only cover content mandated by the funders in question. As a percentage of the world's (or, if you like, the US's) total annual biological and medical research output, PMC still covers only a small fraction of that total annual target.
The global baseline for spontaneous (unmandated) self-archiving is about 15%. The degree to which PMC is doing better than that -- and it is, but the question is by how much? -- can only be properly determined if we divide the deposits of biomedical articles published in each year by the total published biomedical output for that year (worldwide, or by US authors, if you prefer).
If you do that calculation, you will almost certainly find that PMC is doing no better nor worse for its mandated content than any mandated institutional repository; and for its unmandated content it is likewise doing no better nor worse than any unmandated institutional repository (c. 15%).
We cannot go a single step further on the underlying question -- how to populate repositories, and how well various approaches and repositories are doing -- until the denominator fallacy is corrected.
"It's my understanding that not only is there a funder mandate, but the Wellcome Trust also publicly favour the author-pays model, through which the publisher will deposit the article to PubMedCentral on behalf of the author."Yes, and that's bad news, and unfortunately that's a bad policy on the part of the Wellcome Trust (WT), ideologically rather than functionally driven, and ill thought-through, but one from which WT seems to be unwilling to consider budging. So the problem is that whereas WT are rightly to be admired for having been the first funder to mandate OA, they have also set a very bad example for other mandates.
(1) Note that squandering research money on funding Gold OA publication for WT-funded research does not increase by a single article the number of articles that are made OA as a result of the WT mandate. (They could all have been simply self-archived instead, setting an incomparably better, and more scaleable example for other funders, who have better things to do with their scarce research funds than to pay for Gold OA when they can mandate Green OA without having to redirect any money from research: Publication is already being paid for, in full, by institutional subscriptions) The prospect of having to pay for Gold just discourages potential emulators who could mandate Green, but cannot afford to pay for Gold.
(2) In addition, WT mandates central deposit instead of institutional, which is, as I've said, counterproductive for facilitating and reinforcing the really crucial mandates, which are the ones by the universal providers of all research: the world's universities and research institutes. Central deposit mandates compete with institutional deposit mandates, for no good reason whatsoever.
(3) And third, allowing a deposit mandate to be fulfilled by a publisher instead of by the fundee (hence the mandatee) is doubly foolish. It lets the publisher decide (and enforce) the embargo period (as well as allowing them to drag their feet, since they are beholden to no one in their timing or compliance); and it reinforces the paid Gold option (self-fulfillingly) by making it the only one likely to generate timely deposit (but at a price).
Three unnecessary, dysfunctional features, adopted completely arbitrarily, simply because WT did not think things through carefully (and would not -- and alas still will not -- listen to advice even today).
But now, because WT were the first mandators (and they still do deserve eternal blessing for that!), their somnambulistic "view" is taken to be oracular by others. So it does damage beyond the ambit of WT's own funding.
"The rights negotiation over what can be done with the full text deposit in that situation is clear and the Wellcome trust openly prefer this route to OA [over] the post-print deposit, although they do support both models if the post-print is deposited to PubMedCentral directly. They also are prepared to pay for such a model of author-pays and publisher deposits."As I've just said, it's bad news that WT "prefers" the funded Gold OA route because it makes Green appear less adequate for providing OA (though it is in fact more adequate tha Gold), it wastes money, it discourages mandates from those who cannot follow WT's example with paying for Gold, and it is totally unnecessary:
There are no re-uses at all that the access-deprived potential users (for whom OA is intended) require that they do not have with Green OA: All that is needed is immediate, free online access to the full texts of the articles. There are no further uses or re-uses that need sanctioning or licensing. Researchers, students and teachers don't do "mashups" of journal articles, as teenagers do for music, video and text youtube. They just need to be able to access the texts online, download them to read and data-crunch and perhaps print off for themselves. That's it. The published text's content (as opposed to its verbatim text) was always free to be used, applied, built-upon (and cited), if only the user could manage to access the verbatim text. And that's what Green OA provides, 24/7, webwide: access. Teachers can put the URLs in their course-packs (no need to worry about supplying multiple hard copies, or any associated permissions issues: just URLs are enough if the texts themselves are OA). No need to "re-publish" either. So what are these re-use rights that all that extra Gold money is needed to pay for?
And as to timing: WT allows a one-year embargo. If they mandated institutional deposit, the institutional repositories' "email eprint request" Button could do a good deal better than that. 63% of journals endorse immediate OA (no embargo) already. For the remaining 37% the IRs can provide "Almost OA" -- for just a few extra user and author keystrokes and slight delay (but not remotely comparable to a year's delay!) for the semi-automatic eprint request fulfillment.
Instead, WT "prefers" to pay for immediate OA at a high price. The price is higher than they think, because of the emulation (and non-emulation) that their bad example inspires, in place of good, sensible practice that would generate far more (Green) OA and Green OA mandates, far faster, with no loss, only gain, over the dysfunctional WT policy.
"Apparently the route to post-print deposit in PubMedCentral is not particularly easy, although I can't speak from personal experience."My guess is that it's no harder or easier to deposit in PMC than in any other repository, central or institutional (and the fact is that it's easy and fast to deposit: you just have to be mandated to try it and then you find out). But with WT "preferring" to offer what looks to the author like the even easier option of proxy deposit (some day) by the publisher (if embargoed) and immediate proxy deposit if paid-Gold, the author never even gets to learn from personal experience how easy and fast it really is.
Another bad example to set.
"Such complexities at the deposit stage will also force authors into paying for publication, just to give themselves an easier life!"I doubt that profoundly. If the choice really were to do a few minutes worth of keystrokes or pay out of their pockets, authors would quickly discover how easy it really was to deposit, and would save their money. But with WT offering to pay for Gold OA in their stead, I don't doubt that a number of years more will be wasted going down that dysfunctional route before it is discovered that it is both unnecessary and wasteful.
"Personally, I'd much rather see the author depositing in institutional repositories, and PubMedCentral harvesting from us."Yes, that is indeed the optimal way, not just for PMC and WT but for the institution, which, if all funders mandated institutional deposit, would soon realize that it made sense for the institution itself to go on to mandate (institutional) deposit for all of its research output, whether funded or not.
"There have been a couple of lonely requests on discussion lists from repository managers asking whether others have deposited works to PubMedCentral on behalf of authors but no replies so far."Why on earth should proxy deposit be offered to authors to spare them a few minutes' worth of keystrokes? If it comes to that, that's what secretaries are paid for, or student assistants. Let authors decide for themselves whether it's worth paying money to spare themselves those few extra keystrokes per paper. (I suppose some authors still pay secretaries to do the keystrokes to type their drafts in the first place, so this would just be a few more keystrokes...)
"Why might we do this on authors' behalf? Because authors recognise the importance of subject repositories far more than they do that of institutional repositories and if we can do this for them then we gain their support and understanding. Because, whether there is an institutional mandate or not, it's not right that authors should have to deposit the same article twice."Unfortunately the above passage has conflated so many unfounded assumptions, I hardly know where to begin!
(i) The reason it's better not to do deposits on authors' behalf is that in reality deposits are fast and easy and it is absurd to fear or avoid them.
(ii) In addition, if everything continues to be done to insulate authors' groundless phobias about a few keystrokes from the simple reality of deposit, that simply makes the path to universal OA longer and more arduous (real arduousness being substituted for the notional arduousness that keeps authors at arms' length).
(iii) The only repositories that authors "recognise the importance of" are mandated repositories, regardless of whether the mandate is from their funder or their institutions (but preferably both!), and regardless of whether the repository is central or institutional -- but it had *#&% well better be just one-time, one-place deposit, otherwise the authors can and will and should revolt: and that's really what this is all about: A few minimal keystrokes, yes, but no unnecessary, redundant or profligate ones. WT did not think this through, otherwise it would have been realized at once that convergent institutional locus of deposit should be specified by both institutional and funder mandates, with automated central harvesting to whatever further loci hearts desire thereafter; the authors' fingers are not involved in that.
(iv) Doing proxy deposit on behalf of authors in order to "gain their support
and understanding"? Their support and understanding for what? So that the next time they want to deposit, they can again appeal to your free keystroke services? Where's the support and understanding in that? What's needed is mandates; that moots the need for "support and understanding."
(v) It's certainly true that "it's not right that authors should have to deposit the same article twice." That's the whole point here. We have WT and NIH to thank for the fact that we need to face this prospect at all. And it discourages the adoption of institutional mandates (and of course diminishes the probability of spontaneous institutional deposit to even below the 15% baseline).
(vi) But an institutional mandate would still remedy this, for then the author could deposit once, institutionally, and the proxy redeposit phase would be much lightened: Instead of having to do each deposit for the author, software (like SWORD) could be used to port the deposits' metadata from their IR to their secondary (central) loci. And then maybe the central deposit stipulation of WT, NIH and other such funders -- not all funders have been silly enough to emulate this dysfunctional stricture -- would die a natural death of its own accord, , eventually short-circuited by increasingly efficient software.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
26 Finnish Universities of Applied Science have mandated Green OA Self-Archiving, bringing the worldwide total in ROARMAP to 137 (along with a 27th from from U. Northern Colorado Library Faculty). Finland now has a total of 28 mandates: This is currently the highest number of mandates per country, proportionately.
University of Applied Sciences CITY
Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences KOKKOLA
Diaconia University of Applied Sciences HELSINKI
HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences HELSINKI
Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences HELSINKI
HUMAK University of Applied Sciences HELSINKI
HAMK University of Applied Sciences HÄMEENLINNA
JAMK University of Applied Sciences JYVÄSKYLÄ
Kajaani University of Applied Sciences KAJAANI
Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences KEMI
Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences KOTKA
Lahti University of Applied Sciences LAHTI
Laurea University of Applied Sciences VANTAA
Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences MIKKELI
North Karelia University of Applied Sciences JOENSUU
Novia University of Applied Sciences VAASA
Oulu University of Applied Sciences OULU
Pirkanmaa University of Applied Sciences TAMPERE
Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences ROVANIEMI
Saimaa University of Applied Sciences LAPPEENRANTA
Satakunta University of Applied Sciences PORI
Savonia University of Applied Sciences KUOPIO
Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences SEINÄJOKI
TAMK University of Applied Sciences TAMPERE
Turku University of Applied Sciences TURKU
Vaasa University of Applied Sciences VAASA
Thursday, December 10. 2009
Many thanks to Robert Kiley of the Wellcome Trust (WT) for responding to my recommendations on optimising the Trust's Open Access Mandate, but unfortunately Robert only repeats points with which I am already very familiar, while passing in silence over the actual substantive points I have raised, repeatedly, ever since the Wellcome Trust mandate was adopted 5 years ago (and even earlier than that).
Let me summarise the (many) positive aspects of the Wellcome Trust Mandate before specifying, once again, the negative aspects that can so easily be fixed.
POSITIVE ASPECTS OF THE WELLCOME TRUST (WT) OPEN ACCESS (OA) MANDATE:
(1) The WT OA mandate five years ago (2004) was the world's first funder mandate and helped to inspire many others.
(2) The WT OA Mandate not only came earlier than the NIH policy, but it was a mandate (requirement) from the very outset, whereas the NIH policy lost 2 years by being initially formulated as a request rather than a requirement.
(3) The WT in general (and Robert Kiley and Robert Terry in particular) have worked valiantly and tirelessly to promote OA and OA mandates during the ensuing 5 years.
(1) The WT OA Mandate stipulates direct deposit in PubMedCentral (PMC) instead of institutional deposit and central harvesting; this counterproductive constraint has since been imitated by other funders following WT's example. Institutions are the universal providers of all OA output, funded and unfunded, across all disciplines. If funders mandate institutional deposit, they encourage and reinforce universal adoption of institutional OA mandates (and gain a powerful ally in monitoring and ensuring compliance); if funders instead mandate central deposit, they discourage and compete with universalizing the adoption and implementation of institutional mandates.
(2) The WT OA Mandate permits a delay (embargo) of deposit for up to a year after publication. If funders instead mandate immediate institutional deposit, with no exceptions, the institutional repository's "author email eprint request" Button can provide 'Almost-OA' to would-be users while access to the deposit itself is embargoed; otherwise researcher access, usage and impact are needlessly lost during the embargo.
(3) The WT OA Mandate allows the option of publishers doing the PMC deposits in place of WT's fundees. This not only makes fundee compliance vaguer and compliance-monitoring more difficult, but it further locks in publisher embargoes (with no possibility of authors providing Almost-OA to tide over user needs during the embargo period) and further discourages convergent institutional mandates.
All three of these dysfunctional implementational details can be easily and fully remedied by simply specifying that deposit should be in the fundee's IR (or, if the fundee's institution does not yet have an IR, in an interim IR such as DEPOT) immediately upon acceptance for publication. That's all. The negatives are thereby immediately nullfied and the WT funder mandate becomes the optimal model for adoption by other funders, as well as a strong impetus to the adoption of complementary deposit mandates by institutions.
Now I reply to Robert's responses:
On 9-Dec-09, at 12:20 PM, Robert Kiley (Wellcome Trust) wrote:
RK: "Stevan[1a] Let me define an "empty repository": it's a repository that captures 0-15% of its total annual target content.
Why? Because 15% is the default baseline for spontaneous, unmandated deposit. You are not doing better than the default baseline if you are not capturing significantly more than 15% of your repository's total annual target content.
What percentage of the global annual output of peer-reviewed bio-medical journal articles -- per year -- do you think that PMC's grand total of 1.9 million articles represents?
It's only that (annual) figure (minus 15%) that tells you how non-empty a repository is, not the grand total -- and certainly not the grand total for a central repository whose denominator (the annual amount by which you must divide the annual deposits to calculate the percentage) consists of all the annual biomedical research output on the planet (or even all annual biomedical research originating from the US).
This is what I called the "denominator fallacy" in my prior posting.
[1b] In contrast, PMC is capturing 43% of WT's target content in 2009. That's certainly better than 15% (or NIH's meagre 5% before they upgraded their deposit request to a requirement). But that's mandated content.
And 5 years after the adoption of the WT mandate, 43% isn't really that good either. Indeed it was only last year that WT itself was about its low compliance rate:
In contrast, institutions that have adopted and implemented deposit mandates are doing a good deal better than that: Over 60% and well on the road to 100% about 2 years after adoption.
And the reason for the successful institutional mandates' success is quite evident: Institutions are the quotidial employers of their researchers, not just their occasional funders. Institutions have annual performance reviews for salary, promotion and tenure. They are in a position to mandate -- as the University of Liege has notably done -- that the procedure for submitting one's annual publications for performance review is henceforth to deposit them in the in the institution's IR; otherwise the publications will be invisible. This is a simple internal bureaucratic requirement, rather like the ubiquitous transition from submitting on paper to submitting online.
Institutions, as we all know, are also very eager that their researchers should receive research funding. Hence institutions are eager to be involved in helping researchers prepare grant applications as well as to ensure that they fulfill all grant requirements if funded. Fundees' institutions are hence funders' natural allies in ensuring and monitoring compliance with the funder's deposit mandate -- as long as the designated deposit locus is institutional. Moreover, funders mandating institutional deposit of the articles resulting from the research they fund, and institutions' involvement in ensuring compliance, also encourages institutions to go on and mandate deposit of the rest of their research output too.
But if it is instead stipulated by the funder -- and (I have to repeat this each time) stipulated for no good reason at all, since it confers no advantages whatsoever, either functional or practical, over institutional deposit, only disadvantages -- that the deposit must be central, then the fundee's institution is in no better position than the funder to ensure and monitor compliance. In addition, the institution then has the opposition of its researchers to contend with, if ever the institution contemplates adopting a deposit mandate of its own: Researchers (quite understandably, and justifiably) do not want to have to deposit willy-nilly in divergent multiple loci, institution-internal as well as institution-external. Add to that the further confusion added by the fact that fundee "compliance" can be fulfilled by publishers depositing in PMC instead of fundees, and after a one-year embargo, and you have both grant fulfillment conditions and mandate incentive conditions as ill-served and as hard to monitor as they could possible be.
And, again, for no good positive reason whatsoever.
[1c] Yes, the WT money that could have been spent on supporting more research, when it is instead redirected to paying for Gold OA publication, does increase the uptake of Gold OA somewhat. But is that the objective? Or is the objective rather to increase OA as much as possible -- which is what the Green OA deposit mandate itself would do, if compliance were indeed insured and monitored.
As to the best way to contend with the 1-year embargo at this point -- that's up to WT to decide. 63% of journals already endorse making institutional deposits OA immediately upon publication. If WT finds it a better use of its research money to pay for immediate Gold OA for the remaining 37% (rather than relying on the Institutional Repositories' "email eprint request" Button to allow the author to provide almost-immediate, "Almost OA" during the embargo), that's a judgment call. But it's not an argument for insisting on central deposit rather than institutional.
Note, though, that WT is on the side of the angels in having mandated OA already, rather than just offering to subsidize Gold OA. The trouble is that the "mandated Green OA deposit plus subsidized Gold OA option" policy is far less adoptable, for example, by poorer funders, or funders more anxious to use their scarce funds to fund more research rather than to subsidize Gold OA publishing. This is especially today, when OA can be had without cost, by mandating Green OA and just letting subscriptions continue to pay for publishing. And this remains true until/unless Green OA ever makes subscriptions no longer sustainable. Then (and only then) a transition to Gold OA will be payable out of institutions' windfall subscription cancellation savings -- and for a lot less than today's Gold OA's pre-emptive asking price, since the only thing left to pay for then will be peer review -- without the need to syphon away any additional research money.
Moreover, the example of pre-emptive payment for Gold OA has inspired another nonstarter, from funders and institutions that are not yet on the side of the angels: They are redirecting scarce research or institutional funds today, needlessly, to pay for Gold OA today without even first mandating OA, as WT has done. That's the worst of all possible worlds (and encouraged by the example of needless and ineffectual profligacy on the part of others, even when they do couple it with a Green OA mandate too...)
RK: "2. "National PMC's are a joke"That's all splendid, and not the joke at all.
The joke is the notion that all these countries need a national PMC as the place to mandate deposit!
Of course all manner of harvesting services can be superadded to any number of harvested collections -- national, disciplinary or what have you. That's not the joke. The joke is that national funders are slavishly adopting the wrong-headed notion that they, like NIH/PMC, need their own national, central place to deposit their mandated contents -- instead of doing what NIH/PMC should have done in the first place (and should convert as soon as possible to doing now), which is to mandate institutional deposit, and harvest/import from there to any central collections or services they may wish to provide.
RK: "In January 2010 we will be launching a new UKPMC site which will offer users:Splendid. But now please explain to me why the worthy and welcome goal of offering users a single access point for all these worthwhile contents needs to be reached by requiring UK-funded authors to deposit in UKPMC to fulfill their deposit mandates, rather than in their own IRs?
(And I do hope you won't reply that it's in order to accommodate the publishers, who need to deposit in UKPMC! Those articles are by UK fundees too! Let those fundees simply, and uniformly, deposit all their (mandated) articles in their own IRs, regardless of whether they are published in paid Gold OA journals, free Gold OA journals, subscription journals with OA embargoes, or subscription journals without OA embargoes: One size fits all, funders and institutions alike, across nations as well as disciplines, for both funded and unfunded research: Deposit institutionally.
RK: "B) Additional, local content. This includes guidelines from NICE and other NHS bodies, plus relevant (i.e. biomedical) theses derived from EthOS. So, by way of example, when you search the new site for say "management of stroke" you will be presented with relevant PubMed citations, full-text articles, UK clinical guidelines etc in one search."All very valuable stuff -- but nothing in this is contingent on mandating central deposit. Harvesting of distributed content is the name of the game, in the online era. (We don't deposit directly in Google either. Google harvests distributed locally hosted content.)
RK: "C) New citation services. For every article (be it full text or just the bibliographic citation) you will be able to see all the papers which that paper cited, as well as all the other articles which cite that paper."Lovely, stuff but nothing to do with the only point at issue here, which is whether or not mandating funders have any good reason to require divergent central deposit instead of convergent institutional deposit. (The latter might even help accelerate the institutional mandates you'll need to turn those bibliographic citations into full- texts -- at least for living authors...)
RK: "D) New text-mining services. Our colleagues at EBI and NaCTeM have build tools to textmine the content in UKPMC. In the first release (January 2010) users will be able to see in a "summary box" which will provide details of what genes/proteins, organisms etc are discussed in the paper they are viewing. Over the next 18 months this textmining functionality will be developed further in include chemical compounds, disease names etc etc."Again very valuable, and again completely orthogonal to the question of locus of deposit -- which, to repeat, is the only one I keep banging on about.
(If funders wish to mandate deposit in specific formats, such as XML, they can do that equally well regardless of locus of deposit -- though I would not myself recommend over-constraining format requirements at this early stage, when it is the articles that are missing and sorely needed, rather than the documents already being accessible, and only the right format being sorely needed. And if, in contrast, the deposit tagging and format are being enriched by some other central service, rather than the author, that too can be done irrespective of locus of deposit, again through central importation or harvesting.)
RK: "The "franchise" model that PMC uses is akin to that developed for the human genome project inasmuch as content is mirrored to a number of sites (e.g. NCBI, Sanger, and DDBJ) but each centre develops their own interface to this content. So, the core content at PMC, UKPMC and PMC Canada is identical -- but each centre will develop their own valued-added services."The "franchise" model is equally compatible with central deposit and with distributed institutional deposit and central harvesting...
RK: "The UKPMC Funders Group - led by the Wellcome Trust - are, with the support of European partners, exploring the possibility of creating a single, Europe-wide OA repository for peer reviewed biomedical research papers -- a Europe PMC. A workshop to discuss this is taking place on the 2nd December at the Berlin 7 meeting."All these collections and re-collections of biomedical research papers and services are welcome, but have nothing to do with mandated deposit locus.
RK: "3. Why the Trust favours the author-pays modelFine. Call the costs what one may: those publication costs and values are being paid for in full by subscriptions today. What is missing is access to those publications (for those whose institutions can't afford the subscription costs). Green OA provides that access, in full. And mandates provide Green OA, with no extra cost. It's up to WT if they want to spend more research money on reforming publishing, rather than just mandating that their fundees provide the access that is missing. But let paying for Gold OA not be mistaken or misrepresented as the fastest, cheapest or surest way to provide the missing access. It is simply using research money to try to reform publishing.
Nor can WT represent favouring the payment for Gold OA with scarce research funds over providing Green OA at no extra cost as something that favours OA: It does not. It simply diverts research money to pay pre-emptively for Gold OA, when it is not even needed; it disfavours the cost-free Green way of providing OA; and it sets an unfortunate example for other funders contemplating what they can do to increase OA.
RK: "It follows, therefore, that these costs have to be met -- and that is what the Wellcome Trust (and others) do."It only follows that those costs have to be met if there is also a reason why research money has to be spent on reforming publishing today, when what is really needed today, urgently, is more research access, not less research money, nor publishing reform.
(Publishing reform will be needed, and will happen, if and when -- and only if and when -- universal Green OA makes subscription journal publishing unsustainable. But if and when universal Green OA ever does so, it will, by the very same token, also release the subscription cancellation funds to pay for Gold OA without the need to redirect scarce research funds. Indeed, universal Green-OA-driven subscription collapse will also force journal publishing to cut obsolete products and services (such as the paper edition, the online edition, access- provision and archiving) and their associated costs, downsizing to just the service of peer review. The distributed network of institutional repositories (and any harvester services thereover) will do the access-provision and archiving. So instead of receiving less research funding, researchers' institutions will enjoy a surplus from their annual windfall subscription cancellation savings.
RK: "It is also worth pointing out that when an APC fee is met, the Trust requires the publisher to provide a number of services:If you offered your fundees the choice (without fear or favour) of spending the WT research money on research or spending it to spare themselves the few keystrokes it takes to deposit their postprints (63%) and fulfill email eprint requests (37%), do you have any doubt as to what choice they would make? Especially if the designated locus of deposit were institutional, and hence they were already depositing their unfunded research that way...
RK: "B) Attach a licence to these articles, thus ensuring that anyone who want to re-use the work (e.g. text-mining, creating translations, re-using for different audiences etc) can do so. Whether such rights extend to author manuscripts is, at best, unclear."More important, those rights and re-uses are completely superfluous. What's urgently needed (and prominently missing) today is online access to the articles, free for all. What comes with that territory is the capability of any user to search, link, read online, download, print-off, store and data-crunch a personal copy. In addition, harvesters like google can and will harvest and invert it. "Different audiences" can use the same URL. Translations (for the lucky few where it's wanted) can, as always, be handled on a case by case basis.
Let's talk again about any "text-mining" beyond this when there's enough OA text to make it worth talking about.
RK: "C) These articles can also be included in the OA subset, thus allowing institutions (and others) to harvest, via OAI, relevant full-text content."That sentiment is not unworthy of Marie Antoinette! "Let the institutions harvest back their very own content, because we have elected to mandate that it must be deposited institution-externally." (Harvesting, for the record, is something central harvesters do over distributed providers of the content, not the reverse, i.e., not distributed providers of the content, harvesting back their own content from an institution-external central deposit locus where their own content providers have been required to deposit it, instead of depositing it institution-internally in the first -- and only -- place. (That's like saying: let everyone deposit their content in google, and then harvest it back if they want to host it locally.)
SUMMARY: Not one substantive reason has been given for WT's continuing insistence on central deposit rather than institutional deposit (plus central harvesting). Nor has a compelling reason been given for favouring paid Gold OA over free Green OA. (But if WT were, as I hope, to go on to mandate institutional deposit, paid Gold would become a minor matter, because as more institutions added their institutional mandates to WT's and other funders' mandates, the absurdity (and non-scaleability) of paying pre-emptively for Gold OA today, rather than just depositing for Green OA at this time -- whilst the potential funds to pay for Gold OA are still locked into subscriptions that are paying for subscription publication in full -- would become more and more obvious. The confusion and uncertainty about this today are simply a result of the extreme sparseness of OA content -- whether Green or Gold -- today [c. 15%], as well as the extreme rarity of OA mandates [c. 100/10,000].)
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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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