Sunday, May 23. 2010
Roland Reuss "Eine heimliche technokratische Machtergreifung"
Same old tune. Same false notes:
Green-OA/Gold-OA conflated.Newspapers clearly have no peer review for either facts or logic...
See: "Heidelberg Appeal Peeled."
Friday, May 21. 2010
It's not for me (or anyone) to draw the line uniformly, a-priori. The length of time researchers may need to embargo access to the data they have gathered is something that depends on the field and data, and hence OD needs to be negotiated with the funder, possibly on a case by case basis.SH: "Benjamin Geer suggests [requiring OD] immediately upon publication (presumably the publication of a refereed journal article based on the data in question). But the first of the [data-] collector's articles based on that collection or the last? How many are allowed with exclusivity? and how long?... What if [the data-collector has] gathered a lot of time-consuming data, amenable to a lot of time-consuming analysis?"BG: "What if they've gathered enough data for a lifetime of analysis? Should they have the right to hoard their data for the rest of their life? Where do you draw the line? Does it make any difference, ethically, whether they collected that data using public funds?"
This is notably not the case with OA to published research, in which, without exception, research, researchers, their funders and their institutions all benefit most from OA being provided immediately upon acceptance for publication (and the only conflict of interest is with a 3rd-party service-provider: the publisher).
Benjamin Geer proposes, simply, that research data should be made OD immediately upon publication. I am pointing out the genuine complications that this is failing to take into account. I am not at all suggesting that OD, as soon as possible, is not a good and desirable thing. It is simply far from being as straightforward as OA, especially insofar as mandating (i.e., requiring) is concerned, because there is no conflict with the researcher's interest in the case of OA, whereas there may well be considerable conflict with the researcher's interest in the case of OD. And it is all about timing.
As a consequence, it is very important to keep OA and OD separate, especially as regards mandates. Because of the conflict of interest, this is not a matter to be settled by a-priori ideology or edict, but by realism, fairness and pragmatics.
(By way of an indication that I am fully cognizant of (and opposed to) authors sitting unnecessarily long on their database, there was in my own field a case in which a team of researchers had been funded to collect data worldwide for a global color perception database. There was considerable controversy and consternation in the field after the data-gathering because of delays in publication and release. Many researchers in the field felt that the delays in both had slowed rather than advanced research progress. Here was a case where an advance negotiation between the funders and the researchers on the permissible length of the access embargo would have been helpful, would probably have speeded the research, and would probably have resulted in greater research progress. But the punchline from such cases is certainly not that for all data the embargo should therefore be of length zero, either between data of collection and date of publication or between data of publication and date of data-release as OD. The punchline is that OD parameters need to be negotiated in advance, on a case by case basis, with an emphasis on publication as well as release as soon as fair and practicable. There is nothing like this with OA.)
In summary, unlike the case of open access to refereed research articles, the case of open access to data, like the case of open access to books, is not an open and shut one. OD mandates are desirable, and justifiable, but their parameters will have to be negotiated field by field, case by case. And the terrain will be much better prepared for the more complicated case of mandating OD once we have successfully reached the simpler (and more urgent) goal of universally mandating OA.
Stevan Harnad American Scientist Open Access Forum
Thursday, May 20. 2010
Anon: "I hope you don’t mind my asking you for guidance – I follow the IR list and you are obviously expert in this area. I am having a debate with a colleague who argues that forcing researchers to give up their data to archives and repositories breeches their autonomy and control over intellectual property. He goes so far as to position the entire open access movement in the camp of the neoliberal agenda of commodifying knowledge for capitalist dominated state authority (at the expense of researchers – often very junior team members – who actually create the data).".It is important to distinguish OA (Open Access to refereed research journal articles) from Open Data (Open Access to research data, OD).
All researchers, without exception, want to maximise access to their refereed research findings as soon as they are accepted for publication by a refereed journal, in order to maximise their uptake, usage and impact. Otherwise they would not be providing access to them, by publishing them. The impact of their research findings is what their careers, as well as research progress, are all about.
But raw data are not research findings until they have been data-mined and analysed. Hence, by the same token (except in rare exceptions), researchers are not merely data-gatherers, collecting data so that others can go on to do the data-mining and analysis: In science especially, their data-collection is driven by their theories, and their attempts to test and validate them. In the humanities too, the intellectual contributions are rarely databases themselves; the scholarly contributions are the author's analysis and interpretation of their data -- and these are often reported in books (long in the writing), which are not part of OA's primary target content, because books are definitely not all or mostly giveaway content, written solely to maximise their uptake, usage and impact (at least not yet). [See Figure, below.]
In short, with good reason, OD is not immediate, exception-free author give-away content, whereas OA is. It may be reasonable, when data-gathering is funded, that the funders stipulate how long the data may be held for exclusive data-analysis by the fundee, before it must be made openly accessible. But, in general, primary research data -- just like books, software, audio, video, and unrefereed research -- are not amenable to OA mandates because there may be good reasons why their creators do not wish to make them OA, at least not immediately. Indeed, that is the reason that all OA mandates, whether by funders or universities, are very specifically restricted to refereed research journal publications.
In the new world of OA mandates, which is merely a PostGutenberg successor to the Gutenberg world of "publish-or-perish" mandates, it is critically important to distinguish carefully what is required (and why) from what is merely recommended (and why).
Anon: "I agree there is a risk of misuse and appropriation of the open access agenda, but that is true for any technology, or any social change more generally".Researchers' unwillingness to make their laboriously gathered data immediately OA is not just out of fear of misuse and misappropriation. It is much closer to the reason that a sculptor does not do the hard work of mining rock for a sculpture only in order to put the raw rock on craigslist for anyone to buy and sculpt for themselves, let alone putting it on the street corner for anyone to take home and sculpt for themselves. That just isn't what sculpture is about. And the same is true of research (apart from some rare exceptions, like the Human Genome Project, where the research itself is the data-gathering, and the research findings are the data).
Anon: "And I believe researchers generally have more to gain than lose from sharing data but hard evidence on this point – again for data, not outputs, is almost non-existent so far. If you can direct me to any articles or arguments, I would be grateful".There is no hard evidence on this because -- except in exceptional cases -- it is simply not true. The work of science and scholarship does not end with data-gathering, it begins with it, and motivates it. If funders and universities mandated away the motivation to gather the data, they would not be left with an obedient set of data-gatherers, duly continuing to gather data so that anyone and everyone could then go ahead and data-mine it immediately. They would simply be mandating away much of the incentive to gather the data in the first place.
To put it another way: The embargo on making refereed research articles immediately OA -- the access delay that publishers seek in order to protect their revenue -- is the tail wagging the dog: Research progress and researchers' careers do not exist in the service of publishers' revenues, but vice versa. In stark contrast to this, however, the "embargo" on making primary research data OD is necessary and justified (in most cases) if researchers are to have any incentive for gathering data (and doing research) at all.
The length of the embargo is another matter, and can and should be negotiated by research funders on a field by field or even a case by case basis.
So although it is crucial not to conflate OA and OD (thereby needlessly eliciting author resistance to OA when all they really want to resist is immediate OD), there is indeed a connection between OA and OD, and universal OA will undoubtedly encourage more OD to be provided, sooner, than the current status quo does.
Anon: "An important point in addition is that the archives I work with, while aspiring to openness, cannot adopt full and unqualified open access. Issues of sensitive and confidential data, and consent terms from human research subjects, have to be respected. We strive to make data as open and free as possible, subject to these limits. Typically, agreeing to a licence specifying legal and ethical use is all that is required. So in fact, researchers do retain control, to some extent, over the terms and conditions of reuse when they deposit their data for sharing in data archives".Yes, of course even OD will need to have some access restrictions, but that is not the point, and that is not why researchers in general have good reason not be favorably disposed to immediate mandatory OD -- whereas they have no reason at all not to be favorably disposed to immediate mandatory OA.
It is also important to bear in mind that the fundamental motivation for OA is research access and progress, not research archiving and preservation (although those are of course important too). Data must of course be archived and preserved as well, but that, again, is not OD. Closed Access data-archiving would serve that purpose -- and to the extent that researchers store digital data in any form, closed access digital archiving is what all researchers do already. Proposing to help them with data-preservation is not the same thing as proposing that they make their data immediately OD.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Sunday, May 16. 2010
It's too quick to see my relentless insistence on the priority of Green OA self-archiving by authors as monomaniacal!
The reasoning is this (and it's partly practical, partly ethical):
An AAA publications manager would be perfectly entitled and justified to say:
"If authors who purport to care so much about OA to their work do not even bother to provide OA by self-archiving it -- despite the fact that AAA has given them the green light to do so -- and their institutions and funders don't even bother to mandate it, then why on earth is the finger being pointed at AAA at all (and why should we regard their cares as credible)? Is AAA supposed to be the one to sacrifice its revenues to provide something that its authors don't even care about enough to sacrifice a few keystrokes to provide for themselves?"As long as we keep focussing on where the key to providing OA isn't (i.e., the publisher-lamp-post) our research will remain in the dark.
We have to get the priorities straight. It is not enough to be ideologically "for" Green OA self-archiving and Green OA self-archiving mandates. It is not even enough to do the keystrokes to self-archive one's own work (though that's a good start, and I wonder how many OA advocates are actually doing it? the global rate hovers at about 5-20%). One has to make sure that one's own institution adopts a Green OA mandate. Then, and only then, can one go on to the next step, which is to try to persuade one's publisher to go Gold (though persuading one's funder to mandate Green would probably help more; Gold OA will come of its own accord, once we have universal Green OA).
But perhaps the most egregious misconstrual of OA priorities is not authors impugning their publisher for not going Gold before they and their institutions (and funders) go Green. That dubious distinction is reserved for institutions (and funders) who commit pre-emptively to funding Gold without first mandating Green!
PS No need for yet another central repository either! Institutional repositories are enough. Fill them. Mandate filling them. And central collections can then be harvested from them to your hearts' content. Fussing about central collections, like fussing about publishers going Gold, or about finding funds to pay for Gold (or, for that matter, fussing about copyright reform, peer review reform, publishing reform or preservation) are all all an idle waste of time, energy and attention when institutional repositories are still gapingly empty and authors' fingers are still idle...
Friday, May 14. 2010
And let's not forget the Open Access Impact Advantage: If journal affordability constraints are a direct indicator of the fact that the access problem is not small but large, the fact that in every field OA enhances both citation and download impact are indirect indicators of that same fact (apart from being benefits in their own right):
To see efforts to give research access priority over publisher revenue as "fiscal recklessness" is (yet again) a symptom of the entrenched but fallacious Gutenberg-era assumption that the (publishing) tail somehow has the natural right to keep wagging the (research) dog…
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Thursday, May 13. 2010
The University of North Texas is hosting an Open Access Symposium on Tuesday, May 18, 2010. The event features both nationally and internationally recognized leaders in the open access initiative. The symposium is intended as a catalyst to move UNT and other academic institutions in Texas forward in their consideration of institutional open access policies.
The UNT Open Access Policy Committee has just completed a first complete draft of a policy for open access to scholarly works at the University of North Texas. The Committee sees this as an initial step in broadening discussion by the UNT campus community on open access and the policy. The Policy on Open Access to Scholarly Works. This draft was distributed to the UNT Faculty Senate at its May 12, 2010 meeting:
POLICY STATEMENT (excerpts; full text here)
Wednesday, May 12. 2010
Joseph Esposito [JE] asks, in liblicense-l:
JE: “What happens when the number of author-pays open access sites grows and these various services have to compete with one another to get the finest articles deposited in their respositories?”Green OA mandates require deposit in each author's own institutional repository. The hypothesis of Post-Green-OA subscription cancellations (which is only a hypothesis, though I think it will eventually prove to be right) is that the Green OA version will prove to be enough for users, leaving peer review as the only remaining essential publishing service a journal will need to perform.
Whether on the non-OA subscription model or on the Gold-OA author-pays model, the only way scholarly/scientific journals compete for content is through their peer-review standards: The higher-quality journals are the ones with more rigorous and selective criteria for acceptability. This is reflected in their track records for quality, including correlates of quality and impact such as citations, downloads and the many rich new metrics that the online and OA era will be generating.
JE: “What will the cost of marketing to attract the best authors be?”It is not "marketing" but the journal's track record for quality standards and impact that attract authors and content in peer-reviewed research publication. Marketing is for subscribers (institutional and individual); for authors and their institutions it is standards and metrics that matter.
And, before someone raises the question: Yes, metrics can be manipulated and abused, in the short term, but cheating can also be detected, especially as deviations within a rich context of multiple metrics. Manipulating a single metric (e.g., robotically inflating download counts) is easy, but manipulating a battery of systematically intercorrelated metrics is not; and abusers can and will be named and shamed. In research and academia, this risk to track record and career is likely to counterbalance the temptation to cheat. (Let's not forget that metrics, like the content they are derived from, will be OA too...)
JE: “I am not myself aware of any financial modeling that attempts to grapple with an environment where there are not a handful of such services but 200, 400, more.”There are already at least 25,000 such services (journals) now! There will be about the same number post-Green-OA.
The only thing that would change (on the hypothesis that universal Green OA will eventually make subscriptions unsustainable) is that the 25,000 post-Green-OA journals would only provide peer review: no more print edition, online edition, distribution, archiving, or marketing (other than each journal's quality track record itself, and its metrics). Gone too would be the costs of these obsolete products and services, and their marketing.
(Probably gone too will be the big-bucks era of journal-fleet publishing. Unlike with books, it has always been the individual journal's name and track record that has mattered to authors and their institutions and funders, not their fleet-publisher's imprimatur. Software for implementing peer review online will provide the requisite economy of scale at the individual journal level: no need to co-bundle a fleet of independent journals and fields under the same operational blanket.)
JE: “As these services develop and authors seek the best one, what new investments will be necessary in such areas as information technology?”The best peer review is provided by the best peers (for free), applying the highest quality standards. OA metrics will grow and develop (independent of publishers), but peer review software is pretty trivial and probably already quite well developed (hence hopes of "patenting" new peer review "systems" are probably pipe-dreams.)
JE: “Will the fixed costs of managing such a service rise along with greater demands by the most significant authors?”The journal quality hierarchy will remain pretty much as it is now, with the highest-quality (hence most selective) journals the fewest, at the top, grading down to the many average-level journals, and then the near-vanity press at the bottom (since just about everything eventually gets published somewhere, especially in the online era).
(I also think that "no-fault peer review" will evolve as a natural matter of course -- i.e., authors will pay a standard fee per round of peer review, independent of outcome: acceptance, revision/re-refereeing or rejection. So being rejected by a higher-level journal will not be a dead loss, if the author is ready to revise for a lower-level journal in response to the higher-level journal's review. Nor will rejected papers be an unfair burden, bundled into the fee of the authors of accepted papers.)
JE: “As more services proliferate, what will the cost of submitting material on an author-pays basis be?”There will be no more new publishing services, apart from peer review (and possibly some copy-editing), and no more new journals either; 25,000 is probably enough already! And the cost per round of refereeing should not prove more than about $200.
JE: “Will the need to attract the best authors drive prices down?”There will be no "need to attract the best authors," but the best journals will get them by maintaining the highest standards.
Since the peers review for free, the cost per round of refereeing is small and pretty fixed.
JE: “If prices are driven down, is there any way for such a service to operate profitably as the costs of marketing and technology grow without attempting to increase in volume what is lost in margin?”Peer-reviewed journal publishing will no longer be big business; just a modest scholarly service, covering its costs.
JE: “If such services must increase their volume, will there be inexorable pressure to lower some of the review standards in order to solicit more papers?”There will be no pressure to increase volume (why should there be)? Scholars try to meet the highest quality standards they can meet. Journals will try to maintain the highest quality standards they can maintain.
JE: “What is the proper balance between the right fee for authors, the level of editorial scrutiny, and the overall scope of the service, as measured by the number of articles developed?”Much ado about little, here.
The one thing to remember is that there is a trade-off between quality-standards and volume: The more selective a journal, the smaller is the percentage of all articles in a field that will meet its quality standards. The "price" of higher selectivity is lower volume, but that is also the prize of peer-reviewed publishing: Journals aspire to high quality and authors aspire to be published in journals of high quality.
No-fault refereeing fees will help distribute the refereeing load (and cost) better than (as now) inflating the fees of accepted papers to cover the costs of rejected papers (rather like a shop-lifting surcharge!). Journals lower in the quality hierarchy will (as always) be more numerous, and will accept more papers, but authors are likely to continue to try a top-down strategy (as now), trying their luck with a higher-quality journal first.
There will no doubt be unrealistic submissions that can (as now) be summarily rejected without formal refereeing (or fee). The authors of papers that do merit full refereeing may elect to pay for refereeing by a higher-level journal, at the risk of rejection, but they can then use their referee reports to submit a more roadworthy version to a lower-level journal. With no-fault refereeing fees, both journals are paid for their costs, regardless of how many articles they actually accept for publication. (PotGutenberg publication means, I hasten to add, that accepted papers are certified with the name and track-record of the accepting journal, but those names just serve as the metadata for the Green OA version self-archived in the author's institutional repository.)
And let's not forget what peer-reviewed research publishing is about, and for: It is not about provisioning a publishing industry but about providing a service to research, researchers, their institutions and their funders. Gutenberg-era publication costs meant that the Gutenberg publisher evolved, through no fault of its own, into the tail that wagged the paper-trained research pooch; in the PostGutenberg era, things will at last rescale into more proper and productive anatomic proportions...Harnad, S. (2009) The PostGutenberg Open Access Journal. In: Cope, B. & Phillips, A (Eds.) The Future of the Academic Journal. Chandos.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Monday, May 10. 2010
In the case of the high-profile NIH Public Access Policy, the difference between a "Request" and a "Requirement" turned out to be substantial. Formulated initially as a "Request," the policy failed to elicit more than 5% compliance for two years. Within a year of being upgraded from a "Request" to a "Requirement," the compliance rate rose to 60%, and is since steadily approaching 100%.
It is for this reason that U. Athabasca's Open Access (OA) Policy is not listed as a mandate in ROARMAP, but only as a policy. By the very same token, however, U. Ottawa's policy is not listed at all in ROARMAP, since it is merely a commitment to provide some funds to pay to publish some U. Ottawa research output in OA journals ("Gold OA"), not a mandate to provide OA to all of U. Ottawa research output ("Green OA") by self-archiving it in an OA repository, as NIH requires and U. Athabasca recommends.
By this criterion, U. Concordia's is the first university-wide Green OA mandate in Canada. Canada also has 3 departmental OA mandates (Calgary, Guelph, Queens) and 8 funder mandates.
There is not much point in being the "first" to do something if one does not do it right: The only university that has done it right university-wide so far in Canada is Concordia. Let us hope that this will now inspire many emulators.
The other important course-correction Canada could benefit from making is to make sure that all OA mandates (university-wide, departmental and funder) are convergent and cooperative, not divergent and competitive. Here too, Concordia has adopted the right policy, promising not to require double-deposit on the part of their researchers (i.e., having to deposit in both the Concordia repository and, say, PubMed Central Canada). Universities (and research institutions) are the universal providers of all research output, funded and unfunded, across all fields.
PubMed Central Canada is a welcome advance if what Canada needed was more space (to make its research OA). But what Canada needed was to fill available space with OA content, not to make more space available -- and the only way to do that is by mandating (i.e., requiring) deposit.
Let us hope Canada's funders will have the good sense to mandate convergent university deposit rather than divergent central deposit. Central repositories like PubMed Central Canada can then harvest from Canada's network of university repositories. Deposit should be institutional; a central collection is just that -- a collection -- not a locus for direct deposit:
"Designing the Optimal Open Access Mandate"Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Sunday, May 2. 2010
Historians will look back on our planet's glacially slow transition to the optimal and inevitable outcome for refereed research dissemination in the online era -- free online access webwide -- and will point out the irony of the fact that we were so much quicker to commit scarce money to trying to reform publishing ("Gold OA") through projects like SCOAP3 and COPE than we were to commit to providing free online access ("Green OA") to our own research output (by depositing it in our institutional repositories, and mandating that it be deposited) at no extra cost at all.
Here is just the latest instance:
"SCOAP3 support in the United States almost complete!… So far, over 150 U.S. libraries and library consortia have pledged a total of over 3.2 Million dollars to the SCOAP3 initiative. This is almost the entire contribution expected from partners in the United States. Worldwide, SCOAP3 partners in 24 countries collectively pledged around 7 Million Euros. These pledges represent about 70% of the SCOAP3 funding envelope, and the initiative is getting close to its next steps to convert to Open Access the entire literature of the field of High-Energy Physics."Yet (mark my words) it will be Green OA self-archiving -- and Green OA self-archiving mandates by institutions and funders -- that actually bring us universal OA at long last, and not the limited and ineffectual "gold fever" that is "freeing" (already-free) high energy physics (SCOAP3) -- climbing toward 100% OA since 1991 and effectively there since about a decade now! -- nor the COPE commitment on the part of universities to pay to make a small portion of their own research output Gold OA -- without first committing to make all of it Green OA, cost-free.
[University presidents and provosts especially seem to be quite quick to sign open letters in support of their government's adopting an open access mandate, yet much slower to adopt an open access mandate for their own institutions!]
"Never Pay Pre-Emptively For Gold OA Before First Mandating Green OA"
American Scientist Open Access Forum
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