Wednesday, February 23. 2011
Bohannon, John (2011) Hungarian Academicians Blast Government Over Inquiry Into Research Funds. ScienceInsider February 4, 2011
"An ugly political situation in Hungary has spilled over into academia, prompting an investigation of supposed financial misdeeds on one side and claims of harassment on the other. Humanities scholars are under investigation by the government for alleged misuse of research funds. But their supporters say they are the target of a government crackdown on critics..."First, heartfelt thanks to John Bohannon at ScienceInsider for being the first English-language journalist to give these sad and worrisome developments in Hungary the international attention they so urgently needed.
Let me try to describe the situation in a nutshell in 14 points, and then encourage all viewpoints to express themselves at the ScienceInsider site, openly -- and then let the world scientific/scholarly community draw its own conclusions.
1. Hungary is a small country with a difficult historical past and a language comprehensible only to its native populace and a very few courageous foreigners.
2. In this closed system an ever-repeating cycle has evolved in which there is extreme polarization ("us vs them") and blame for most problems is laid on the "enemy," with most efforts directed toward punishing the enemy instead of solving the problem.
3. The polarization divides roughly along right-wing and "left-liberal" lines, but these are not quite the same as they are in western europe and north america -- as will become evident if this discussion manages to bring the voices -- which are currently expressing themselves only in Hungarian -- out into the open.
4. I will point out only that the current government is right-wing, and has shown some inclination lately to control the press more than any other western democracy. I will also point out that the former government was left-wing, and highly corrupt. The government before that one was likewise corrupt, and that government happened to be the very same government as the current government. And before that was the communist government, for about four decades, likewise corrupt. And before that was the wartime Fascist government, likewise corrupt…
5. So mutual accusations of corruption are completely uninformative and unhelpful.
6. The present "philosopher affair" concerns this same recurrent pattern: The Hungarian research grant system is extremely inefficient (as it is in many countries, but probably even moreso in Hungary), as well as very low on funds (as it is in many countries, but probably moreso in Hungary) because of the global financial crisis. The philosopher affair concerns alleged irregularities connected with research funding.
7. All researchers, everywhere, complain about the funding system: It is unfair. It gives too much money to unworthy projects; it is biassed; some research and researchers are favoured over others. Let's call these complaints that rival researchers (and rival research fields) make about one another all the time, everywhere, the "generic" complaints.
8. Researchers (and their institutions, and also their funders and funding systems) are also notorious for being sloppy and inefficient (they miss deadlines, they over- or under-spend budgets, they make accounting and reporting errors, etc.). This too is familiar. But researchers are also mostly honest, everywhere, and they try to remedy their sloppiness once it is pointed out -- or if the system becomes sufficiently efficient to make sure slip-ups are prevented from happening in the first place. Let's call these complaints about the implementation and efficiency of compliance with the funding system "systemic" complaints.
9. In addition, there occasionally occurs a genuine instance of major and intentional misuse of research funds on the part of researchers. If researchers do something that is against the rules of the research funding, their funds are revoked and they may have to pay a penalty. Let us call accusations of having done something like this accusations of "rule-breaking."
10. If the intentional researcher malfeasance is not only rule-breaking, but against the law, then the researchers are taken to court. But such things are very rare, and serious, so charges of having done illegal things are not made lightly. Let us call accusations of having done something like this accusations of "criminality."
11. Now it can be stated what is at issue in the philosopher affair in Hungary: A small number of philosophers has been singled out and accused of a bundle of things, but it is not in the least clear whether the things in the bundle are in the first two categories (generic and systemic complaints) or the second two categories (rule-breaking or criminal charges). The evidence has not been made known. The accusations are blurred and keep mutating. What is aired is mostly just generic and systemic complaints familiar to every funded researcher in the world -- and those do not distinguish the accused philosophers in any way from any other funded researcher anywhere on the planet -- and yet the blurred bundle keeps being treated as rule-breaking or criminal charges, and indeed police have been called in to investigate (with no result, other than researcher harassment by police investigations). They have also been looked into by a governmental research funding overseer (Gyula Budai).
12. The researchers involved are reputable researchers of long standing, some of them world famous. It is not stated why they were singled out for these accusations. The accusations and their targets are not the result of a global, systematic, random audit to detect malfeasance, within or between fields: They are simply a heterogeneous and constantly changing bundle of ad hoc accusations, levelled against these philosophers out of the blue, and then turned into a sustained press campaign of presumptive criminality and vilification by the Government-associated right wing press.
13. Since all the accused are of the "left-liberal" persuasion, and the two that are widely known internationally are also prominent critics of the current government (but also of past governments, including left-wing ones), the most likely hypothesis is that the accusations are yet again the result of Hungary's unfortunate tendency to blame problems (in this case the inefficiency of the funding system? the corruption of the prior government?) on the "enemy," and to punish the enemy for them -- instead of solving the problem (by reforming the funding system, if that is the problem).
14. All indications -- and of course this is the most worrisome aspect of it all -- are that the campaign of accusation, police-intervention, and press vilification are taking place with the encouragement and involvement of the government, bent, yet again, on punishing its predecessors, critics and other "enemies" rather than on using their turn in office to solve the ongoing problems of the country -- and on setting an example of governing uncorruptly.
Discussion -- but temperate discussion only -- is now invited at the ScienceInsider site from all sides.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
28 January 2011
To: Professor József Pálinkás, President, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
From: Undersigned External and Honorary Members, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Dear Professor Pálinkás,
It is impossible for scholars and scientists living in the rest of the world to be unaware of the very worrisome developments taking place in Hungary today. There is dismay about the curbs on press freedoms, but the latest developments have struck home in the Academy.
Every funded scholar and scientist in the world knows that research grants are provided to support the conduct of research and the communication of its results through conferences, student support and publications.
We also know that even in the wealthiest nations, research is lamentably underfunded, especially in today's difficult financial times.
We all know, too, that every funded researcher in the world is vulnerable to superficial and unsupported charges -- by laymen who do not understand or perhaps do not even believe in scholarly and scientific research -- to the effect that public money is being wasted on research that is not worth conducting and not worth disseminating.
This is why research funding is accorded on the basis of peer review, by qualified scholars and scientists, and not on the basis of opinion polls, let alone allegations by every skeptic, cynic, or worse.
Most important of all, whenever a baseless attack on publicly funded research happens to appear in the media -- assuming that the attack is not so vicious or personal as to be libelous or defamatory -- it is ignored and tolerated as one of the inevitable, if not always admirable, manifestations of freedom of the press and freedom of opinion.
In particular, the worldwide scientific and scholarly community knows well that the occasional public venting, especially in hard economic times, of an individual's animus against research spending in general, or against a particular line of research that the critic happens to dislike, is to be expected in a Gaussian distribution of opinion, freely expressible in public.
If necessary (though it is rarely necessary), supporters of research, better informed about its conduct and purpose, including the research community itself, are free to rally in the defense of research and researchers when they fall under the shadow of disinformation.
But in a nation where it is the freedom of the press and freedom of opinion that are themselves falling under a shadow, and where familiar generic criticisms, so general (and superficial, and ludicrous) that they could literally have been made about every single funded researcher on the planet today -- unmerited funding, misspent on conducting and communicating unworthy research -- are coupled with far more sinister and borderline-libelous allegations -- pocketing the research money instead of using it for its intended purpose -- the first thing the international scholarly community would expect by way of a response is a rallying of the national scholarly community in defense of the research and researchers thus attacked.
Instead, what we hear is that in Hungary legal action is being contemplated against the researchers that are under attack.
We write to ask that the Hungarian Academy of Sciences take a prompt, prominent and unequivocal public position in support of the research and researchers thus attacked, and against such empty, ad hominem attacks, to which every scholar and scientist in the world is vulnerable, if they are allowed to metastasize unchallenged.
It is noteworthy, in particular, that it is philosophical research -- mental work for which it is not laboratory results but conferences, student support and writings themselves that are the product that the research is funded to produce – that is particularly vulnerable to diffuse generic attacks on the worth of the research and the integrity of the researchers.
Hence research in Philosophy and History -- a formal division of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences -- is in especial need of the Academy's explicit support.
Nor is it irrelevant that philosophers -- like journalists -- are often thorns in the sides of governments, on account of their critical thinking -- critical thinking of which Hungary today seems to stand in greater need than ever in recent times.
A national Academy of Sciences is the first, natural defender of the exercise of critical thinking in research. As external members and honorary members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences we confidently but urgently await the prompt, prominent and unequivocal statement of the Academy's public position in support of the research and researchers in question.
It is the principle of assessment through informed peer review -- as opposed to public trial by sinister, uninformed and unsupported allegations -- that is at stake here, and the stakes are especially high for science and scholarship.
With collegial salutations,
[list of co-signatories below being updated daily]
Adhya, Sankar, NCI-NIH, HM
Alföldy, Géza, U Heidelberg, EM
Aszalos Adorján, NCI,NIH, EM
Balabán, Alexandru ,Texas A&M U, HM
Boskovits, Miklós, U Florence, EM
Bruner, Jerome, NYU, HM
Changeux, Jean-Pierre, Inst Pasteur, HM
Cocking, Edward, U Nottingham, HM
Csörgő Miklós, Carleton U, EM
Dallós, Peter, Northwestern U, HM
Déak, István, Columbia U, EM
Demchenko, A, Nat Ac Sci, Ukraine, HM
Diehl, Volker, U Cologne, HM
Dressler, Wolfgang, U Vienna, HM
Evans, Robert, University of Oxford, HM
Fellegi Iván Péter, Statistics Canada, EM
Flores, Ricardo, U Politea, Valencia, HM
Fried Johannes, Goethe I Franfurt, HM
Gelenbe, Erol, Imperial College, HM
Gertler, János, George Mason U, EM
Grafarend Erik, U Stuttgart, HM
Győrffy, Balázs, U Bristol, EM
Hartkamp, Arthur, Radboud U, HM
Hajdu, János, U Cologne, EM
Harnad, Stevan, UQŕM, EM
Hofstede, Geert, U Maastricht, HM
Hopwood, David, J Innes Ctr, HM
Hortobágyi, Gabriel N., Texas U, EM
Horváth, John, U Maryland, EM
Husar, Rudolf, Washington U, EM
Jovin, Thomas, M-PI, Goettingen, HM
Kaczorek, Tadeusz, Warsaw U Tech, HM
Kahane, J-P, U Paris-Sud Orsay, HM
Kahneman, Daniel, Princeton U, HM
Karády, Victor, CEU, EM
Kazmierkowski, M, Warsaw Tech U, HM
Kende, Péter, BFTDK, EM
Lax, Peter, NYU Courant Instiute, HM
Lee, Y-T, Pres, Academia Sinica, HM
Lempert, Lászlo, Purdue U, EM
Lengyel Peter, Yale U, EM
Lichtenthaler Frieder, TU Darmstadt, HM
Maier, Giulio, Technical U Milan, HM
Mészáros, István, U Sussex, EM
Mroz, Zenon, Polish Acad of Sciences, HM
Muller, Miklos, Rockefeller U, EM
Márkus, György, U Sydney, EM
Pauncz, Ruben (Rezso), Technion, EM
Pápay, Gyula, U Rostock, EM
Pavláth, Atilla, USDA, EM
Pecht, Israel, Weizmann Institute, HM
Petsko , Gregory A., Brandeis U, HM
Polányi, John, U Toronto, HM
Polonyi, János, U Strasbourg, EM
Pretsch, Ernö, ETH Zuerich, EM
Raven, Peter, Missour Bot Garnad, HM
Thirring Walter, U Vienna, HM
Thoma, Manfred, U Hannover, HM
Thorgeirsson , Snorri S. NIH, HM
Thurau, Klaus, U Munich, HM
Tomasello, Michael, MPI Leipzig, HM
Ullmann, Ágnes, Institut Pasteur, EM
Varadhan Srinivasa, NYU Courant, HM
Vető Miklós, U Poitiers, EM
Walter-Klingenstein Grete, U Graz, HM
Wilke, F. Ludwig, Tech U Berlin, HM
Zieme, Peter, Berlin Acad of Sciences, HM
Zsidó, László, U Roma, EM
XII. Fej., 70/G. §
(1) A Magyar Köztársaság tiszteletben tartja és támogatja a tudományos és művészeti élet szabadságát, a tanszabadságot és a tanítás szabadságát.
(2) Tudományos igazságok kérdésében dönteni, kutatások tudományos értékét megállapítani kizárólag a tudomány művelői jogosultak.)
(1) The Republic of Hungary honours and supports the freedom of science/scholarship, arts, ... etc.
(2) The sole parties entitled to decide questions of scientific/scholarly validity and to evaluate scientific/scholarly research are the scientific/scholarly researchers themselves.
Links to descriptions of the ongoing events in question:
On January 28, the Open Letter to the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Joseph Palinkas, had asked:
"...that the Hungarian Academy of Sciences take a prompt, prominent and unequivocal public position in support of the research and researchers thus attacked, and against such empty, ad hominem attacks, to which every scholar and scientist in the world is vulnerable, if they are allowed to metastasize unchallenged."On January 31 Professor Palinkas's subsequent press release stated:
"It is the authorities who are licensed to uncover infringements of the law and to take action, within the framework of the law, against the perpetrators of such infringements. It is the role of the members of the press to provide public opinion with information on all this in a credible and balanced manner, and at the same time to avoid unjust accusations and pre-emptive judgments…On February 4, the AAAS ScienceInsider reported:
"In a 31 January (in Hungarian), the president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, physicist József Pálinkás, called for restraint -- '[W]ork in progress is threatened by unprofessional and ill-considered comments, and by deliberately generated political mud-slinging, be this from the world of academia, from public administration, or from the activities of the media.' -- But in an e-mail exchange today with ScienceInsider, Pálinkás seemed to backpedal."It is this backpedalling that the Open Letter must resolutely persist in trying to prevent.
Professor Palinkas has since replied to the Open Letter. A response to Professor Paslinkas's reply has also been sent, closing with the suggestion:
"... that what the Hungarian government needs to do now is to focus on trying to reform its deformed funding system, rather than on trying to take revenge on its critics for the deformities of the old system." [full reply to Professor Palinkas appears below]The AAAS ScienceInsider article is the first English account to have given the developments the international attention they sorely needed. I hope that together with our Open Letter this will now generate far more intense external scrutiny, far and wide.
If it does, it will have rendered Hungarian science and scholarship -- and indeed worldwide science and scholarship, as there is no dividing frontier there -- a great service.
Concerned scholars and scientists worldwide are invited to make their views known at: http://bit.ly/SciHung
Dear Professor Palinkas,
Thank you for your reply to the Open Letter.
Let me begin by stating that even though it was not a response to our Open Letter of January 28, your public statement of January 31 has more or less expressed what the Open Letter was urging, and for that, many thanks!
"'To decide on matters of scientific truth, and to establish the scientific value of any particular research are in the sole authority of scholars'… It is the realm of the authorities to uncover breaches of law and prosecute transgressors within the framework of the law. The press should report on such cases to the public in a reliable and well-balanced manner, without unfounded accusations or foregone conclusions."There are six important points in your construal of the Open Letter that require some clarification, however. As the author of the Open Letter, I take full responsibility for its text, and hence for these clarifications:
1. Crimes and Politics. Let it be made clear from the outset that neither I, nor the text -- nor, I am sure, any of the signatories -- said, implied or believe that crimes should not be investigated and punished, in Hungary or anywhere else.
The real questions are two: (1) Have researchers really committed crimes (as widely accused, in some sectors of the press, of doing)? (2) And is the singling out of the accused researchers for selective criminal investigation politically motivated?
2. Laws, Rules and Enforcement. Apparently the crime (as confirmed in your letter) that the researchers in question are alleged to have committed is "self-contracting" (receiving grant funds through a private company instead of through one's institution, presumably in order to pay lower taxes on the sum received).
This practice would certainly be frowned upon in other countries, and would probably be illegal (or contrary to funding rules) in most. But the fundamental question is whether it is currently illegal or unruleful in Hungary, and if illegal or unruleful, are the laws or rules currently being systematically enforced?
I am sure that none of the signatories would disagree that if researchers are proved to have engaged in illegal or unruleful practices, the laws and rules should be enforced, and the penalties applied, according to the rules and the law.
But that does not quite answer the concerns about selective political motivation:
3. Selective Investigation. I hope you will agree that if it were the case that the practice of self-contracting was in fact widespread in Hungary (among the citizenry, including among funded researchers), and if the current laws and rules were unclear as to its legality, and not being systematically enforced, then selectively targeting specific researchers for investigation would be, as they say, "as easy as shooting fish in a barrel."
Under this hypothesis, the rightful target would be the current research funding system's rules and enforcement (which, in your own statement, Professor Palinkas, you have described as being badly in need of reform), and possibly also the laws of the land: not researchers singled out for selective retroactive scrutiny (for whatever ulterior reason, whether complaints about the size or merit of their grants, or opposition to the recipients' political or intellectual views).
4. Press Freedom. The Open Letter's reference to "dismay about curbs on press freedom" in Hungary today is based on reports that most of the world has seen, transmitted via the international press, about Hungary's new press curb law, which differs from, and is under criticism by, the European Union. What one also hears -- again via the international press -- is that this new press law will not be implemented until after Hungary's presidency of the EU expires in July.
This was the Open Letter's only mention or implication about freedom of the press in Hungary today. There was certainly nothing said or implied about the need to further curb the press! Rather, it was very explicitly stated in the letter that press exaggeration or misinformation should be ignored or corrected; in particular, in the present instance, where it spills over into the Academy, it needs to be publicly corrected by the Academy (which your January 31 statement has now gone a long way toward doing).
5. Academic Responsibility. It is a fact, though, that although Hungary's press is still free (at least for the duration of the current EU presidency), it is, and has long been highly partisan and polarized. It is also a fact that the attacks on the accused researchers issue from one pole of this highly polarized partisan press.
It is not a fact -- but a hypothesis with enough circumstantial evidence to be taken seriously -- that the partisan pole in question is highly influenced by the current government, and looks in some respects as if it has become the government's house organ.
The Open Letter was a request that the Hungarian Academy of Sciences take a principled public stand in support of the accused researchers against prejudgments and vilification from the partisan press (not a request to curb the freedom of the press, nor to obstruct justice).
You have now done that, Professor Palinkas -- though only coincidentally, a few days after the Open Letter was sent; not as a response to our Open Letter, which, as you note, you received only afterward. Your statement is of course just as welcome, regardless of what induced you to make it at that time.
6. Defending Hungary. Our Open Letter was certainly not an attack on Hungary -- a country of which the letter's author as well as all of its signatories are proud and fond, just as we are proud of the honour of being members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Quite the contrary, the concerns and the criticism (about the new press law and what looks very much like the selective targeting of critics) were of course about the current government of Hungary, which, even when elected by a 2/3 majority, is not synonymous with Hungary itself. The Open Letter, in both letter and spirit, was intended as much to defend Hungary as to defend its targeted critics -- as, no doubt, was your own January 31 statement – from the excesses resulting from its current extreme partisan polarization.
(As you note in your letter, Professor Dennett, one of the original signatories of the Open Letter, subsequently wrote that as a result of the "torrent of messages both condemning and supporting" his having signed, "I must withdraw my signature in order not to be drawn into this polarized atmosphere.")
I would like to close by seconding your own open statement of January 31:
"The social science research programme launched by the Government on my initiative in the framework of the Széchenyi Plan in 2001 was substantially retailored by the next government in 2002. It became professionally unfounded, financially illogical and legally vulnerable… It is our common interest that such a deformed, incomprehensible and counterproductive system of research funding should be transformed to normalcy. What is needed is an up-to-date, thoroughly transparent research funding system that provides a balanced support of basic research, technical development and innovation….The success of the work we have begun could be seriously jeopardised by artificially induced, amateurish, inconsiderate, politically motivated mud-slinging whether it comes from the areas of science, public administration, or from the media."I would add only the suggestion that what the Hungarian government needs to do now is to focus on trying to reform its deformed funding system, rather than on trying to take revenge on its critics for the deformities of the old system.
NYIRI (full posting):
Quote/commentary on Nyri posting:
The following is posted with permission from a recent email exchange with Professor Nyiri:
NYIRI (Jan 28):End of email exchange.
The reader may wish to compare the end of the posted version of Professor Nyiri's statement with the end of the email version, below [emphasis added]:
NYIRI POSTING (Feb 4):HARNAD:
I leave it to the reader to judge the degree to which this sort of thinking is illustrative of the very sad and worrisome "us vs. them" score-settling tendency (stretching back 97 years or beyond, in the view of Professor Hornok) that I described in my opening posting "Bringing It All Out Into the Open."
(I will add only that it is not at all apparent how Professor Nyiri's response -- that he won top points in an impeccable and transparent selection process for a highly interesting and novel research project that was funded and for which he is very proud, no doubt justifiably -- answers Professor Mayer's observation that the size of the funding Professor Nyiri was awarded was no less than any of the "abnormally high amount of project sums" he refers to. But let us agree that bickering about this sort thing is common among rival researchers (COMP) and is clearly not about the high crimes and misdemeanors that we have agreed to call CRIM and about which we are concerned here.)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
HORNOK (full posting):
Quote/commentary on Hornok posting:
Professor Hornok’s posting gives what sounds like a very sanguine public statement about the health of Hungary’s current grant funding system (although he neglects to mention how Mr. Budai picks his targets!). But reading Professor Hornok’s account, one would wonder why Professor Palinkas, the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (in a statement whose URL is helpfully provided by Professor Magyar in one of his postings) wrote:
PALINKAS (Jan 31):HARNAD:
It is especially reassuring to hear the following from Professor Hornok:
HORNOK (Feb 4):HARNAD:One becomes, however, a trifle less reassured, when one hears the following words from the same Professor Hornok, spoken (in Hungarian) in a rather different context (the Batthyany Circle of Professors) only a few days earlier (translated here):
Hungary needs reform, not revenge. What foreign researchers and funders and expatriate Hungarian researchers need if they are to be attracted to Hungary is a clear, efficient, transparent new system of rules and procedures for research funding, with ongoing auditing to ensure that current and future research funds are indeed being spent according to the new rules and procedures -- not an arbitrary, retroactive, selective show-trial for research funds allegedly misspent long ago, under the old system of rules and procedures, under another government. (The same constructive focus on reform rather than the vindictive focus on revenge might help solve other problems Hungary faces as well...)
American Scientist Open Access Forum
VANCSO (Full Posting):
COMP/MOOT/CRIM & PRO/DEN
I would like to suggest that we all use some abbreviations marking important distinctions that will make this discussion easier for observers to follow and understand:
The allegations against the philosophers are of three fundamentally different kinds that need to be carefully distinguished. The first kind – “COMP” (for complaints) -- consists of the kinds of generic allegations that researchers everywhere often make about one another’s funding and about the funding system (the allotments were unfair, the system was unfair, etc.). The second kind – “CRIM” (for crimes) -- alleges that either rules or laws have been broken by the philosophers in question. The third kind – “MOOT” (for moot) – alleges that there were egregious practices by the philosophers in question – practices against which there should have been rules or laws, but those rules and laws do not yet exist, and did not exist at the time.
If the reader does not keep clearly in mind the distinctions among generic and systemic complaints (COMP), allegations of practices that ought to be criminalized (MOOT) and allegations of criminality (CRIM), it will be impossible to follow the discussion or draw any coherent conclusion.
At those polarized points in the discussion where the COMP/MOOT/CRIM distinction is particularly crucial, let us call the two contending sides “PRO” (for proponents of criminal allegations [CRIM] against the philosophers) and “DEN” (for deniers of CRIM allegations against the philosophers).
It is the contention of PRO that the accused philosophers have committed crimes (CRIM) and that the deniers (DEN) are biased in favor of the accused, and trying to obstruct justice.
It is the contention of DEN that no crimes (CRIM) have been committed by the accused philosophers, but, rather -- for undisclosed reasons, suspected to be a government policy of retribution against its predecessor government’s corruption and selective harassment of its current critics – COMP and MOOT have been systematically escalated by PRO into allegations of crime (CRIM) against the accused philosophers.
In commenting and responding, it will be a great help if everyone identifies clearly when they are speaking of COMP, MOOT or CRIM (and, where relevant, whether their own position is PRO or DEN regarding CRIM in particular).
Quote/Commentary on Vancso posting:
It is important for everyone to note that all sides – both PRO and DEN – agree on this point. The inadequacy of the current funding system and the need for reform are not a point of disagreement.
(1) Research funding requires a system of reliable, rigorous accountability, to make sure that funds are properly used, in accordance with explicit funding rules and procedures, as well as with the law of the land.
(2) If the rules and procedures and/or the methods of auditing and accountability of the previous government’s funding system were inadequate (as everyone agrees they were) then that system of rules and procedures and its methods of auditing and accountability need to be reformed. And if the prior law of the land was not adequate, then that too must be changed.
(3) But what is a first fundamental point of disagreement between PRO and DEN is that, if the prior system's rules and procedures and its methods of auditing and accountability were indeed inadequate and in need of reform (as everyone agrees they were) then what is needed is to reform the system, not to seek retroactive retribution against an arbitrarily targeted subset of scholars to avenge the fact that the prior system was inadequate.
(4) The second fundamental point of disagreement between PRO and DEN is that if retrospective recriminations and retribution are to take priority over reform, then that retribution can only be done even-handedly: That means that either a systematic total audit must be done of all prior funding under the old system in the time-frame in question (the past ten years) -- or at least the systematic audit of a blind random sample -- to identify whether and which research projects have either violated the old rules or broken the existing laws (CRIM).
(5) What is in no way acceptable or justifiable is to single out a handful of funded research projects a priori -- for whatever a priori reason, and certainly not COMP or MOOT reasons – for selective allegations of CRIM and selective investigations of CRIM -- without first having done a systematic and even-handed prior comparison with the rest of the research funded under the old system to see whether any egregious cases really emerge.
(6) For if all or most or even many of the funded research projects during this period show the same symptoms of the inadequacy of the current funding system, then selectively singling out the accused – merely on COMP or MOOT grounds – is merely arbitrary scape-goating and harassment.
Yes indeed, but has fraud (CRIM) been demonstrated? Has criminality been proven? Are these not rather strong words to be used when nothing has been proven and the only thing that seems certain is that the rules and procedures and the auditing and answerability of the existing funding system were inadequate? Performing in accordance with the rules and procedures and the auditing and answerability of an inadequate system (whether COMP or MOOT) is not synonymous with CRIM.
And if the presumption is that there have indeed been significant violations of the existing rules and procedures of the existing (inadequate) system during the time period in question (CRIM), then on what basis have the 5-6 accused philosophers in particular been singled out for this presumption?
Violations (if any) of the existing rules and procedures (CRIM) of an inadequate system could have been frequent or rare or anything in between. The way to find out is through a systematic audit (total or blind/random), across all funded fields.
This is indisputably true, PRO and DEN both agree on it, and if it had been decided to do an exhaustive retroactive audit of all research projects funded during the decade in question – or even a blind random sample across projects and fields – no one could or would have cried foul, either at the audit or the outcome (if the outcome was that some projects had either broken rules or the law [CRIM], whereas many or most had not).
It is a pragmatic question whether -- after 10 years of implementing a funding system whose rules and procedures, and methods of accountability, were inadequate -- the best use of time and funds is to do a total retroactive audit in order to find and punish prior infractions, or rather to channel efforts into designing and implementing a reformed funding system, with clear rules and procedures, and rigorous methods of ongoing auditing and accountability.
But whether the decision is for proactive reform or retroactive retribution, the methods have to be fair and unbiased. Singling out a handful of philosophers for selective scrutiny, with no population baseline for comparison, is at best an ad hoc fishing expedition and at worst ad hominem harassment.
Undisputed. This is not the subject of disagreement.
If the initiative in question here is the Open Letter -- by External and Honorary members of the Hungarian Academy of Science asking the President to support the accused philosophers and oppose those accusing them of unproven wrongdoing -- it is not at all clear why Professor Vancso describes this as interference in a legal inquiry.
If public accusations (PRO) of criminality (CRIM) against the philosophers by the press and public officials (including the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) are not interfering with any legal inquiry, then how are public statements in their defense (DEN) doing so?
Is it not reasonable to ask why the inquiry was directed at this group of philosophers? what the basis for the selection and comparison was? and why the outcome is being pre-judged and the accused being vilified in the Government-supported press when there has been no factual or juridical outcome
Charges (CRIM) are easy to make, but what is the evidence, and what is the verdict? Under Hungary's tax laws (I am told), it is currently legal (MOOT) and widely done (among laymen, professionals and researchers alike) for individuals to receive income in private corporations that are taxed at lower rates than personal income. That sounds like one of the laws worth reforming.
But it is not at all clear why these philosophers been singled out to be charged with this, since it is so widespread, and ostensibly legal (MOOT). Was a systematic audit done, and these philosophers turned out to be the only practitioners, or among the few? Or is the practice common, and they were singled out to be accused of it for another reason?
It is not at all clear why claiming that crimes (CRIM) have been committed and proven (as is already repeatedly being done in this Forum) is not "jumping to conclusions prior to unveiling justice" (PRO) whereas saying they have not (DEN), is.
The Open Letter is an Open Letter, and of course Internal members are free to co-sign. They were not explicitly invited in order not to put them on the spot, one way or the other. Surely this point is not difficult to understand.
The defenders against the accusations (DEN) certainly share Professor Vancso's belief that no one should rush into premature and unsubstantiated conclusions without facts. But it is unfortunately not at all clear that the promulgators of the accusations themselves (PRO) share that belief.
I am not sure what Professor Vancso means by "an emotional discussion broke out also in this forum" (if by forum he means the exchange of emails among the signatories of the Open Letter. Professor Vancso wrote his own response to the Open Letter on the day it was sent (January 28), branching it to the first 3 signatories and the President of the Academy, and to my knowledge, the only other communication was my invitation to him (on February 5) to post his views to ScienceInsider (which he has now kindly done, for which many thanks!).
But what was the “emotional discussion”? Is Professor Vancso referring to the present forum (ScienceInsider?) (Perhaps there was another series of email exchanges to which not everyone on Professor Vancso’s original CC list was privy?)
Apart from this, I would add that it is indeed true, quite symmetrically, that both the PRO and DEN lack facts. However, there is also an asymmetry that is not being very conscientiously acknowledged: the presumption of innocence until/unless guilt is proven. Already several who have posted to ScienceInsider have illustrated how confidently one can pass from acknowledging that no one knows whether crimes have been committed at all, to speaking of the obviousness of the crimes (CRIM) -- indeed the long history of crimes -- of the accused.
There is no smokescreen of "general academic principles" here (are principles smokescreens?): It is not known that anyone has committed any crime. Hence the only question is, why are so many people speaking about CRIM in connection with the philosophers in question? Why were they singled out? And why is there this polarization between PRO and DEN when everyone (including the Academy) should be taking the side of presumptive innocence until/unless facts prove otherwise
Again, there is no disagreement at all that ugly and polarized accusations will not help unveil the truth. But let us not forget that the only accused ones are the philosophers in question, and they are accused of having committed crimes (CRIM); those ugly and polarized accusations against them are coming from their accusers (PRO); and the other side is defending (DEN) from them. Unlike the accused philosophers, no one is being accused (let alone prosecuted) of a crime by the defenders. (Please let us not confuse the fact that (1) the two sides, PRO and DEN, do not always have the most flattering opinion of one another with (2) accusations of crime [CRIM].)
My own guess (but Professor Vancso can correct me on this) is that the "emotional discussion" to which Professor Vancso refers was in fact the "torrent of messages both condemning and supporting" his having signed the Open Letter that eventually persuaded Dan Dennett – the kindest and fairest of men, someone I love and admire, and to whom I am greatly indebted personally -- to ask me to transmit to the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences the message that "I simply do not know enough about the specific issues to have a responsible opinion about how the principles enunciated in the letter, to which I do fully subscribe, should be applied in this situation... I must withdraw my signature in order not to be drawn into this polarized atmosphere." (The resultant emotion in the PRO press all the ensuing week was jubilation! The polarized atmosphere is now on display here.)
My hope is that the ScienceInsider forum will show that when it comes to taking sides between accusing (PRO) of crime (CRIM) and defending against accusations of crime (DEN), the truth is not necessarily in the middle.
But first we need a few more iterations of this discussion to get all the prima facie allegations (COMP, MOOT and CRIM) (and the motives for making them) out into the open.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
"MAGYAR" (full posting):
Quote/commentary on "MAGYAR" posting:
Reminder to the reader in this litany of allegations: Is this a claim that the law has been broken (CRIM)? Or that there were practices that were permissible under the current funding system that ought to me made impermissible (MOOT)? Or is this just a generic complaint that researchers have received more funding than I think they deserved (COMP)?
Surely whether or not there has been “an obvious violation of the law” (CRIM) is for the courts to decide. Apart from that, all we have here is a confident accusation of criminality (PRO).
It is not clear whether under these circumstances either PRO or DEN are a reliable source of facts.But is it obvious that if a philosopher is “listed” in one of the projects this means he is biased, or “part of the plot” (what plot?). Is this fact obvious in the same way that there has been “an obvious violation of the law” (CRIM)?
The government-side press has been public about the alleged evidence of the alleged crime (PRO). That is undisputed. There is some difficulty, however, in following the logic of what follows: Should the non-government-side press (DEN) have accepted those allegations as proven? Should it have published an admission of guilt (CRIM)? Perhaps a disclosure of the cost of the dinners? What is the point?
"MAGYAR": “So, what Harnad and Bohannon say is just ignorance. They don't mention the money that was pocketed by these philosophers through contracts signed with themselves, with their very own businesses, etc. All these facts are public, including the amounts that landed in their hands. And at least Harnad should be able to read Hungarian...”HARNAD:
It is not at all obvious to what extent these are either facts or public. But what is most non-obvious of all is whether they are crimes (CRIM), i.e., illegal. And if they are not illegal, whether they ought to be made illegal (MOOT) – or whether instead they were legitimate uses of the awarded funds to pay for salaries or the conduct of research, and simply became the object of complaints (COMP) from those who were not awarded funds. None of this is at all obvious, whether or not one reads Hungarian, and regardless of whom one listens to. One can nevertheless form one’s own provisional judgment, and that can indeed be based on something that is obvious: That there is no basis – obvious or subtle -- for concluding that any crime (CRIM) has been committed; and hence that those who argue that it is obvious that a crime has been committed (PRO) are obviously wrong. Their motive is unclear, but it is clear that the accused philosophers (and any others who become similar targets) need to be defended against such confident allegations of “obvious” criminality.
It is not clear whether Mr. "Magyar" is alleging that the drafters and the signatories of the Open Letter are obstructing justice. (If so, I don’t plan to try to sue him for libel!) As stated in the Open Letter, erroneous, hyperbolic and tendentious public assertions are made all the time in the media, worldwide, and are and should be ignored (especially when they are about (and by) researchers!). In Hungary today, though, it seems that certain kinds of tendentious public assertions (PRO) are not only given heed, but even acted upon (perhaps even encouraged) by the authorities. I know no reason not to have confidence in the freedom of the courts in Hungary; the grounds for confidence in the freedom of the press are perhaps not quite as firm. But is Mr. "Magyar" suggesting that if things are alleged in Magyar Nemzet that makes them facts? Or is it things that are alleged without a subsequent libel suit that thereby become facts?
We would have to watch out indeed, if this were to become the way that facts are now determined in Hungary. Our Open Letter was not written to obstruct justice, but to try to preserve it – from this.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
[Note: This is a response to an anonymous posting to the ScienceInsider discussion forum. In Hungary, left-liberal critics are being systematically harassed in a smear campaign abetted by the Hungarian right-wing government. The ScienceInsider forum was intended to bring these tactics out into the open. Here is an instance where an anonymous poster tried such a smear tactic against me, suggesting that the reason I launched the Open Letter and campaign in support of the accused philosophers was for self-promotion, citing data on self-edits on my Wikipedia entry by way of incriminating evidence.]
I first posted the following to ScienceInsider, explaining why my reply would appear here rather than there:
For the reasons already stated in the Anonymity FAQ, I won't respond on Science Insider to Anonymous's enterprising attempt to put a sinister spin on trivial Wikipedia data. But for those for whom the nonsense (and mischief) is not already transparent, I have responded openly on Open Access Archivangelism.1. Most Wikipedia authors and editors are anonymous, or, rather, pseudonymous. My decision to use my real name as my Wikipedia login -- the one that permitted "Anonymous" to make his shocking discovery -- is, as far as I know, relatively rare on Wikipedia. I did it very deliberately from the outset in 2005, because (for many reasons) I am opposed to anonymous, unanswerable Wikipedia puttering.
2. As far as I know, most contemporary academics who have a Wikipedia page either manage their own page or have their students do it. But few use their own names as their Wikipedia logins.
3. Hence it would have been impossible for Anonymous to make any objective comparisons between the number of self-edits I make on my own entry and the number of self-edits other authors make on their own entries. His data are hence just empty numerology -- all the moreso since my Wikipedia entry is relatively tiny, and the 43 corrections and updates I've done since 2005 have been tinier still. (E.g., I today removed -- for the third time [right there that's already 3/43 of the total edits since 2005 that Anonymous has so helpfully counted for me!] -- a misattribution someone kept adding, wrongly crediting me with contributions to the work of my mentor.)
4. Anonymous's accusations about violating the Wikipedia rules on "Autobiographies" and "Conflict of Interest" are nonsense not only because (i) managing one's own Wikipedia entry is permissible and widely done, but because (ii) I reveal my identity openly, hence anyone in the (extremely officious!) ranks of Wikipedia's self-appointed editorial hierarchy could at any time have blocked me for "self-promotion" on my entry if I had ever done anything that looked like self-promotion across all those years:
"In clear-cut cases, it is permissible to edit pages connected to yourself. So, you can revert vandalism; but of course it has to be simple, obvious vandalism and not a content dispute. Similarly, you should feel free to remove mistaken or unreferenced out-of-date facts about yourself…. and so on."5. In reality, my Wikipedia entry is extremely short, low-key and (if I may say so) modest, among entries of academics (i.e., those who bother to have a Wikipedia entry at all -- or bother with policing their entry if others have created one for them).
6. Not only is my number of self-edits on my Wikipedia entry actually quite low for a current item that has been up since almost the inception of Wikipedia, but I didn't even create my entry! I discovered it there one day in 2005 -- and as I recall it turned out to have been just a bowdlerized cut/paste of the bio from my university staff page, apparently up there since about 2003; so my first edit was to cut it down in size. I've mostly been cleaning up the rot that keeps accumulating across the years since I first discovered it; and I occasionally do a reference update, including updating the photo (the original one, if I recall -- perhaps Anonymous can go and check to correct me? -- had been placed there from an old gif found in Google images).
Now, when you are conducting an ad hoc smear campaign against someone you don't like and would love to discredit, you do the kind of Digging That Anonymous did; then you try to put the most sinister possible spin on whatever you think you've come up with (while claiming to just be reporting the objective facts); and if that fails, you get back to digging for and announcing something else. No target is immune to such a litany of innuendos; the charges are endless, and never admitted to have been refuted (like Freudian symptom-transfer, as soon as one fizzles, another one is launched to take its place, without acknowledgment, let alone apology), and it is never conceded that the whole process has been a farce, from beginning to interminable end, all in the service of relentless, malign ends.
And this is exactly the kind of thing the Hungarian government, its unidentified informants and sleuths, and the government-side press have been doing in their still-growing campaign selectively directed against the philosophers (and others) they don't like and are bent on punishing.
(What I encourage Anonymous To Do next is to go and check my research grants!)
(1) First, please let me cheerily admit what I have never denied: I do indeed speak, read and write Hungarian! (It's just that I have a hunch that it might perhaps be more useful to keep this discourse in a language that all witnesses can understand…)
What I had cheerily denied (multiple times) was that I had ever before known (or known of) any of the accused scholars, or that any of them had previously known or contacted me, seeking help. I thereby had disappointingly to disconfirm the hopeful hypothesis of "Anonymous" (who was then going by the patriotic name of "Istvan Magyar" and apparently at a loss to fathom why else anyone could possibly have taken up the victims' cause) as to the real reason I had done so. But now at last Anonymous has astutely discovered my real reason: It was to enhance my Wikipedia profile!
(2) I would be no less cheery, though, if "Anonymous" were eventually to find a way to calm his impulse to further enhance my Wikipedia profile by posting my name quite so frequently in the ScienceInsider forum! After all, all those unearned bonus hits in which my name is lately luxuriating are really owing only to having to keep invoking the Anonymity FAQ in declining to respond on ScienceInsider to "Anonymous's" enterprising, persistent but somewhat distracting antics; after all, that's not the only thing Science Forum was created to bring out in the open…
Now a light-hearted hypothesis of my own: Since the "signature" of their tactics is so remarkably similar, would it not be an ironic coincidence if this decidedly "Anonymous" doppelganger turned out to be one and the same as that shadowy whistle-blower who had launched the entire philosopher affair with an anonymous police denunciation? Or are they just stylistic and ideological soul-mates?
What is the real head-shaker in all this is not that there exist mischievous malcontents like "Anonymous" in Hungary -- they alas flower aplenty, everywhere on the planet -- but that an entire government would stoop to making common cause with their likes.
I solemnly promise that if Anonymous and "Istvan Magyar" reveal their true identity I will publicly apologize to them both for the insult of having suspected them to be one and the same scallywag. Alas, different IPs for anonymous posters won't quite do the disentangling trick. And with the abrupt termination of "Istvan Magyar"'s omnipresence on this forum mysteriously coinciding with Anonymous's debut, and only the charming style and somewhat inquisitorial slant perduring, one can hardly be blamed for thinking... (though my conscience is a little relieved upon hearing that "IM"/A is not a stranger to being ill-used in internet discussions). Otherwise, the Anonymity FAQ is all I can offer by way of trying to make amends for "Double Trouble"'s travails.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
The following quotes are from McCabe, MJ (2011) Online access versus open access. Inside Higher Ed. February 10, 2011.McCabe, MJ & Snyder, CM (2011) Did Online Access to Journals Change the Economics Literature?
MCCABE: …I thought it would be appropriate to address the issue that is generating some heat here, namely whether our results can be extrapolated to the OA environment….If "selection bias" refers to authors' bias toward selectively making their better (hence more citeable) articles OA, then this was controlled for in the comparison of self-selected vs. mandated OA, by Gargouri et al (2010) (uncited in the McCabe & Snyder (2011) [M & S] preprint, but known to the authors -- indeed the first author requested, and received, the entire dataset for further analysis: we are all eager to hear the results).
If "selection bias" refers to the selection of the journals for analysis, I cannot speak for studies that compare OA journals with non-OA journals, since we only compare OA articles with non-OA articles within the same journal. And it is only a few studies, like Evans and Reimer's, that compare citation rates for journals before and after they are made accessible online (or, in some cases, freely accessible online). Our principal interest is in the effects of immediate OA rather than delayed or embargoed OA (although the latter may be of interest to the publishing community).
MCCABE: 2. There are at least 2 “flavors” found in this literature: 1. papers that use cross-section type data or a single observation for each article (see for example, Lawrence (2001), Harnad and Brody (2004), Gargouri, et. al. (2010)) and 2. papers that use panel data or multiple observations over time for each article (e.g. Evans (2008), Evans and Reimer (2009)).We cannot detect any mention or analysis of the Gargouri et al. paper in the M & S paper…
MCCABE: 3. In our paper we reproduce the results for both of these approaches and then, using panel data and a robust econometric specification (that accounts for selection bias, important secular trends in the data, etc.), we show that these results vanish.We do not see our results cited or reproduced. Does "reproduced" mean "simulated according to an econometric model"? If so, that is regrettably too far from actual empirical findings to be anything but speculations about what would be found if one were actually to do the empirical studies.
MCCABE: 4. Yes, we “only” test online versus print, and not OA versus online for example, but the empirical flaws in the online versus print and the OA versus online literatures are fundamentally the same: the failure to properly account for selection bias. So, using the same technique in both cases should produce similar results.Unfortunately this is not very convincing. Flaws there may well be in the methodology of studies comparing citation counts before and after the year in which a journal goes online. But these are not the flaws of studies comparing citation counts of articles that are and are not made OA within the same journal and year.
Nor is the vague attribution of "failure to properly account for selection bias" very convincing, particularly when the most recent study controlling for selection bias (by comparing self-selected OA with mandated OA) has not even been taken into consideration.
Conceptually, the reason the question of whether online access increases citations over offline access is entirely different from the question of whether OA increases citations over non-OA is that (as the authors note), the online/offline effect concerns ease of access: Institutional users have either offline access or online access, and, according to M & S's results, in economics, the increased ease of accessing articles online does not increase citations.
This could be true (although the growth across those same years of the tendency in economics to make prepublication preprints OA [harvested by RepEc] through author self-archiving, much as the physicists had started doing a decade earlier in Arxiv, and computer scientists started doing even earlier [later harvested by Citeseerx] could be producing a huge background effect not taken into account at all in M & S's painstaking temporal analysis (which itself appears as an OA preprint in SSRN!).
But any way one looks at it, there is an enormous difference between comparing easy vs. hard access (online vs. offline) and comparing access with no access. For when we compare OA vs non-OA, we are taking into account all those potential users that are at institutions that cannot afford subscriptions (whether offline or online) to the journal in which an article appears. The barrier, in other words (though one should hardly have to point this out to economists), is not an ease barrier but a price barrier: For users at nonsubscribing institutions, non-OA articles are not just harder to access: They are impossible to access -- unless a price is paid.
(I certainly hope that M & S will not reply with "let them use interlibrary loan (ILL)"! A study analogous to M & S's online/offline study comparing citations for offline vs. online vs. ILL access in the click-through age would not only strain belief if it too found no difference, but it too would fail to address OA, since OA is about access when one has reached the limits of one's institution's subscription/license/pay-per-view budget. Hence it would again miss all the usage and citations that an article would have gained if it had been accessible to all its potential users and not just to those whose institutions could afford access, by whatever means.)
It is ironic that M & S draw their conclusions about OA in economic terms (and, predictably, as their interest is in modelling publication economics) in terms of the cost/benefits, for an author, of paying to publish in an OA journal. concluding that since they have shown it will not generate more citations, it is not worth the money.
But the most compelling findings on the OA citation advantage come from OA author self-archiving (of articles published in non-OA journals), not from OA journal publishing. Those are the studies that show the OA citation advantage, and the advantage does not cost the author a penny! (The benefits, moreover, accrue not only to authors and users, but to their institutions too, as the economic analysis of Houghton et al shows.)
And the extra citations resulting from OA are almost certainly coming from users for whom access to the article would otherwise have been financially prohibitive. (Perhaps it's time for more econometric modeling from the user's point of view too…)
I recommend that M & S look at the studies of Michael Kurtz in astrophysics. Those, too, included sophisticated long-term studies of the effect of the wholesale switch from offline to online, and Kurtz found that total citations were in fact slightly reduced, overall, when journals became accessible online! But astrophysics, too, is a field in which OA self-archiving is widespread. Hence whether and when journals go online is moot, insofar as citations are concerned.
(The likely hypothesis for the reduced citations -- compatible also with our own findings in Gargouri et al -- is that OA levels the playing field for users: OA articles are accessible to all their potential usesr, not just to those whose institutions can afford toll access. As a result, users can self-selectively decide to cite only the best and most relevant articles of all, rather than having to make do with a selection among only the articles to which their institutions can afford toll access. One corollary of this [though probably also a spinoff of the Seglen/Pareto effect] is that the biggest beneficiaries of the OA citation advantage will be the best articles. This is a user-end -- rather than an author-end -- selection effect...)
MCCABE: 5. At least in the case of economics and business titles, it is not even possible to properly test for an independent OA effect by specifically looking at OA journals in these fields since there are almost no titles that switched from print/online to OA (I can think of only one such title in our sample that actually permitted backfiles to be placed in an OA repository). Indeed, almost all of the OA titles in econ/business have always been OA and so no statistically meaningful before and after comparisons can be performed.The multiple conflation here is so flagrant that it is almost laughable. Online ≠ OA and OA ≠ OA journal.
First, the method of comparing the effect on citations before vs. after the offline/online switch will have to make do with its limitations. (We don't think it's of much use for studying OA effects at all.) The method of comparing the effect on citations of OA vs. non-OA within the same (economics/business, toll-access) journals can certainly proceed apace in those disciplines, the studies have been done, and the results are much the same as in other disciplines.
M & S have our latest dataset: Perhaps they would care to test whether the economics/business subset of it is an exception to our finding that (a) there is a significant OA advantage in all disciplines, and (b) it's just as big when the OA is mandated as when it is self-selected.
MCCABE: 6. One alternative, in the case of cross-section type data, is to construct field experiments in which articles are randomly assigned OA status (e.g. Davis (2008) employs this approach and reports no OA benefit).And another one -- based on an incomparably larger N, across far more fields -- is the Gargouri et al study that M & S fail to mention in their article, in which articles are mandatorily assigned OA status, and for which they have the full dataset in hand, as requested.
MCCABE: 7. Another option is to examine articles before and after they were placed in OA repositories, so that the likely selection bias effects, important secular trends, etc. can be accounted for (or in economics jargon, “differenced out”). Evans and Reimer’s attempt to do this in their 2009 paper but only meet part of the econometric challenge.M & S are rather too wedded to their before/after method and thinking! The sensible time for authors to self-archive their papers is immediately upon acceptance for publication. That's before the published version has even appeared. Otherwise one is not studying OA but OA embargo effects. (But let me agree on one point: Unlike journal publication dates, OA self-archiving dates are not always known or taken into account; so there may be some drift there, depending on when the author self-archives. The solution is not to study the before/after watershed, but to focus on the articles that are self-archived immediately rather than later.)
Gargouri, Y., Hajjem, C., Lariviere, V., Gingras, Y., Brody, T., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2010) Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research. PLOS ONE 5 (10). e13636
Harnad, S. (2010) The Immediate Practical Implication of the Houghton Report: Provide Green Open Access Now. Prometheus 28 (1): 55-59.
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