Saturday, May 19. 2012
Richard Poynder has raised some interesting questions in "Open Access Mandates: Ensuring Compliance". Here are some suggestions as to why neither NIH nor the Wellcome Trust (WT) has a compliance rate of 100% -- and what could be done to remedy that:
1. How To Comply. Both the NIH and WT mandates designate Gold OA publishing as one of the means of fulfilling the mandate, instead of uniformly designating fundee self-archiving as the sole means of compliance (whether or not the fundee publishes in a Gold OA journal.
2. Who Complies. Funder mandates only apply to fundees: only fundees are bound by them. Yet fulfillment can be done by either fundees or non-fundees (publishers, especially in the case of WT), instead of uniformly designating fundee self-archiving as the sole means of compliance.
3. When To Comply. The designated timing for compliance with both mandates is not immediately upon publication -- instead of uniformly designating fundee self-archiving immediately upon publication as the sole means of compliance (even if the self-archived draft is not made immediately OA). As noted, it is in publishers' interests to make compliance as delayed as possible, and to leave it in their hands rather than the fundees' hands.
4. What Version To Deposit. It contributes to the delay in compliance and the ambiguity as to who is fulfilling the mandate (the fundee or the publisher) if compliance can wait for the publisher's PDF instead of uniformly designating fundee self-archiving of the refereed final draft immediately upon publication as the sole means of compliance (even if the self-archived draft is not made immediately OA and the publisher's PDF is optionally deposited later).
5. Where To Deposit. Both NIH and WT mandates stress direct deposit in PubMed Central (PMC), instead of uniformly designating fundee self-archiving of the refereed final draft in the fundee's own institutional reposiitory immediately upon publication as the sole means of compliance (even if the self-archived draft is not made immediately OA and the publisher's PDF is optionally deposited later), thereby recruiting fundees' institutions to monitor and ensure compliance with the fulfillment conditions of the grant (as institutions are always very eager to do!).
Institututional ID/OA Mandates Work. None of these delays, ambiguities or uncertainties applies to (effective) institutional mandates such as U. Liege's model ID/OA (immediate-deposit/optional-access) mandate. Not only can author self-archiving in the institutional repository be designated by institutions as the sole means of submitting research for institutional reporting and performance assessment (as Cameron Neylon correctly points out), but institutions are in a position to monitor deposits continuously, not just when a research project grant (which may last for years) has elapsed.
Mutual Potentiation Between Institutional and Funder Mandates. In addition, designating institutional repository self-archiving as the means of compliance for both funder and institutional mandates motivates institutions to adopt self-archiving mandates of their own, for all of their research output, in all disciplines, not just NIH- or WT-funded research. (Institutions are the universal providers of all published research, funded and unfunded.) Funder mandates designating institutional deposit make institutional and funder mandates convergent and mutually reinforcing -- rather than divergent and competitive, as funder mandates requiring direct institution-external deposit in PMC (instead of just automated harvesting or export from institutional repositories) do.
Effective Institutional Mandates Can Generate 100% OA Globally. The Liege model institutional ID/OA mandate really works. If funders and institutions worldwide collaborate, 100% OA can be reached not just for NIH and WT funded research but for all research.
Wednesday, May 16. 2012
In my opinion, it is not helpful to the cause of OA or the needs of the research community to use this opportunity to advise Elsevier to make the following extremely counterproductive recommendation -- a recommendation that, like Elsevier's own ambivalent self-archiving policy, starts positively, but then switches to the extreme negative, taking away with one hand what it had seemed to be giving with the other:
On Tue, May 15, 2012 at 7:07 AM, Jan Velterop wrote on the Global Open Access List (GOAL):
"One step [for Elsevier] could be to promote self-archiving instead of reluctantly allowing it and then only under certain circumstances. But given that immediacy is obviously not considered the most important feature of OA by many of its advocates (vide many mandates), and immediacy is perhaps the most understandable of the publishers' fears, there is an opportunity for Elsevier to make all the journal material it publishes available with full open access, CC-BY, after a reasonable embargo of a year, maybe two years in less fast-moving disciplines."First, Jan Velterop (JV) asks Elsevier to drop its ambivalence about Green OA self-archiving. So far, so good.
But second, Jan makes a factually incorrect claim: that immediate OA is so unimportant to researchers and OA advocates that this is an opportunity for Elsevier to change its current policy (which has been Green since 2004 -- meaning immediate, unembargoed OA self-archiving) -- back-pedalling instead to a "reasonable" embargo of a year or two (meaning no longer being Green, as now, on immediate, unembargoed Green Gratis OA self-archiving).
Third, as justification for this startling recommendation to Elsevier to back-pedal on its longstanding immediate-Green policy, Jan cites the fact that many mandates allow an embargo -- forgetting the fact that the reason OA embargoes have been allowed by those OA mandates is precisely because the 40% of publishers that are not yet Green (as 60% of publishers, including Elsevier since 2004, already are) still insist on an embargo as a condition for allowing self-archiving at all. In other words, the reason some mandates allow embargoes is not at all because all researchers and all mandates don't consider immediate, unembargoed OA to be important, but because of the non-Green publishers that don't yet allow immediate, unembargoed OA. Jan is here suggesting to Elsevier that it should re-join their ranks.
Fourth, Jan refers throughout this recommendation only to the Libre OA [Gratis OA plus CC-BY] from which he has been urging the OA community not to "lower the bar" to the Gratis OA [free online access to the author final draft] on which Elsevier has been Green since 2004, and about which OA advocates are here urging Elsevier to remove its recent self-serving and self-contradictory hedging clause about mandates.
Immediate, unembargoed OA may be less important for Libre OA than for Gratis OA, but what is at issue here is Gratis OA.
For the sake of both research progress and OA progress, I urge Jan to drop his conterproductive opposition to Green Gratis OA, just as I urge Elsevier to drop the self-contradictory hedging clause about Green Gratis OA in its author rights retention agreement.
Monday, May 14. 2012
Elsevier requires institutions to seek Elsevier's agreement to require their authors to exercise their rights?
What rights do I retain as a journal author?
"…the right to post a revised personal version of the text of the final journal article (to reflect changes made in the peer review process) on your personal or institutional website or server for scholarly purposes… (but not in... institutional repositories with mandates for systematic postings unless there is a specificagreement with the publisher)..."
I am grateful to Elsevier's Director for Universal Access, Alicia Wise, for replying about Elsevier's author open access posting policy.
This makes it possible to focus very quickly and directly on the one specific point of contention, because as it stands, the current Elsevier policy is quite explicitly self-contradictory:
ALICIA WISE (AW): "Stevan Harnad has helpfully summarized Elsevier’s posting policy for accepted author manuscripts, but has left out a couple of really important elements.I am afraid this is not at all clear.
What does it mean to say that Elsevier has a different policy depending on whether an author is posting voluntarily or mandatorily?
An author who wishes to comply with an institutional posting mandate is posting voluntarily. An author who does not wish to comply with an institutional posting mandate refrains from posting, likewise voluntarily.
The Elsevier policy in question concerns the rights that reside with authors. Is Elsevier proposing that some author rights are based on mental criteria? But if an authors says, hand on heart, "I posted voluntarily" (even where posting is mandatory) is the author not to be believed?
(It is true that in criminal court a distinction is made between the voluntary and involuntary -- but the involuntary there refers to the unintended or accidental: Even in mandated posting, the posting is no accident!)
So it is quite transparent that the factor that Elsevier really has in mind here is not the author's voluntariness at all, but whether or not the author's institution has a mandatory posting policy - and whether that institutional mandate has or has not been "agreed" with Elsevier.
But then what sort of an author right is it, to post if your institution doesn't require you to post, but not to post if your institution requires you to post (except if some sort of "agreement" has been reached with Elsevier that allows the institution to require its researchers to exercise their rights)?
That does not sound like an author right at all. Rather, it sounds like an attempt by Elsevier to redefine the author right so as to prevent each author's institution from requiring the author to exercise it without Elsevier's agreement. By that token, it looks as if the author requires Elsevier's agreement to exercise the right that Elsevier has formally recognized to rest with the author.
(What sort of right would the right to free speech be if one lost that right whenever one was required -- say, by a court of law, or even just an institutional committee meeting -- to exercise it? -- And what does it mean that an author's institution is required by a publisher to seek an agreement from the publisher for its authors to exercise a right that the publisher has formally stated rests with the author?)
AW:We are talking here very specifically about authors posting in their own institutional repositories, not about institution-external deposit or proxy deposit by publishers.
AW:Is it? So if institutions mandate depositing in Arxiv rather than institutionally, that would be fine too? (Some mandates already specify that as an option.) Or would Elsevier authors lose their right to exercise their right to post in Arxiv if their institutions mandated it...?
AW:The point under discussion is Elsevier authors' right to exercise the right that Elsevier has formally stated rests with the author -- to post their accepted author manuscripts institutionally. What kind of further agreement is needed from the author's institution with Elsevier in order that the author should have the right to exercise a right that Elsevier has formally stated rests with the author?
Again, Elsevier's target here is very obviously not author rights at all. Rather, the clause in question is an attempt to influence institutions' own policies, with their own research output, by trying to redefine the author's right to post an article online free for all as being somehow contingent on institutional research posting policy, and hence requiring Elsevier's agreement.
It would seem to me that institutions would do well to refrain from making any agreement with Elsevier (or even entering into discussion with Elsevier) about institutional policy -- other than what price they are willing to pay for what journals (even if Elsevier reps attempt to make a quid-pro-quo deal).
And it would seem to me that Elsevier authors should go ahead and post their accepted author manuscripts in their institutional repositories, voluntarily, exercising the right that Elsevier has formally recognized as resting with the author alone since 2004, and ignore any new clause that contains double-talk trying to make a link between the author's right to exercise that author right and the policy of the author's institution on whether or not the author should exercise that right.
AW:I am not sure what this means. Accepted author manuscripts (of journal articles, from all institutions, in all disciplines) fit into all institutional repositories. That's all that's at issue here. No institution differences; no discipline differences.
AW:Fortunately, only two details matter (and they can be made explicit without any danger to one's health!):
1. Does Elsevier formally recognize that "all [Elsevier] authors can post [their accepted author manuscripts] voluntarily to their websites and institutional repositories" (quoting from Alicia Wise here)?
According to Elsevier formal policy since 2004, the answer is yes.
2. What about the "not if it is mandatory" clause?
That clause seems to be pure FUD and I strongly urge Elsevier -- for the sake of its public image, which is right now at an all-time low -- to drop that clause rather than digging itself deeper by trying to justify it.
Friday, May 11. 2012
Elsevier's query re: "positive things from publishers that should be encouraged, celebrated, recognized"
What rights do I retain as a journal author?
"…the right to post a revised personal version of the text of the final journal article (to reflect changes made in the peer review process) on your personal or institutional website or server for scholarly purposes… (but not in... institutional repositories with mandates for systematic postings unless there is a specific agreement with the publisher)..."
Alice Wise (Elsevier, Director of Universal Access, Elsevier) asked, on the Global Open Access List (GOAL):
Remedios Melero replied, on GOAL:"[W]hat positive things are established scholarly publishers doing to facilitate the various visions for open access and future scholarly communications that should be encouraged, celebrated, recognized?"
RM: I would recommend the following change in one clause of the What rights do I retain as a journal author? stated in Elsevier's portal, which says:That would be fine. Or even this simpler one would be fine:"the right to post a revised personal version of the text of the final journal article (to reflect changes made in the peer review process) on your personal or institutional website or server for scholarly purposes, incorporating the complete citation and with a link to the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the article (but not in subject-oriented or centralized repositories or institutional repositories with mandates for systematic postings unless there is a specific agreement with the publisher. Click here for further information)"RM: By this one:"the right to post a revised personal version of the text of the final journal article (to reflect changes made in the peer review process) on your personal, institutional website, subject-oriented or centralized repositories or institutional repositories or server for scholarly purposes, incorporating the complete citation and with a link to the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the article"RM: I think this could be something to be encouraged, celebrated and recognized.
"the right to post a revised personal version of the text of the final journal article (to reflect changes made in the peer review process) on your personal, institutional website or institutional repositories or server for scholarly purposes, incorporating the complete citation and with a link to the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the article"The metadata and link can be harvested from the institutional repositories by institution-external repositories or search services, and the shameful, cynical, self-serving and incoherent clause about "mandates for systematic postings" ("you may post if you wish but not if you must"), which attempts to take it all back, is dropped.
That clause -- added when Elsevier realized that Green Gratis OA mandates were catching on -- is a paradigmatic example of the publisher FUD and double-talk that has no legal sense or force, but scares authors (and their management).
Dropping it would be a great cause for encouragement, celebration and recognition, and would put Elsevier irreversibly on the side of the angels (regarding OA).
Thursday, May 3. 2012
I would like to answer some questions and clarify some points in Richard Van Noorden's Nature newsblog posting (NN):
"[T]he [RCUK] agencies which fund UK scientists [have] required [researchers]… to make their research papers free [online] since 2006; but now they’re going to enforce it…"The UK has indeed led the world in mandating Open Access (OA). The UK is the first country in which all the national research funding agencies have formally required OA. (Before its funder mandates, the UK was also where the world's first OA mandate was adopted within a University, in 2002.)
But adopting an OA mandate is not enough. The real challenge is in formulating and implementing the mandate in a way that ensures compliance. That is where attention is focused right now.
"[W]ill research papers be instantly open, or will publishers get to impose a delay?…[S]ome [publishers] let authors put up a free copy of the published manuscript after an embargo period. This is known as ‘green’ open access… RCUK open-access policies currently permit this embargo, with a six-month delay."There are two ways to provide OA:
Green OA is provided by publishing in any suitable peer-reviewed journal, and then making the paper OA by self-archiving it in the author's institutional OA repository (or an institutional-external repository).
Gold OA is provided by publishing in an OA journal that makes the paper OA.
The majority of journals (over 60%, including the top journals in most fields) endorse the author providing immediate (unembargoed) Green OA.
A minority of journals (less than 40%) embargo Green OA. To accommodate this, some mandates have allowed an OA embargo of 6 months (or longer). To fulfill would-be users' immediate research needs during the embargo, however, institutional repositories have a semi-automatic "email eprint request" Button: The user can request an eprint with a click and the author can comply with a click.
"[T]he recommendation will be for a mixed green-gold model… ultimately we will see a transition to gold – so the real question is how long this will take."Among the implementation problems of some of the OA mandates today is precisely this mixture of Green and Gold. Only Green OA can be mandated. (Authors cannot be forced to choose a journal based on the journal's cost-recovery model rather than its quality and suitability.) Funds (if available) can be offered to pay the Gold OA publishing fee, if there is a suitable Gold OA journal in which the author wishes to publish; but Green OA self-archiving needs to be mandated first, cost-free.
My own view is that it is a mistake to press too hard for Gold OA now, while subscriptions are still paying the costs of publication, the top journals are not Gold OA, the price of Gold OA is still high, and Green OA mandates (cost-free) are still too few. Once Green OA mandates by funders and institutions have made OA universal, the resulting availability of Green OA to everything will drive the transition to Gold OA publishing, at a much lower price, as well as releasing the subscription funds to pay for it.
"British universities could end up paying twice – once to make their research open access, and again for subscriptions to the journals that they will still need to buy, because those journals will contain 94% non-British, non-open-access, research."This is precisely why the mixed Green/Gold model is not a good idea. The press should be for Green OA self-archiving mandates by research funders and institutions worldwide. The transition to Gold OA will then take place naturally of its own accord -- and meanwhile the world will already have 100% OA.
"[T]he UK could challenge the US for global leadership on open access."It's the other way 'round! The UK is in the lead, but if the US passes the FRPAA, then the US will have taken over the UK's lead.
"Just being able to read a free PDF isn’t actually open access."Yes it is. Gratis OA means free online access and Libre OA means free online access plus certain re-use rights. Just as Green OA has to come before Gold OA, Gratis OA has to come before Libre OA. The barriers are much lower. (All the OA mandates are for Gratis OA.)
"[R]esearchers and institutions would be forced to comply with open access…. mak[ing] open access a requirement for future grants… asking institutions to sign a statement that papers published under its grants are compliant with its open access policy; and if not… hold back a final instalment… of the grant funding."And the most important implementation detail of all: All mandates (funder and institutional) should be convergent and collaborative rather than divergent and competitive:
(1) Both funders and institutions should require author self-archiving in the author's institutional repository (not in an institutional-external central repository). Central repositories can then harvest from the institutional repository, authors only have to deposit once, institutions can monitor and ensure compliance with funder OA mandates and they will also be motivated to adopt OA mandates of their own, for all of their research output, funded and unfunded, in all discipline.
(2) Both funders and institutions should require immediate deposit (not just after an allowable embargo period).
(3) The deposit mandate should be fulfilled by the mandatee (the author), not by publishers (3rd parties who have an interest in delaying OA and are not bound by the mandate). This will also make the monitoring of compliance much easier and more effective.
"What Wales will add here is not clear… Some celebrity involvement is to be welcomed."OA means Open Access to peer-reviewed research. Wikipedia is not peer-reviewed research and indeed it is rather negative on expertise and answerability. So Wales has a lot to learn. But if he does learn what needs to be done to make Green OA mandates effective, he may be able to see to the adoption of the implementation details that are needed, if he has David Willetts' confidence…
Wednesday, May 2. 2012
The UK government has engaged Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia to help make UK tax-payer-funded research available online for all.
Open Access to peer-reviewed research (OA) is an important, timely and even urgent goal, and the UK's commitment to providing OA is extremely welcome and commendable. But turning to Jimmy Wales to help make it happen makes almost as little sense as turning to Rupert Murdoch.
Wikipedia is based on the antithesis of peer review. Asking JW to help make sure peer-reviewed research is available to all is like asking McDonalds to help the UK Food Standards Agency make sure that wholesome food is available to all.
The way to make all taxpayer-funded academic research in Britain available online to all is already known: Make it a mandatory condition of funding that the fundees make it available online to all (OA).
Britain (RCUK) has already gone a long way toward trying to mandate just that -- a much longer way than any other country so far. But there are still some crucial implementational details that need tweaking in order to make those mandates work:
1. The requirement has to be to deposit in the fundee's institutional repository (rather than an institution-external repository).That way the fundee's institution will be empowered to monitor and ensure compliance with the funder mandate. In addition, when there is an allowable publisher embargo on making the immediate-deposit OA immediately, the institution's email-eprint-request Button can tide over immediate research usage needs during the embargo on an automated, accelerated individual-request basis. Institutional deposit will also motivate institutions to mandate OA for all of their research output, not just the RCUK-funded portion.
But these are all implementational details that could be fixed by just updating the language of the RCUK mandates -- making it explicit that research that is not institutionally deposited immediately loses its funding. Each institution's research grant support office, already so solicitous about complying with all conditions on applying for, receiving and retaining grants will equally assiduously see to it that institutional fundees understand and comply.
But JW does not know any of this. And if he did, he would be no better able to implement it than anyone else. It's the implementation that's needed, to make the broth edible and available to all -- not more cooks (and especially not from McDonalds' kitchens)!
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