Tuesday, October 30. 2012
Jan Velterop wrote:
(1) Stevan trades off expected speed of achieving OA against quality of the resulting OA. It's his right to do that. I just point out that that's what it is. That's my right. He calls it 'deprecating green OA'; I prefer to call it 'comparing outcome'.
Green vs. Gold is not a question of rivalry, it's a question of priority.
The twin reasons why Green has to come first are very simple: (i) Gold OA journal publishing is vastly over-priced today and (ii) the money to pay for Gold OA (even if it is downsized to a fair, affordable price) is still locked into institutional journal subscriptions.
Green OA needs to come first in order to fix both these problems:
Over and above providing 100% OA (which is the primary objective of the OA movement), Green OA (which is now only at 25% when unmandated, but can be increased to 100% when mandated by institutions and funders) also provides the way both to (ii) release the subscription money to pay for Gold OA and to (ii) force journals to cut costs and downsize to a fair, affordable, sustainable price for Gold OA (namely, the price of managing peer review alone, as a per-review (sic) service: no more print edition; no more online edition; all access-provision and archiving offloaded onto the worldwide network of Green OA institutional repositories):
Institutions can only cancel subscriptions when the subscribed content is available as Green OA. Until then they can only double-pay (whether for hybrid subscription/Gold journals or for subscription journals plus Gold journals).
And publishers will not unbundle and cut costs to the minimum (peer review service alone, nothing else) until cancellations force them to do so.
And (before you say it): If a new Gold OA journal enters the market today with a truly rock-bottom price, for the peer-review service alone, the money to pay for it is still over and above what is being paid for subscriptions today, because the subscriptions cannot be cancelled until most journals (or at least the most important ones) likewise downsize to the bare essentials.
And most journals are not downsizing to the bare essentials.
And institutions and funders cannot make journals downsize.
All institutions and funders can do is pay them even more than what they are paying them already (which is exactly what the publisher lobby has managed to persuade the UK and the Finch Committee to do).
I do not call that a "parachute" toward a "soft landing": I call it good publisher PR, to preserve their bottom-lines. And for most institutions and funders, it not only costs more money, but it is even more unaffordable and unsustainable than the serials status-quo today (which is reputedly in crisis).
The promise from hybrid Gold publishers to cut subscription costs in proportion to growth in Gold uptake revenues, even if kept, is unaffordable, because it involves first paying more, in advance; and all it does is lock in the current status quo insofar as total publisher revenue is concerned, in exchange for OA that researchers can already provide for themselves via Green, since publication and its costs are already being fully paid for -- via subscriptions.
Nor is "price competition" the corrective: Authors don't pick journals for their price but for their quality standards, which means their peer-review standards. It would be nothing short of grotesque to imagine that it should be otherwise (think about it!).
The corrective is global Green OA mandates: That -- and not "price competition" between Gold OA journals -- will see to it that the huge, unnecessary overlay of commercially co-bundled products and services that scholarly journal publishing inherited from the Gutenberg (and Robert-Maxwell) era is phased out and scaled down, at long last, to the only thing that scholars and scientists really still want and need in the online era, which is a reliable peer review service, provided by a hierarchy of journals, in different fields, each with its own established track record for quality -- hence selectivity -- at the various quality levels required by the field.
So what's at issue is not a trade-off of "speed" vs. "quality" (whether peer review quality, or re-use/text-mining rights) at all, but a trade-off of speed vs. the status quo.
And yes, that's speed, in the first instance, toward 100% free online access (Gratis OA) -- of which, let us remind ourselves, we currently have only about 25% via Green and maybe another 12% via Gold -- because that is what is within immediate reach (although we have kept failing to grasp it for over a decade).
The rest of the "quality" -- Gold OA and Libre OA -- will come once we have 100% Green OA, and publishers are forced (by Green-OA enabled subscription cancelations, making subscriptions no loner sustainable) to downsize and convert to Gold.
But not if we keep playing the snail's-pace game of double-paying pre-emptively for Gold while research access and impact keeping being lost, year upon year -- all in order to cushion the landing for the only ones that are comfortable with the status quo (and in no hurry!): toll-access publishers.
And please let's stop solemnly invoking the BOAI as a justification for continuing this no-sum, no-win game of no-OA unless you double-pay.
Publication costs are being paid, in full (and fulsomely) today. What's missing is not more revenue for publishers, but OA.
And Green OA mandates will provide it.
The rest will take care of itself, as a natural process of adaptation, by the publishing trade, to the new reality of global Green OA.
Sunday, October 28. 2012
Richard Poynder Interviews Ian Gibson About 2004 UK Select Committee Green OA Mandate Recommendation
Another brilliant (and timely) OA whodunnit by Richard Poynder!
Yet the plot thickens, with the mystery of the outcome of the 2004 UK Select Committee deliberations still not altogether dispelled.
Ian Gibson is clearly brilliant, and his heart is clearly in the right place. But although his 2004 Gibson Committee Report clearly had (and continues to have) enormous (positive) ramifications for OA worldwide, Ian himself just as clearly does not fully grasp those ramifications!
Journal and Author Selectivity. Ian still thinks that OA is about somehow weaning authors from their preferred highly selective journals (such as Nature), even though the cost-free Green OA that his own Report recommended mandating does not require authors to give up their preferred journals, thereby mooting this issue (and even though the ominous new prospect of double-paying publishers for hybrid Gold OA out of shrinking research funds favoured by the Finch Committee Report does not require authors to give up their preferred journals either).
Research access, assessment and affordability are being conflated here. Green OA does not solve the affordability problem directly, but it sure makes it much less of a life/death matter (since everyone has Green access, whether or not they can afford subscription access). And of course that in turn makes subscription cancelations, publisher cost-cutting, downsizing and conversion to Gold much more likely -- while also releasing the institutional subscription cancelation windfall savings to pay the much lower post-Green Gold OA cost many times over. This leaves journals' peer-review standards and selectivity up to the peers -- and journal choice up to the authors -- where both belong.
Giving up authors' preferred journals in favour of pure Gold OA journals was what (I think) BMC's Vitek Tracz and Jan Velterop had been lobbying for at the time (and that is not what the Gibson Report ended up recommending)!
Emily Commander. So I think if you really want to get to the heart of the mystery of how the Gibson Report crystallized into the epochal recommendation for all UK universities and funders to mandate Green OA you will have to dig deeper, Richard, and interview its author, Emily Commander, who -- as Ian indicates -- was the one who crafted the text out of the cacophony of conflicting testimonials.
Don't ask Emily about the bulk of the report, which is largely just ballast, but about how she arrived at its revolutionary core recommendation (highlighted in boldface below). That's what this is all about...
Academic libraries are struggling to purchase subscriptions to all the journal titles needed by their users. This is due both to the high and increasing journal prices imposed by commercial publishers and the inadequacy of library budgets to meet the demands placed upon them by a system supporting an ever increasing volume of research. Whilst there are a number of measures that can be taken by publishers, libraries and academics to improve the provision of scientific publications, a Government strategy is urgently needed.
This Report recommends that all UK higher education institutions establish institutional repositories on which their published output can be stored and from which it can be read, free of charge, online. It also recommends that Research Councils and other Government funders mandate their funded researchers to deposit a copy of all of their articles in this way. The Government will need to appoint a central body to oversee the implementation of the repositories; to help with networking; and to ensure compliance with the technical standards needed to provide maximum functionality. Set-up and running costs are relatively low, making institutional repositories a cost-effective way of improving access to scientific publications.
Institutional repositories will help to improve access to journals but a more radical solution may be required in the long term. Early indications suggest that the author-pays publishing model could be viable. We remain unconvinced by many of the arguments mounted against it. Nonetheless, this Report concludes that further experimentation is necessary, particularly to establish the impact that a change of publishing models would have on learned societies and in respect of the "free rider" problem. In order to encourage such experimentation the Report recommends that the Research Councils each establish a fund to which their funded researchers can apply should they wish to pay to publish. The UK Government has failed to respond to issues surrounding scientific publications in a coherent manner and we are not convinced that it would be ready to deal with any changes to the publishing process. The Report recommends that Government formulate a strategy for future action as a matter of urgency.
The preservation of digital material is an expensive process that poses a significant technical challenge. This Report recommends that the British Library receives sufficient funding to enable it to carry out this work. It also recommends that work on new regulations for the legal deposit of non-print publications begins immediately. Failure to take these steps would result in a substantial breach in the intellectual record of the UK.
The market for scientific publications is international. The UK cannot act alone. For this reason we recommended that the UK Government act as a proponent for change on the international stage and lead by example. This will ultimately benefit researchers across the globe.
Friday, October 26. 2012
We have now tested the Finch Committee's Hypothesis that Green Open Access Mandates are ineffective in generating deposits in institutional repositories. With data from ROARMAP on institutional Green OA mandates and data from ROAR on institutional repositories, we show that deposit number and rate is significantly correlated with mandate strength (classified as 1-12): The stronger the mandate, the more the deposits. The strongest mandates generate deposit rates of 70%+ within 2 years of adoption, compared to the un-mandated deposit rate of 20%. The effect is already detectable at the national level, where the UK, which has the largest proportion of Green OA mandates, has a national OA rate of 35%, compared to the global baseline of 25%. The conclusion is that, contrary to the Finch Hypothesis, Green Open Access Mandates do have a major effect, and the stronger the mandate, the stronger the effect (the Liege ID/OA mandate, linked to research performance evaluation, being the strongest mandate model). RCUK (as well as all universities, research institutions and research funders worldwide) would be well advised to adopt the strongest Green OA mandates and to integrate institutional and funder mandates.
Gargouri Y, Lariviere V, Gingras Y, Brody T, Carr L & Harnad S (2012) Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Ineffectiveness Open Access Week 2012
Thursday, October 25. 2012
OA Week has already generated several important OA mandates and mandate recommendations (from Hungary, Japan, Ireland, France, Brazil, Science Europe, ).
If your institution, funder or nation has adopted or proposed an Open Access Mandate, please register it in
Registry of Open Access Mandatory Archiving Policies
This will inform the world about OA progress and motivate others to adopt and announce their OA policies.
Wednesday, October 24. 2012
"The inexorable rise of open access scientific publishing".
Our (Gargouri, Lariviere, Gingras, Carr & Harnad) estimate (for publication years 2005-2010, measured in 2011, based on articles published in the c. 12,000 journals indexed by Thomson-Reuters ISI) is 35% total OA in the UK (10% above the worldwide total OA average of 25%): This is the sum of both Green and Gold OA.
Our sample yields a Gold OA estimate much lower than Laakso & Björk's. Our estimate of about 25% OA worldwide is composed of 22.5% Green plus 2.5% Gold. And the growth rate of neither Gold nor (unmandated) Green is exponential.
There are a number of reasons neither "carrots vs. lettuce" nor "UK vs. non-UK produce" nor L&B estimates vs. G et al estimates can be compared or combined in a straightforward way.
Please take the following as coming from a fervent supporter of OA, not an ill-wisher, but one who has been disappointed across the long years by far too many failures to seize the day -- amidst surges of "tipping-point" euphoria -- to be ready once again to tout triumph.
First, note that the hubbub is yet again about Gold OA (publishing), even though all estimates agree that there is far less of Gold OA than there is of Green OA (self-archiving), and even though it is Green OA that can be fast-forwarded to 100%: all it takes is effective Green OA mandates (I will return to this point at the end).
So Stephen Curry asks why there is a discrepancy between our (Gargouri et al) estimates of Gold OA -- in the UK and worldwide (c. <5%) -- the estimates of Laakso & Björk (17%). Here are some of the multiple reasons (several of them already pointed out by Richard van Noorden in his comments too):
1. Thomson-Reuters ISI Subset: Our estimates are based solely on articles in the Thomson-Reuters ISI database of c. 12,000 journals. This database is more selective than the SCOPUS database on which L&B's sample is based. The more selective journals have higher quality standards and are hence the ones that both authors and users prefer.
(Without getting into the controversy about journal citation impact factors, another recent L&B study has shown that the higher the journal's impact factor, the less likely that the journal is Gold OA. -- But let me add that this is now likely to change, because of the perverse effects of the Finch Report and the RCUK OA Policy: Thanks to the UK's announced readiness to divert UK research funds to double-paying subscription journal publishers for hybrid Gold OA, most journals, including the top journals, will soon be offering hybrid Gold OA -- a very pricey way to add the UK's 6% of worldwide research output to the worldwide Gold OA total: The very same effect could be achieved free of extra cost if RCUK instead adopted a compliance-verification mechanism for its existing Green OA mandates.)
2. Embargoed "Gold OA": L&B included in their Gold OA estimates "OA" that was embargoed for a year. That's not OA, and certainly should not be credited to the total OA for any given year -- whence it is absent -- but to the next year. By that time, the Green OA embargoes of most journals have already expired. So, again, any OA purchased in this pricey way -- instead of for a few extra cost-free keystrokes by the author, for Green -- is more of a head-shaker than occasion for heady triumph.
3. 1% Annual Growth: The 1% annual growth of Gold OA is not much headway either, if you do the growth curves for the projected date they will reach 100%! (The more heady Gold OA growth percentages are not Gold OA growth as a percentage of all articles published, but Gold OA growth as a percentage of the preceding year's Gold OA articles.)
4. Green Achromatopsia: The relevant data for comparing Gold OA -- both its proportion and its growth rate -- with Green come from a source L&B do not study, namely, institutions with (effective) Green OA mandates. Here the proportions within two years of mandate adoption (60%+) and the subsequent growth rate toward 100% eclipse not only the worldwide Gold OA proportions and growth rate, but also the larger but still unimpressive worldwide Green OA proportions and growth rate for unmandated Green OA (which is still mostly all there is).
5. Mandate Effectiveness: Note also that RCUK's prior Green OA mandate was not an effective one (because it had no compliance verification mechanism), even though it may have increased UK OA (35%) by 10% over the global average (25%).
Stephen Curry: "A cheaper green route is also available, whereby the author usually deposits an unformatted version of the paper in a university repository without incurring a publisher's charge, but it remains to be seen if this will be adopted in practice. Universities and research institutions are only now beginning to work out how to implement the new policy (recently clarified by the RCUK)."Well, actually RCUK has had Green OA mandates for over a half-decade now. But RCUK has failed to draw the obvious conclusion from its pioneering experiment -- which is that the RCUK mandates require an effective compliance-verification mechanism (of the kind that the effective university mandates have -- indeed, the universities themselves need to be recruited as the compliance-verifiers).
Instead, taking their cue from the Finch Report -- which in turn took its cue from the publisher lobby -- RCUK is doing a U-turn from its existing Green OA mandate, and electing to double-pay publishers for Gold instead.
A much more constructive strategy would be for RCUK to build on its belated grudging concession (that although Gold is RCUK's preference, RCUK fundees may still choose Green) by adopting an effective Green OA compliance verification mechanism. That (rather than the obsession with how to spend "block grants" for Gold) is what the fundees' institutions should be recruited to do for RCUK.
6. Discipline Differences: The main difference between the Gargouri, Lariviere, Gingras, Carr & Harnad estimates of average percent Gold in the ISI sample (2.5%) and the Laakso & Bjork estimates (10.3% for 2010) probably arise because L&B's sample included all ISI articles per year for 12 years (2000-2011), whereas ours was a sample of 1300 articles per year, per discipline, separately, for each of 14 disciplines, for 6 years (2005-2010: a total of about 100,000 articles).
7. Biomedicine Preponderance? Our sample was much smaller than L&B's because L&B were just counting total Gold articles, using DOAJ, whereas we were sending out a robot to look for Green OA versions on the Web for each of the 100,000 articles in our sample. It may be this equal sampling across disciplines that leads to our lower estimates of Gold: L&B's higher estimate may reflect the fact that certain disciplines are both more Gold and publish more articles (in our sample, Biomed was 7.9% Gold). Note that both studies agree on the annual growth rate of Gold (about 1%)
8. Growth Spurts? Our projection does not assume a linear year-to-year growth rate (1%), it detects it. There have so far been no detectable annual growth spurts (of either Gold or Green). (I agree, however, that Finch/RCUK could herald one forthcoming annual spurt of 6% Gold (the UK's share of world research output) -- but that would be a rather pricey (and, I suspect, unscaleable and unsustainable) one-off growth spurt. )
9. RCUK Compliance Verification Mechanism for Green OA Deposits: I certainly hope Stephen Curry is right that I am overstating the ambiguity of the RCUK policy!
But I was not at all reassured at the LSHTM meeting on Open Access by Ben Ryan's rather vague remarks about monitoring RCUK mandate compliance, especially compliance with Green. After all that (and not the failure to prefer and fund Gold) was the main weakness of the prior RCUK OA mandate.
From Peter Murray-Rust's blog:
Peter Murray-Rust: "if you post anything [on GOAL] that does not support Green Open Access Stevan Harnad and the Harnadites will publicly shout you down. I have been denigrated on more than one occasion by members of the OA oligarchy (Look at the archive if you need proof). It’s probably fair to say that this attitude has effective killed Open discussion in OA. Jan Velterop and I are probably the only people prepared to challenge opinions = most others walk away."Mike Taylor: "I don’t bother arguing with Stevan on the principle that you both get dirty but the pig likes it… He’s made himself the People’s Front of Judea."
(many thanks to Andrew Adams for this gem!)
Peter Murray-Rust wrote: "I recently sat through an hour lecture by SH whose subtitle was "What Peter Murray-Rust thinks and why he is wrong". The thoughts attributed to me were factually incorrect."One of the wonderful things about facts is that sometimes one can actually check them, objectively!
The full video of that lecture -- "How & Why the RCUK Open Access Policy Needs To Be Revised" -- is online for all to see, along with a PDF containing my written text and all my powerpoints. I would be very interested to hear if anyone finds anywhere either a subtitle "What Peter Murray-Rust thinks and why he is wrong" or anything that even resembles it.
In that lecture, I did make some references to Peter Murray-Rust, his work and his goals, in what I believe was an entirely respectful and complimentary way, praising his contributions and sharing his goal of machine data-mining rights (CC-BY) over all journal articles where it's needed (such as in his field).
The only two points on which I diverged from Peter Murray-Rust were points of strategic priority:
(1) I said that the right to do machine data-mining on journal articles (CC-BY) was even harder to get from publishers than the right to make journal articles freely accessible online (Gratis Green OA), so it would be better to first grasp the Gratis Green OA that is already within reach at no extra cost -- by mandating it -- rather than renounce it in favour of over-reaching instead for what is not yet within immediate reach at no extra cost, as the Finch Report had recommended doing.Now if what Peter Murray-Rust thinks is what BIS/Finch/RCUK think, then I was indeed, inter alia, criticizing what Peter Murray-Rust thinks.
But certainly not under the subtitle "What Peter Murray-Rust thinks and why he is wrong"...
My talk was not about Peter Murray-Rust.
Tuesday, October 23. 2012
Eric Van de Velde: "Green Open Access delivers the immediate benefit of access. Proponents argue it will also, over time, fundamentally change the scholarly-communication market. The twenty-year HEP record lends support to the belief that Green Open Access has a moderating influence: HEP journals are priced at more reasonable levels than other disciplines. However, the HEP record thus far does not support the notion that Green Open Access creates significant change…"Twenty years of Open Access in HEP is not a significant change?
Eric Van de Velde: "If SCOAP³ proves sustainable, it will become the de-facto sponsor and manager of all HEP publishing world-wide. It will create a barrier-free open-access system of refereed articles produced by professional publishers. This is an improvement over arXiv, which contains mostly author-formatted material."Committing a worldwide institutional consortium into paying roughly the same as what it's paying now, in exchange for OA to publisher PDF instead of author versions?
"Those who observe with scientific detachment merely note that, after twenty years of 100% Green Open Access, the HEP establishment really wants Gold Open Access."
With still more detachment, it sounds as if HEP researchers really wanted -- and gave themselves-- a barrier-free open-access system of refereed articles 20 years ago.
The ones that seems to "really want" Gold OA are a consortium of institutional libraries…
Have patience. HEP researchers provided Green OA unmandated. Once the rest of the world's researchers provide Green OA in response to mandates from their institutions and funders, the "market" changes many desire will follow:
What the research community needs, urgently, is free online access (Open Access, OA) to its own peer-reviewed research output. Researchers can provide that in two ways: by publishing their articles in OA journals (Gold OA) or by continuing to publish in non-OA journals and self-archiving their final peer-reviewed drafts in their own OA Institutional Repositories (Green OA).
OA self-archiving, once it is mandated by research institutions and funders, can reliably generate 100% Green OA. Gold OA requires journals to convert to OA publishing (which is not in the hands of the research community) and it also requires the funds to cover the Gold OA publication costs.
With 100% Green OA, the research community's access and impact problems are already solved. If and when 100% Green OA should cause significant cancellation pressure (no one knows whether or when that will happen, because OA Green grows anarchically, article by article, not journal by journal).
Then the cancellation pressure will cause cost-cutting, downsizing and eventually a leveraged transition to OA (Gold) publishing on the part of journals.
As subscription revenues shrink, institutional windfall savings from cancellations grow. So if and when journal subscriptions become unsustainable, per-article publishing costs will be low enough, and institutional savings will be high enough to cover them, because publishing will have downsized to just peer-review service provision alone, offloading text-generation onto authors and access-provision and archiving onto the global network of OA Institutional Repositories. Green OA will have leveraged a transition to Gold OA.
And, yes, SCOAP3 is indeed pointless pre-emptive lock-in of the status quo (engineered by some academics and some libraries -- certainly not by "academia") in a field (HEP) that already has Green OA, unmandated, and could instead be doing so much more to support and promote mandated Green OA in all other disciplines.
But it's still far from over. Green OA mandates are imminent in the EU, Australia, and perhaps at long last in the US. And RCUK may still fix its policy into a workable one, despite the Finch Fiasco.
Green OA does not change the market, directly -- and certainly not until it's universal. But universal Green OA will certainly make journal affordability no longer the life-or-death matter it is now. (Think about it.)
Wednesday, October 10. 2012
This is a response to a proposal (by some individuals in the researcher community) to raise the goalposts of Green OA self-archiving and Green OA mandates from where they are now (free online access) to CC-BY (free online access plus unlimited re-use and re-publication rights):
1. For the reasons I will try to describe here, raising the goal-posts for Green OA self-archiving and Green OA mandates to CC-BY (free online access PLUS unlimited re-use and re-publication rights) would be very deleterious to Green OA growth, Green OA mandate growth, and hence global OA growth (and would thereby provide yet another triumph for the publisher lobby and double-paid hybrid-Gold CC-BY).In short, the pre-emptive insistence upon CC-BY OA, if recklessly and irrationally heeded, would bring the (already slow) progress toward OA, and the promise of progress, to a grinding halt.
Finch/RCUK's bias toward paid Gold over cost-free Green was clearly a result of self-interested publisher lobbying. But if it were compounded by a premature and counterproductive insistence on CC-BY for all by a small segment of the researcher community, then the prospects of OA (both Gratis and CC-BY), so fertile if we at last take the realistic, pragmatic course of mandating Gratis Green OA globally first, would become as fallow as they have been for the past two decades, for decades to come.
Some quote/comments follow below:
Jan Velterop: We've always heard, from Stevan Harnad, that the author was the one who intrinsically had copyright on the manuscript version, so could deposit it, as an open access article, in an open repository irrespective of the publisher's views.I said -- because it's true, and two decades' objective evidence shows it -- that authors can deposit the refereed, final draft with no realistic threat of copyright action from the publisher.
JV: If that is correct, then the author could also attach a CC-BY licence to the manuscript version.Nothing of the sort. Author self-archiving to provide free online access (Gratis Green OA) is one thing -- claiming and dispensing re-use and republication rights (CC-BY) is quite another.
JV: If it is incorrect, the author can't deposit the manuscript with open access without the explicit permission of the publisher of his final, published version, and the argument advanced for more than a decade by Stevan Harnad is invalid.Incorrect. Authors can make their refereed final drafts free for all online without the prospect of legal action from the publisher, but not with a CC-BY license to re-use and re-publish.
Moreover, for authors who elect to comply with publisher embargoes on Green Gratis OA, there is the option of depositing in Closed Access and relying on the Almost-OA Button to provide eprint-requesters with individual eprints during the embargo. This likewise does not come with CC-BY rights.
JV: Which is it? I think Stevan was right, and a manuscript can be deposited with open access whether or not the publisher likes it. Whence his U-turn, I don't know.No U-turn whatsoever. Just never the slightest implication from me that anything more than free online access was intended.
JV: But if he was right at first, and I believe that's the case, that also means that it can be covered by a CC-BY licence. Repositories can't attach the licence, but 'gold' OA publishers can't either. It's always the author, as copyright holder by default. All repositories and OA publishers can do is require it as a condition of acceptance (to be included in the repository or to be published). What the publisher can do if he doesn't like the author making available the manuscript with open access, is apply the Ingelfinger rule or simply refuse to publish the article.The above is extremely unrealistic and counterproductive policy advice to institutions and funders.
If an OA mandate is gratuitously upgraded to CC-BY it just means that most authors will be unable to get their papers published in their journal of choice if they comply with the mandate. So authors will not comply with the mandate, and the mandate will fail.
Peter Murray-Rust: If we can establish the idea of Green-CC-BY as the norm for deposition in repositories then I would embrace it enthusiastically. I can see no downside other than that some publishers will fight it. But they fight anywayThe downside is that authors won't fight, and hence OA itself will lose the global Gratis Green OA that is fully within its reach, and stay in the non-OA limbo (neither Gratis nor CC-BY, neither Green nor Gold) in which most research still is today -- and has been for two decades.
And the irony is that -- speaking practically rather than ideologically -- the fastest and surest prospect for both CC-BY and Gold is to first quickly reach global Gratis Green OA. Needlessly over-reaching can undermine all of OA's objectives.
PMR: It would resolve all the apparent problems of the Finch reoprt etc. It is only because Green licences are undefined that we have this problem at all.On the contrary: raising the Gratis Green 6-12 goalposts to immediate Green CC-BY would make the Finch/RCUK a pure hybrid-Gold mandate and nothing else. And its failure would be a resounding one.
PMR: And if we all agreed it could be launched for Open Access WeekThat would certainly be a prominent historic epitaph for OA. I hope, on the contrary, that pragmatic voices will be raised during OA week, so that we can get on with reaching for the reachable instead of gratuitously raising the goalposts to unrealistic heights.
Monday, October 8. 2012
Appended after my own overview below is a focused and insightful posting by Fred Friend: As RCUK re-thinks its policy draft, and makes the requisite corrections to ensure that all papers are deposited in an OA repository (Green OA), RCUK should on no account emulate the Wellcome Trust's policy of (1) paying publishers to deposit in the (2) Europe (formerly UK) PubMed Central Repository.
Fred Friend (posted on JISC-REPOSITORIES):“Admitting that RCUK was "thinking about" mandatory repository deposit, Mr Thorley said that one idea was to expand the Europe (formerly UK) PubMed Central repository, which currently covers only biomedicine, to encompass all subjects to help publishers automate deposits.” [Mark Thorley of RCUK quoted in an article by Paul Jump in “Times Higher Education” of 4 October 2012.\
I wonder whose idea this was! I can make one or two guesses, but whoever suggested it, it is a bad idea! I welcomed the development of UK PubMed Central, until the point when Wellcome Trust started to pay some publishers to make the deposit on behalf of authors and funders. I do not know whether Wellcome will disclose the sums paid to publishers, but my impression is that whatever is being paid more than covers the cost of making the deposit and is in effect a payment to publishers for open access and re-use rights. When people I know who are not in academia ask me about my work and I explain that I am working for open access to taxpayer-funded research, this is welcomed by whoever I am speaking to – until I say that many publishers are asking to be paid by taxpayers for making articles open access, at which point the welcome from my listener turns to incredulity. Even more incredulity if I mention the level of payments being requested for APCs. So, if RCUK were to go down the road of paying publishers to deposit in Europe PubMed Central, they should be prepared for challenges on such a mis-use of public money, especially if the deposit payment were to be in addition to the payment of an APC. Presumably the existing funders of UKPMC – some of them charities – would also expect a contribution from the non-biomedical RCs towards the high cost of running Europe PMC. This “idea” could cost a lot of money.
I suspect that there will also be objections from subject groups who see their repository needs as being very different from those of the biomedical community. How many times in my long career have I heard that other such all-embracing proposals will not work for subject x or y! UKPMC is a wonderful service for the biomedical community, a service for which they are prepared to pay and have the resources to pay, but its design will not fit all subjects without major modification. Already I hear some concern about the undue influence of the biomedical community and Wellcome in particular upon the Finch Report and thus upon Government policy. The suspicion is that the open access policy of the Wellcome Trust, which works very well for the Trust and for the biomedical community, is being adopted for all UK research outputs without consideration of the way the Trust’s open access decisions can be applied within other very different academic structures.
RCUK: please think again! It is good that you are considering mandatory repository deposit, but there are other repositories which can provide better value for the service you need.
Sunday, October 7. 2012
Sally Morris (Morris Associates) wrote on GOAL:
"Stevan overlooks the difference between 'publishing' an article in a repository and in a journal. As long as researchers prefer the latter (and there are lots of reasons why they seem to, in addition to peer review) then there will be a demand for journals in which to publish: selection and collecting together of articles of particular relevance to a given audience, and of a certain range of quality; 'findability'; kudos of the journal's title (and impact factor); copy-editing; linking; quality of presentation; etc etc...I completely agree with Sally about peer review: It is a decision by qualified specialists about whether a paper meets a journal's established standards for quality as well as subject matter, as certified by the journal's title and track-record, and, if not, how to revise it, if possible. (And I explicitly say so in the longer commentaries of which I only posted an excerpt on GOAL.)
But that, of course, does not change a thing about the fact that peer review is merely a service, which can be unbundled from the many other products and services with which it is currently co-bundled. It certainly does not imply that in order for referees or editors to make a decision about journal subject matter, there has to exist a set of articles co-bundled in a monthly or quarterly collection, being sold together as a co-bundled product, online or on-paper!
As to the rest of the co-bundled products and services Sally mentions: If she's right, then journals have nothing to fear from Green OA mandates, since those only apply to the author's peer-reviewed, revised, accepted final draft. That's what's self-archived in the author's institutional repository. If all those other products and services are indeed so indispensable, then reaching 100% Green OA globally will not make journal subscriptions unsustainable, because the need, and hence the market, for all those other essential co-bundled products and services Sally mentioned will still be there (for those who can afford them).
The only difference will be that all users -- not just subscribers -- will have access to all peer-reviewed, revised, accepted final drafts online. (That's Green OA, and once we are there, I can stop wasting my time and energy trying to get us there, as I have been doing for nearly 20 years now!)
But then can I ask Sally, please, to call off her fellow publishers who have been relentlessly (and successfully) lobbying BIS (and anyone else that will listen) not to mandate Green OA, and have been imposing embargoes on Green OA, on the (rather incoherent) argument that (1) Green OA is inadequate for researchers' needs and has already proved to be a failure and (2) that if Green OA succeeded it would destroy publishing, peer review, and research quality?
Otherwise this (incoherent) argument becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we have the Finch Fiasco and RCUK Ruckus to show for it.
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