Friday, November 30. 2012
On Monday November 26 2012, a Hungarian MP, Márton Gyöngyösy, deputy leader of the extreme right "Jobbik" Party, called for the creation of a race-based list, on the grounds of risks to Hungarian national security.
This all-too-familiar burst of base bigotry from the Jobbik party in Hungary's parliament has deflected attention from an even more ominous event that passed unnoticed, in the very same place, on the very same day: Electoral gerrymandering designed to keep the governing Fidesz Party in power.
As Marton Dornbach points out below in his remarkably insightful commentary from the Hungarian Spectrum -- reproduced in full and slightly updated by the author -- Fidesz is just playing "good cop" to Jobbik's "bad cop".
The two right-wing parties are only distinguishable by the fact that Jobbik's hallmark is psychopathic bigotry, whereas Fidesz's hallmark is psychopathic opportunism. Both are sinking Hungary deeper and deeper, downward and backward, toward an ugly, resentful autocracy and xenophobia to which Hungary is no stranger, and from which it has not yet made the sincere effort to dissociate itself that has been made by the other nations of Europe.
Hungary has a majority of decent, fair-minded people, like every other nation in the world. It is not beyond hope that world outrage at this pair of incidents may help them to rally against these two pernicious parties, Fidesz and Jobbik, that have already done Hungary so much harm, and oust them decisively, once and for all, in the next election, despite Fidesz's shameless and disgraceful efforts to make this so much more difficult to do.
Here is some background reading on last year's symptoms of Hungary's downward trajectory already noted in this blog:
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Hungary's Philosophy Affair: Bringing It All Out Into The Open
Tuesday, November 27. 2012
I think that what Richard is worrying about here is whether the cost-cutting that a transition from subscription publishing to Gold OA publishing would make possible (e.g., curtailing the print edition) would be reflected in lower Gold OA charges to the author/institution or they would simply be absorbed by the publisher (Aspesi's (2012) test case being Elsevier), leaving Gold OA charges higher than they need to be.Claudio Aspesi, BernsteinResearch: “We estimate that a full transition to OA could lead to savings in the region of 10-12% of the cost base of a subscription publisher.”Richard Poynder, on the Global Open Access List (GOAL): "The key question: if that estimate is accurate, will those savings be passed on to the research community?"
I join this speculation and counter-speculation only reluctantly, for two reasons:
(1) I think there are significant transition factors that none of the economic analyses has yet fully taken into account, and hence that the potential savings are still being considerably underestimated.Post-Green Gold will cost far less than the pre-emptive pre-Green Gold that the economic analyses keep estimating.
We keep counting the "savings" from generic Gold OA publishing without reckoning how to get there, and whether the transition itself might not be a major determinant in the potential for savings (from OA as well as from Gold OA).
I am not an economist, so I will not try to do anything more than to point out the main factor that I believe the economic analyses are failing to take into account:
If Green OA self-archiving in institutional repositories is mandated globally by institutions and funders, this will have two major consequences:
I. First, not only will globally mandated Green OA provide universal OA (and all of its benefits, scientific and economic) alongside subscription publishing, at minimal additional cost (because (a) repositories are relatively cheap to create and maintain, (b) most research-active institutions have created repositories already, and (c) have done so for multiple purposes, OA being only one of them).Not only can the print edition and its costs be phased out under cancelation pressure from global Green OA, but so can the publisher's online edition and version of record: The worldwide network of Green OA repositories and their many central harvesters are perfectly capable of generating, hosting, archiving and providing access to the version-of-record. No more PDF or XML needed from the publisher; nor archiving; nor access provision; nor marketing; nor fulfillment. Nor any of their associated expenses.
All that's needed from the publisher is the service of managing the peer review (peers review for free) and the certification of its outcome with the journal's title and track-record.
That's post-Green Gold OA publishing. Compared to that, all the economical estimates of savings are under-estimates.
Nor will there be any need -- with post-Green Gold OA -- for mega-publishers (like Elsevier), publishing vast fleets of unrelated journals; nor for mega-journals (like PLoS ONE, now the biggest journal in the world, twice as big as the next-biggest one), publishing vast flocks of unrelated articles. There are many narrow research specialities, a few wider ones, and a few even wider, multidisciplinary ones. They each have their own peers and readerships, and they each need their own peer-reviewed journals; depending on the size of the field, some fields will need several journals, forming a pyramid of quality standards, the most selective (hence smallest) at the top.
There may indeed have been economies of scale for multiple journal production in the Gutenberg days. But in the PostGutenberg era, with post-Green Gold OA journals, providing solely the service of peer review, there will be no need for generic refereeing being mass-marketed by generic editorial assistants for mega-publishers or mega-journals, where no one other than the referee (if competently selected!) knows anything about the subject matter.
So besides scaling down to the post-Green OA essentials, post-Green Gold OA journals will also revert to being the independent, peer-based titles that they were before being jointly bought up for by the post-Maxwellian publisher megalopolies. The online-era economies will come from restoring journals to their own natural speciality scale rather than from agglomerating them into generic multiple money-makers for superfluous middlemen who simply commodify what scholars give away and seek.
Aspesi, C (2012) Reed Elsevier: Transitioning to Open Access - Are the Cost Savings Sufficient to Protect Margins? BernsteinResearch November 26
Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition. In: Anna Gacs. The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the Electronic Age. L'Harmattan. 99-106.
Harnad, S. (2009) The PostGutenberg Open Access Journal. In: Cope, B. & Phillips, A (Eds.) The Future of the Academic Journal. Chandos.
Harnad, S. (2010a) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine 16 (7/8).
Harnad, S. (2010b) The Immediate Practical Implication of the Houghton Report: Provide Green Open Access Now. Prometheus, 28 (1). pp. 55-59.
Houghton, John W. & Swan, Alma (2012) Planting the green seeds for a golden harvest. Comments and clarifications on “Going for Gold”
Monday, November 26. 2012
is the losing choice
in a non-forced-choice Prisoner's Dilemma
(think about it!)
Houghton, John W. & Swan, Alma (2012) Planting the green seeds for a golden harvest: Comments and clarifications on “Going for Gold”
Friday, November 23. 2012
Preamble: If you wish to sample some of the most absurd, incoherent, pseudo-legal gibberish on the subject of "rights" retention, "systematicity" and free will, please have a look at what follows under "Elsevier Article Posting Policies" below. (And bear in mind that an institution only provides a tiny fraction of any journal's content.)
Any author foolish enough to be intimidated by this kind of garbled double-talk deserves everything that's coming to him.
My Advice to Authors: Ignore this embarrassing, self-contradictory nonsense completely and exercise your retained "right" to post your final refereed draft ("AAM") in your institutional repository immediately upon acceptance, whether or not it is mandatory, secure in the knowledge that from a logical contradiction anything and everything (and its opposite) follows! (And be prepared to declare, with hand on heart, that as an adult, every right you exercise with your striate musculature is exercised "voluntarily.")
[By the way, as long as Elsevier states that its authors retain the right to post "voluntarily", Elsevier, too, remains on the Side of the Angels insofar as immediate, unembargoed Green OA self-archiving is concerned. It's just that the Angels are a bit glossolalic...]
Thursday, November 22. 2012
John Houghton and Alma Swan have published several important and influential economic analyses of the costs and benefits of Open Access (OA), Gold OA publishing and Green OA self-archiving worldwide and for the UK.
The specific implications of their findings for the UK Finch Committee recommendations and RCUK OA Policy as well as for worldwide OA policy are very clearly and explicitly stated in their latest paper (Houghton & Swan 2012):
Finch, Dame Janet et al (2012) Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications. Report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings.
Harnad, S. (2012) Why the UK Should Not Heed the Finch Report. LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog, Summer Issue
Harnad, S (2012) United Kingdom's Open Access Policy Urgently Needs a Tweak. D-Lib Magazine Volume 18, Number 9/10 September/October 2012
Harnad, S. (2010) The Immediate Practical Implication of the Houghton Report: Provide Green Open Access Now. Prometheus, 28 (1) 55-59.
Houghton, J.W. & Oppenheim, C. (2010) The Economic Implications of Alternative Publishing Models. Prometheus 28 (1) 41-54
Houghton, J.W., Rasmussen, B., Sheehan, P.J., Oppenheim, C., Morris, A., Creaser, C., Greenwood, H., Summers, M. and Gourlay, A. (2009) Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models: Exploring the Costs and Benefits, Report to The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) by Victoria University & Loughborough University.
See also the related addendum
RCUK (2012) Policy on Access to Research Outputs RCUK Research Councils UK
Swan, A. and Houghton, J.W. (2012) Going for Gold? The costs and benefits of Gold Open Access for UK research institutions: Further economic modelling, Report to the UK Open Access Implementation Group (July 2012).
Friday, November 16. 2012
We have heard it repeatedly claimed, without evidence or argument, that in Germany it would be illegal to mandate that authors self-archive their final drafts of peer-reviewed articles because it would be a "violation of academic freedom."
I have never believed this claim, and do not even think it is coherent.
A Green OA self-archiving mandate leaves authors free to publish whatever they wish and to publish it in whatever journal they wish. It merely requires them to deposit the final, accepted draft in an institutional repository.
(Most Green OA mandates don't even require the deposit to be made OA immediately: they allow it to be left in Closed Access during a publisher embargo period: About 60% of journals do not have OA embargoes; 40% have embargoes of from 6-12 months to several years or more.)
Hence the requirement to deposit is merely an administrative mandate -- like requiring that publications be submitted electronically rather than on paper, for performance evaluation. (Was that a violation of academic freedom in Germany too?)
The "illegal in Germany" claim has been made over and over, in and about Germany. It invariably turns out to be based on the incorrect assumption that it entails putting a constraint on authors' academic freedom. Instead of just repeating the claim, like hearsay, endlessly, I urge advocates and opponents of OA alike to first get it clear in their minds exactly what a Green OA self-archiving mandate mandates, and then to state explicitly how or why it violates authors' academic freedom.
But be careful not to conflate Green OA self-archiving mandates with Gold OA publishing mandates: The latter would require authors to publish in Gold OA journals rather than their journals of choice; or they would forbid authors to publish in journals that embargo Green OA. Such mandates would indeed be constraining authors' academic freedom.
But Gold OA publishing is not what most OA mandates require. They just require Green OA self-archiving. (See ROARMAP -- and you will see that there are already some Green OA mandates in Germany.)
Monday, November 12. 2012
Response of Fred Friend on GOAL to Martin Hall on Finch in UKSG Insights:
Saturday, November 10. 2012
Comment on: UK research funders announce grants for open-access publishing (Richard Van Noorden, Nature)First, a correction: Gold vs. Green does not mean immediate Gold OA from the publisher vs. delayed Green OA from the author’s institutional repository. Most Green OA (60%) is immediate OA too. And for the 40% that is embargoed by publishers, repositories have the “Almost OA” Button.
Second, that 60% vs 40% refers to Green OA, whose worldwide UNmandated annual average is about 25% today. So that’s 60%/40% of 25% or about 16% immediate Green OA and 8% Almost-OA globally today.
Now to RCUK: As Richard notes, even the old, weak RCUK mandate, with no compliance assurance mechanism, did better than the worldwide average.
Evidence has since shown that strong mandates provide much higher Green OA rates (over 70% within two years).
Hence the RCUK, in wasting scarce research money on Gold instead of strengthening its compliance assurance mechanism for cost-free Green OA, would be designing a self-fulfilling prophecy. This would fail, because most UK researchers would rightly refuse to comply with Gold and the rest of the world (funders as well as universities) is meanwhile mandating Green.
A European Green OA Mandate may help restore RCUK to its senses and put it back on a realistic path to 100% OA, focused on research interests instead of publishing interests.
Comment on:This turns out to be a stunningly superficial defence of the Finch Report by one of its authors (and the one from whom one might have hoped for a much fuller grasp of the Green/Gold contingencies, priorities and pragmatics).
The substance of Martin Hall's defence of the Finch recommendation that the UK should (double-)pay for Gold instead of strengthening its mandate for Green is that (1) Gold provides the publisher's version of record, rather than just the author's peer-reviewed final draft, that (2) Gold provides text-mining rights and that (3) Gold is the way to solve the journal price problem.
What Hall does not even consider is whether the publisher's version of record and text-mining rights are worth the asking price of Gold, compared to cost-free Green. His account (like everyone else's) is also astonishingly vague and fuzzy about how the transition to Gold is to take place in the UK. And Hall (like Finch) completely fails to take the rest of the world into account. All the reckoning about the future of publishing is based on the UK's policy for its 6% share.
Hall quotes Peter Suber's objection but does not answer it; and he does not even bother to mention (nor give any sign of being aware of) the substance of my own many, very specific points of criticism about both the Finch recommendations and the RCUK policy. (This is rather consistent, however, since if Hall had given any of these points some serious thought, it is hard to see how he could have endorsed the Finch recommendations in the first place; most had already been made before Finch.)
The Swan/Houghton economic analyses, too, are cited by Hall, as if in support, but in fact not heeded at all.
It will be instructive to see whether the remarkable superficiality of Hall's defence of Finch is noticed by the UK academic community, or it is just catalogued as further "authoritative support" for Finch/RCUK.
Saturday, November 3. 2012
Reply to Ross Mounce:
1.The affordability problem loses all of its importance and urgency once globally mandated Green OA has its dual effect of (i) making peer-reviewed journal articles free for all (not just subscribers), thereby (ii) making it possible for institutions to cancel subscriptions if they can no longer afford -- or no longer wish -- to pay for them:
2. "If and when global Green OA should go on to make subscriptions unsustainable (because users are satisfied with just the Green OA versions) that will in turn induce journals to cut costs (print edition, online edition, access-provision, archiving), downsize to just providing the service of peer review, and convert to the Gold OA cost-recovery model. Meanwhile, the subscription cancellations will have released the funds to pay these residual service costs."
3. In other words, it is global Green OA itself that will "decouple the scholarly journal, and separate the peer-review process from the integrated set of services that traditional journals provide." (And then the natural way to charge for the service of peer review will be on a "no-fault basis," with the author's institution or funder paying for each round of refereeing, regardless of outcome [acceptance, revision/re-refereeing, or rejection], minimizing cost while protecting against inflated acceptance rates and decline in quality standards.)
4. Because of the Gaussian distribution of virtually all human qualities and quantities, research quality and quality-assessment is not just a 0/1, pass/fail matter. Research and researchers need the much more nuanced and informative hierarchy of quality levels that journals afford.
5. Please don't conflate the simplistic reliance on the journal impact factor (the journal's articles' average citation counts) -- which is not, by the way, an OA issue -- with the much more substantive and important fact that the existing journal hierarchy does represent a vertical array of research quality levels, corresponding to different standards of peer-review rigour and hence selectivity.
6. This hierarchy is already provided by the known track-records of journals, and can and will be enhanced by a growing set of new, rich and diverse metrics of journal and article quality, importance, usage and impact. What authors and users need is not just a "Gold OA plot" but a clear sense of the quality standards of journals.
7. I think it is exceedingly unrealistic and counterproductive to advise researchers to simply give up the journal with the known and established quality standards and track-record for their work in favour of another journal just for the sake of making their paper Gold OA (let alone for the sake of freeing it from the tyranny of the impact factor) -- and especially at today's still vastly-inflated Gold OA "publishing fee," and whilst the money to pay for it is still locked into institutional subscriptions that cannot be cancelled until/unless those journal articles are accessible in some other way.
8. That other way is cost-free Green OA. And it is global Green OA self-archiving of all journal articles, published in the journal with the highest quality standards the author's work can meet -- not a pre-emptive switch to new journals just because they offer Gold OA today -- that will make those journal articles accessible in the "other way" that (i) solves the accessibility problem immediately, (ii) mitigates the affordability problem immediately, and (iii) eventually induces a transition to Gold OA at a fair and affordable price.
9. Today (i.e., pre-Green-OA), Gold OA means double-pay -- whether for hybrid Gold OA, or for pure Gold OA, as long as subscriptions must still be paid too.
10. It is short-sighted in the extreme to wish authors to renounce journals of established quality and pay extra pre-emptively to new Gold OA journals for an OA that they can already provide cost-free today through Green OA self-archiving, with the additional prospect of easing the affordability problem now, as well as preparing the road for an eventual liberation from subscriptions and a leveraged transition to affordable, sustainable Gold (and Libre) OA.
Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition. In: Anna Gacs. The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the Electronic Age. L'Harmattan. 99-106.
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