Sunday, September 29. 2013
C P Chandrasekhar (2013) Only the Open Access Movement can address the adverse impact of Western domination of the world of knowlege. Frontline (Oct 4 2913)Interesting article, but I am afraid it misses the most important points:
1. As so often happens, the article takes "OA" to mean Gold OA journals, completely missing Green OA self-archiving and the importance and urgency of mandating it.Providing OA can completely remedy (a), which will in turn help mitigate (b) and that in turn may improve (c). (OA will also greatly enrich and strengthen the variety and validity of metrics.)
But not if we instead just tilt against impact factors and press for new forms of "branding." Branding is simply the earned reputation of a journal based on its track-record for quality, and that means its peer review standards, as certified by the journal's name ("brand").
What is needed is neither new Gold OA journals, nor new forms of "branding." What is needed is Open Access to the peer-reviewed journal literature, such as it is, free for all online: peer-reviewed research needs to be freed from access-denial, not from peer review.
And the way for India and China (and the rest of the world too) to reach that is for their research institutions and funders to mandate Green OA self-archiving of all their peer-reviewed research output.
That's all there is to it. The rest is just ideological speculation, which can no more provide Open Access than it can feed the hungry, cure the sick, or protect from injustice. It simply distracts from the tried and tested practical path that needs to be taken to get the job done.
Friday, September 27. 2013
Joseph Esposito:Compliments to the chefs. Some suggested recipe upgrades:
1. No suggestion made that institutions cannot or should not cancel journals if their articles are all or almost all Green.
(No such journal in sight yet, however, since Green OA is still hovering around 20-30%, apart from some parts of Physics -- but there it's already been at or near 100% for over 20 years, and no cancellations in sight. For the rest, when Green OA -- which grows anarchically, article by article, not systematically, journal by journal -- prevails universally, because Green OA mandates prevail, all or most journal articles will be Green universally, so Green OA will not be a factor in deciding whether to cancel this journal rather than that one.)
2. The issue with Rick was not about the notion of canceling journals because their articles are all or almost all Green, but about cancelling journals (60%) because they do not have a policy of embargoing Green OA.
3. And such a perverse cancellation policy would not be a setback for Green OA but for OA itself. (But not a big setback, thanks to the Liège-FNRS model immediate-deposit mandate recommended by BOAI-10, HEFCE, BIS and HOAP, which is immune to publisher embargoes.)
I notice in the SSP scullery discussion above that my suggestion that Rick should post his OA-unfriendly cancellation strategy to library lists rather than to OA lists amounts to a call for censorship over open discussion. I add only that I am not the moderator of any list, hence have no say over their content. It was an open expression, on an open list, of my opinion (together with the reasons for it) that such discussion belongs on another open list. (I do post this SK comment with some curiosity, as my own comments to SK have more than once failed to appear…)
Alas, the well-meaning Euroscientist article "Open access in Europe: the bear and the tortoise" is replete with the most common misunderstandings of open access (OA) -- the very same misunderstandings that have kept OA from happening for so many years since it first came within reach.
Despite many hopeful announcements, no OA tipping point has yet been reached. (It isn't even clear what "tipping point" means, if it doesn't mean crossing a threshold as of which 100% OA is within sight and fast approaching.)
ERC "joining" Arxiv means providing partial payment to support the costs of a global repository that has been at the disposition of researchers worldwide since 1991. But it's still only those researchers (mostly physicists and mathematicians) who have been depositing in Arxiv all along who continue to deposit in Arxiv. No tipping point in sight there, for the rest of the disciplines and the rest of the world.
If 62% of ERC-funded articles are OA it is because ERC has mandated OA (but the figure needs to distinguish OA itself, which needs to be immediate, from Delayed Access, which might be 6-12-24 months or even longer, after publication).
The EU Horizon 2020 Framework, too, must clarify and shore up its mandate on the question of the timing of the deposit as well as the timing of access.
Recommendations, Declarations, Statements, Invitations and Incentives to provide OA are very welcome, but alas they do not generate OA itself. Only effective OA mandates, adopted and implemented by research institutions, research funders and universities generate OA. And OA mandates are still few and (more to the point): far too weak (see ROARMAP).
No, the real problem is not the possibility that publishers' copyright agreements with authors can still embargo OA for 6-12-24 months or longer. The problem is that most OA mandates fail to mandate immediate deposit anyway, irrespective of how long they allow access to the immediate-deposit to be embargoed by the publisher. Once authors have done an immediate-deposit, the repositories have a Button that makes it possible to provide almost-immediate almost-OA during any allowable embargo period with one click from the would-user and one click from the author.
The UK, the worldwide OA leader since 2004, has not taken "significant steps" forward on OA recently, but significant steps backward. (The Finch Report and the new RCUK OA mandate "prefers" double-paying to publish in gold OA journals instead of letting UK authors continue to publish in their preferred journals and provide green OA by self-archiving in their institutional repositories). Other countries are in fact doing much better than the UK, most notably Belgium, with the Liège model OA green OA mandate -- the one that all institutions and funders worldwide should be adopting. It requires immediate deposit in the institutional repository as the means of submitting work for research evaluation, and as a condition for research funding.
It is good that the Science Europe Statement favours OA, but as noted, the past decade has demonstrated unequivocally that statements are not enough: Effective green OA mandates (the Liège model) are needed (and the Science Europe Statement is not even a statement in favour of effective green OA mandates). Much more clarity, focus, and specificity are needed in order to get this job done.
And the first step is to stop saying and thinking that the difference between "gold OA" (publishing) and "green OA" self-archiving is that gold means instant OA whereas green means OA within 6 months: Gold OA requires authors to change journals and pay to publish. Green OA allows authors to continue to publish where they choose, at no cost, and to provide immediate Almost-OA regardless of whether and how long a publisher OA embargo is allowed. (And 60% of publishers do not embargo OA at all.)
Yes, developing countries could in principle outpace the EU and the US in providing OA to their own research output, but what both the developing countries and the EU and US need most is access to all of one another's research output -- and most urgently to the research output of EU and the US. Moreover, most developing countries are not yet outpacing the EU and the US in providing OA to their own research output.
The obstacles to OA have nothing to do with the (legitimate) need and desire of researchers to meet the quality standards of the top journals in their fields. And the solution is not just "incentives and support" (already tried many times, many places) but the universal adoption of an effective OA mandate, which is the Liège mandate -- and green.
Tuesday, September 24. 2013
Alessandro Sarretta asked:
What matters is the postprint (the "Accepted Author Manuscript [AAM]") not the unrefereed preprint.
Please see my prior analyses of this Elsevier double-talk about authors retaining the right to make their AAMs OA in their institutional repositories "voluntarily," but not if their institutions mandate it "systematically." Here's a summary:Elsevier believes that individual authors should be able to distribute their AAMs [Accepted Author Manuscripts] for their personal voluntary needs and interests, e.g. posting to their websites or their institution’s repository, e-mailing to colleagues. However, our policies differ regarding the systematic aggregation or distribution of AAMs... Therefore, deposit in, or posting to, subject-oriented or centralized repositories (such as PubMed Central), or institutional repositories with systematic posting mandates is permitted only under specific agreements between Elsevier and the repository, agency or institution, and only consistent with the publisher’s policies concerning such repositories. Voluntary posting of AAMs in the arXiv subject repository is permitted.
1. The author-side distinction between an author's self-archiving voluntarily and mandatorily is pseudo-legal nonsense: All authors can assert, safely and truthfully, that whatever they do, they do "voluntarily."
2. The institution-side distinction between voluntary and "systematic" self-archiving by authors has nothing to do with rights agreements between the author and Elsevier: It is an attempt by Elsevier to create a contingency between (a) its "Big Deal" journal pricing negotiations with an institution and (b) that institution's self-archiving policies. Institutions should of course decline to discuss their self-archiving policies in any way in their pricing negotiations with any publisher.
3. "Systematicity" (if it means anything at all) means systematically collecting, reconstructing and republishing the contents of a journal -- presumably on the part of a rival, free-riding publisher hurting the original publisher's revenues; this would constitute a copyright violation on the part of the rival systematic, free-riding publisher, not the author: An institution does nothing of the sort (any more than an individual self-archiving author does). The institutional repository contains only the institution's own tiny random fragment of any individual journal's annual contents. (ArXiv, in contrast, unlike an institutional repository, is indeed a systematic collection of all or almost all the articles in a number of physics and maths journals: Elsevier hence endorses Green OA self-archiving in arXiv, because although it is systematic, it is "voluntary." The pseudo-distinction is hence that although Green OA self-archiving in a mandated institutional repository is not systematic, it can be embargoed despite the fact that all Elsevier authors retain the right to self-archive in their institutional repositories, because it is not "voluntary.")
All of the above is in any case completely mooted if an institution adopts the ID/OA mandate, because that mandate only requires that the deposit be made immediately, not that it be made OA immediately. (If the author wishes to comply with a publisher OA embargo policy -- which Elsevier does not have -- the repository's "Almost-OA" eprint-request Button can tide over researcher needs during any OA embargo with one click from the requestor and one click from the author.)
Sunday, September 22. 2013
Bjorn Brembs: "What you're saying here is that cancellations now are premature, because too few articles are actually available in green repositories? That libraries should hold off because otherwise we face access problems? If that is what you are saying here, then it may be worth spelling it out more clearly as for me that was not immediately obvious. Unintended consequences in publisher behavior (as you allude to above) aside, what is your opinion on using the funds of canceled subscriptions to improve repository functionality to improve green acess? This should only mean a brief interruption of service for much improved access shortly thereafter and a speeding up of the transition you envisage?"1. Cancelling journals because their policies are Green -- i.e., because they do not embargo Green OA self-archiving -- is both absurd and destructive: It simply encourages journals to adopt embargoes.
2. Cancelling journals because (some of) their articles are Green is premature and self-defeating: Less than 20% of journal articles are unembargoed Green (i.e., immediate) OA today, and they are distributed randomly across all journals. Hence to cancel any particular journal because the proportion of its articles that is available Green today exceeds this global average is, again, just to penalize that journal, perversely (as well as jeopardizing the growth of Green OA itself, gratuitously).
The time to consider cancelling journals is once Green OA mandates and hence Green OA are at or near 100% globally, and hence the proportion of journal articles that are green OA is at or near 100%. At this point all journals will be at or near 100% and the global cancellation pressure will affect all of them, forcing them all to cut inessential costs, downsize, and convert to Fair Gold OA. (Then -- and only then -- is the time to redirect a fraction of each institution's annual subscription cancellation windfall savings to pay the much-reduced Fair-Gold publication fees for the institution's authors' own annual article output, affordably and sustainably. Trying instead to start doing this now, pre-emptively -- while percentage Green is still low, Green growth is still slow and unstable, subscriptions to core journals still have to be paid, and Fool's Gold is still over-priced and double-paid (and double-dipped, if hybrid Fool's-Gold) -- would be a profound failure to think ahead.
In sum, to cancel journals now based on the percentage of their articles that are accessible as Green OA now would be as as short-sighted and futile as it would be counterproductive: Like the Finch Fiasco and Stevan Harnad in Publishing Costs at 15:56 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, September 19. 2013
Bravo to Professor Eva Balogh, whose Hungarian Spectrum has been selected for archiving by the Library of Congress. Eva's historic contribution -- crucial and ongoing -- to exposing and fighting back against the sinister downward forces holding Hungary in their thrall today eminently deserved this historic recognition (and I am sure there will be more): Eva, you have been a tireless critic and chronicler, drawing on your scholarly expertise as a historian, as well as personal experiance and an uncompromising ethical integrity. Végtelen hálával gratulálunk mindnyájan. -- István
Monday, September 16. 2013
Rick Anderson (University of Utah Librarian) has posted the following on multiple lists:
Rick Anderson: if I know that a publisher allows green deposit of all articles without embargo, then the likelihood that we'll maintain a paid subscription drops dramaticallyRick Anderson has made a public announcement that he may think serves the interests of University of Utah's Library and its users:
It does not, because it is both arbitrary and absurd to cancel a journal because it is has a Green policy (i.e., no embargo) in Green OA rather than because its contents are otherwise accessible or their users no longer need it. About 60% of subscription journals are Green and there are no data whatsoever to show that the percentage of the contents of Green journals made OA by their authors is higher than the percentage for non-Green journals -- and, more important, the percentage of articles that are made OA today from either Green or non-Green journals is still low, and the subset is an arbitrary and anarchic sample, by article and by author, not journal-specific.
But more important than any of that is the gross disservice that gratuitous public librarian announcements like this do to the OA movement: We have been objecting vehemently to the perverse incentive Finch/RCUK have given publishers to adopt or lengthen Green OA embargoes and offer hybrid Gold in order to get the money the UK has foolishly elected to throw at Fool's Gold unilaterally, and preferentially.
Now is it going to be the library community putting publishers on public notice that unless they adopt or lengthen Green OA embargoes, libraries plan to cancel their journals?
With friends like these, the OA movement hardly needs enemies!
May I suggest, though, that such postings should not go to the GOAL, BOAI or SPARC lists? Please keep such brilliant ideas to the library lists.
And please don't reply that "it's just one factor in our cancelation equation." There's no need for the OA community to hear about librarians' struggles with their serials budgets when it's at the expense of OA.
PS This series of postings was apparently prompted by a query from RA seeking a list of Green OA publishers -- publishers that do not embargo OA (so such publishers can be considered for cancellation by U. Utah Libraries). The database mentioned is SHERPA/Romeo. Romeo was funded and created to help authors provide OA and to help their librarians help them provide OA by letting them know the rights policies of publishers regarding OA. I have long inveighed against the excess weight and exposure that SHERPA/Romeo has solemnly conferred on arbitrary details and quirks of journal policy having nothing to do with helping authors or librarians provide OA, and sometimes even at odds with it (such as whether or not the publisher considers an institutional repository to be an author website, whether the journal endorses OA just for the refereed draft ["blue"] or for both the refereed draft and the unrefereed draft ["green"], and whether the right to provide OA is retained by the author for voluntary OA but not for mandatory OA). It would be ironic indeed if the use that (some) librarians now made of SHERPA/Romeo were not to help them help authors provide OA for those journals that don't embargo OA, but to help librarians cancel journals that don't embargo OA!
Mike Taylor wrote:
In their recommendations and support for the Finch Report, which declared Green ineffective and recommended downgrading it to preservation archiving instead of OA. See:
RCUK: Don't Follow the Wellcome Trust OA Policy Model!
The advantages you see in Gold lie in your preferred definition of OA (and of "open" vs. "non-open"). And we are talking about Green OA and Gold OA, not Green and Gold. Your preferences are hence camouflaged by using the terminology generically.
There are, as you know, two kinds or degrees of OA:
You are an advocate for Libre OA, and when you use the words "OA" and "open" you mean Libre OA.Gratis OA: Free online access
I am an advocate for Green OA, and have given many reasons -- empirical, logical, strategic and practical -- for why Green, Gratis OA must come first:
So when you say you have no preference between Green and Gold and what you care about is OA, what you mean is Libre OA, which in turn entails a preference for Gold OA at the expense of Green OA (hence OA).1. Gratis OA is a prerequisite of Libre OA.
And that is exactly what you have been defending in your many public postings: You have criticized Green OA mandates for not requiring Green Libre OA (even though such mandates are presently impossible and would lead to author non-compliance and non-feasibility of Green OA mandates) and you have endorsed paying for Libre Gold OA in preference to providing just Gratis Green.
Not only is Libre OA just as premature and out of reach of mandates today as (Fool's) Gold OA (overpriced, double-paid, and, if hybrid, also double-dipped) is out of reach financially today, but even immediate, unembargoed Gratis Green OA is still not quite within reach of mandates yet:
The compromise has to be precisely theLiège-FNRS model immediate-deposit mandates now being recommended by BOAI-10, HOAP, HEFCE and BIS (with the eprint-request Button tiding over user needs during any allowable embargo) first.
Once those mandates are adopted globally, they will not only provide a great deal of (Gratis, Green) immediate-OA (at least 60%), plus Button-mediated Almost-OA for all the rest (40%): with all articles being immediately deposited, and with immediate-OA just one access-setting click away they will also exert mounting global pressure for immediate-OA. And 100% immediate-OA will in turn eventually exert cancelation pressure on publishers, which will force downsizing and conversion to Fair-Gold OA and as much Libre OA as users need and authors wish to provide.
Yup, I know that's what you prefer! And I've explained why your preferences are not directly realizable above. They are pre-emptive over-reaching. Grasp what's reachable first -- immediate-deposit mandates -- and that will bring the rest of what you seek within reach. Keep counselling unrealistic over-reaching instead, and we'll have yet another decade of next to nothing. First things first.
And that is precisely what BIS (and HEFCE and BOAI-10) are recommending to be mandated (not what you seem to be imagining).
OA mandates can only work if it is in authors' interests to comply willingly: if mandates try to co-opt authors' choice of journals, or cost them money, authors will not comply, and mandates will fail.
Even at one quarter the fee, and non-hybrid, the cost would still be double-paid (core-journal institutional subscription payments, uncancelable till their contents are accessible without them + individual author Gold journal APC payments), hence unaffordable Fool's Gold (and hence a disaster for a UK that pays it unilaterally). Only Green OA-induced cancellation pressure can downsize them to Fair Gold.
...we just ignore them...
Friday, September 13. 2013
End of the gold rush? (Yvonne Morris, cilip): "In the interest of making research outputs publicly available; shorter and consistent or no embargo periods are the desired outcome. However, publishers… have argued that short embargo periods make librarians cancel subscriptions to their journals… The BIS report finds no evidence to support this distinction."
I have long meant to comment on a frequent contradiction that keeps being voiced by OA advocates and opponents alike:
I. Call for Disruption: Serial publications are overpriced and unaffordable; publisher profits are excessive; the subscription (license) model is unsustainable: the subscription model needs to be disrupted in order to force it to evolve toward Gold OA.Green OA mandates do two things: (a) They provide immediate OA for all who cannot afford subscription access, and (b) they disrupt the subscription model.
Green OA embargoes do two things: (c) They withhold OA from all who cannot afford subscription access, and (d) they protect the subscription model from disruption.
Why do those OA advocates who are working for (a) (i.e., to provide immediate OA for all who cannot afford subscription access) also feel beholden to promise (d) (i.e. to protect the subscription model from disruption)?
University of Liège and FRSN Belgium have adopted -- and HEFCE and BIS (as well as BOAI-10: 1.1 & 1.6 and the Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP)) have all proposed adopting -- the compromise resolution to this contradiction:
Mandate the immediate repository deposit of the final refereed draft of all articles immediately upon acceptance for publication, but if the author wishes to comply with a publisher embargo on Green OA, do not require access to the deposit to be made OA immediately: Let the deposit be made Closed Access during the allowable embargo period and let the repository's automated eprint-request Button tide over the needs of research and researchers by making it easy for users to request and authors to provide a copy for research purposes with one click each.
This tides over research needs during the embargo. If it still disrupts serials publication and makes subscriptions unsustainable, chances are that it's time for publishers to phase out the products and services for which there is no longer a market in the online era and evolve instead toward something more in line with the real needs of the PostGutenberg research community.
Evolution and adaptation never occur except under the (disruptive) pressure of necessity. Is there any reason to protect the journal publishing industry from evolutionary pressure, at the expense of research progress?
Bo-Christer Björk & David Solomon (2013) The publishing delay in scholarly peer-reviewed journals. Journal of Informetrics (in press)Now it's time to put two and two together (and this pertains more to the lag between acceptance and publication: the timing of peer review and revision is another matter):Abstract: Publishing in scholarly peer reviewed journals usually entails long delays from submission to publication. In part this is due to the length of the peer review process and in part because of the dominating tradition of publication in issues, earlier a necessity of paper-based publishing, which creates backlogs of manuscripts waiting in line. The delays slow the dissemination of scholarship and can provide a significant burden on the academic careers of authors.
1. The research community is clamoring for access, particularly those who are denied access to articles in journals to which their institutions cannot afford to subscribe.This is why the Liege-model immediate-deposit mandate ( together with the repository-mediated request-sprint Button) -- now recommended by both HEFCE and BIS (as well as BOAI-10: 1.1 & 1.6 and the Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP)) -- is so important:
It makes it possible for researchers to request -- and authors to provide -- immediate access with one click each as soon as the final, refereed, revised draft is accepted for publication, irrespective of publication lags or publisher OA embargoes.
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