Tuesday, November 19. 2013
Ann Okerson (as interviewed by Richard Poynder) is committed to licensing. I am not sure whether the commitment is ideological or pragmatic, but it's clearly a lifelong ("asymptotic") commitment by now.
I was surprised to see the direction Ann ultimately took because -- as I have admitted many times -- it was Ann who first opened my eyes to (what eventually came to be called) "Open Access."
In the mid and late 80's I was still just in the thrall of the scholarly and scientific potential of the revolutionarily new online medium itself ("Scholarly Skywriting"), eager to get everything to be put online. It was Ann's work on the serials crisis that made me realize that it was not enough just to get it all online: it also had to be made accessible (online) to all of its potential users, toll-free -- not just to those whose institutions could afford the access-tolls (licenses).
And even that much I came to understand, sluggishly, only after I had first realized that what set apart the writings in question was not that they were (as I had first naively dubbed them) "esoteric" (i.e., they had few users) but that they were peer-reviewed research journal articles, written by researchers solely for impact, not for income.
But I don't think the differences between Ann and me can be set down to pragmatics vs. ideology. I too am far too often busy trying to free the growth of open access from the ideologues (publishing reformers, rights reformers (Ann's "open use" zealots), peer review reformers, freedom of information reformers) who are slowing the progress (from "now" to "better") of access to peer-reviewed journal articles by insisting only and immediately on what they believe is the "best." Like Ann, I, too, am all pragmatics (repository software, analyses of the OA impact advantage, mandates, analyses of mandate effeciveness).
So Ann just seems to have a different sense of what can (hence should) be done, now, to maximize access, and how (as well as how fast). And after her initial, infectious inclination toward toll-free access (which I and others caught from her) she has apparently concluded that what is needed is to modify the terms of the tolls (i.e., licensing).
This is well-illustrated by Ann's view on SCOAP3: "All it takes is for libraries to agree that what they’ve now paid as subscription fees for those journals will be paid instead to CERN, who will in turn pay to the publishers as subsidy for APCs."
I must alas disagree with this view, on entirely pragmatic -- indeed logical -- grounds: the transition from annual institutional subscription fees to annual consortial OA publication fees is an incoherent, unscalable, unsustainable Escherian scheme that contains the seeds of its own dissolution, rather than a pragmatic means of reaching a stable "asymptote": Worldwide, across all disciplines, there are P institutions, Q journals, and R authors, publishing S articles per year. The only relevant item is the article. The annual consortial licensing model -- reminiscent of the Big Deal -- is tantamount to a global oligopoly and does not scale (beyond CERN!).
So if SCOAP3 is the pragmatic basis for Ann's "predict[ion that] we’ll see such journals evolve into something more like 'full traditional OA' before too much longer" then one has some practical basis for scepticism -- a scepticism Ann shares when it comes to "hybrid Gold" OA journals -- unless of course such a transition to Fool's Gold is both mandated and funded by governments, as the UK and Netherlands governments have lately proposed, under the influence of their publishing lobbies! But the globalization of such profligate folly seems unlikely on the most pragmatic grounds of all: affordability. (The scope for remedying world hunger, disease or injustice that way are marginally better -- and McDonalds would no doubt be interested in such a yearly global consortial pre-payment deal for their Big Macs too…)
I also disagree (pragmatically) with Ann's apparent conflation of the access problem for journal articles with the access problem for books. (It's the inadequacy of the "esoteric" criterion again. Many book authors -- hardly pragmatists -- still dream of sales & riches, and fear that free online access would thwart these dreams, driving away the prestigious publishers whose imprimaturs distinguish their work from vanity press.)
Pragmatically speaking, OA to articles has already proved slow enough in coming, and has turned out to require mandates to induce and embolden authors to make their articles OA. But for articles, at least, there is author consensus that OA is desirable, hence there is the motivation to comply with OA mandates from authors' institutions and funders. Books, still a mixed bag, will have to wait. Meanwhile, no one is stopping those book authors who want to make their books free online from picking publishers who agree…
And there are plenty of pragmatic reasons why the librarian-obsession -- perhaps not ideological, but something along the same lines -- with the Version-of-Record is misplaced when it comes to access to journal articles: The author's final, peer-reviewed, accepted draft means the difference between night and day for would-be users whose institutions cannot afford toll-access to the publisher's proprietary VoR.
And for the time being the toll-access VoR is safe [modulo the general digital-preservation problem, which is not an OA problem], while subscription licenses are being paid by those who can afford them. CHORUS and SHARE have plenty of pragmatic advantages for publishers (and ideological ones for librarians), but they are vastly outweighed by their practical disadvantages for research and researchers -- of which the biggest is that they leave access-provision in the hands of publishers (and their licensing conditions).
About the Marie-Antoinette option for the developing world -- R4L -- the less said, the better. The pragmatics really boil down to time: the access needs of both the developing and the developed world are pressing. Partial and makeshift solutions are better than nothing, now. But it's been "now" for an awfully long time; and time is not an ideological but a pragmatic matter; so is lost research usage and impact.
Ann says: "Here’s the fondest hope of the pragmatic OA advocate: that we settle on a series of business practices that truly make the greatest possible collection of high-value material accessible to the broadest possible audience at the lowest possible cost — not just lowest cost to end users, but lowest cost to all of us."
Here's a slight variant, by another pragmatic OA advocate: "that we settle on a series of research community policies that truly make the greatest possible collection of peer-reviewed journal articles accessible online free for all users, to the practical benefit of all of us."
The online medium has made this practically possible. The publishing industry -- pragmatists rather than ideologists -- will adapt to this new practical reality. Necessity is the Mother of Invention.
Let me close by suggesting that perhaps something Richard Poynder wrote is not quite correct either: He wrote "It was [the] affordability problem that created the accessibility problem that OA was intended to solve."
No, it was the creation of the online medium that made OA not only practically feasible (and optimal) for research and researchers, but inevitable. (See the opening words of the Budapest Open Access Initiative.) But Richard is probably right that it was affordability that (eventually) roused librarians -- first to consortial licensing, and then to OA.
Monday, November 18. 2013
Finch II: Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: A Review of Progress in Implementing the Recommendations of the Finch Report (October 2013)
"Our review is based on a rigorous analysis of evidence from a wide range of sources."Hardly. The Finch II review is in fact a very selective re-hash of opinions and opinion-surveys, with nothing faintly resembling the objective evidence called for by the BIS Select Committee.
This exceedingly long, rambling, incoherent new Finch report has very little that is new or substantive; it is mostly vague, self-congratulatory sloganeering. But its thrust is clear: Despite all the objections and counter-evidence to Finch I, and despite the very trenchant and specific critique and recommendations of the BIS Select Committee, Finch II is simply digging in its heels and sticking to what it said in Finch I.
This is clearly the result of remarkably successful lobbying by the UK journal publishing industry (aided and abetted by a small fervent minority of OA advocates who consider free online access insufficient, and insist on paying extra for a CC-BY license that allows re-use, text-mining, re-mixing and re-publication) -- plus a good deal of woolly-mindedness (and perhaps some pig-headedness too) in the Finch Committee and its advisors (e.g., the Wellcome Trust).
The most important amendment grudgingly admitted by Finch II is that UK researchers are now free to choose between providing OA via the Green route (of publishing articles in any journal at all, by making the article OA in a repository after any allowable publisher embargo has expired) or via the Gold route (by paying the publisher [pure Gold or hybrid] to make the article OA immediately [with a CC-BY license]).
I will not rehearse again the many reasons why paying for Gold OA is a waste of UK public funds, double-paying arbitrarily inflated "Fool's Gold" fees to publishers for the UK's outgoing 6% of worldwide research, over and above paying subscription fees to publishers for all incoming research. The fact is that Finch has now conceded that researchers are free to choose whether or not to pay for Gold, so UK researchers need not waste money on Fool's Gold unless they wish to. Author choice is restored.
Moreover, Green OA embargo length limits will not be enforced for at least two years (Finch/RCUK are instead focussing all their attention on montoring how the Gold funds are being spent).
And Finch II also seems to have grudgingly conceded that the parallel HEFCE addendum -- requiring that in order to be eligible for REF2020, all articles must be deposited in the author's institutional repository immediately upon publlication (not after an embargo, nor just before REF2020) -- is likely to be adopted.
This concession should not have been grudging, because the HEFCE/REF addendum in fact provides the crucial missing component that will make the Finch/RCUK mandate succeed, despite Finch's preference for Fool's Gold: It provides the all-important mechanism for monitoring and ensuring timely compliance, by recruiting institutions (ever ready to do anything they possibly can to increase their chances of success in REF) to ensure that deposit is immediate, even if OA is embargoed. (During any embargo the institutonal repositories also have the automated copy-request Button, which enables users to request and authors to provide individual copies for research purposes with just one click each.)
Finch II nevertheless continues to crow about the Finch Policy serving as a beacon for the rest of the world:
"It is clear also that our 2012 Report and the subsequent policy developments have proved a catalyst for activity not only in the UK, but internationally."In point of fact, apart from the UK, the only other country with a Finch-like preference for Gold is the Netherlands, as has just been announced, almost simultaneously with the release of Finch II. It is no coincidence, of course, that the UK and the Netherlands are the hosts of the world's largest journal fleet publishers, who have been feverishly lobbying worldwide against mandating Green and for instead funding Gold. The lobbying has had no success anywhere else on the planet, which now has over 80 funder OA mandates and over 200 institutional OA mandates, all of which are Green, except for the UK. (The Netherlands has not mandated OA at all, but threatens to emulate the Finch/RCUK preferential-Gold mandate in 2 years if there is not enough voluntary response.)
So, no news from Finch II, but promising prospects for a HEFCE/REF immediate-deposit requirement that will make the Finch/RCUK Green option succeed.
There are some telling signs, however, of just how fully Finch is in the thrall of the publisher lobby: Open Access is about access to research, yet Finch keeps referring to a "mixed economy" and a "transition," as if OA were about publishers' business models, hence about publishing economics, rather than about research access and impact, and as if the goal were Gold OA, rather than OA itself:
"We hold to the view that a transition via a mixed economy to Gold OA, where publication costs are met mainly by the payment of [Gold OA fees], is the most effective way of balancing our [sic] objectives of increased access, sustainability and excellence."This is also a good point to look more closely at "our" "sustainability" objective: What is it that "we" (who is "we"?) must be be careful to sustain, in the transition to OA: peer-reviewed research? or publishers' current revenue streams?
And who is to determine the terms and timetable for the transition to OA? The research community? or whatever (and however long) it takes to sustain publishers' current revenue streams?
Finch seems to have accepted wholesale that publishers are justified in embargoing Green OA in order to sustain their current subscription revenues -- and that the UK (double-) paying publishers' asking-price for Gold OA (as determined by whatever it takes to sustain their current revenue levels) is the fastest and fairest way to make a transition to 100% OA. But what is in reality being sustained here is publishers' current revenue levels, not peer-reviewed research itself. And publisher embargoes on Green OA are being used to hold back the "transition" timetable for as long as it takes till publishers' terms are met:
"...a transition to open access (OA) over an extended period that would be characterised by a mixed economy".To illustrate how fully Finch has identified itself with publishers' interests and their attempts to hold OA hostage to publishers embargoes and agenda:
"We cannot agree… with those who urge policies based solely on Green OA with short or zero embargoes, a position which derives from an exclusive preference for Green OA, rather than a mixed economy. There is a balance to be struck between embargo lengths that provide speedy access on the one hand, and sustainability for subscription-based journals and the business models that underpin them on the other."Finch II has internalized without reflection -- as if it were a law of nature, rather than merely a publisher-imposed, self-fulfilling prophecy -- the canard that Gold OA means immediate OA and Green OA means delayed OA (delayed because publishers embargo it!): The two options are accordingly defined by Finch II as:
"immediate free access to publications with the costs met by [Gold OA fees], often referred to as Gold OA…In point of fact, over 60% of subscription journals do not embargo Green OA (though Finch certainly seems to be doing its level best to give them the incentive to do so!).
Finch II has also re-affirmed its support for negotiating a Really Big Deal -- an extended national license scheme to "sustain" subscription access during the "mixed economy" transition. Translation: Publishers are to be granted their fondest wish of being paid a still bigger UK national license fee for all incoming subscription content, over and above the Finch funds to be paid them for (Fool's) Gold OA. The UK here will be collaborating in the fulfillment of publishers' "self-sustaining" strategy (see Appendix)...
Finch II also proposes to
"monitor the impact of OA policies on learned societies... [because they] start from different positions in engaging with the transition to OA."The only relevant question is whether Learned Society publishers are any more justified than commercial publishers in embargoing access to Learned Research in order to "sustain" their current revenue streams. Apart from that, post-Green Fair-Gold publishing will be as open to Learned Society publishers as to commercial publishers, if and when globally mandated Green makes subscriptions unsustainable. In place of whatever Learned Society publishing revenues were supporting "good works" such as meetings and scholarships, these good works can go on to fund themselves (via membership dues and registration fees) instead of being subsidized by lost Learned Research impact.
Finch II closes with:
"Our key recommendation is… to develop an interoperable system of repositories and an infrastructure that supports both Gold and Green OA."We can all applaud that, thanks to HEFCE/REF. The requisite infrastructure will be the interoperable system of Green OA repositories, with immediate-deposit mandated for all refereed research output, Gold and Green, with or without embargoes, and with or without CC-BY.
Publishers to Researchers:
"Want Open Access? Only On Our Terms - and Our Timetable!"
Publisher "Self-Sustaining" Strategy
(1) Do whatever it takes to sustain or increase current revenue streams.There is, however, a compeletely effective prophylactic against this publisher strategy (but it has to be adopted by the research community, because British and Dutch Ministers are apparently too susceptible to the siren call of the publishing lobby):
(a) Research funders and institutions worldwide all adopt an immediate-deposit mandate, requiring, as a condition of funding, employment and evaluation, that all researchers deposit their final, peer-reviewed drafts in their institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication, regardless of whether they are published in a subscription journal or a Gold OA journal -- and regardless of whether access to the deposit is made Green OA immediately or only after a publisher embargo.
Saturday, November 16. 2013
The UK and the Netherlands -- not coincidentally, the home bases of Big Publishing for refereed research -- have issued coordinated statements in support of what cannot be described other than as a publishers' nocturnal fantasy, in the face of the unstoppable worldwide clamour for Open Access.
Here are the components of the publishers' fantasy:
(1) Do whatever it takes to sustain or increase your current revenue streams.There is, however, a compeletely effective prophylactic against this publisher fantasy (but it has to be adopted by the research community, because British and Dutch Ministers are apparently too susceptible to the siren call of the publishing lobby):
Now please read how fully the Dutch government fell for the publishing lobby's nocturnal fantasy. (Tomorrow you will see the same from the UK.)(a) Research funders and institutions worldwide all adopt an immediate-deposit mandate, requiring, as a condition of funding, employment and evaluation, that all researchers deposit their final, peer-reviewed drafts in their institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication, regardless of whether they are published in a subscription journal or a Gold OA journal -- and regardless of whether access to the deposit is made Green OA immediately or only after a publisher embargo.
Here is a quick google translation of excerpts from Sander Dekker, Secretary of Education, Culture and Science, Netherlands on "Commitment to further developments in open access scientific publication"
Sander Dekker, Secretary of Education, Culture and Science, Netherlands:
Friday, November 15. 2013
The European Research Council's new Green Open Access Mandate has got it half right.
Yes, deposit should be immediate, whether or not access to the deposit is embargoed.
But, No, the deposit should not be institution-external but institutional. (External exports can than be done automatically by the institutional repository software.)
The reasons for this are strong, and many. Both the success of the ERC mandate, and its harmonization with other funder and institutional mandates are at stake.
See: BiorXiv: Deposit Institutionally, Export-Centrally
It's not too late to fix this flaw in the ERC policy: I hope the drafters will have the motivation and sense to fix this.
Commentary on "Open Access and Academic Freedom" in Inside Higher Ed 15 November 2013, by Cary Nelson, former national president of the American Association of University ProfessorsIf, in the print-on-paper era, it was not a constraint on academic freedom that universities and research funders required, as a condition of funding or employment, that researchers conduct and publish research -- rather than put it in a desk drawer -- so it could be read, used, applied and built upon by all users whose institutions could afford to subscribe to the journal in which it was published ("publish or perish"), then, in today's online era, it is not a constraint on academic freedom that universities and research funders require, as a condition of funding or employment, that researchers make their research accessible online to all its potential users rather than just to those whose institutions could afford to subscribe to the journal in which it was published ("self-archive to flourish").
However, two kinds of Open Access (OA) mandates are indeed constraints on academic freedom:
1. any mandate that constrains the researcher's choice of which journal to publish in -- other than to require that it be of the highest quality whose peer-review standards the research can meet
2. any mandate that requires the researcher to pay to publish (if the author does not wish to, or does not have the funds)
The immediate-deposit/optional-access (ID/OA) mandate requires authors to deposit their final refereed draft in their institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, regardless of which journal they choose to publish in, and regardless of whether they choose to comply with an OA embargo (if any) on the part of the journal. (If they choose to comply with a publisher embargo, access to the deposit can be set as Closed Access rather than Open Access during the embargo; the repository software has a facilitated copy-request Button, allowing would-be users to request a copy for research purposes with one click, and allowing the author the free choice to comply or not comply with the request, likewise with one click.)
Since OA is beneficial to researchers -- because it maximizes research downloads and citations, which universities and funders now count, along with publications, in evaluating and rewarding research productivity -- why do researchers need mandates at all? Because they are afraid of publishers -- afraid their publisher will not publish their research if they make it OA, or even afraid they will be prosecuted for copyright infringement.
So OA mandates are needed to embolden authors to provide OA, knowing they have the support of their institutions and funders. And the ID/OA mandate is immune to publisher embargoes. Over ten years of experience (of "performing a useful service by giving faculty a vehicle for voluntary self-archiving") have by now shown definitively that most researchers will not self-archive unless it is mandatory. (The only exceptions are some fields of physics and computer science where researchers provide OA spontaneously, unmandated.) So what is needed is a no-opt-out immediate-self-archiving mandate, but with leeway on when to make access to the immediate-deposit OA. This is indeed in a sense "optional Green OA," but the crucial component is that the deposit itself is mandatory, and immediate.
Funding is a red herring. Most universities have already invested in creating and maintaining institutional repositories, for multiple purposes, OA being only one of them, and the OA sectors of those repositories are vastly under-utilized -- except if deposit is mandated (at no extra cost).
The ID/OA mandate requires no change in copyright law, licensing or ownership of research output. Another red herring.
There are no relevant discipline differences for ID/OA either. Another red herring. And the need for and benefits of OA do not apply only to rare exceptions, but to all refereed research journal articles.
OA mandates apply only to refereed journal articles, not books. Another red herring (covering half of Cary Nelson's article!).
As OA mandates are now growing globally, across all disciplines and institutions, it is nonsense to imagine that researchers will decide where to accept employment on the basis of trying to escape an OA mandate. -- And with ID/OA there isn't even anything for them to imagine they need to escape from.
The ID/OA mandate also moots the difference between journal articles and book chapters. And it applies to all disciplines, and all journal publishers, whether commercial, learned-society, or university.
Refereed journal publishing will adapt, quite naturally to Green OA. For now, some publishers are trying to forestall having to adapt to the OA era, by embargoing OA. Let them try. ID/OA mandates are immune to publisher OA embargoes -- but publishers are not immune to the rising demand for OA:
To pay for Gold OA today is to pay for Fool's Gold: Research funds are already scarce. Institutions cannot cancel their must-have journal subscriptions. So Gold OA payment, already inflated and arbitrary, is double-payment, over and above subscriptions. And hybrid (subscription + Gold) publishers can even double-dip. If and when global Green OA makes journal subscriptions unsustainable by allowing institutions to cancel, journals will downsize, jettisoning those products and services (print edition, online edition, access-provision, archiving) that have been rendered obsolete by the worldwide network of Green OA repositories; and they will convert to Fair Gold, at an affordable, sustainable price, for peer review alone, paid for, per article submitted, out of a fraction of each institution's windfall subscription cancellation savings.
It is not for the research community to continue depriving itself of OA while trying to 2nd-guess how publishers will adapt to OA. That -- and not OA mandates -- would be a real constraint on academic freedom: The publishing tail must not be allowed to continue to wag the research dog.
Wednesday, November 13. 2013
Physicists have been spontaneously self-archiving in Arxiv since 1991, but most other disciplines have not followed suit, despite the demonstrated benefits of providing open access in terms of research uptake, usage and impact.
It is for this reason that research funders and institutions worldwide are (at last) beginning to mandate (i.e., require) that their fundees and faculty self-archive.
For open access mandates to work, however, it has to be possible to systematically monitor and verify compliance.
Not all research is funded (and there are many different research funders); but virtually all research comes from institutions (universities and research institutes), most of which now have institutional repositories for their researchers to self-archive in.
Institutions are hence the natural (and eager) partners best placed to fulfill the all-important role of monitoring and ensuring compliance with the requirements of their own researchers' grants, via their own institutional repositories. (This also gives institutions the incentive to adopt open access self-archiving mandates of their own, for all their research output, funded and unfunded, in all disciplines.)
Researchers, in turn, should only need to deposit their articles once, institutionally -- not willy-nilly, and multiply, in diverse institution-external repositories.
The solution is simple, since all open access repositories are interoperable, meaning they share the same core metadata-tagging system, and hence each institution's repository software can automatically export its metadata to any other institution-external repository desired.
That way researchers need only deposit once, in their own institutional repository; institutional and funder open access mandates are convergent and cooperative rather than divergent and competitive; and mandate compliance can be reliably and systematically ensured by the author's institution.
So Biorxiv is a welcome addition to the growing list of disciplinary repositories for centralized search and retrieval, but deposit in Biorxiv should not be direct: researchers should export to it from their institutional repositories. (Biorxiv can also harvest from institutional repositories, just as Google and Google Scholar do.)
Biologists and biomedical scientists, unlike physicists, do not have a culture of spontaneous self-archiving. Hence open access mandates from funders and institutions are needed if there is to be open access to their research. And those mandates have to be readily complied with; and compliance has to be readily verifiable.
So let us not lose another quarter century hoping that biologists will at last do, of their own accord, what Arxiv users have already been doing, unmandated, since 1991. In 1994 there was already a "Subversive Proposal" -- unheeded -- that all disciplines should do as the Arxivers had done. Harold Varmus made a similar proposal ("e-biomed") in 1999, likewise unheeded.
Let us start getting it right in 2013, the year that funders in the US, EU and UK have begun concertedly mandating open access, along with a growing number of institutions worldwide. But let us harmonize the mandates, to ensure that they work:
Arxiv has certainly earned the right to remain the sole exception, insofar as direct deposit is concerned, being the only institution-external repository in which authors have already been faithfully self-archiving, unmandated, for almost a quarter century:
For Arxiv, institutional repositories can import instead of export. But for the rest: Deposit institutionally, export centrally.
Wednesday, November 6. 2013
Paul Jump's THE report on the Westminster Higher Education Forum on Implementing Open Access Policy is incomplete:
1. Professor Neilson was not arguing against Open Access (OA) mandates; he was arguing against constraints on authors' choice of journal.
2. The ones that need to comply with funder OA mandates are fundees, not journals.
3. Hence the way for fundees to comply with funder OA mandates is to publish in their journal of choice and to provide OA to the publication.
4. The two ways to provide OA are for the publisher to do it (Gold OA) or for the author to do it (Green OA).
5. Most publishers (of UK authors' journals of choice) provide Gold OA only if paid to do so.
6. Professor Neilson argued against this Gold OA payment not only as a constraint on author choice, but also as a constraint on the UK research budget: hence his call for a cost/benefit analysis -- not of OA or OA mandates, but of Gold OA and Gold OA mandates.
7. That leaves Green OA, which can be provided by authors for any journal they choose -- Gold or tolled.
8. Some journals (c. 40%) embargo Green OA; the allowable embargo length is still under debate, but hovers around 12 months; RCUK have already said they will not even try to enforce embargoes for the first five years of the new mandate.
9. The BIS Committee's and HEFCE's recommendation (not mentioned in Paul Jump's article, though BIS Committee Chair Adrian Bailey also spoke at the Westminster Forum), is to mandate immediate deposit, whether or not access to the deposit is made OA immediately.
10. Adrian Bailey, like Professor Neilson, recommends further evidence-based analysis before diverging from the original 2004 Select Committee Recommendation to mandate Green but not Gold.
11. It is through the Green course set by the 2004 Select Committee that the UK had been leading the world toward OA till 2012, when the Finch Committee abruptly recommended -- without evidence -- preferring Gold.
12. BIS and HEFCE have since recommended staying the course until and unless there is evidence to the contrary.
13. What is certain is that the rest of the world (US, EU, Australia) is following the Green Course set by the UK, irrespective of any evidence-free 2nd thoughts the Finch Committee may have since had about it.
Friday, October 25. 2013
Exchange in SIGMETRICS with David Wojick, a consultant to OSTI:
DW: "the non-NIH US agencies are implementing the OSTP mandate for a 12 month delayed access program, just as NIH already does."That the OSTP mandate requires providing OA within a year (at most) is well-known.
But how each agency will formulate and implement its mandate is definitely not well-known, nor even fully decided as yet: it is still being worked on, agency by agency (and I'm sure Peter Suber, Heather Joseph, Alma Swan and others with expertise in OA and OA mandates are being consulted).
The most important practical implementation issues are:
#1 Who must make the paper OA? the fundee or the publisher? Obviously for a uniform, systematically verifiable mandate, it must be the fundee, the one bound by the mandate, and not the publisher, the one that is in conflict of interest with the mandate, and not bound to comply with it (except if paid extra money).
#2 Where must the paper be made OA? Here again, for a uniform, systematically verifiable mandate, it must be in one verifiable locus, and the only locus shared by all fundees, all funders and all institutions (and for both Green and Gold OA) is the fundee's own institutional repository - from whence it can be exported or harvested to other sites, such as PubMed Central, if and when needed.
#3 When must the paper be made OA? (The mandate already stipulates this: within 12 months of publication at the latest.)
#4 When must the paper be deposited? This is the most important question of all, and carries with it the answer to the other questions: the fundee must deposit the final, refereed, accepted draft, immediately upon acceptance for publication -- not 12 months after publication -- irrespective of whether it is published in a subscription journal or a Gold OA journal, irrespective of whether the deposit is immediately made OA or embargoed, and irrespective of whether the journal endorses immediate OA or imposes an OA embargo.
It is #4 that holds the key to a successful and effective OA mandate, the Liège model "Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access" model (which Peter Suber calls the "Dual Deposit/Release" model). The model has been tried and tested, and has already proven to be more effective than any other mandate model, and is both compatible with and subsumes all the other mandate models.
The key to the Liège model's success is that it is convergent and systematic rather than divergent and anarchic, mobilizing the universal source of all research, funded and unfunded, Green, Grey and Gold, across all disciplines -- the fundee's own institution -- to monitor and ensure timely compliance as well as to tide over any embargo with the repository's facilitated copy-request Button.
All of this depends on requiring deposit, by the fundee, in the institutional repository, immediately upon acceptance for publication, which is the only universal, objective, verifiable calendar date of reference for timely compliance. (Publication dates diverge wildly from both the acceptance date and the actual date of appearance of the journal. Whereas a 12 month embargo is the number to beat, publication date can lead to an uncertainty of as much as two years or more.)
Gargouri, Y., Lariviere, V., Gingras, Y., Brody, T., Carr, L., & Harnad, S. (2012a). Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Ineffectiveness. arXiv preprint
Rentier, B., & Thirion, P. (2011). The Liège ORBi model: Mandatory policy without rights retention but linked to assessment processes.
DW: "If you know of an agency that is doing something else I would like to hear about it. Note that NIH has half of the Federal basic research budget so this is merely rounding out the existing program."No U.S. funding agency has yet adopted the immediate-deposit clause, but it has been adopted by the FNRS in Belgium, and has been proposed by HEFCE in the UK. It is also implicit (though not yet implemented or enforced) in the Harvard mandate model.
DW: "The only big issue at this point is whether the non-NIH agencies will collect and post accepted manuscripts, as NIH does, but perhaps via SHARE repositories, or use CHORUS and link to the publisher websites."You leave out the most important option of all, which is that all papers are deposited in the fundee's own institutional repository (and exported if/when desired, to institution-external repositories).
And of course on no account should the depositor or the locus be the publisher (although of course the institutional repository can and will also link to the version on the publisher's site, whether subscription or Gold, OA or embargoed).
I hope all the US funding agencies are likewise taking advice on implementation from those who represent the interests of the research community rather than the publishing community.
DW: "Stevan, I am well aware of your vision. I have read your NRC submission. It just does not happen to be what the US Government is implementing."It may not be what is being implemented at OSTI, where you are advising, but have you read what each of the other agencies is doing?
DW: "The Brits wanted the US to follow them, but that too is not happening."And a good thing too, since the Finch/RCUK Policy U-Turn was a disaster. But HEFCE and BIS now look to be fixing that...
DW: "The situation is as I describe it."Perhaps at OSTI. The rest remains to be seen.
The OA movement has won some and lost some, across the years, but it's not over till it's over...
(1994) A Subversive Proposal
(2001) The Self-Archiving Initiative
(2002) The Budapest Open Access Initiative
Harnad, S. (2004a) Memorandum to UK To UK Government Science and Technology Select Committee Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence
Harnad, S. (2004b) For Whom the Gate Tolls? Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence
Harnad, S. (2007). No Need for Canadian PubMed Central: CIHR Should Mandate IR Deposit.
Harnad, S. (2011) What Is To Be Done About Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications Resulting From Federally Funded Research? (Response to US OSTP RFI).
Harnad, S. (2011) Comments on Open Access FAQ of German Alliance of Scientific Organisations (Allianz der deutschen Wissenschaftsorganisationen).
Harnad, S (2012) Digital Research: How and Why the RCUK Open Access Policy Needs to Be Revised. Digital Research 2012.
Harnad, S. (2013). Harnad Response to HEFCE REF OA Policy Consultation. HEFCE.
Harnad, S. (2013). Harnad Comments on HEFCE/REF Open Access Mandate Proposal. Open access and submissions to the REF post-2014
Harnad, S. (2013) Harnad Evidence to House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee on Open Access. House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Open Access, Winter Issue, 119-123.
Harnad, S. (2013) Harnad Evidence to BIS Select Committee Inquiry on Open Access. Written Evidence to BIS Select Committee Inquiry on Open Access, Winter Issue
Harnad, S. (2013). Follow-Up Comments for BIS Select Committee on Open Access. UK Parliament Publications and Records.
Harnad, Stevan (2013) Recommandation au ministre québécois de l'enseignement supérieur.
Multiple Comments on CIHR Open Access Policy
Multiple Comments on SSHRC Open Access Policy
Multiple Comments on OA Progress in Canada
Multiple Comments on NIH Public Access Policy
Multiple Comments on Harvard Open Access Policy
Multiple Comments on France/HAL Open Access Policy
Comments on H. Varmus's 1999 E-biomed Proposal  
Thursday, October 24. 2013
Bob Campbellwrote on the Wiley blog:
"Stevan accuses me of much conflation yet he himself conflates APCs and subscriptions when commenting on double-dipping. APCs are not paying for the ‘same articles’ paid for by subscriptions. Publishers have always charged separately for different services/products. For example, a medical journal may charge a pharmaceutical company for reprints, advertising space and subscriptions. These are priced separately and charged separately, and accounted for separately in the publisher’s financial management of the title. The pharmaceutical company does not demand that the cost of buying advertising space is offset against any library subscriptions."Bob Campbell defends double-dipping by citing journal charges for the purchase of reprints, advertising and subscriptions. That's all fine.
But what we are discussing here is the cost of publication, not of extra products or services.
Worldwide institutional subscriptions pay the cost of publication (in full, and fulsomely). It is not at all clear what extra product or service is being paid for when an author pays for hybrid Gold OA (for the paper he has given the publisher for free, to sell).
Of course it's an extra source of revenue to the hybrid Gold publisher to force the author to pay that extra money (for whatever it is that they are paying for). And let there be no doubt that the payment is indeed forced (if the hybrid Gold publisher embargoes Green). Is the extra "service," then, exemption from the publisher-imposed Green OA embargo?
(Note: If the publisher is among the 60% who endorse immediate Green OA, then none of my objections matter in the least, and I couldn't care less if the publisher earns the extra revenue from those authors who are silly enough to pay for hybrid Gold OA when they could have had the same, cost-free, by just providing Green OA.)
But the publisher who embargoes Green and then pockets the extra revenue derived from hybrid Gold, over and above subscriptions, without even reducing subscription charges proportionately, is indeed charging twice for publication, i.e., double-dipping (and offering absolutely nothing in return except freedom from the publisher's own Green OA embargo).
Subscriptions pay the cost of publication. Print reprints are an extra product. And adverts are an extra service. But hybrid OA is merely fool's gold, if paid unforced. And if forced by a publish embargo, there is a word to describe the practice, but I will not use it, as a publisher has already once threatened to sue me for libel if I do… So let's just call it double-dipping, with no extra product or service...
Alice Meadows (Social Relations at Wiley, and one of the "chefs" in SSP's Scholarly Kitchen) replied:As I have already pointed out in my reply to Bob Campbell, above, what matters incomparably more (to research, researchers, and the tax-payers who fund them) than whether or not a hybrid Gold publisher double-dips is whether the publisher embargoes Green -- because when a hybrid Gold publisher embargoes Green, authors who want to make their article immediately OA are forced to pay for hybrid Gold -- with nothing in exchange for the money except freedom from the embargo. (Any added frills co-bundled with it were not asked for, hence certainly no justification for being forced to pay for immediate OA in order to be freed from a publisher-imposed embargo.)"Most major publishers, including Wiley, now have a policy on subscription pricing for hybrid journals (aka double dipping). Ours can be found here."
Wiley-Blackwell is among the 40% of publishers that embargo Green OA. Hence (unlike a hybrid Gold publisher like Cambridge University Press, which does not embargo Green) Wiley-Blackwell is forcing authors to pay for hybrid Gold OA as the only way to provide immediate OA to their articles. That the extra hybrid Gold revenue (despite Bob Campbell's attempt to justify hybrid Gold revenue as not constituting double-dipping at all) is not in fact being double-dipped by Wiley -- but given back as a rebate to all subscribing institutions -- is no consolation for the author who has to pay it, in full, hence again no justification for being forced to pay for immediate OA in order to be freed from a publisher-imposed embargo. (Hybrid Gold authors did not ask to subsidize worldwide institutional subscription prices with their individual payment.)
Using OA embargoes to guarantee current subscription revenues is not a fair or acceptable means of transition to universal, affordable, sustainable OA and will inevitably be exposed and seen to be exactly what it is: an attempt by (part of) the publishing community to hold the research community hostage to sustaining their current subscription revenues -- hence over-priced (and potentially double-dipped) Fool's Gold, paid over and above what must continue to be paid by institutions for subscriptions -- instead of allowing Green OA to induce the natural evolution toward post-Green Fair Gold.
Friday, October 18. 2013
Bravo to Fred Friend for his trenchant account of the UK/OA saga:
"How did the UK government manage to spoil something as good as open access?"
(Only one item was missing from Fred's list of 9 perverse effects of the Willetts/Finch sell-out -- that it also runs roughshod over UK authors' freedom of choice as to which journal to publish in -- but Fred has informed me that it was in his original list and had to be cut to meet the word-limit!)
Whether or not BIS and the UK goverrnment have the good sense to follow the wise and timely advice of their own 2013 BIS Select Committee on how to repair the RCUK OA Mandate, nothing prevents HEFCE and RCUK from following that advice (just as they followed the advice of the 2004 Select Committee and mandated OA even though the government rejected the advice).
And irrespective of any of this, nothing prevents UK researchers from publishing in their journal of choice and depositing their final drafts in their institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication, as Fred suggests, releasing the immediately deposited paper either immediately as OA, or after an embargo of 6 or 12 months. RCUK has already stated that it will not be enforcing the Green OA embargoes for at least the first five years.
(And meanwhile the repositories' facilitated copy-request Button will be making it possible for authors to provide individual copies of embargoed deposits to requestors for research purposes with one extra click per request, if they wish -- if, but only if, the paper is deposited immediately upon publication rather than after the embargo.)
Syndicate This Blog
Materials You Are Invited To Use To Promote OA Self-Archiving:
The American Scientist Open Access Forum has been chronicling and often directing the course of progress in providing Open Access to Universities' Peer-Reviewed Research Articles since its inception in the US in 1998 by the American Scientist, published by the Sigma Xi Society.
The Forum is largely for policy-makers at universities, research institutions and research funding agencies worldwide who are interested in institutional Open Acess Provision policy. (It is not a general discussion group for serials, pricing or publishing issues: it is specifically focussed on institutional Open Acess policy.)
You can sign on to the Forum here.