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.)
Wednesday, October 16. 2013
Harnad Comments on
CANADA'S NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR DRAFT TRI-AGENCY OPEN ACCESS POLICY PROPOSAL
Executive Summary: The Canadian Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy is excellent in preserving fundees’ free choice of journal, and free choice about whether or not to use their research funds to pay to publish in an OA journal. However, deposit in the fundee’s institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication needs to be required, whether or not the fundee chooses to publish in an OA journal and whether or not access to the deposit is embargoed for 12 months. The immediate-deposit requirement makes it possible for the fundee’s institution to monitor and ensure timely compliance with the funder OA policy. It also motivates institutions to adopt complementary OA policies of their own, for all their research output, funded and unfunded. The immediate-deposit requirement also facilitates providing individual eprints by the fundee to individual eprint requestors for research purposes during any embargo. Institutional repository deposits can then be automatically exported to any institutional-external repositories the fundee, funding agency or institution wishes. On no account should compliance with funding agency conditions be left to the publisher rather than the fundee and the fundee’s institution.
“Grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication, either through the publisher's website (Option #1) or an online repository (Option #2).”Monitoring and Ensuring Compliance. A funding agency Open Access (AO) Policy is binding on the fundee, not on other parties. Hence it is a mistake to offer fundees the option either to comply or to leave it to another party (the publisher) to comply.
Funder Requirements Bind Fundees, Not Publishers. The fulfillment of funding agency conditions for receiving a grant is the responsibility of the fundee, and the funding agency needs a systematic and reliable means of monitoring and ensuring that the fundee has indeed complied, and complied in time.
Institutional Monitoring of Compliance. To ensure compliance (and timely compliance) with an AO requirement it is imperative that the responsibility rest fully with the fundee. The funding agency’s natural ally in ensuring compliance is the institution of the fundee, which is already very much involved and and shares a strong interest with both the fundee and the funding agency in ensuring the fulfillment of all funding agency conditions.
Immediate Institutional Repository Deposit. Hence whether or not the fundee publishes with a publisher that makes the article OA immediately, or after an embargo, the fundee should be required to deposit the final, peer-reviewed draft in the fundee’s institutional repository immediately upon publication. (Indeed, the most natural, effective and verifiable date is the date of acceptance, since the date of publication varies greatly, is often not predictable or known to the fundee, and often diverges from the published calendar date of the journal – if it has a calendar date at all.)
The institution of the fundee can then use the date-stamp of the deposit in the institutional repository and the date of acceptance of the article as the means of monitoring and ensuring timely compliance. (This is also the natural point in the author’s workflow to do the deposit.)
Access Delay and Research Impact Loss. The purpose of OA is to make publicly funded research accessible to all potential users and not just to those whose institutions can afford subscription access to the journal in which it was published. This maximizes research uptake, impact and progress. Hence this is why OA is so important and why access-denial is so damaging to the potential usage and applications of research. Studies have also shown that delayed access never attains the full usage and citations of immediate OA. Hence a mechanism for ensuring timely compliance is essential for the success of an OA Policy, and immediate institutional deposit, regardless of locus of publication, is the optimal mechanism for ensuring timely compliance.
Gentil-Beccot, A., Mele, S., & Brooks, T. C. (2010). Citing and reading behaviours in high-energy physics. Scientometrics 84(2), 345-355.
Conflict of Interest. It should also be noted that publisher interests are in conflict with the research community’s interests regarding OA. Except when they are receiving extra money for it, publisher interest is to embargo and delay OA as long as possible. This means that, far from being a reliable ally in ensuring that fundees comply with a funding agency OA requirement, publishers are likely to delay making articles OA as long as they possibly can.
“Option #1: Grant recipients submit their manuscript to a journal that offers immediate open access to published articles, or offers open access to published articles within 12 months.”Fundee Freedom to Choose Journal. It is very good to leave the fundee’s choice of journal completely free to the fundee. But it is also imperative that no matter what journal the fundee chooses to publish in, the peer-reviewed final draft should always be deposited in the fundee’s institutional repository – and deposited immediately, not after a 12-month delay.
Fulfilling Eprint Requests During Embargoes. Institutional repositories have a Button with which users can request and authors can provide a single electronic copy for research purposes with one click each. This Button facilitates uptake, access and usage immediately upon deposit, rather than having to wait till the end of a publisher embargo. Hence this “Almost-OA,” made possible by the Button, is another strong reason why all papers should be required to be deposited in the institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. (A further reason is that engaging the institution in ensuring that the conditions of a funder OA policy are fulfilled motivates the institution to adopt an OA policy of its own, for all of its research output, funded and funded, in all disciplines.)
Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2012) Open Access Mandates and the "Fair Dealing" Button. In: Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.)
“The Agencies consider the cost of publishing in open access journals to be an eligible expense under the Use of Grant Funds.”Fundee Freedom to Choose Whether to Pay for OA. It is very good to leave it entirely up to fundees to choose whether or not to use their grant funds to pay publishers extra to make their work OA. As long as fundees retain their free choice of which journal to publish in, and all are required to deposit in their institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication (whether or not the deposit is embargoed, and whether or not they publish in an OA journal) there is no harm in allowing grant funds to be used to pay publishers for making their article OA, if fundees wish. (Given the options, and the scarcity of research funds, it is unlikely that many fundees will choose to pay, rather than just deposit.)
“Option #2: Grant recipients archive the final peer-reviewed full-text manuscript in a digital archive where it will be freely accessible within 12 months (e.g., institutional repository or discipline-based repository). It is the responsibility of the grant recipient to determine which publishers allow authors to retain copyright and/or allow authors to archive journal publications in accordance with funding agency policies.”Institutional Deposit and Institution-External Export.
It is fine to leave it up to authors to sort out whether their final peer-reviewed manuscript is made immediately OA or access to the deposit is embargoed for 12 months – as long as the deposit is made immediately, and hence deposit is systematically verifiable and the institutional repository’s eprint-request Button is immediately available to allow users to request individual copies for research purposes. For this reason it is again important to require immediate institutional deposit in all cases. The deposit can be automatically exported by the reposository software, at designated dates, to designated institution-external repositories, as the fundee or funder or institution may wish.
Facilitating Verification of Compliance. But it is almost as great a mistake to allow institution-external deposit instead of institutional deposit (making it needlessly diffuse and complicated to systematically monitor and ensure compliance for both the institution and the funder) as it is to allow publisher fulfillment of funding agency requirements instead of fulfillment by the fundee (and the fundee’s institution).
CONCLUSION: The only change that needs to be made to optimize the NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy is to require immediate deposit in the fundee’s institutional repository, regardless of whether the fundee’s chooses option #1 or option #2.
Selected Background References
BOAI10 Recommendations (2012) Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open
Gargouri, Y & Harnad, S (2013) Ten-year Analysis of University of Minho Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate. In, Rodrigues, Eloy, Swan, Alma and Baptista, Ana Alice (eds.) Ten-year Anniversary of University of Minho RepositóriUM.
Gargouri, Y, Lariviere, V, Gingras, Y, Carr, L and Harnad, S (2012a) Green and Gold Open Access Percentages and Growth, by Discipline. In: 17th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (STI), 5-8 September, 2012, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Montréal.
Gargouri, Y, Lariviere, V, Gingras, Y, Brody, T, Carr, L and Harnad, S (2012b) Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Ineffectiveness. In Open Access Week 2012
Gargouri, Y., Hajjem, C., Lariviere, V., Gingras, Y., Brody, T., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2010) Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research. PLOS ONE 5 (10) e13636
Gentil-Beccot, A., Mele, S., & Brooks, T. C. (2010). Citing and reading behaviours in high-energy physics. Scientometrics 84(2), 345-355.
Hajjem, C., Harnad, S. and Gingras, Y. (2005) Ten-Year Cross-Disciplinary Comparison of the Growth of Open Access and How it Increases Research Citation Impact. IEEE Data Engineering Bulletin 28(4) 39-47.
Harnad, S. (1995) A Subversive Proposal. In: Ann Okerson & James O'Donnell (Eds.) Scholarly Journals at the Crossroads; A Subversive Proposal for Electronic Publishing. Washington, DC., Association of Research Libraries, June 1995. http://www.arl.org/scomm/subversive/toc.html
Harnad, S. (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine 16 (7/8).
Harnad, S. & Brody, T. (2004) Comparing the Impact of Open Access (OA) vs. Non-OA Articles in the Same Journals, D-Lib Magazine 10 (6)
Hitchcock, S. (2013) The effect of open access and downloads ('hits') on citation impact: a bibliography of studies
Houghton, J. & Swan, A. (2013) Planting the Green Seeds for a Golden Harvest: Comments and Clarifications on "Going for Gold". D-Lib Magazine 19 (1/2).
Rentier, B., & Thirion, P. (2011). The Liège ORBi model: Mandatory policy without rights retention but linked to assessment processes.
Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2012) Open Access Mandates and the "Fair Dealing" Button. In: Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.)
Suber, P. (2012) Open Access. MIT Press.
Comments on Other OA Policies:
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, S (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  
Sunday, October 6. 2013
Having formally stated since 2004 that Elsevier authors retain the right to self-archive their final, refereed, revised, accepted drafts, unembargoed, in their institutional OA repositories, Elsevier has tried to imply that the author's institution somehow does not have the right to host that draft, if it mandates self-archiving!.
And Elsevier tries to bring this up, not in its public negotiations with its authors, but in its confidential private negotiations with institutions, in the context of Big-Deal pricing agreements.
(Institutions should of course politely decline to discuss university self-archiving policy in any way, in their journal pricing negotiations with Elsevier or any other publisher.)
Just as it makes no sense (hence carries no legal force) to say to Elsevier authors that they retain the right to self-archive in their institutional repositories "voluntarily" but not "mandatorily," it makes no sense to say that if authors' institutions mandate self-archiving, then they may not host the self-archiving that their Elsevier authors formally retain the right to do in their institutional repositories.
And "systematicity" as a grounds for over-riding the Elsevier author's retained right to self-archive unembargoed is just as nonsensical (hence non-binding) at the host-institution level, particularly since Elsevier has (wisely) conceded the right of all its authors to self-archive in arXiv (as they have been doing since 1991).
Arxiv, a global repository in which close to 100% of the articles in several subdisciplines of physics, mathematics and astrophysics are accessible is indeed a systematic collection of Elsevier journal content.
But no individual institution, hosting its own tiny, arbitrary fragment of global journal output can be faintly construed as a "systematic collection" of Elsevier content, any more than any individual author's collection of his own self-archived articles can be.
So here too, Elsevier authors can and should safely ignore the FUD and double-talk and self-archive their final drafts in their institutional repositories immediately upon publication, just as they have been doing since 2004.
Friday, September 27. 2013
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.)
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?
Thursday, September 12. 2013
The Director General of the UK's Russell Group of universities, Wendy Piatt, responded as follows to the BIS Committee Recommendations on UK OA policy:
The substantive recommendations of the 2013 BIS Report (I, II) were:“We welcome the committee’s report, which highlights the vital role that ‘green’ open access can play as the UK moves towards full open access... [T]he committee rightly highlights that ‘green’ open access is a simple and cost-effective way of sharing research. We urge the Government to take note of the calls to reconsider its preference for ‘gold’ open access during the five year transition period."
1. that the Green OA deposit in the institutional repository should be immediate rather than delayed, whether or not Open Access to the deposit is embargoed by the publisher (during any OA embargo the repository's eprint-request Button can then enable the author to fulfill individual user eprint requests automatically with one click each if deposit was immediate),The only bearing these three recommendations have on author freedom-of-choice of journal is that they restore it: Whereas Finch/RCUK's current preference for publishing in Gold OA journals would have restricted author freedom of choice, BIS removes that restriction. Authors can publish in whatever journal they wish.
As to the BIS suggestion to reduce the maximum allowable Green OA embargo limit to 6-12 months from 12-24 months: the immediate-deposit mandate (plus the repository Button) largely moots this. As long as deposit is immediate, there would be nothing wrong with allowing an opt-out or waiver (as in the American opt-out mandate models, such as Harvard's) from the maximal embargo limit on an individual article basis, if the author demonstrates that it would restrict journal choice to have to comply with the embargo. The critical thing is that there should be no opt-out from immediate-deposit (which, if not immediately OA, has no bearing whatsoever on author freedom of choice of journals). Authors can publish in whatever journal they wish.
Tuesday, September 10. 2013
One could hardly have hoped for a better outcome from the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee's Report. If BIS's recommendations are followed then the UK will regain its global leadership role in the Open Access movement -- the role the UK has been playing ever since the pioneering Report in 2004 by Ian Gibson's Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology. That Report had recommended that UK's universities and funding councils should mandate Green OA self-archiving of all peer-reviewed research articles. In the ensuing years more and more of the rest of the world began to follow suit.
The 2013 BIS Report (I, II) now recommends mandating;
1. that the Green OA deposit in the institutional repository should be immediate rather than delayed, whether or not Open Access to the deposit is embargoed by the publisher (during any OA embargo the repository's eprint-request Button can then enable the author to fulfill individual user eprint requests automatically with one click each if deposit was immediate),The BIS recommendations now perfectly complement HEFCE's recommendation (as well as those of BOAI-10: 1.6) to make immediate-deposit a condition for eligibility for REF 2020 (thereby effectively recruiting universities to serve as the mechanism for ensuring timely compliance, following the highly successful mandate model of the University of Liège). This effectively fixes the flaws in the Finch Report. The UK's OA policy will now also be compatible with OA policies in the EU, the US and the rest of the world, doing them all one better with its explicit call for immediate institutional deposit and effective compliance monitoring.
Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Select Committee
Monday 9 September 2013
NEW REPORT: Open Access: achieving a functional market
Under strict embargo until 00.01 BST on Tuesday 10 September
Government mistaken in focusing on Gold as route to full open access, says Committee
The Government’s commitment to increasing access to published research findings, and its desire to achieve full open access, are welcome, says the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee in a Report published today. However, whilst Gold open access is a desirable ultimate goal, focusing on it during the transition to a fully open access world is a mistake, says the Report.
The Report calls on the Government and RCUK to reconsider their preference for Gold open access during the five year transition period, and give due regard to the evidence of the vital role that Green open access and repositories have to play as the UK moves towards full open access.
The Report recommends that:
• the Government should take an active role in promoting standardisation and compliance across subject and institutional repositories [paragraph 25].
Saturday, August 17. 2013
There’s nothing wrong with OA growth in Australia ("Four issues restricting widespread green OA in Australia") that the adoption of the Queensland University of Technology's [QUT's] Green OA self-archiving mandate model by all Australian universities and research funding councils would not fix.
Issue 1 – Lack of data about what Australian research is available OA. The problem is not with knowing what’s OA in Australia. (Well configured repository software plus ROAR will tell you that -- and Google will find it.) A mandate compliance monitoring mechanism, however, is indeed needed. But the ones to monitor compliance are authors’ own institutions, by requiring deposit immediately upon acceptance for publication, time-stamped within days or weeks of the date of the acceptance letter, for all published articles. Immediate-deposit should be a condition for Australian national research funding and performance evaluation [ARC] as well as for institutional research performance assessment, as it is in Belgium by FRS-FNRS and the University of Liege, and as it has been proposed for UK funded research by HEFCE for REF 2020.
Issue 2 – Copyright transfer agreements. It’s always good to agree on fair copyright agreements, but trying to convince publishers to agree to those should on no account be holding up the mandating and provision of Green OA. And for journals that embargo OA, there’s always the immediate-deposit mandate and the repository’s eprint-request Button to provide immediate Almost-OA with one click from the requester and one click from the author.
Issue 3 – The academic reward system. The “academic reward system” is certainly not holding up OA. OA increases research uptake and impact, including citations. And the notion that OA needs some sort of preferential treatment for Gold OA journals, rather than just weighting them based on their track-record for quality, like all other journals, is and has always been complete nonsense, ever since it began to be mooted over a decade ago. The way to provide OA is to publish in the highest standard journal possible for one’s work, and then self-archive the refereed final draft. To pay to publish in a Gold OA journal just because it is OA (rather than because of its quality standards) is to pay for Fools Gold. (There is no OA problem for unrefereed or unpublished work; nor is getting academic credit for such work an OA problem.)
Issue 4 – Improved national discovery services. Discovery tools can always be improved, but they are already pretty powerful. They will not discover OA content that is not there. Hence the only thing that is really needed for OA is effective Green OA mandates, along with effective monitoring of compliance, in order to get it up there, out in the OApen, to be “discovered.”
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