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 (There is no OA problem for unrefereed or unpublished work; nor is getting academic credit for such work an OA problem.)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.”
Monday, August 12. 2013
Yes, there's a flaw in the University of California Open Access (OA) mandate ["Open Contradictions," Editorial, The Daily Californian, 12 Aug 2013], and, yes, it has to do with the fact that U of C authors can opt out of compliance with the mandate.
But, no, the flaw is not that the U of C policy
"allows [authors] to pick and choose where their research goes, thereby creating a divide between those who can afford access to a private academic journal and those who cannot."That researchers retain their right to choose the most suitable journal for their research is not a flaw but a virtue of any OA mandate. (In the UK, some OA mandates are trying to force authors to choose (and pay) to publish in journals based on the journal's OA policy instead of its quality (peer-review) standards, and that's very bad for both research and researchers -- and certainly unnecessary for OA.)
Nor does the U of C's mandate flaw have anything to do with whether the journal is "private" or "academic." Journals differ in their subject matter and quality standards; there are non-profit and for-profit journals at all quality levels, and that in turn has next to nothing to do with the journal's OA policy -- except that there is a new breed of junk journals that has lately been created on the cheap to provide pay-to-publish OA with low or no peer review quality standards. (See Beall's list.)
There are two ways for authors to provide OA: (1) publish in an OA journal that makes the article OA, often for a fee (this is called "Gold OA") or (2) publish in any journal, but also deposit the final, peer-reviewed draft in the author's institutional repository -- U of C's is called eScholarship -- and set access to the deposit as OA (this is called "Green OA") rather than Closed Access.
U of C has (wisely) mandated Green OA, not (like the UK) Gold OA. Hence journal choice is not at issue for U of C authors: They retain their right to choose to publish in the journal most suitable for their work. What is at issue is whether and when they can make their article OA: Some journals' copyright agreements require authors to embargo OA for 6 months, 12 months, or even longer.
Now we come to the real flaw of the U of C policy: If authors can opt out of the U of C mandate whenever a publisher embargoes OA, this nullifies the mandate and simply allows publishers to continue to determine whether and when articles are made OA.
But there is a very simple and natural solution that moots the publisher OA embargo: U of C needs to add an immediate-deposit clause with no opt-out. This means all authors must deposit their peer-reviewed final drafts in eScholarship immediately upon acceptance for publication whether or not the journal embargoes OA. But in addition, eScholarship should implement the automated Request-Copy Button.
The repository's Button can email one copy of an embargoed deposit to an individual user on request: All it takes is one click from the user to request and one click from the author to fulfill the request. (This is not OA but "Almost-OA.")
Authors retain journal choice, as well as the choice to provide individual access even for embargoed deposits -- but they cannot opt out of immediate-deposit requirement itself: All articles, regardless of journal or journal policy, must be deposited in eScholarship immediately. The author can then either set access to the article as OA immediately, or can use the Button to provide "Almost-OA" during any publisher OA embargo.
Once the one-size-fits-all immediate-deposit mandate (with no opt-out) is adopted by universities and research funders worldwide, not only will it close the "divide between those who can afford access... and those who cannot), but it will help hasten publisher OA embargoes toward their natural, inevitable and well-deserved deaths under the mounting worldwide pressure and demand for immediate OA -- by mandating that all articles must be immediately deposited in repositories and taking publishers out of the loop completely, insofar as mandate compliance is concerned.
None of this can happen if universities continue to allow publishers to decide whether and when authors deposit and provide access, by allowing opt-out from OA mandates.
Friday, August 9. 2013
Aside from the default copyright-reservation mandate with opt-out, always add an immediate-deposit clause without opt-out.
The deposit need not be immediately made OA, but it needs to be deposited in the institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. While access to the deposit is embargoed, the repository can implement the eprint-request Button with which users can request and authors can provide the eprint with one keystroke each.
Deposit should always be done directly by the author (or the author's personal designee: student, research assistant or secretary). It is a big mistake to "submit" the paper instead to the provost's office. At other universities with this style of mandate the provost's office has sat on papers for years instead of depositing them; this is even worse than publication lag or publishers' OA embargoes.
If deposit is instead left to the provost's office, immediate-deposit will not become the natural milestone in the author's research cycle that it needs to become, in order to ensure that the deposit is done at all: The dated acceptance letter from the journal is sent to the author. That sets the date of immediate-deposit and also determines which version is the final, refereed accepted one. The publication date is uncertain and could be as much as a year or more after acceptance.
Mandate deposit immediately upon acceptance for publication, but otherwise, having mandated the N-1 of the author keystrokes required for deposit, in case of embargo, leave the Nth keystroke to the author, in responding to Button-mediated eprint requests.
Put all administrative efforts instead into monitoring mandate compliance -- by systematically collecting the dated acceptance letters instead of the papers themselves, and ensuring that the repository deposit-date is within a few days or weeks of the acceptance date.
Sunday, August 4. 2013
Richard Poynder is absolutely right on every point in his reply to my commentary. (Except possibly one [trivial] one: Richard seems to imply that IEEE has already embargoed the author's final refereed draft. It has not. Richard's is only a speculation that they might, given that some other publishers have done so. Richard is quite right that some other publishers have done so. And his speculation about IEEE may prove correct. But it should be noted that it is still just a prediction…!)
Now to what Richard says about "friction." ("[The request-eprint Button] introduces a different kind of friction into the system, including presumably a time delay...")
The request-eprint Button was created for both EPrints and DSpace repositories in 2006 with six very specific objectives:
1. to make it possible for all institutions and funders to mandate OA without being held back by constraints of copyright renegotiation or embargo lengthSo what the Button introduces is not a delay (the publisher embargoes introduce the delay) but a way to provide access during the delay -- with some "friction" (extra keystrokes for authors) -- but that friction may well help put an end to such gratuitous delays sooner rather than later: Read on...
Publishers embargo (Green) OA in order to prevent their subscription revenue streams from being reduced by the revolutionary technical potential opened up by the online medium for as long as they possibly can, at the cost of research access and impact. The Almost-OA Button and the immediate-deposit mandate were jointly designed long before the Finch Fiasco of 2012, to cover the journals that already had OA embargoes, and any journals that might adopt OA embargoes in the future. It is a prophylactic against OA embargoes.
The perverse (but predictable) effect of Finch/RCUK's reckless new OA policy (of preferring to pay for Gold OA instead of reinforcing the requirement to provide cost-free Green OA) has been to give publishers a much stronger incentive to adopt and lengthen Green OA embargoes beyond RCUK's allowable length limit, and to offer hybrid Gold OA (i.e., keep charging institutions for subscriptions, but allow authors to pay them extra to make their individual article Gold OA) instead, so as to ensure that mandated UK authors are obliged to pay them extra for Gold OA rather than just providing cost-free Green OA.
Immediate-deposit plus the Almost-OA Button will be an antidote to this perverse effect of the Finch/RCUK mandate -- which is why it is so important to adopt HEFCE's proposal to make immediate-deposit mandatory in order to make articles eligible for REF2020.
There is a profound conflict of interest between, on the one side, research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, the vast R&D industry, students, teachers, journalists, and the tax-paying public that funds the research, and, on the other, the publishing industry. Publishing is a service industry that had been performing an essential service to research during the Gutenberg era of print on paper, but is now blocking the natural evolution of research communication in the print-free online era by trying to embargo making refereed research freely accessible to all online.
Publishers will not stop trying to delay the optimal and inevitable for research for as long as possible by embargoing Green OA. OA mandates are the way for the research community to overcome the publishing industry's delay tactics -- and the immediate-deposit mandate plus the Button are their key components.
Harvard/MIT/UC-style copyright-reservation mandates are fine, and welcome, but, as noted, they require opt-out options or authors will not comply. The opt-out is invariably needed for cases where the author's journal of choice insists on embargoing OA beyond the allowable limit and authors (rightly) insist on their journal of choice.
But all that the Harvard/MIT/UC-style copyright-reservation mandates need in order to make them work, optimally, is to add an immediate-deposit requirement (whether or not the article is embargoed), without opt-out. Authors who opt out can then rely on their repository's eprint-request Button to provide Almost-OA during the embargo.
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.)
Saturday, July 6. 2013
Mike Taylor is to be commended for his zeal, but there a few points on which I think he is very mistaken:
MT: "Immeasurable confusion has resulted from people proposing alternative [definitions of OA] – either through ignorance or malice."
There have definitely been attempted distortions of the definition of OA, from ignorance or malice, "Delayed OA" being perhaps the worst of them. (OA means immediate, permanent free online access.)
But the original BOAI definition of OA was elaborated into two components or degrees -- not contradicted -- by Peter Suber and myself: free online access (Gratis OA) and free online access plus various re-use rights (Libre OA).
Gratis OA is urgent, all research and researchers need it, and it's fully within reach (of mandates) already; Libre OA is not urgent, not all research and researchers need it, and it's not fully within reach already.
Libre OA advocates have unfortunately delayed and complicated the progress of Gratis Green OA as surely as publishers have, by insisting pre-emptively on Libre Gold OA:
MT: "Green articles in the RCUK sense can be encumbered by non-commercial clauses, stripping them of much of their value to the taxpayer, and can be delayed by embargoes of up to two years… So in the context of RCUK specifically, Green is virtually useless, and the only way to obtain actual open access is by paying for Gold. Which I don’t doubt is exactly what the publishers wanted. It's to RCUK's eternal shame that they rolled over and allowed this, after having made such a strong opening statement."
The term "non-commercial clauses" here refers to Libre OA re-use rights. Green OA embargoes were ratcheted up by publishers because Finch/RCUK kept treating Green as if it were "Delayed OA" and because of Finch/RCUK's readiness to pay pre-emptively for Libre Gold OA.
Green Gratis OA (free online access) is certainly not "virtually useless," and embargoes can be surmounted by the institutional repository's facilitated eprint request Button.
But this is the way Libre Gold advocates delay and complicate the progress of Gratis Green OA.
MT: "[W]e have to end to the childish notion that the value of a piece of research is dependent on what journal publishes it."
Yes. But what it does depend on is the quality standards and track-record of the journal that publishes it.
MT: "I do hope this year will see a decision made on how to implement the White House OSTP's OA recommendation, and I hope that it will elect to do this by expanding its own PubMed Central system rather than by acquiescing to land-grab attempts by either publishers (CHORUS) or libraries (SHARE)."
I hope OSTP will not elect to mandate direct deposit in institution-external repositories but will instead mandate institutional deposit (followed by automated institution-external harvesting, inporting or exporting, where desired).
This will minimize publisher inteference (with embargoes and other constraints), engage institutions in monitoring and ensuring timely compliance with the mandate, and give institutions the incentive to adopt mandates of their own, for their non-funded output.
CHORUS should certainly be rejected, and library SHARE only accepted if it's to make institutional OA repositories more interoperable, not to allow publishers to assume the function of Green OA access-provision or archiving.
MT: "[Through Gold OA] we'll be able to save more than nine tenths of what we're spending now."
True, but this will not happen through pre-emptive pre-Green Fools-Gold, only through post-Green Fair-Gold.
"OA is cheaper, but that's not why it matters. What counts is not that it has lower cost, but that it has higher value."
OA does not have lower or higher cost. OA (Open Access) is about access. What will have lower cost is post-Green Fair-Gold OA.
But the real value of OA is in the access: OA maximizes research uptake, usage, applications, impact, productivity and progress, to the benefit fo research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, the R&D industry, teachers, students, journalists, and the tax-paying public that funds the research.
Friday, June 21. 2013
Monday, April 29. 2013
video -- transcript
In the online era, the sole remaining barrier separating both the UK and the rest of the world from Open Access (OA) to their refereed research journal article output is keystrokes. It is important to bear this in mind in considering the following comments. Once global OA policy has seen to it that those keystrokes are being universally and systematically executed worldwide, not only OA itself, with all its resulting benefits for research productivity and progress, but all the other desiderata sought – the end of Green OA embargoes, a transition to Gold OA publishing at a fair and sustainable price, CC-BY, text-mining, open data – will follow as a natural matter of course.
But not if the keystroke barrier is not first surmounted, decisively and globally.
It is in the interests of surmounting this keystroke barrier to global OA that this summary strongly supports the institutional-repository immediate-deposit mandate proposed by HEFCE/REF to complement and reinforce the RCUK OA mandate.
Embargoes: About 60% of subscription journals (including most of the top journals in most fields) affirm their authors’ right to provide immediate, un-embargoed Green Open Access (OA) to the peer-reviewed final draft of their articles by self-archiving them in their institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication as well as making them OA immediately. The remaining 40% of journals impose an embargo of 6-12-24+ months on Green OA.
The optimal solution is for research funders and institutions to mandate that authors deposit the peer-reviewed final draft of all their articles in their institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication, set access to the 60% of deposits that are un-embargoed as Open Access immediately, and set access to the other 40% as Closed Access during the embargo.
This means that for the 40% of the immediate-deposits that are embargoed, users web-wide will still have immediate access to the bibliographic metadata (author, title, journal, abstract) during the embargo, and individual users can request an individual copy for research purposes by clicking the repository’s “request copy” Button; the author receives an immediate email and can then authorize emailing the requested eprint with one click.
This compromise is not OA but “Almost-OA” and it can tide over user needs during any allowable embargo period – as long as all the papers are systematically deposited immediately, not just the un-embargoed ones.
Regardless of whether the author publishes in a subscription journal or a Gold OA journal, regardless of whether the OA is immediate or embargoed, regardless of how long an OA embargo is allowed, OA mandates should require immediate deposit of all papers upon acceptance for publication.This ensures that everything is deposited, as clocked by the date of the journal acceptance letter, that 60% is immediately Green OA, and that the remaining 40% can have “Almost-OA” during the embargo.
This is a practical compromise that has already been tested and demonstrated to be effective. To insist instead on mandating immediate or almost-immediate Green OA (i.e., no or almost no embargo at all), needlessly risks non-compliance by authors, who will not give up their right to publish in their journal of choice simply because the journal embargoes Green OA. The right compromise is to mandate immediate deposit, and to tolerate embargoes for the time being. Once mandatory immediate deposit with 60% immediate-OA and 40% Almost-OA becomes universal, embargoes will shrink and disappear as a natural matter of course, under global pressure from the growth and benefits of OA. But everything must be immediately deposited first.
An immediate institutional-deposit mandate, as proposed by HEFCE/REF, will also recruit institutions to monitor and ensure timely compliance with the HEFCE mandate in order to be eligible for REF, thereby remedying the current defect in the RCUK OA mandate, which has compliance mechanisms for Gold OA compliance, but none for Green OA compliance.
Access Rights vs. Re-Use Rights (CC-BY): Online access to peer-reviewed research, free to all users, not just subscribers, is urgently needed in all fields of scholarly and scientific research. There exists no field of research publication in which access-denial is not a problem: for users, in terms of lost access to findings, for authors, in terms of lost user uptake and usage of their findings, and for the tax-paying public who fund the research, there is the lost return on their investment, in terms of lost research uptake, usage, applications, impact, productivity and progress.
Apart from the urgent and universal need for access to research findings, there are also further potential benefits from being able to re-use the texts of the articles in various ways: to text-mine and data-mine them by machine as well as to re-publish them in various new re-mixes or “mashups.”
However, this further need for re-use rights, over and above online-access rights is neither urgent nor universal. In some fields, such as crystallography, certain journal-article re-use rights would indeed be very useful today; but in most fields the need for journal-article re-use rights is not pressing. Indeed many authors may not even want to allow it -- especially in the humanities, where preserving text-integrity is particularly important, but also in other scholarly and scientific fields where authors are resistant to allowing re-mix and re-publication rights on their verbatim texts:
Note that all users that can access them are of course already free to re-use the findings (i.e., the content of the texts) of published articles (as long as author credit is provided through citation). But free online access already allows the re-use of findings. Text re-mixes and re-publication are another matter.
Moreover, there is an important negative interaction between re-use rights and publisher embargoes on Green OA: If Green OA did not just mean online-access rights, but also re-use and re-publication rights (e.g., CC-BY), then publishers would understandably be much more inclined to embargo Green OA: For if they authorized immediate re-publication rights, their own opportunity to recover their investment could be undercut by rival publishers free-riding on their content immediately upon publication! So subscription publisher embargoes on Green OA (now only 40%) would multiply and lengthen if re-use rights, over and above free online access, were mandated too.
The optimal OA policy is hence to mandate only free online access, and leave it up to the publisher and the author what further re-use rights they may wish to grant.Once mandatory Green OA prevails universally, all this will change, and authors will be able to grant whatever rights they wish. But pre-emptive insistence on re-use rights today will only serve to further retard and constrain basic access-rights and provoke author resistance and noncompliance.
Author Choice and Journal Quality: One of the most fundamental rights of scholars and scientists is the right to choose whether, when and where to publish their findings. It is a great (and unnecessary) strategic mistake – and will only generate author resistance and policy failure – to try to force scientists and scholars to choose journals based on the journal’s economic model (subscription or Gold), licensing policy (CC-BY) or embargo length instead of the journal’s quality and suitability.
Journals earn quality track-records on the basis of the level of the peer-review standards that they maintain. Researchers – as well as their institutions and funders – want to meet the highest quality standards they can. And users rely on them to judge what work is of sufficient quality to risk investing their scarce time and resources into reading, using, and trying to apply and build upon. Unreliable and invalid research can retard productivity and progress just as surely as access-denial can.
The only requirement of an OA mandate should be immediate deposit of the final draft, with as short an embargo on OA as feasible, and as many re-use rights as the author can and wishes to allow. No restriction on journal choice, which should be based on journal quality-standards alone.Gold OA and CC-BY should be left as options for authors to choose if and when they wish. They will grow naturally of their own accord once mandatory immediate-deposit becomes universal.
Pre-Emptive Unilateral Double-Payment by the UK: The UK publishes about 6% of the world’s annual research output. The majority of journals today are subscription journals. Hence the UK pays for about 6% of worldwide annual institutional journal subscriptions. Gold OA fees are additional expenditure, over and above what the UK spends on annual subscriptions, because institutional Gold OA fees are for providing OA to UK output (6%) whereas institutional subscriptions are for buying in access to incoming articles from other institutions, both in the UK (6%) – and the rest of the world (94%). So institutional journal subscriptions cannot be cancelled until not only UK articles but the remaining 94% of published articles are made OA.
Suppose the UK decides unilaterally to pay Gold OA fees for all of its annual research output. That increases UK publication spending – already stretched to the limit today -- by 6%, to 106% of what it is today. Some of this extra UK expenditure (out of already scarce and overstretched research funds) will simply be extra payments to pure Gold OA publishers; some of it will be double-payments to hybrid subscription/Gold publishers. Both mean double-payment on the part of the UK (subscriptions + Gold); but hybrid Gold also means double-dipping on the part of hybrid Gold publishers.
Some hybrid Gold publishers have promised to give a subscription rebate proportional to their uptake of hybrid Gold. If all publishers offered hybrid Gold (as they can all do, easily and at no extra cost, in order to earn UK’s unilaterally mandated Gold subsidy) and all gave full rebates on subscriptions, that would mean that all subscribers worldwide would receive a 6% rebate on their subscriptions, thanks to the UK’s unilateral double-payment.
But for the UK, this would mean that the UK gets back in subscriptions only 6% of the 6% that the UK has double-paid for hybrid Gold OA (6% x 6% = 0.4% UK rebate), while the rest of the world gets a rebate of 94% of the 6% that the UK (alone) has unilaterally double-paid for hybrid Gold OA (6% x 94% = 5.6% rebate to the rest of the world).
In other words, unilateral UK hybrid Gold OA double-payments not only make UK output OA for the UK and the rest of the world, but, if rebated, they also subsidize the subscriptions of the rest of the world. (This is a classic “Prisoner’s Dilemma,” in which it is to the rest of the world’s advantage to mandate cost-free Green, and at the same time cash in on the rebate from the UK’s unilateral Gold mandate.)
The optimal RCUK policy is hence to leave it up to authors whether they wish to pick and pay for the Gold OA option, but on no account require or prefer Gold, and particularly in the case of hybrid Gold OA.(If publishers instead gave the full Gold OA rebate to the subscribing institution, that would be tantamount to letting all subscribing institutions publish Gold OA at no cost – a “subscription” deal that publishers are not likely to be in a big hurry to make, because if it scaled it would leave “subscriptions” hanging from a skyhook! Even the premise that all hybrid Gold OA publishers would indeed faithfully refrain from double-dipping by giving a full rebate for the UK 6% Gold by reducing worldwide subscription costs by 6% is a very tenuous assumption.)
UK Leadership in OA: The UK was indeed the worldwide leader in OA from 2000-2012, thanks to the contributions of JISC, EPrints, and especially the 2004 Parliamentary Select Committee which first recommended that UK funders and institutions mandate Green OA. RCUK followed this UK Green OA recommendation and it has since been followed by 80 funders and over 200 institutions worldwide.
But this UK world leadership in OA ended in 2012 with the Finch Report and the resulting new RCUK policy of (1) restricting UK authors’ journal choice, (2) downgrading Green OA, and (3) preferring and funding Gold OA and CC-BY, when what was really needed was only a (cost-free) upgrading of the RCUK compliance monitoring and assurance mechanism for Green OA.
Fortunately, HEFCE/REF has now proposed precisely the upgraded Green OA compliance mechanism that can once again earn back the UK’s worldwide leadership role in OA:
In order to be eligible for submission for REF 2020, all peer-reviewed journal articles must be deposited in the author’s institutional repository immediately upon publication (not retrospectively), regardless of whether they are published in a subscription journal or a Gold OA journal, regardless of whether their license is CC-BY, and regardless of whether OA to the immediate-deposit is immediate or embargoed.Green OA Compliance Mechanism: The proposed HEFCE/REF immediate institutional-deposit mandate overcomes all the major obstacles and objections concerning author restrictions on journal choice, embargo lengths, sufficiency and disbursement of Gold OA funding, double payment, double-dipping, and (unavailable or unwanted) re-use rights:
All UK authors can publish in their journal of choice and no author is prevented from publishing for lack of Gold OA funds. Institutions are recruited to monitor and verify compliance with the immediate-deposit requirement for their own research output, ensuring that all deposits are made on or near the calendar date of acceptance for publication. Access is immediately Green OA (60%) or Almost-OA (40% during any allowable embargo period) (via the repository’s request a copy Button), thereby remedying the RCUK policy’s failure to provide a mechanism for ensuring Green OA compliance.
OA Benefits: The primary benefit of OA is that it ensures that no would-be user of the research is denied access for lack of subscription access.
As has been demonstrated in study after study, in every scholarly and scientific field: OA maximizes research downloads and citations, thereby maximizing research uptake, usage, applications, productivity and progress.Gold OA Transitional Costs: The secondary benefit of OA is that it will eventually make publishing less costly. But for this to happen, Green OA must be universally mandated first. Pre-emptive double-payment (subscriptions plus Gold OA fees) by the UK, unilaterally, would just mean that the UK was paying even more than it is already paying for subscriptions, in order to make its own research output OA (Gold CC-BY). This is a highly counterproductive policy.
The UK should lead the way toward effectively mandated Green OA worldwide. Once Green OA is universal, institutional subscription cancellation pressure will force publishers to downsize and convert to Gold OA at a fair price, paid for out of institutional subscription cancellation windfall savings instead of double-paid, as with the unilateral pre-emptive Gold funding proposed by Finch/RCUK.The worldwide network of Green OA repositories will take over the function of access-provision and archiving, unbundling the management of peer review to leave it as the sole remaining essential value still provided by peer-reviewed journal publishing and hence the sole remaining publishing cost. This “Fair Gold will cost a fraction of the current price per article, reckoned as 1/Nth of the worldwide subscription revenue of a subscription journal publishing N articles per year today. Hence Fair Gold will cost an order of magnitude less than the ￡500 - ￡5000+ asking-price for Gold OA today. (Please see the evidence of Swan & Houghton on the Green/Gold transition and the relative cost/benefits of Green and Gold OA, unilaterally vs. universally.)
HEFCE/REF mandate proposal: The proposed HEFCE/REF institutional immediate-deposit mandate, if adopted, will completely remedy the flaws of the Finch/RCUK policy.
Embargoes and compromise: An interim compromise is needed on the problem of publisher embargoes on Green OA: The optimal compromise is not to insist on double-paying for immediate Gold CC-BY today, preemptively, unilaterally and needlessly, with all its perverse consequences, but instead to mandate immediate deposit of all articles independently of whatever allowable Green OA embargo length is agreed upon.
Journal Prestige & Price: A journal’s “prestige” is based on its public track-record for quality. A journal’s quality depends on its peer-review standards. The higher the quality standards, the more rigorous and selective is the peer reviewing. The cost per accepted, published article of a highly selective, high-standard journal can be higher because the cost for the peer review of all the submitted and refereed articles that did not meet the journal’s quality standard must be factored into the price of every accepted article. With post-Green Fair-Gold not only is the cost of peer review unbundled from the cost of access-provision and archiving, but peer review can be provided on a “no fault” basis, with each round of the peer-review service paid for, per paper submitted, irrespective of whether the outcome is acceptance, revision, or revision/resubmission and re-refereeing. This unbundling will re-distribute the cost of the peer review service equitably, so the no-fault peer review fee (1) discourages authors from making unrealistic submissions to journals whose quality standards their work is unlikely to meet, as in the days when peer-review was paid for by subscriptions and hence cost-free to the author, and (2) discourages journals from accepting substandard articles in order to earn more peer review revenues, because their revenue is based on peer review rather than acceptance, and their reputation depends on their track-record for quality.
Publishing costs as research costs: It has been repeatedly stated (particularly by the Wellcome Trust) that “publishing costs are just a small part of research costs” (c. 1.5%), and hence that research funders should be prepared to pay them as such – in the form of Gold OA fees. This sounds fine from the standpoint of a research funder like Wellcome, which need only fund research. But, as noted above, most publication costs today are paid in the form of institutional journal subscriptions. Wellcome does not pay the institutional journal subscriptions of its fundees’ institutions: Those are paid by others, from other resources. Hence Wellcome payment of Gold OA fees (at today’s inflated asking-price, and often paid to hybrid subscription/Gold journals) is double-payment, but the double-payment is not by Wellcome. The UK government is ultimately paying for both journal subscriptions and RCUK Gold OA fees. Hence Wellcome’s motto that “publishing costs are just a small part of research costs” cannot be applied to UK governmental funding until UK subscription costs no longer need to be paid and peer review costs have been unbundled and offered as Gold OA at a fair price. In other words, after global Green OA has prevailed globally.
Disproportionate publication costs for research-intensive institutions and countries: When publishing costs are paid by the institutions that provide the research (in the form of Gold OA fees) instead of by the institutions that consume the research (in the form of subscription fees), more research-intensive institutions pay more than less research intensive institutions do. But, as Houghton & Swan have shown, both will still pay substantially less than they are paying today in subscriptions, because the price of post-Green Fair-Gold publishing (freed from double-payment and downsized -- by universal Green -- to peer-review costs alone) will be so much lower than the current price of subscription publishing.
The cost of institutional repositories: Most institutions in the UK, EU and US already have institutional repositories (for a variety of institutional purposes, including OA). Their start-up costs were low, and have already been invested. Their annual maintenance costs (a server and some sysad time) are low, and part of existing institutional network infrastructure. The cost per paper deposited in an institutional repository is virtually zero, yet this represents the institution’s contribution to globally distributed access-provision and archiving. (Even for a global central repository like Arxiv, the price per paper is less than $7.) This is what will permit the current publication price per article – paid in the form of worldwide institutional subscriptions – to be reduced to just the price of peer review alone.
Finch on repositories: The Finch report, under the influence of publishers, suggested that Green OA is a failure in practise as well as inadequate in principle, so Finch accordingly recommended downgrading institutional repositories to the role of (1) data-archiving, (2) digital preservation, and (3) linking data to publishers’ websites, where the articles reside. It should be evident now that this was a self-serving assessment on the part of publishers (as was Elsevier’s Alicia Wise’s plea during the BIS hearing not to have institutional repositories needlessly “duplicate” access-providing and archiving functions that publishers already perform: “Leave it to us!”). What institutional repositories need in order to successfully provide OA to journal articles is for funders and institutions to upgrade their Green OA mandates and compliance mechanisms to ensure immediate deposit of all articles, as proposed by HEFCE/REF (see above).
Publisher deposit: Publishers, in an effort to retain control over as much of the transition to OA as possible, have proposed to deposit papers (in institution-external repositories), on behalf of their authors, on publishers’ terms and timetables. On no account should publishers be relied upon to ensure compliance with OA mandates: the mandates apply to researchers, not to publishers. Publishers are happy to comply when they are paid for Gold. But it is not in publishers’ interests to comply with Green -- nor are they required to do so. Authors are perfectly capable of doing the few keystrokes of self-archiving for themselves, at no cost. Once again, the optimal policy is HEFCE/REF’s, which proposes mandating immediate-deposit, by the author, in the author’s institutional repository, immediately upon publication. Institutions can then monitor and ensure timely compliance for their own institutional publication output, in their own institutional repository.
Complementary self-archiving mandates from funders and institutions: The RCUK/HEFCE/REF OA mandates can and should be complemented by institutional OA mandates, likewise requiring immediate-deposit, as well as designating institutional immediate-deposit as the sole mechanism for submitting published articles for institutional performance review. Belgium has provided the optimal integrated institution/funder model for this.
Patents, plagiarism: Both patents and plagiarism are red herrings, insofar as OA is concerned. OA concerns access to published articles. What authors wish to conceal, they do not publish, hence OA is moot. Plagiarism is possible with all published work, OA or non-OA. OA merely makes the words accessible to all users, not just subscribers. And inasmuch as copyright protects against plagiarism, it protects OA and non-OA work equally. Even CC-BY requires acknowledgement of authorship (that’s what the “BY” refers to) (although in a “mash-up,” the re-mix of words, even listing all authors, can be rather like crediting body-parts in a common grave); but for now, allowing CC-BY should be left entirely a matter of author choice.
Institutional vs. central repositories: All OAI-compliant repositories are interoperable, hence harvestable and hence searchable as if they were all one global archive. So it does not matter technically or functionally where articles are deposited, as long as they are deposited immediately (and made OA). But it matters a great deal strategically -- for the effectiveness of mandates, for compliance verification, and to minimize author keystrokes, effort and hence resistance and resentment – that mandates should require institutional deposit (and just once). Once, deposited, the metadata can be automatically exported to or harvested by other repositories, so they can be searched at a central-repository level for a discipline, nation, or globally.
“Evidence of harm”: Publishers often speak of repositories and Green OA self-archiving in terms of the presence or absence of “harm.” But one must ask what “harm” means in this context: Increased access, downloads and citations overall are certainly not evidence of harm -- to research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, R&D businesses and the tax-paying public -- quite the contrary, irrespective of whether the increase usage occurs at the publisher’s website or institutional repositories. Nor is it clear that if and when mandatory Green OA should eventually make subscriptions unsustainable -- inducing cost-cutting and a transition to Gold OA at a fair price and without double-payment -- that this should be counted as “harm” rather than as yet another benefit of OA -- to research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, R&D businesses and the tax-paying public -- in the natural evolution of scientific and scholarly communication with technology (bringing not just universal research access, but lower publication cost), to which the publishing industry can and must and will adapt, rather than the reverse.
Embargoes and compromise: It has to be clearly understood that embargoes on providing Open Access to the author’s final draft are imposed by the publisher in order to protect and sustain subscription revenues and the subscription model. If the objective is a transition to sustainable Gold OA at a fair price, publisher OA embargoes are not in the interests of the research community. However, as a compromise, they can be tolerated, for the time being, as long as the HEFCE/REF immediate-deposit mandate proposal is adopted.
Redirecting funds: It is premature to speak of “redirecting funds” from subscription payment to Gold OA payment. Journal subscriptions cannot be cancelled until the journal articles are accessible in another way. That other way is Green OA. Hence Green OA must be universally mandated first. The alternative is double-payment and double-dipping (see above).
Added value: The values added by publishers to the author’s un-refereed draft are: (1) peer-review, (2) copy-editing, (3) formatting & tagging, (4) print edition, (5) online PDF edition, (6) access-provision, (7) archiving. Once Green OA is universally mandated, (3) – (7) become obsolete. It is not clear how much copy-editing (2) is still being done or needed. So the only remaining essential post-Green function of peer-reviewed journal publishing is the service of peer review (1). This is what can be paid for as Gold OA, at a fair, sustainable post-Green price.
Hybrid gold and embargo: One of the perverse effects of the Finch report’s recommendation to require authors to pick and pay for Gold OA if a journal offers it is to encourage subscription publishers to offer hybrid Gold as an option and to adopt and lengthen Green OA embargo periods beyond the allowable limit, so as to make sure that authors must pick and pay for Gold. This is why the Green option must always be allowed and embargo limits must not be draconian.
Open data vs article access: It is a misunderstanding as well as a strategic mistake to conflate open data and OA. The purpose of data is to be used. In general, the one who gathered the data must be allowed fair first data-mining rights. After that, it is reasonable for the funder to require that the data be made open for re-use. But articles are not data, and authors must be allowed to decide whether or not to allow their text to be re-used. (The findings and ideas can of course always be re-used, with acknowledgement; but that is not the same thing as re-using, re-mixing or re-publishing the verbatim text itself.)
Discipline differences: There may be discipline differences in the length of OA embargo needed to sustain subscriptions, but there are no discipline differences in the need for free online access to research for all would-be users, not just those who have subscription access.
“Reasonable access”: At the hearings it was asked “what is ‘reasonable’ access”: it’s free online access to peer-reviewed research, immediately upon publication.
Tuesday, April 2. 2013
In response to the Beta SHERPA/FACT "Funders and Authors Compliance Tool," I just want to register my regret and dismay that SHERPA is yet again slavishly amplifying the volume of the ambient noise instead of sensibly filtering out the signal.
For years SHERPA/ROMEO has been parroting publishers' every whim echolalically instead of cataloguing only the essential points of publisher policy for authors: Does the publisher endorse immediate Green OA to the peer-reviewed version? and if not, how long does the publisher propose to embargo it?
Instead, SHERPA faithfully formalizes every nuance of FUD and double-talk that publishers dream up -- I await a solemn stipulation that the author may only provide OA on Tuesdays, and only if they have a blue-eyed maternal uncle -- leaving users in a wash of useless and arbitrary detail and confusion.
Now this same indiscriminate parroting of ad-hoc improvisations issuing from the RCUK OA policy-makers has been given a megaphone in SHERPA/FACT.
Instead of leaving RCUK to work out a coherent policy before canonizing it, SHERPA/FACT treats the tentative vagaries of the RCUK policy-makers as if they made sense and were ready to be etched in Mosaic tablets for UK (and worldwide!) researchers to revere and obey.
Instead of agonizing over what journal they may or may not publish in, in order to comply with RCUK requirements, by working their way through the maze of SHERPA/FACT contingencies, RCUK authors would be best to publish in whatever journal they wish to publish in and deposit their refereed final drafts in their institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication (as HEFCE/REF requires).
Sensible authors should make their deposits OA immediately. Cautious or timid authors can look up the length of their publisher's embargo on OA (if any) and set access to the (immediate) deposit to be made OA when the embargo has elapsed. All authors can be confident that RCUK will (as announced) not be monitoring or "enforcing" Green embargo lengths for years to come, whilst the RCUK policy is being "re-evaluated."
And that's the only information SHERPA/FACT ought to be providing, apart from links to either the publisher's website or RCUK's website, so curious authors can see their respective caprices at first hand. (Green OA is not RCUK's "preferred option," but it is nevertheless reluctantly "allowed".)
As to the rest of the new RCUK policy -- the option that both publishers and RCUK/Wellcome are really interested in, namely, how the Gold subsidy is to be administered and disbursed -- nolo contendere, but the less said, the better: Once you've deposited your final draft in your institutional repository, forget about the Gold subsidy unless your chosen journal happens to be Gold.
Thursday, March 14. 2013
("Re: RCUK fails to end ‘green’ embargo confusion" THE 14 March 2013)
What a mess! With publishers eagerly pawing at the Golden Door, and RCUK hopelessly waffling at Green embargo limits and their enforcement.
But relief is on the way! HEFCE has meanwhile quietly and gently proposed a solution that will moot all this relentless cupidity and stupidity.
HEFCE has proposed to mandate that in order to be eligible for the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the final, peer-reviewed drafts of all papers published as of 2014 will have to be deposited in the author's institutional repository immediately upon publication: no delays, no embargoes, no exceptions -- irrespective of whether the paper is published in a Gold OA journal or a subscription journal, and irrespective of the allowable length of the embargo on making the deposit OA: The deposit itself must be immediate.
This has the immense benefit that while the haggling continues about how much will be paid for Gold OA and how long Green OA may be embargoed, all papers will be faithfully deposited -- and deposited in institutional repositories, which means that all UK universities will thereby be recruited, as of 2014, to monitor and ensure that the deposits are made, and made immediately. (Institutions have an excellent track record for making sure that everything necessary for REF is done, and done reliably, because a lot of money and prestige is at stake for them.)
And one of the ingenious features of the proposed HEFCE/REF Green OA mandate is the stipulation that deposit may not be delayed: Authors cannot wait till just before the next REF, six years later, to do it. If the deposit was not immediate, the paper is ineligible for REF.
And, most brilliant stroke of all, this ensures that it is not just the 4 papers that are ultimately chosen for submission to REF that are deposited immediately -- for that choice is always a retrospective one, made after looking over the past 6 years' work, to pick the four best papers. Rarely will this be known in advance. So the safest policy will be to deposit all papers immediately, just in case.
This is precisely the compliance assurance mechanism the RCUK mandate so desperately needs in order to succeed, but the RCUK policy-makers have not yet had the wit to conceive and adopt. Well, HEFCE/REF have done it for them, bless them.
But immediate-deposit is not immediate-OA you say? Indeed it is not. It does, however, overcome OA's most formidable hurdle, which is getting all those papers into the institutional repositories, and right away: keystrokes. It is just those keystrokes that have stood between the research world and OA for over over two decades now.
Once the institutional repositories are reliably being filled to 100%, does anyone with the slightest imagination doubt what will follow, as nature (and human nature) takes its course?
First, the repositories will facilitate sending reprints to those who request a single copy for research purposes, with one click each. Sending reprints is not OA; researchers have been doing it for a half century. But they used to have to do it by reading Current Contents or scanning journals' contents lists, mailing reprint requests, and then waiting and hoping that authors would take the time and trouble and expense to mail them a reprint, as requested (and many did). But now the whole transaction is just one click each, and almost immediate, if the papers have been deposited and both parties are at the wheel.
But that's still just Almost-OA. Once immediate-deposit is mandated, however, about 60% of those deposits can be made immediately OA, because about 60% of journals already endorse immediate, unembargoed Green OA. (RCUK has already succeeded is dragging down that figure to somewhat closer to 50/50 with its perverse preference for Gold, inspiring hybrid Gold publishers to offer Gold and increase Green embargo lengths to try to force UK authors to pick paid Gold over cost-free Green).
Now that's about half immediate-OA plus half Almost-OA to tide over researcher needs during the embargo. But does anyone have any doubt about what will happen next? As OA and Almost-OA grow, and the research community tastes more and more of what it's like to have half immediate-OA and half Almost-OA, all the disciplines that have not yet had the sense to do it will begin to do what almost 100% of physicists have already been doing for 20 years now without so much as a moment's hesitation or a "by your leave":
That last remaining keystroke, once a paper is written, revised, accepted and deposited -- the keystroke that makes the paper OA -- will be done sooner and sooner, more and more, until the embargoes with which publishers are trying to hold research hostage will all die their natural and well-deserved deaths as the research community learns to do the obvious, optimal and inevitable, in the online era.
(Nor will peer-reviewed journal publishing die, as publishers keep warning menacingly: It will simply convert to Gold OA -- but only after the pressure from Green OA has forced journals to phase out all obsolete products and services and their costs: that means phasing out the print version and the online version, and offloading all access-providing and archiving onto the global network of Green OA institutional repositories. Then, instead of double-paying for Gold OA, as Finch folly and RCUK recklessness would have us do -- subscriptions plus Gold OA fees -- post-Green Gold OA will just be a fee for the peer review service, at a fair, affordable and sustainable price, paid for out of a fraction of institutions' annual savings from subscription cancellations instead of out of scarce research funds, over and above subscriptions, as now. Pre-Green Gold is Fool's Gold: Post-Green Gold is Fair Gold.)
Wednesday, March 13. 2013
Executive Summary: The proposed HEFCE/REF Open Access [OA] mandate -- that in order to be eligible for REF, the peer-reviewed final draft of all journal articles must be deposited in the author’s institutional repository immediately upon publication, with embargoes applicable only to the date at which the article must be made OA is excellent, and provides exactly the sort of complement required by the RCUK OA mandate. It ensures that authors deposit immediately and institutionally and it recruits their institutions to monitor and ensure compliance.
For journal articles, no individual or disciplinary exceptions or exemptions to the immediate-deposit are needed, but embargo length can be adapted to the discipline or even to exceptional individual cases.
Embargo length is even more important for open data, and should be carefully and flexibly adapted to the needs not only of disciplines and individuals, but of each individual research project.
Requiring monograph OA if the author does not wish to provide it is not reasonable, but perhaps many or most monograph authors would not mind depositing their texts as Closed Access.
Excellent. This is the optimal OA policy and is completely compatible with the OA policies being adopted worldwide. Note, though, that gold and green are not both “publishing routes.” They are both routes to providing OA, but only gold is a publishing route. The green route is to publish in any journal at all, and to provide OA to that publication by depositing it in an OA repository. So for clearer wording I would suggest: we propose to accept as eligible published material that has been made Open Access via either gold or green routes, recognising that it is not appropriate to express any preference in the context of research assessment. It is already implicit in the proposed HEFCE/REF OA policy, but suggest that it is make explicit that (the final peer-reviewed draft of) articles must be deposited in the author’s institutional repository immediately upon publication, irrespective of whether the author chooses the gold or the green route.we propose to accept material published via either gold or green routes as eligible, recognising that it is not appropriate to express any preference in the context of research assessment
Excellent. I suggest that it be made clear that the re-use might only be after any allowable publisher embargo has elapsed. (I also suggest specifying that the re-use rights may exclude re-publication rights by rival free-riding publishers, otherwise this condition may induce publishers that have no embargo to adopt an embargo.)We propose to treat as ‘open access’ publications those which meet all of the following criteria:
Excellent. This is precisely the condition that is needed to ensure that deposit is immediate and not delayed, and to ensure that the authors’ institutions are recruited to monitor and ensure that deposit is immediate and not delayed. It is especially useful because its effects go far beyond the 4 papers that authors will ultimately submit to REF: The choice of the 4 papers to submit is not usually made until the end of the REF interval, just before the next REF. So, in the meanwhile, this policy makes it necessary that all potentially eligible papers are deposited immediately upon publication, whether or not they are ultimately submitted. This will go a long way toward ensuring that all UK research output is deposited immediately. (Special congratulations to HEFCE/REF for this especially effective clause!)We intend that work which has been originally published in an ineligible form then retrospectively made available in time for the post-2014 REF submission date should not be eligible, as the primary objective of this proposal is to stimulate immediate open-access publication.
Excellent. But one small suggestion: …(whether made open access by the gold or green route)… As earlier, this is to distinguish publishing from access-provision. ‘All submitted outputs covered by our requirement for open access above, and other submitted outputs that are available electronically, shall be available through a repository of the submitting institution.’The role of institutional repositoriesAs part of our commitment to increasing public access, we intend to require that outputs meeting the REF open access requirement (whether published by the gold or green route) shall be accessible through an institutional repository.
This would mean in practice that each submitting institution would maintain a web facility through which all relevant outputs might be identified and accessed (including items available through a link to another website).
Excellent. Exactly the policy needed. And of course just about all UK institutions already have these repositories. What they lacked was a mandate that would fill them, and empower them to ensure that they are filled. This is precisely what the HEFCE/REF OA policy provides – for the UK, and as a model for the rest of the world.
Institutional repositories need to be OAI-compliant and interoperable, so that subject and other repositories can harvest their metadata for central cross-repository search.We welcome further advice on repository use and on techniques for institutional repositories to cross-refer to subject and other repositories.
Institutional repositories should also implement the SWORD protocol for importing/exporting contents to/from institutional and central repositories, such as Arxiv, UKPMC or EuroPMC. Repositories should also configure their data to make them maximally visible, discoverable, harvestable and hence searchable through Google Scholar and other major search engines. (I don’t think the function you mean here is to “cross-refer”: it’s interoperability, harvestability, importability, exportability, and rich metadata. As the repositories begin filling in a serious way, these functionalities will be developed and made even more powerful than is currently envisioned.)
Exactly the right strategy: Separate deposit mandate (immediate, no exceptions) from the date at which the deposit must be made OA (allowable embargo length to be decided discipline by discipline).Embargoes and licences
The crucial thing is to separate the immediate-deposit requirement from the question of embargo length or nature of license.While we expect that sufficient clarity and reassurance on embargoes and licences will be achieved through the Research Council discussions, we welcome responses which address these issues.
Books and data can be handled differently from journal articles, because the case for (and timing of) OA for books and for data is very different. But on no account should any exceptions be allowed for the immediate-deposit requirement for journal articles. Special treatment or exceptions should only pertain to the embargo length (i.e., the date at which the deposit is made OA). And on no account should the immediate-deposit requirement be applied only on a percentage basis. Immediate-deposit should be 100%. Embargo-lengths and rights/licenses can be adapted to disciplines or special individual cases.Exceptions
Again, exemptions and exceptions based on disciplines should only be considered for OA embargo length and for further rights licensing, over and above free online access (and of course for books, data, and other special content other than journal articles). But not for journal article deposit date, which must be immediate.Some have asked that particular disciplinary groups should be exempt from this requirement, but we consider that research in all subjects has equal importance and therefore equally merits receiving the benefits of open-access publication. As with other aspects of the REF we expect the details relating to exemptions to be sympathetic to particular disciplinary issues; but in this instance we consider it will be most appropriate to identify which types of output should be exempt, looking across all disciplines, and we welcome advice on this.
If the HEFCE/REF mandate is adopted soon, there is no reason at all why 1 January 2014 cannot be the start-date for the immediate-deposit requirement (for journal articles).Taking account of publication timescales and that the start of the next REF period is 1st January 2014, it may be that some notice is needed before these requirements apply. We propose to set a date which provides reasonable notice. Outputs published before that date will be automatically exempt from these requirements. We welcome advice on an appropriate notice period, taking account of the publications cycle.
(If a researcher’s institution does not yet have a repository, there is OpenDepot, created precisely for that purpose – and still patiently awaiting mandates in order to put its resources to use!)
No pressing issues with books: No harm would be done if monographs too had to be deposited immediately, but with no requirement to make them open access – neither immediately, nor ever, unless the author wishes.Monograph publications
(As green OA for articles grows, more and more monograph authors will want the benefits of OA too, in terms of increased usage and impact.)
There are special complications with data that do not exist at all for journal articles (or even for books): Researchers are researchers, not mere data-gatherers. They gather data in order to use, data-mine and analyze it. If they are forced to make their data OA for use by one and all immediately, then there is a “Prisoner’s Dilemma”: It’s much better for me if I don’t take the time or trouble (nor spend the time seeking the funding) to gather the data myself: Just let someone else do the work, and then I can help myself to the data immediately, because it is mandated! In other words, embargoes are a much more serious matter in the case of data than in the case of journal articles.Open data
Journal article embargoes are merely ways of allowing publishers to ensure their current revenue streams and modus operandi instead of letting research and researchers derive the full benefits of the web era. (It is not clear that that is good for anyone but the publishers). But with research data not only is the existence and length of an exclusive “1st-expoitation right” for the data-gatherer fair and important, but the length of the fair “embargo period” will vary substantially from project to project, not just from discipline to discipline.
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