Tuesday, July 23. 2013
Richard Poynder has elicited a splendid summary of OA by the person who has done more to bring about OA than anyone else on the planet: Peter Suber
Here are a few supplements that I know Peter will agree with:
1. Potential CHORUS Catastrophe for OA: Peter's summary of OA setbacks mentions only Finch. Finch was indeed a fiasco, with the publishing lobby convincing the UK to mandate, pay for, and prefer Gold OA (including hybrid Gold OA), and to downgrade and ignore Green OA.
Peter notes the damage that the publisher lobby has successully inflicted on worldwide (but especially UK) OA progress with the Finch/RCUK policy, but I'm sure he will agree that if the Trojan Horse of CHORUS were to be accepted by the US federal government and its funding agencies, the damage would be even greater and longer lasting:
CHORUS is an attempt by the publishing lobby to take compliance with Green OA mandates out of the hands of the fundees whom OA mandates are designed to require to provide OA, and instead transfer control over the execution, the locus and the timetable for mandate compliance into the hands of publishers.
Adopting CHORUS would mean that President Obama's OSTP directive -- requiring that federally funded research must be made freely accessible online within 12 months of publication -- would instead ensure that it was made freely accessible after 12 months, and not one minute earlier;.
And CHORUS would ensure also that the authors whom all Green OA mandates worldwide are designed to require to provide OA -- because they want OA yet dare not provide it without a mandate from their institutions or funders, for fear of their publishers -- would no longer be affected by any mandate:
With CHORUS, publishers would have succeeded in locking in 12-month-embargoed Delayed Access instead of immediate Green OA for years to come, in the US and, inevitably, also worldwide.
So, as I am sure Peter will agree, CHORUS must be rejected at all costs, just as the previous Trojan Horses of the publishing lobby -- PRISM and the Research Works Act -- were rejected. It's bad enough that Finch slipped through.
2. Hybrid Gold OA has a few additional negative features, apart from the ones Peter already mentions:
Even if the publiser gives subscribing institutions a rebate to offset double-dipping, Hybrid Gold locks in current total publisher revenue -- from institutional subscription fees plus author hybrid Gold OA fees -- come what may. Hybrid Gold immunizes publishers from any pressure to cut costs by phasing out obsolete products and services in the online era.
Only globally mandated Green OA self-archiving in repositories by authors can force publishers to downsize to the post-Green essentials alone.
And if a hybrid Gold journal also imposes an embargo on Green, that is tantamount to legally sanctioned extortion, even without double-dipping: "If you want to provide immediate OA, you must pay me even more than I am already being paid by your institution for subscriptions -- and your institution only gets back a tiny fraction of the rebate from your surcharge."
(This is also the option to which CHORUS, in tandem with Finch, would hold immediate OA hostage for many years more. Since immediate OA is optimal for research, hence inevitable, publishers, if funders take in their Trojan Horse, will have succeeded in delaying OA for as long as they possibly could, in defence of their current revenue streams. This is also the publishers' self-serving scenario in which COPE institutions would unwittingly collude, if they funded Gold OA without first mandating immediate-deposit Green OA.)
3. Pre-Green Fools Gold vs. Post-Green Fair Gold: The only thing that can bring the cost of peer-reviewed journal publishing down to a fair, affordable, sustainable price is globally mandated Green OA. Only Green OA will allow institutions to cancel their journal subscriptions, thereby forcing journals to adapt naturally to the online era by cutting obsolete costs, downsizing and converting to Fair Gold. Once Green OA mandates fill them, it is the global network of Green OA repositories that will allow publishers to phase out all the products and services associated with access-provision and archiving. CHORUS and Finch are designed to allow publishers to keep co-bundling (and charging) for their obsolete products and services as long as possible.
Monday, July 22. 2013
Bravo to Danny Kingsley for her invaluable antipodean OA advocacy!
I think Danny is spot-on in all the points she makes, so these are just a few supplementary remarks:
1. The publishing industry is using Green OA embargoes and lobbying to try to hold OA hostage to its current inflated revenue streams as long as possible-- by forcing the research community to pay for over-priced, double-paid (and double-dipped, if hybrid) Fools Gold if it wants to have OA at all.
It's time for the research community to stop stating that it will stop mandating and providing Green OA if there's ever any evidence that it will cause subscription cancelations. Of course Green OA will cause cancelations, eventually; and so it should.
Green OA will not only provide 100% OA but it will also force publishers to phase out obsolete products and services and their costs, by offloading all access-provision and archiving onto the worldwide nework of Green OA repositories.
Once subscriptions are made unsustainable by mandatory Green OA, journals will downsize and convert to post-Green Fair-Gold, in place of today's over-priced, double-paid (and double-dipped, if hybrid) Fools-Gold.
Green OA embargoes have one purpose, and one purpose only: to delay this optimal, inevitable, natural and obvious outcome for as long as possible.
Research is not funded, conducted, peer-reviewed and made public in order to provide or guarantee revenues for the publishing industry, but to be used, applied and built upon, to the benefit of the public that funds it.
Globally mandated Green OA will not only provide OA, but it will also force publishers to cut obsolete costs and downsize to just managing peer review. All access-provision and archiving will be done by the worldwide network of Green OA Institutional Repositories.
It's in order to delay that outcome that publishers are using every means at their disposal -- embargoing Green OA and lobbying against Green OA mandates with PRISM, the Research Works Act, the Finch Report and CHORUS -- to fend off Green OA as long as possible and force the research community instead toward over-priced, double-paid (and, if hybrid, double-dipped) Fools Gold if they want to have any form of OA at all.
2. There is a powerful tactical triad -- tried, tested and proven effective -- to moot publisher delay tactics (embargoes and lobbying) -- and that triad is for both funders and insitutions to
(i) mandate immediate deposit in institutional repositories, whether or not the deposit is made immediately OA,3. The research community should resolutely resist publishers' attempt to imply that "Green OA" means "Delayed (embargoed) OA." It does not. OA means immediate, unembargoed access. It is publishers who are trying to impose embargoes, in order to delay OA and preserve their current inflated revenue streams for as long as possible, forcing authors to pay for grotesquely overpriced Fools Gold if they want immediate OA.
The immediate-deposit mandate (with the Button) immunizes against those tactics. "Delaying OA" is publishers' objective, against the interests of research, researchers, their universities, their funders, the vast R&D industry, students, teachers, the developing world, journalists, and especially the general public who is funding the research. Immediate-deposits mandates are the way for the research community to ensure that the interests of research. Otherwise (I have said many times), it is the publishing tail continuing to wag the research dog.
4. OA Metrics will follow, not precede OA. The reason we do not have 100% OA yet is not because of bias against Gold OA journals. It is because of researcher passivity, publisher activism (embargoes and lobbying) and lack of clear information and understanding about OA and how to make it happen.
It is normal and natural that journals' quality and importance should be based on their prior track-record for quality and importance (rather than their cost-recovery model). New journals (whether OA or non-OA) first need to establish a track record for quality and importance. Besides the journal's track record and citation impact, however, we also have citation counts for individual authors and articles, and we are slowly also developing download counts and other metrics of research usage and impact. There will be many more OA metrics too -- but for that to happen, the articles themselves need to be made OA! And that is why mandating Green OA is the priority.
Saturday, June 8. 2013
Michael Eisen is basically right on the fundamentals: There would be a huge conflict of interest if compliance with the White House Open Access (OA) mandate were left to publishers instead of researchers and their institutions. Publishers would do everything possible to sabotage the policy.
Nothing much can be said in favor of David Wojick's long series of comments except that it is true that Michael's focus is largely on Gold OA publishing, PMC, and re-use rights ("Libre OA") over and above free online access rights ("Gratis OA"), whereas the White House Open Access mandate is for Green OA self-archiving in researchers' OA repositories.
Further re-use rights are also more controversial than free online access rights because they encourage publisher embargoes (to prevent immediate free-riding by rival publishers); nor are they needed nearly as urgently and universally as immediate free online access is needed by authors and users in all disciplines today. (As much Libre OA as users need and authors wish to provide will certainly follow after universal Green Gratis OA has been successfully mandated and provided globally, but it must not be made into a needless obstacle today.)
Thursday, June 6. 2013
The OSTP should on no account be taken in by the Trojan Horse that is being offered by the research publishing industry's "CHORUS."
CHORUS is just the latest successor organisation for self-serving anti-Open Access (OA) lobbying by the publishing industry. Previous incarnations have been the "PRISM coalition" and the "Research Works Act."
1. It is by now evident to everyone that OA is inevitable, because it is optimal for research, researchers, research institutions, the vast R&D industry, students, teachers, journalists and the tax-paying public that funds the research.Let the OSTP not be taken in this time either.
Giles, J. (2007) PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access. Nature 5 January 2007.
Harnad, S. (2012) Research Works Act H.R.3699: The Private Publishing Tail Trying To Wag The Public Research Dog, Yet Again. Open Access Archivangelism 287 January 7. 2012
Friday, March 15. 2013
The new Finch/RCUK policy started off on the wrong foot from the very beginning, downgrading cost-free Green OA self-archiving and preferentially funding Gold OA publishing: double-paid Fool's Gold. That was already at the behest of the publishing lobby.
But unfortunately that was aided and abetted by OA advocates in the thrall of Gold Fever and Rights Rapture, needlessly over-reaching for more than just the free online access that is already within reach, and making even that yet again escape our grasp. Yes, the publisher lobby is trying to divide and conquer.
But it will not succeed, because the HEFCE/REF mandate proposal has come to the rescue, dividing deposit and access-setting, requiring that deposit be immediate, in the author's IR, and relegating publishers' embargoes only to access-setting. It is that dividing that will conquer.
Tuesday, December 11. 2012
Thursday July 26 2012QED
All is far from lost, however. There is a simple way that funder mandates can immunize themselves against such perverse consequences. They need only include the following 8 essential conditions:
(1) immediate-deposit (no delayed deposit, even if access to the deposit is allowed to be embargoed -- and irrespective of whether the journal is green or gold)An example of such mutually reinforcing funder and institutional policies is the FRS-FNRS policy in Belgium.
Such an integrated, maximized-strength mandate model immunizes against publisher embargoes and should be adopted, complementarily and convergently, by all institutions and funders, in Europe and worldwide.
Here is the fundamental point that needs to be grasped: The only thing that is standing between the world and 100% OA is author keystrokes (for depositing the full text in an online repository). Once those keystrokes are done, even if some of those deposits are under an access embargo, nature and human nature will take its course, under pressure from the increasingly palpable benefits of OA, and embargoes will soon die their inevitable and well-deserved deaths of natural causes -- and journals will survive, and evolve, and adapt.
But it will take forever to happen if the keystrokes are not mandated. Journals will try to filibuster and embargo OA for as long as possible: it's a conflict of interest, between, on the one hand, research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, the R&D industry, and the tax-payers who fund the research, and, on the other hand, the research publishing industry.
Scholarly research is not funded and conducted as a service to the scholarly publishing industry (regardless of whether the publishers are commercial or "scholarly", and regardless of whether they are subscription publishers or Gold OA publishers).
It is time to stop allowing the publishing tail wag the research dog.
Mandating the Green OA keystrokes (even where embargoed) is the fastest, cheapest and surest way to get us to 100% Green OA -- and then all Gold OA, Libre OA will not be far behind.
But trying instead to mandate Gold OA preemptively as the Finch Committee have perversely proposed to do, under the influence of the publishing industry lobby, will only serve leave the UK, the former leader of the global OA movement, far behind.
Thursday, December 6. 2012
Re: "Finch access plan unlikely to fly across the Atlantic"It's not just the US and the Social Sciences that will not join the UK's Gold Rush. Neither will Europe, nor Australia, nor the developing world.
The reason is simple: The Finch/RCUK/BIS policy was not thought through. It was hastily and carelessly cobbled together without proper representation from the most important stake-holders: researchers and their institutions, the providers of the research to which access is to be opened.
Instead, Finch/RCUK/BIS heeded the lobbying from the UK's sizeable research publishing industry, including both subscription publishers and Gold OA publishers, as well as from a private biomedical research funder that was rather too sure of its own OA strategy (even though that strategy has not so far been very successful). BIS was also rather simplistic about the "industrial applications" potential of its 6% of world research output, not realizing that unilateral OA from one country is of limited usefulness, and a globally scaleable OA policy requires some global thinking and consultation.
Now it will indeed amount to "a handout from the British government" -- a lot of money in exchange for very little OA -- unless (as I still fervently hope) RCUK has the wisdom and character to fix its OA mandate as it has by now been repeatedly urged from all sides to do, instead of just digging in to a doomed policy:
Adopt an effective mechanism to ensure compliance with the mandate to self-archive in UK institutional repositories (Green OA), in collaboration with UK institutions. And scale down the Gold OA to just the affordable minimum for which there is a genuine demand, instead of trying to force it down the throats of all UK researchers in place of cost-free self-archiving: The UK institutional repositories are already there: ready, waiting -- and empty.
Sunday, October 7. 2012
Sally Morris (Morris Associates) wrote on GOAL:
"Stevan overlooks the difference between 'publishing' an article in a repository and in a journal. As long as researchers prefer the latter (and there are lots of reasons why they seem to, in addition to peer review) then there will be a demand for journals in which to publish: selection and collecting together of articles of particular relevance to a given audience, and of a certain range of quality; 'findability'; kudos of the journal's title (and impact factor); copy-editing; linking; quality of presentation; etc etc...I completely agree with Sally about peer review: It is a decision by qualified specialists about whether a paper meets a journal's established standards for quality as well as subject matter, as certified by the journal's title and track-record, and, if not, how to revise it, if possible. (And I explicitly say so in the longer commentaries of which I only posted an excerpt on GOAL.)
But that, of course, does not change a thing about the fact that peer review is merely a service, which can be unbundled from the many other products and services with which it is currently co-bundled. It certainly does not imply that in order for referees or editors to make a decision about journal subject matter, there has to exist a set of articles co-bundled in a monthly or quarterly collection, being sold together as a co-bundled product, online or on-paper!
As to the rest of the co-bundled products and services Sally mentions: If she's right, then journals have nothing to fear from Green OA mandates, since those only apply to the author's peer-reviewed, revised, accepted final draft. That's what's self-archived in the author's institutional repository. If all those other products and services are indeed so indispensable, then reaching 100% Green OA globally will not make journal subscriptions unsustainable, because the need, and hence the market, for all those other essential co-bundled products and services Sally mentioned will still be there (for those who can afford them).
The only difference will be that all users -- not just subscribers -- will have access to all peer-reviewed, revised, accepted final drafts online. (That's Green OA, and once we are there, I can stop wasting my time and energy trying to get us there, as I have been doing for nearly 20 years now!)
But then can I ask Sally, please, to call off her fellow publishers who have been relentlessly (and successfully) lobbying BIS (and anyone else that will listen) not to mandate Green OA, and have been imposing embargoes on Green OA, on the (rather incoherent) argument that (1) Green OA is inadequate for researchers' needs and has already proved to be a failure and (2) that if Green OA succeeded it would destroy publishing, peer review, and research quality?
Otherwise this (incoherent) argument becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we have the Finch Fiasco and RCUK Ruckus to show for it.
Monday, July 23. 2012
Anthony Watkinson wrote on LIBLICENSE:
"...There were three publishers on the Finch committee (out of seventeen members)... 
There were more than three publishers on the Finch committee -- Learned Societies are publishers too -- but three publishers would already be three publishers too many in a committee on providing open access to publicly funded research. (Besides, the lobbying began well before the Finch Committee, and already had a hand in how the Committee was constituted and where it was headed.)
Research is funded, conducted, refereed and reported as a service to research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, the R&D industry, and the public that pays for it all. Research is not a service to publishers: Publishers sell a service to research institutions, for which they are paid very handsomely. (I don't think any of this ruckus is about journal publishers being underpaid, is it?)
The recommendations of the Finch committee were identical to the ones for which publishers have been lobbying aggressively for years (ever since it has become evident that trying to lobby against OA itself in the face of the mounting pressure for it from the research community is futile and very ill-received by the research community).
The publisher lobbying has accordingly been for the following:
"Please phase out Green OA as inadequate, parasitic and likely to destroy publishing and peer review -- and please provide extra money instead to pay us for Gold OA, if you want OA so much."The Finch outcome was already pre-determined as a result of publisher lobbying before the committee was even constituted:
Finch on Green: "The [Green OA] policies of neither research funders nor universities themselves have yet had a major effect in ensuring that researchers make their publications accessible in institutional repositories… [so] the infrastructure of subject and institutional repositories should [instead] be developed [to] play a valuable role complementary to formal publishing, particularly in providing access to research data and to grey literature, and in digital preservation [no mention of Green OA]…"But that's all moot now, as both RCUK and EC have ignored it, instead re-affirming and strengthening their Green OA mandates the day after Mr. Willets announced the adoption of the recommendations of the Finch committee:
RCUK: "[P]eer reviewed research papers which result from research that is wholly or partially funded by the Research Councils... must be published in journals… [either] offering a “pay to publish” option [Gold OA] or allowing deposit in a subject or institutional repository [Green OA] after a mandated maximum embargo period… of no more than six months… except… AHRC and… ESRC where the maximum... is 12 months…"
The 2004 recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology were based on 23 oral testimonials and 127 written testimonials. Mine (part 1 and part 2) was one of the 127 written testimonials. If anything had influence on the outcome, it was evidence and reasons.
The 2004 Select Committee recommendation had been this:
“This Report recommends that all UK higher education institutions establish institutional repositories on which their published output can be stored and from which it can be read, free of charge, online. It also recommends that Research Councils and other Government funders mandate their funded researchers to deposit a copy of all of their articles in this way... [T]he Report [also] recommends that the Research Councils each establish a fund to which their funded researchers can apply should they wish to pay to publish...”At that time, despite the fact that the UK government (again under pressure from the publishing lobby) decided to ignore the Select Committee’s recommendation to mandate Green OA, RCUK and many UK universities adopted Green OA mandates anyway.
As a result, the UK became the global leader in the transition to Open Access.
If heeded, the Finch Committee recommendation to downgrade repository use to the storage and preservation of data, theses and unpublished work would have set back global OA by at least a decade.
Fortunately, the RCUK has again shown its sense and independence, reaffirming and strengthening its Green OA mandate. Let us hope UK’s universities — not pleased that scarce research funds, instead of being increased, are to be decreased to pay extra needlessly for Gold OA — will likewise continue to opt instead for cost-free Green OA by mandating it.
If so, the UK will again have earned and re-affirmed its leadership role in the global transition to universal OA.
Anthony Watkinson replied on LIBLICENSE:
"[In] 2003/2004 I was asked to be the expert adviser to the [UK Select] committee… and had a pleasant conversation with Ian Gibson, the member of parliament who was the committee chair. It seemed to me in our conversation that Dr. Gibson had already been lobbied by Professor Harnad or his disciplines [sic] and that his mind was already made up. I cannot remember now whether or not Dr. Gibson said that he had met Professor Harnad but it was definitely the impression I had."I am flattered that Dr. Watkinson feels I had special influence on Ian Gibson and his Select Committee. I wish I had had!
But alas the truth is as I have already written (above): I was not one of the 23 witnesses invited to give oral evidence (several publishers were).
Ian's parliamentary assistant Sarah Revell pencilled me in for a personal appointment on Wednesday October 13 2004 (depending on whether Ian's jury duty ended in time: it did), but my recall of that breathlessly brief audience was that it was too compressed for me to be able to stutter out much that made sense, and I left it pretty pessimistic.
And my subsequent over-zealous attempts to compensate for it via email were very politely but firmly discouraged by the committee's very able 2nd clerk, Emily Commander.
So my input to the Committee amounted to being one of the 127 who submitted written evidence, plus that tachylalic personal audience on the 13th.
The rest of the influence on the committee was from written reasons, not personal charisma.
I'm not aware of having had any "disciples," to lobby the Committee at that time (though extra disciplines, as well as discipline, are always handy in lobbying for the interests of research and researchers).
My understanding, however, is that Ian Gibson was indeed pre-lobbied in favour of OA, and indeed that's why the Committee was created. But that pre-lobbying in 2003 had been done by a Gold OA publisher, Vitek Tracz of BMC (and perhaps others), not by me; and the lobbying was not at all in favour of Green OA but in favour of Gold OA. This initial goldward bent is quite evident in the Committee's original call for evidence in late 2003, which was the first I ever heard of the Committee's existence:
"The Committee will be looking at access to journals within the scientific community, with particular reference to price and availability. It will be asking what measures are being taken in government, the publishing industry and academic institutions to ensure that researchers, teachers and students have access to the publications they need in order to carry out their work effectively.... What are the consequences of increasing numbers of open-access journals, for example for the operation of the Research Assessment Exercise and other selection processes? Should the Government support such a trend and, if so, how?"As a result, the Committee's final decision to recommend that institutions and funders mandate Green and merely experiment with funding Gold was an unexpected surprise and delight to me. It also turned out to be a historic turning point and blueprint for OA worldwide.
As to publishers, and learned-society publishers: they are pretty much of a muchness in their fealty to their bottom lines. The only learned societies that could testify (for either the 2004 Gibson Committee or the 2012 Finch Committee) with a disinterested voice (let alone one that represented the interests of learned research rather than earned revenues) would be the learned societies that that were not also publishers.
Friday, July 20. 2012
Professor Adam Tickell (pro-VC, U. Birminhgam): "Critically, the minister for universities and science wanted to ensure that all relevant stakeholders - universities, funders, learned societies and publishers - were represented"
The only "relevant stakeholders" are those by and for whom research is funded, conducted, refereed and reported. That does not include publishers, whether commercial or learned-society.Professor Tickell: "Open access is not a significant issue for most academic researchers: we already have access to most research papers."
In searching the latest literature in his field, is Adam Tickell one of the rare academics who has not reached (frequently) an access-denied link offering pay-to-view with a hefty price-tag?Professor Tickell: "Many UK-based learned societies rely on income from publishing - most of which is export income - to remain viable"
Are Green Open Access Mandates rendering anyone's publishing income nonviable?Professor Tickell: "As green was unacceptable to funders unless learned societies and publishers were willing to allow it with minimal embargo periods (which would undermine their business models), the group recommended gold as part of a mix that includes elements of all forms of open access."
Are the interests of publishers, whether commercial or learned-society, the arbiters of what is in the interest of those by and for whom research is funded, conducted, refereed and reported? And what was the green part of the Finch "mix"? This?:
"The [Green OA] policies of neither research funders nor universities themselves have yet had a major effect in ensuring that researchers make their publications accessible in institutional repositories… [so] the infrastructure of subject and institutional repositories should [instead] be developed [to] play a valuable role complementary to formal publishing, particularly in providing access to research data and to grey literature, and in digital preservation [no mention of Green OA]…"FINCH ON GREEN:
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