Tuesday, October 30. 2012
Jan Velterop wrote:
(1) Stevan trades off expected speed of achieving OA against quality of the resulting OA. It's his right to do that. I just point out that that's what it is. That's my right. He calls it 'deprecating green OA'; I prefer to call it 'comparing outcome'.
Green vs. Gold is not a question of rivalry, it's a question of priority.
The twin reasons why Green has to come first are very simple: (i) Gold OA journal publishing is vastly over-priced today and (ii) the money to pay for Gold OA (even if it is downsized to a fair, affordable price) is still locked into institutional journal subscriptions.
Green OA needs to come first in order to fix both these problems:
Over and above providing 100% OA (which is the primary objective of the OA movement), Green OA (which is now only at 25% when unmandated, but can be increased to 100% when mandated by institutions and funders) also provides the way both to (ii) release the subscription money to pay for Gold OA and to (ii) force journals to cut costs and downsize to a fair, affordable, sustainable price for Gold OA (namely, the price of managing peer review alone, as a per-review (sic) service: no more print edition; no more online edition; all access-provision and archiving offloaded onto the worldwide network of Green OA institutional repositories):
Institutions can only cancel subscriptions when the subscribed content is available as Green OA. Until then they can only double-pay (whether for hybrid subscription/Gold journals or for subscription journals plus Gold journals).
And publishers will not unbundle and cut costs to the minimum (peer review service alone, nothing else) until cancellations force them to do so.
And (before you say it): If a new Gold OA journal enters the market today with a truly rock-bottom price, for the peer-review service alone, the money to pay for it is still over and above what is being paid for subscriptions today, because the subscriptions cannot be cancelled until most journals (or at least the most important ones) likewise downsize to the bare essentials.
And most journals are not downsizing to the bare essentials.
And institutions and funders cannot make journals downsize.
All institutions and funders can do is pay them even more than what they are paying them already (which is exactly what the publisher lobby has managed to persuade the UK and the Finch Committee to do).
I do not call that a "parachute" toward a "soft landing": I call it good publisher PR, to preserve their bottom-lines. And for most institutions and funders, it not only costs more money, but it is even more unaffordable and unsustainable than the serials status-quo today (which is reputedly in crisis).
The promise from hybrid Gold publishers to cut subscription costs in proportion to growth in Gold uptake revenues, even if kept, is unaffordable, because it involves first paying more, in advance; and all it does is lock in the current status quo insofar as total publisher revenue is concerned, in exchange for OA that researchers can already provide for themselves via Green, since publication and its costs are already being fully paid for -- via subscriptions.
Nor is "price competition" the corrective: Authors don't pick journals for their price but for their quality standards, which means their peer-review standards. It would be nothing short of grotesque to imagine that it should be otherwise (think about it!).
The corrective is global Green OA mandates: That -- and not "price competition" between Gold OA journals -- will see to it that the huge, unnecessary overlay of commercially co-bundled products and services that scholarly journal publishing inherited from the Gutenberg (and Robert-Maxwell) era is phased out and scaled down, at long last, to the only thing that scholars and scientists really still want and need in the online era, which is a reliable peer review service, provided by a hierarchy of journals, in different fields, each with its own established track record for quality -- hence selectivity -- at the various quality levels required by the field.
So what's at issue is not a trade-off of "speed" vs. "quality" (whether peer review quality, or re-use/text-mining rights) at all, but a trade-off of speed vs. the status quo.
And yes, that's speed, in the first instance, toward 100% free online access (Gratis OA) -- of which, let us remind ourselves, we currently have only about 25% via Green and maybe another 12% via Gold -- because that is what is within immediate reach (although we have kept failing to grasp it for over a decade).
The rest of the "quality" -- Gold OA and Libre OA -- will come once we have 100% Green OA, and publishers are forced (by Green-OA enabled subscription cancelations, making subscriptions no loner sustainable) to downsize and convert to Gold.
But not if we keep playing the snail's-pace game of double-paying pre-emptively for Gold while research access and impact keeping being lost, year upon year -- all in order to cushion the landing for the only ones that are comfortable with the status quo (and in no hurry!): toll-access publishers.
And please let's stop solemnly invoking the BOAI as a justification for continuing this no-sum, no-win game of no-OA unless you double-pay.
Publication costs are being paid, in full (and fulsomely) today. What's missing is not more revenue for publishers, but OA.
And Green OA mandates will provide it.
The rest will take care of itself, as a natural process of adaptation, by the publishing trade, to the new reality of global Green OA.
Tuesday, October 23. 2012
Eric Van de Velde: "Green Open Access delivers the immediate benefit of access. Proponents argue it will also, over time, fundamentally change the scholarly-communication market. The twenty-year HEP record lends support to the belief that Green Open Access has a moderating influence: HEP journals are priced at more reasonable levels than other disciplines. However, the HEP record thus far does not support the notion that Green Open Access creates significant change…"Twenty years of Open Access in HEP is not a significant change?
Eric Van de Velde: "If SCOAP³ proves sustainable, it will become the de-facto sponsor and manager of all HEP publishing world-wide. It will create a barrier-free open-access system of refereed articles produced by professional publishers. This is an improvement over arXiv, which contains mostly author-formatted material."Committing a worldwide institutional consortium into paying roughly the same as what it's paying now, in exchange for OA to publisher PDF instead of author versions?
"Those who observe with scientific detachment merely note that, after twenty years of 100% Green Open Access, the HEP establishment really wants Gold Open Access."
With still more detachment, it sounds as if HEP researchers really wanted -- and gave themselves-- a barrier-free open-access system of refereed articles 20 years ago.
The ones that seems to "really want" Gold OA are a consortium of institutional libraries…
Have patience. HEP researchers provided Green OA unmandated. Once the rest of the world's researchers provide Green OA in response to mandates from their institutions and funders, the "market" changes many desire will follow:
What the research community needs, urgently, is free online access (Open Access, OA) to its own peer-reviewed research output. Researchers can provide that in two ways: by publishing their articles in OA journals (Gold OA) or by continuing to publish in non-OA journals and self-archiving their final peer-reviewed drafts in their own OA Institutional Repositories (Green OA).
OA self-archiving, once it is mandated by research institutions and funders, can reliably generate 100% Green OA. Gold OA requires journals to convert to OA publishing (which is not in the hands of the research community) and it also requires the funds to cover the Gold OA publication costs.
With 100% Green OA, the research community's access and impact problems are already solved. If and when 100% Green OA should cause significant cancellation pressure (no one knows whether or when that will happen, because OA Green grows anarchically, article by article, not journal by journal).
Then the cancellation pressure will cause cost-cutting, downsizing and eventually a leveraged transition to OA (Gold) publishing on the part of journals.
As subscription revenues shrink, institutional windfall savings from cancellations grow. So if and when journal subscriptions become unsustainable, per-article publishing costs will be low enough, and institutional savings will be high enough to cover them, because publishing will have downsized to just peer-review service provision alone, offloading text-generation onto authors and access-provision and archiving onto the global network of OA Institutional Repositories. Green OA will have leveraged a transition to Gold OA.
And, yes, SCOAP3 is indeed pointless pre-emptive lock-in of the status quo (engineered by some academics and some libraries -- certainly not by "academia") in a field (HEP) that already has Green OA, unmandated, and could instead be doing so much more to support and promote mandated Green OA in all other disciplines.
But it's still far from over. Green OA mandates are imminent in the EU, Australia, and perhaps at long last in the US. And RCUK may still fix its policy into a workable one, despite the Finch Fiasco.
Green OA does not change the market, directly -- and certainly not until it's universal. But universal Green OA will certainly make journal affordability no longer the life-or-death matter it is now. (Think about it.)
Wednesday, September 26. 2012
1. High Energy Physics (HEP) already has close to 100% Open Access (OA): Authors have been self-archiving their articles in Arxiv (both before and after peer review) since 1991 ("Green OA").
2. Hence SCOAP3 is just substituting the payment of consortial "membership" fees for publishing outgoing articles in place of the payment of individual institutional subscription fees for accessing incoming articles in exchange for an OA from its publisher ("Gold OA") that HEP already had from self-archiving (Green OA).
3. As such, SCOAP3 is just a consortial subscription price agreement, except that it is inherently unstable, because once all journal content is Gold OA, non-members are free-riders, and members can cancel if they feel a budget crunch.
4. Nor does membership scale to other disciplines.
5. High Energy Physics would have done global Open Access a better service if it had put its full weight behind promoting (Green OA) mandates to self-archive by institutions and research funders in all other disciplines.
6. The time to convert to Gold OA is when mandatory Green OA prevails globally across all disciplines and institutions.
7. Institutions can then cancel subscriptions and pay for peer review service alone, per individual paper, out of a portion of their windfall cancelation savings, instead of en bloc, in an unstable (and overpriced) consortial "membership."
Wednesday, August 1. 2012
Jan Velterop, OA advocate, wrote in The Parachute:"The 'sin' that RCUK, Finch and the Wellcome Trust committed is that they didn't formulate their policies according to strict Harnadian orthodoxy. It's not that they forbid Harnadian OA (a.k.a. 'green'). It is that they see the 'gold' route to OA as worthy of support as well. Harnad, as arbiter of Harnadian OA (he has acolytes), would like to see funder and institutional OA policies focus entirely and only on Harnadian OA, and would want them, to all intents and purposed, forbid the 'gold' route... It is the equivalent of opening the parachute only a split second before hitting the ground. "
"In general I'm with Stevan on this. The RCUK policy and the Finch recommendations fail to take good advantage of green OA. Like Stevan, I initially overestimated the role of green in the RCUK policy, but in conversation with the RCUK have come to a better understanding. In various blog posts since the two documents were released, I've criticized the under-reliance on green. I'm doing so again, more formally, in a forthcoming editorial in a major journal. I'm also writing up my views at greater length for the September issue of my newsletter (SPARC Open Access Newsletter).Stevan Harnad:
"If the UK first... — clearly and unambiguously mandates Green OA for all UK research output — then it is welcome to throw all the cash it has to spare on also subsidizing Gold OA if it so wishes. --- But not instead."Finch on Green:The crucial contingency, and the one that caused all the confusion about whether or not RCUK is truly continuing "to support a mixed approach" is that if a journal offers Gold, RCUK fundees must choose Gold. If so, the only thing that any subscription journal needs to do to ensure that RCUK authors cannot choose Green (and hence must pay for Gold) is to offer hybrid Gold."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]…"
That's the contingency that needs to be clearly and unambiguously dropped in order to fix the RCUK OA mandate and bring it into line with the EC mandate, as well as the adopted and planned OA mandates in the US.
Swan & Houghton's 2012 executive summary (as excerpted by Peter Suber in "Transition to green OA significantly less expensive than transition to gold OA" ):
"Based on this analysis, the main findings are:  so long as research funders commit to paying publication costs for the research they fund, and  publication charges fall to the reprint author’s home institution,  all universities would see savings from (worldwide) Gold OA when article-processing charges are at the current averages,  research-intensive universities would see the greatest savings, and  in a transition period, providing Open Access through the Green route offers the greatest economic benefits to individual universities, unless additional funds are made available to cover Gold OA costs....[F]or all the sample universities during a transition period when subscriptions are maintained, the cost of adopting Green OA is much lower than the cost of Gold OA - with Green OA self-archiving costing institutions around one-fifth the amount that Gold OA might cost, and as little as one-tenth as much for the most research intensive university sampled. In a transition period, providing OA through the Green route would have substantial economic benefits for universities, unless additional funds were released for Gold OA, beyond those already available through the Research Councils and the Wellcome Trust...."Swan, Alma & Houghton, John (2012) Going for Gold? The costs and benefits of Gold Open Access for UK research institutions: further economic modelling. Report to the UK Open Access Implementation Group. JISC Information Environment Repository.
Wednesday, July 11. 2012
The biggest risk from Gold OA (publishing) (and it's already a reality) is that it will get in the way of the growth of Green OA (self-archiving), and hence the growth of OA itself. That's Gold Fever: Most people assume that OA means Gold OA, and don't realize that the fastest, surest and (extra-)cost-free way to 100% OA is to provide (and mandate) Green OA.
The second biggest risk (likewise already a reality, if the Finch Follies are Followed) is that Gold Fever makes sluggish, gullible researchers, their funders, their governments and even their poor impecunious universities get lured into paying for pre-emptive Gold OA (while still paying for subscriptions) instead of providing and mandating Green OA at no extra cost.
The risk of creating a market for junk Gold OA journals is only the third of the Gold OA risk factors (but it's already a reality too).
Gold OA's time will come. But it is not now. A proof of principle was fine, to refute the canard that peer review is only possible on the subscription model.
But paying for pre-emptive Gold OA now, instead of mandating and providing Green OA globally first will turn out to be one of the more foolish things our sapient species has done to date (though by far not the worst).
Harnad, S., Brody, T., Vallieres, F., Carr, L., Hitchcock, S., Gingras, Y, Oppenheim, C., Stamerjohanns, H., & Hilf, E. (2004) The green and the gold roads to Open Access. Nature Web Focus.
Thursday, August 11. 2011
Re: "Research intelligence - 'We all aspire to universal access'" Times Higher Education 11 August 2011
The publishing community can afford to be leisurely about how long it takes for open access (OA) to reach 100% (it's 10% now for Gold OA publishing, plus another 20% for Green OA self-archiving). But the research community need not be so leisurely about it. Research articles no longer need to be accessible only to those researchers whose institution can afford to subscribe to the journal in which it was published, rather than to all researchers who want to use, apply and build upon it. Lost research access means lost research progress. Research is funded, conducted and published for the sake of research progress and its public benefits, not in order to provide revenue to the publishing industry, nor to sustain the subscription model of cost-recovery.
The publishing community is understandably "wary" about Green OA self-archiving, mindful of its subscription revenue streams. But the transition to Green OA self-archiving, unlike the transition to Gold OA publishing, is entirely in the hands of the research community, which need not wait passively for the "market" to shift to Gold OA publishing: Springer publishers' projections suggest that at its current growth rate Gold OA will not reach 100% till the year 2029.
The research community need not wait, because it is itself the universal provider of all the published research, and its institutions and funders can mandate (i.e., require) that their authors self-archive their peer-reviewed final drafts (not the publishers' version of record) in their institutional Green OA repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication. And a growing number of funders and institutions (including all the UK funding councils, the ERC, EU and NIH in the US, as well as University College London, Harvard and MIT) are doing just that.
Green OA self-archiving mandates generate 60% OA within two years of adoption, and climb toward 100% within a few years thereafter. The earliest mandates (U. Southampton School of Electrons and Computer Science, 2003, and CERN, 2004 are already at or near 100% Green OA.
Harnad, S. (2011) Gold Open Access Publishing Must Not Be Allowed to Retard the Progress of Green Open Access Self-Archiving. Logos 21(3-4): 86-93 /
Tuesday, June 22. 2010
The Royal Society is fully green again, endorsing unembargoed OA self-archiving of the author's final draft, immediately upon acceptance for publication, thereby reinstating the world's most venerable publisher on the side of the angels, where it belonged all along, historically.
With much gratitude from the research community and posterity!
"Green open access: Authors may deposit a pre-print of their article in a repository at any time and they may deposit the final, accepted manuscript version of their article in a repository from 12 months after publication."Whereas one can be agnostic about the hybrid gold OA option that the RS and many publishers are offering (including the promise of transparency in translating hybrid Gold OA uptake increases into subscription price reductions), this takes on an entirely different complexion if the publisher is not Green (as, for example, CUP, APS, IOP, AAAS, Springer and Elsevier all are, whereas OUP and NPG, and now possibly the RS, are not).
For if the publisher imposes a 1-year embargo, that is tantamount to a constraint -- on any author that needs and wants immediate OA -- to pay for the hybrid Gold OA option instead of just providing Green OA.
See also: Not a Proud Day in the Annals of the Royal Society (2005)
Sunday, May 2. 2010
Historians will look back on our planet's glacially slow transition to the optimal and inevitable outcome for refereed research dissemination in the online era -- free online access webwide -- and will point out the irony of the fact that we were so much quicker to commit scarce money to trying to reform publishing ("Gold OA") through projects like SCOAP3 and COPE than we were to commit to providing free online access ("Green OA") to our own research output (by depositing it in our institutional repositories, and mandating that it be deposited) at no extra cost at all.
Here is just the latest instance:
"SCOAP3 support in the United States almost complete!… So far, over 150 U.S. libraries and library consortia have pledged a total of over 3.2 Million dollars to the SCOAP3 initiative. This is almost the entire contribution expected from partners in the United States. Worldwide, SCOAP3 partners in 24 countries collectively pledged around 7 Million Euros. These pledges represent about 70% of the SCOAP3 funding envelope, and the initiative is getting close to its next steps to convert to Open Access the entire literature of the field of High-Energy Physics."Yet (mark my words) it will be Green OA self-archiving -- and Green OA self-archiving mandates by institutions and funders -- that actually bring us universal OA at long last, and not the limited and ineffectual "gold fever" that is "freeing" (already-free) high energy physics (SCOAP3) -- climbing toward 100% OA since 1991 and effectively there since about a decade now! -- nor the COPE commitment on the part of universities to pay to make a small portion of their own research output Gold OA -- without first committing to make all of it Green OA, cost-free.
[University presidents and provosts especially seem to be quite quick to sign open letters in support of their government's adopting an open access mandate, yet much slower to adopt an open access mandate for their own institutions!]
"Never Pay Pre-Emptively For Gold OA Before First Mandating Green OA"
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, January 30. 2010
Colin G. Scanes Editor-in-Chief Poultry Science (Poultry Science Association) wrote:-- There are also the interests of research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, and the tax-paying public that supports the research and for whose benefit it is conducted and published. That interest is in making the research accessible, immediately upon acceptance for publication, to all would-be users, not just those whose institutions can afford subscription access.
Hitchcock, S. (2010) The effect of open access and downloads ('hits') on citation impact: a bibliography of studies
1. Who is to pay the very real costs of producing journals with this move to open access? Should it be the researcher, and, if so, where is the additional funding to come from? Is it realistic to consider that journals should absorb the costs-- Open Access means free online access to published journal articles, not necessarily Open Access publishing. Authors can provide Open Access to their conventionally published articles by self-archiving their final refereed drafts free for all online.
2. At what point do libraries cease to purchase subscriptions for journals if their contents are available by open access?-- No one knows whether and when libraries will cancel journals. Till they do, institutional subscriptions pay the cost of peer review and authors make their final drafts free for all online. If and when journal cancellations make subscriptions unsustainable because users prefer to use the free online drafts, journals will cut costs and downsize to providing peer review alone, paid for, per article, by authors' institutions, out of their windfall subscription cancellation savings.
Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition. In: The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the Electronic Age, pp. 99-105, L'Harmattan.
3. If library subscriptions to journals are an essential part of the business plan of a journal or a professional society, how many journals will disappear if we go to a completely open access approach?-- No journals will disappear as a result of Open Access. Open Access is provided by author self-archiving (now being increasingly mandated by their institutions and funders) and if and when subscriptions fail, journals will downsize to peer-review service provision alone, paid for on the open access publishing service-fee model.
4. As a journal editor with, at present, a positive cash flow, we can and do waive page charges from papers from institutions in developing countries that cannot afford to pay these. We will not be able to continue this if there is a major reduction in revenue. Forcing journals to adopt an author-pays model would have a stifling effect on the publication of work from authors in developing countries.-- No need to change anything (except to make sure the journal endorses rather than obstructs author self-archiving). Universal self-archiving and self-archiving mandates will provide universal Open Access, and the rest depends on how long subscriptions remain sustainable, and on whether and when the downsizing and transition to the Open Access cost-recovery model occurs.
5. What is a reasonable embargo period between publication and the paper being available by free open access?-- What is optimal for research -- and for researchers, their institutions, their funders, and the tax-paying public that supports the research and for whose benefit it is conducted and published -- is no embargo at all. What is helpful from publishers is if they endorse Open Access self-archiving by authors. The rest will all come as a natural matter of course either way (i.e., with or without publisher endorsement), as a result of Open Access mandates by institutions and funders. The Green publishers will simply have the historic satisfaction of having been on the side of the angels all along.
Poultry Science's self-archiving policy is not in Romeo and does not appear to be among the 63% of journals that endorse immediate Open Access self-archiving by its authors. It would be helpful if this were remedied:
Poultry Science Copyright Release: Copyright laws make it necessary for the Association to obtain a release from authors for all materials published. To this end we ask you to grant us all rights, including subsidiary rights, for your article. You will hereby be relinquishing to the Poultry Science Association all control over this material such as rights to make or authorize reprints, to reproduce the material in other Association publications, and to grant the material to others without charge in any book of which you are the author or editor after it has appeared in the journal.
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Saturday, January 16. 2010
Leo Waaijers wrote in Ariadne, "Publish and Cherish with Non-proprietary Peer Review Systems":
LW: "More and more research funders require open access to the publications that result from research they have financed... Although there is a steadily growing number of peer-reviewed Open Access journals... the supply fails to keep pace with the demand... [A]s authors cannot all publish in Open Access journals... Open Access-mandating funders impose unfair conditions on authors."There is a profound misunderstanding here. Funders who mandate Open Access (OA) impose no "unfair conditions." What they mandate is the self-archiving of all published articles ("Green OA"), not the publishing of all articles in Open Access (OA) journals ("Gold OA").
It cannot be pointed out often enough that Gold OA is not the sole or primary way to provide OA: The incomparably faster, easier, cheaper and surer way to provide OA is for authors to self-archive articles published in non-OA journals by depositing them in the author's Institutional Repository (IR) (Green OA). And that is exactly what funders and institutions are mandating. No need to wait for all publishers to convert to Gold OA. Hence no "unfairness."
Most of the top institutions already have IRs. All the rest can create them with free (and extremely powerful) software; moreover, the DEPOT repository is available (now internationally) for self-archiving by author's whose institutions do not yet have an IR or for authors who do not have an institution.
Hence Leo's point about "unfair conditions" by funder mandates is either misinformed or misinforming.
LW: "[A] conversion... from proprietary to non-proprietary systems of peer review... can be speeded up if disciplinary communities, universities, and research funders actively enter the market of the peer review organisers by calling for tenders and inviting publishers to submit proposals for a non-proprietary design of the peer review process"This is a non sequitur. What is needed is Open Access to peer-reviewed articles (2.5 million articles per year, published in 25,000 peer-reviewed journals). Most of those articles are available today only via toll-access (institutional subscriptions). The solution is neither to keep waiting for those journals to convert to Gold OA, nor to try to invent alternative forms of peer review. That would be like thinking that the way to solve the problem of public smoking is not to mandate no-smoke zones but to invent an alternative form of cigarette, or instead of mandating medicare to invent alternative forms of medicine, or instead of mandating recycling to invent an alternative form of garbage.
Not only is there no need to try to replace existing journals and their peer review system, but the problem with peer review is not that it is a proprietary service (for which the service-provider -- the journal -- needs to be paid) but that the byproducts of the service -- the peer-reviewed articles -- are not openly accessible to all would-be users.
And the solution is for authors to self-archive (the final, peer-reviewed drafts of) their peer-reviewed articles (Green OA) -- and for authors' institutions and funders to mandate it (submit submit tenders soliciting research proposals for alternatives to peer review!).
There is no need (and certainly no time) to wait to re-invent peer review in new hands and try to persuade (mandate?) authors to publish in these new "non-proprietary systems of peer review" instead of their existing peer-reviewed journals; nor is there the need or time to persuade publishers (already sluggish about converting to Gold OA) or others to turn to "tenders" inviting them to design a new system of peer review.
What is needed is for authors' institutions and funders to mandate Green OA self-archiving, a non-hypothetical solution that has already been tested, works, and can scale to all 2.5 million articles published annually in the planet's 25,000 peer-reviewed journals as quickly and surely as it can be mandated.
LW: "The [funder]... requires that... published research appears as openly accessible peer-reviewed articles."The way for the funder to require that published research should appear as openly accessible peer-reviewed articles is to mandate that the author's final peer-reviewed draft (not the publisher's proprietary PDF) must be self-archived in the author's OA IR immediately upon acceptance for publication. That's all. No need for "tenders" for "non-proprietary peer review."
And this is exactly what most of the existing and proposed OA mandates (by funders as well as institutions) require -- not the "unfair condition" of having to find and publish in a suitable Gold OA journal. Hence there is no need at all to create new Gold OA journals, let alone new forms of peer review, in order to provide universal OA, today. All that is needed is Green OA mandates.
But Leo instead recommends a highly speculative alternative for reforming peer review that is not only untested and unnecessary, but contains within the proposal itself the signs that it misunderstands how peer review itself works, and why it is needed for research and researchers:
LW: "In order to have appropriate review procedures in place to process these articles... The reviewing process must be independent, rigorous and swift..."So far, so good (except Leo does not say how peer review should be speeded up, given the number of papers submitted daily for peer review, the number of qualified peer reviewers available, and the number of their waking hours that researchers can devote to peer reviewing. Let us agree, however, that there are indeed ways to make this process faster and more efficient in the online era.)
But now, the proposed system (for which, Leo recommends, funders should solicit proposals, instead of mandating Green OA):
LW: "As a result of the reviewing process, articles will be marked 1 [low] to 5 [high]... In review procedures the [funder] will weigh articles with marks 3, 4 and 5 as if they were published in journals with impact factors 1-3, 4-8 and 9-15 respectively... For articles marked 3 to 5 adequate Open Access publication platforms must be available (e.g. new Open Access journals). Alternatively, authors may publish their articles in any existing OA journal. Upon publication all articles will be deposited in a certified (institutional) repository."This speculative notion of peer review imagines that peer review consists of giving papers marks.
(It does not. It involves assessing their contents and making concrete recommendations as to what needs to be done by way of revision -- if they are potentially acceptable -- and reasons for rejection if not. What users expect and need from journals is an all-or-none indication of whether an article has met that journal's established quality-standards for acceptance. Any internal ratings the referees might have used in the process of coming to a recommendation on acceptance or rejection are not for the user but the editor. The real ranking for the user -- and author -- is in the quality hierarchy among journals. Their quality standards -- meaning what percentage of articles meet their acceptance criteria -- are reflected in their track-records and known to users. They are also (sometimes) reflected in the journals' impact factor. But that impact factor -- which is objectively determined by journals' average citation counts -- is certainly not the same thing as referees' internal ratings.)
Leo suggests that these "marks" should be given (by someone), with marks 3-5 standing in for having been published in peer-reviewed journals with corresponding "impact factors," for which there must be a corresponding Gold OA journal (either new or existing) for them to appear in (created to ensure that "unfair conditions" are not imposed by the deposit requirement).
Then the paper can be deposited in a "certified" IR. (One wonders why? Since all articles, in Leo's hypothetical scenario, would be published in Gold OA journals that this peer-review reform proposal had miraculously generated, why do they need to be deposited in IRs at all -- "certified" or otherwise -- since they are all already OA?)
In other words, Leo has invented an imaginary problem with deposit mandates (viz, "there aren't enough Gold OA journals") -- whereas the mandates are not to publish in Gold OA journals but to deposit in Green OA IRs. And then he has invented an imaginary solution to the problem (viz, create new "non-proprietary peer-review services" and then publish the outcome in new Gold OA journals that no longer need to bother to implement peer review). All in order to be able to "fairly" deposit them in "certified" IRs?
My guess is that this rather complicated conjectural solution ("non-proprietary peer-review services") to an imagined problem ("unfair Gold OA mandates") was inspired by Leo's incorrect six assumptions:
(1) that what needs to be deposited in an IR in order to provide OA is the publisher's proprietary PDF, i.e., the canonical version of record (whereas what needs to be deposited for OA is just the peer-reviewed final draft ("postprint" which is merely a supplement to -- not a substitute for -- the canonical version of record);
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