Wednesday, November 13. 2013
Physicists have been spontaneously self-archiving in Arxiv since 1991, but most other disciplines have not followed suit, despite the demonstrated benefits of providing open access in terms of research uptake, usage and impact.
It is for this reason that research funders and institutions worldwide are (at last) beginning to mandate (i.e., require) that their fundees and faculty self-archive.
For open access mandates to work, however, it has to be possible to systematically monitor and verify compliance.
Not all research is funded (and there are many different research funders); but virtually all research comes from institutions (universities and research institutes), most of which now have institutional repositories for their researchers to self-archive in.
Institutions are hence the natural (and eager) partners best placed to fulfill the all-important role of monitoring and ensuring compliance with the requirements of their own researchers' grants, via their own institutional repositories. (This also gives institutions the incentive to adopt open access self-archiving mandates of their own, for all their research output, funded and unfunded, in all disciplines.)
Researchers, in turn, should only need to deposit their articles once, institutionally -- not willy-nilly, and multiply, in diverse institution-external repositories.
The solution is simple, since all open access repositories are interoperable, meaning they share the same core metadata-tagging system, and hence each institution's repository software can automatically export its metadata to any other institution-external repository desired.
That way researchers need only deposit once, in their own institutional repository; institutional and funder open access mandates are convergent and cooperative rather than divergent and competitive; and mandate compliance can be reliably and systematically ensured by the author's institution.
So Biorxiv is a welcome addition to the growing list of disciplinary repositories for centralized search and retrieval, but deposit in Biorxiv should not be direct: researchers should export to it from their institutional repositories. (Biorxiv can also harvest from institutional repositories, just as Google and Google Scholar do.)
Biologists and biomedical scientists, unlike physicists, do not have a culture of spontaneous self-archiving. Hence open access mandates from funders and institutions are needed if there is to be open access to their research. And those mandates have to be readily complied with; and compliance has to be readily verifiable.
So let us not lose another quarter century hoping that biologists will at last do, of their own accord, what Arxiv users have already been doing, unmandated, since 1991. In 1994 there was already a "Subversive Proposal" -- unheeded -- that all disciplines should do as the Arxivers had done. Harold Varmus made a similar proposal ("e-biomed") in 1999, likewise unheeded.
Let us start getting it right in 2013, the year that funders in the US, EU and UK have begun concertedly mandating open access, along with a growing number of institutions worldwide. But let us harmonize the mandates, to ensure that they work:
Arxiv has certainly earned the right to remain the sole exception, insofar as direct deposit is concerned, being the only institution-external repository in which authors have already been faithfully self-archiving, unmandated, for almost a quarter century:
For Arxiv, institutional repositories can import instead of export. But for the rest: Deposit institutionally, export centrally.
Wednesday, August 7. 2013
If supplying eprints to requesters could be delegated to 3rd parties like Repository Managers to perform automatically, then they would become violations of copyright contracts.
What makes the eprint-request Button legal is the fact that it is the author who decides, in each individual instance, whether or not to comply with an individual eprint request for his own work; it does not happen automatically.
Think about it: If it were just the fact of requesters having to do two keystrokes for access instead of just one (OA), then the compliance keystroke might as well have been done by software rather than the Repository Manager! And that would certainly not be compliance with a publisher OA embargo. "Almost OA" would just become 2-stroke OA.
No. What makes the eprint-request Button both legal and subversive is that it is not 3rd-party piracy (by either a Repository Manager or an automatic computer programme) but 1st-party provision of individual copies, to individual requesters, for research purposes, by the author, in each individual instance: the latter alone continues the long accepted tradition of reprint-provision by scholars and scientists to their own work.
If reprint-request cards had been mailed instead to 3rd-parties who simply photocopied anyone's articles and mailed them to requesters (with or without a fee) the practice would have been attacked in the courts by publishers as piracy long ago.
The best way to undermine the Button as a remedy against publisher OA mandates, and to empower the publishing lobby to block it, would be to conflate it with 2-stroke 3rd-party OA!
That practice should never be recommended.
Rather, make crystal clear the fundamental difference between 1st-party give-away and 3rd-party rip-off.
[Parenthetically: Of course it is true that all these legal and technical distinctions are trivial nonsense! It is an ineluctable fact that the online PostGutenberg medium has made technically and economically possible and easily feasible what was technically and economically impossible in the Gutenberg medium: to make all refereed research articles -- each, without exception, an author give-away, written purely for research impact rather than royalty income -- immediately accessible to all would-be users, not just to subscribers: OA. That outcome is both optimal and inevitable for research; researchers; their institutions; their funders; the R&D industry; students; teachers; journalists; the developing world; access-denied scholars and scientists; the general public; research uptake, productivity, impact and progress; and the tax-payers who fund the research. The only parties with whose interests that optimal outcome is in conflict are the refereed-research publishers who had been providing an essential service to research in the Gutenberg era. It is that publishing "tail" that is now trying to wag the research "dog," to deter and delay what is optimal and inevitable for research for as long as possible, by invoking Gutenberg-era pseudo-legal pseudo-technicalities to try to embargo OA, by holding it hostage to their accustomed revenue streams and modus operandi. OA mandates, the immediate-deposit clause, and the eprint-request Button are the research community's means of mooting these delay tactics and hastening the natural evolution to the optimal and inevitable outcome in the PostGutenberg era.]
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.)
Wednesday, June 19. 2013
Jack Stilgoe ("Open Access Inaction," Guardian 18 June 2013) has the indignation but not the information:
1. UCL has a Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate:
In May 2009, UCL Academic Board agreed two principles to underpin UCL’s publication activity and to support its scholarly mission:2. Elsevier's self-archiving policy is "Green," meaning all Elsevier authors retain the right to make their final, refereed drafts OA immediately (without embargo) by self-archiving them in their institutional repository.
3. The Elsevier self-archiving policy contains double-talk to the effect that "authors may self-archive without embargo if they wish but not if they must":
"Accepted author manuscripts (AAM): Immediate posting and dissemination of AAM’s is allowed to personal websites, to institutional repositories, or to arXiv. However, if your institution has an open access policy or mandate that requires you to post, Elsevier requires an agreement to be in place which respects the journal-specific embargo periods."The "agreement" in question is not with the author, but with the author's institution. Unless UCL has been foolish enough to sign such an agreement (in order to get a better deal on Elsevier subscription prices), authors can of course completely ignore this absurd clause.
4. Even if UCL has foolishly signed such an agreement with Elsevier, the refereed final draft can nevertheless be deposited immediately, with access set as Closed Access instead of Open Access during the embargo. During that period, the UCL repository's facilitated eprint request Button can provide Almost-OA almost-instantly with one click from the requester and then one click from the author.
5. Surely even double-clicking is preferable to double-paying Elsevier (subscription plus Gold OA fees), as RCUK/Finch foolishly prefers? Even if "robust knowledge is expensive to curate" (which is false) surely it needn't be that expensive...
Harnad, S. (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine 16 (7/8).
Tuesday, June 18. 2013
On Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM, Didier Pélaprat wrote on GOAL:"Springer, which defined itself some months ago as a "green publisher" in an advertisement meeting to which they invited us (they call that "information" meeting) and did not ask any embargo for institutional open repositories (there was only an embargo for the repositories of funders with a mandate), now changed its policy (they call this a "new wording") with a 12-month embargo for all Open repositories.
No buzz, because the change is inconsequential:
"Authors may self-archive the author’s accepted manuscript of their articles on their own websites. Authors may also deposit this version of the article in any repository, provided it is only made publicly available 12 months after official publication or later."1. There is no difference between the authors' "own websites" and their own institution's "repository."
Authors' websites are sectors of their own institution's diskspace, and their institutional repository is a sector of their own institution's diskspace. Way back in 2003 U. Southampton had already laid this nonsensical pseudo-legal distinction to rest pre-emptively by formally declaring their authors' sector of their institutional repository their personal website:
"3e. Copyright agreements may state that eprints can be archived on your personal homepage. As far as publishers are concerned, the EPrint Archive is a part of the Department's infrastructure for your personal homepage."2. As to institution-external OA repositories, many green publishers try to forbid them, but this too is futile nonsense: External repositories can simply link to the full-text in the institutional repository.
Indeed this has always been the main reason I have been strongly advocating for years that self-archiving mandates should always stipulate institutional deposit rather than institution-external deposit. (Springer or any publisher has delusions, however, if they think any of their pseudo-legal double-talk can get physicists who have been self-archiving directly in Arxiv for over two decades to change their ways!)
3. But, yes, Finch/RCUK's persistence in its foolish, thoughtless and heedless policy is indeed having its perverse consequences, exactly as predicted, in the form of more and more of this formalistic FUD from publishers regarding Green OA embargoes.
Fortunately, HEFCE/REF has taken heed. If their proposed immediate-(institutional)-deposit mandate is adopted, not only is all this publisher FUD mooted, but it increases the likelihood that other OA mandates. too, will be upgraded to HEFCE's date-stamped immediate-deposit as the mechanism for submitting articles to institutional research performance review or national research assessment.
4. If a publisher says you may self-archive without embargo if you do it voluntarily, but not if your funder requires you to do it: Do it, and, if ever asked, say, hand on heart, "I did it voluntarily."
This ploy, which Springer too seems to have borrowed from Elsevier, consisting of pseudo-legal double-talk implying that
"you may deposit immediately if you needn't, but not if you must" is pure FUD and can and should be completely ignored. (Any author foolish enough to be taken in by such double-talk deserves all the needless usage and impact losses they will get!)
If there's to be "buzz," let the facts and contingencies at least be got straight!
Off-line query from [identity removed]:Springer says you can self-archive your final, refereed draft on your own website (which includes your institutional repository) immediately, without embargo.
Springer also says that in institution-external repositories you can only deposit it after a 12-month embargo.
This means, technically and formally, that ResearchGate or academia.edu can link to the full text in the institutional repository, but they cannot host the full text itself till after the 12-month embargo.
(In principle, RG/AE could also link to the Closed Access deposit during the embargo, thereby enhancing the scope of the institutional repository's eprint-request Button.)
But the practical fact is that there's nothing much that Springer or anyone can do about authors sharing their own papers before the embargo elapses through social sharing sites like RG or AE or others. Publishers' only recourse is to send individual take-down notices to RG/AE, with which RG/AE can duly comply -- only to have the authors put them right back up again soon after.
OA is unstoppable, if authors want it, and they do. They're all just being too slow about realizing it, and doing it (as the computer scientists and physicists saw and did 20 years ago, no questions asked).
That's why the OA mandates are needed. And they're coming...
Thursday, April 4. 2013
Institutional agreements with publishers on proxy deposit into institutional repositories are an extremely bad idea, for a number of reasons:
1. The only sure way to achieve 100% open access is to have a rational, systematically verifiable system of deposit and monitoring.Hence it is a far more effective and far-sighted strategy for institutions to adopt effective, systematic, verifiable institutional OA self-archiving mandates (reinforced by funder mandates) than to be drawn into any side-deals with publishers, whether OA publishers or subscription publishers. (To do so is a Trojan Horse or a Faustian Bargain -- take your pick of metaphors!.)
Monday, March 11. 2013
There is a profound latent conflation and incoherence in the question "What is the business model to support open access through institutional repositories?"
It is a conflation between the business model for publishing and the "business" model for institutional repositories (IRs).
The conflation is also evident in any mention (in the context of IR costs) of peer review costs or of reviving university presses linked to repositories.
1. Green OA self-archiving is not a substitute for peer-reviewed subscription journal publishing: it is a supplement to it, for the purpose of providing access to all users, rather than just to subscribers.Please let us not be drawn into the fuzzy notions of certain critics of OA or of Green OA IRs, with hazy, incoherent questions about "business models" that naively conflate IR functions with publishing functions.
IRs are created for many different purposes (some sensible, some not), Green OA being only one of those purposes. (Elaborate local IR search is a foolish function, for example; search will always take place at the multi-IR harvester level. Digital preservation is also not a straightforward function for institutional journal article output, at least not yet: Green OA IRs archive authors' final drafts, for access-supplemental purposes: that is not the draft that requires the preservation: the publisher's version of record is!)
IRs also store all sorts of other institutional objects, data and records. Those functions and their costs have nothing to do with OA and it is absurd for OA policy-makers to ask for a Green IR "business model" that includes those costs and functions.
Yet the IR start-up and maintenance costs (small though they are) are already covered in large part by the institutional sectors that require those non-OA IR functions. (I say "in large part" because without effective Green OA mandates, the Green OA content and function of IRs is minimal.)
Houghton & Swan's (2013) cost/benefit analyses stress that Green OA is a transitional strategy: It supplements subscription publishing and its costs by providing OA.
Houghton & Swan also have cost/benefit estimates for pure Gold OA publication, once subscriptions are gone.
But the question of "IR business model" cuts across these two, incoherently, as if they were both happening at the same time, which makes no sense whatsoever.
I have a more specific hypothesis about how this Green to Gold transition is likely to take place. At the very least, this hypothetical scenario has the virtue of keeping the respective expenses and "business models" in their proper places in the likely temporal sequence, rather than conflating them incoherently, in parallel:
I. Subscriptions prevail, as now.Hence the pre-emptive call for a Green IR "business model" at this time is both unrealistic and incoherent, showing a lack of understanding (or a simplistic misunderstanding) if what is really going on.
"If OA were adopted worldwide, the net benefits of Gold OA would exceed those of Green OA. However, we are not in an OA world... At the institutional level, during a transitional period when subscriptions are maintained, the cost of unilaterally adopting Green OA is much lower than the cost of Gold OA – with Green OA self-archiving costing average institutions sampled around one-fifth the amount that Gold OA might cost, and as little as one-tenth as much for the most research intensive university. Hence, we conclude that the most affordable and cost-effective means of moving towards OA is through Green OA, which can be adopted unilaterally at the funder, institutional, sectoral and national levels at relatively little cost." [emphasis added]Houghton, John W. & Swan, Alma (2013) Planting the green seeds for a golden harvest: Comments and clarifications on “Going for Gold” D-Lib Magazine 19(1/2)
Thursday, March 7. 2013
An astrophysicist has made the tongue-in-chief proposal that UK astrophysicists should use their UK Gold OA mandate fund allotment to invest in Arxiv, a central Green OA repository in which they have been depositing, un-mandated, for two decades.
The problem that Open Access (OA) mandates are intended to solve is not in astrophysics: Astrophysicists have been providing OA, without the need of mandates, for almost as long as High Energy Physicists have, by depositing in Arxiv.
But researchers in other disciplines have not followed suit, for over 20 years now.
And they won't, unless OA is mandated.
And the only ones who can monitor and ensure that researchers in all disciplines comply with OA mandates are their institutions.
So astrophysicists would do a much greater service to global OA if they invested in implementing the automatic Arxiv exporter for deposits in their own institutional repositories (IRs).
OA Mandates that would require double-deposit from longstanding Arxiv users -- in both Arxiv and the author's IR -- would be outrageous and out of the question.
But an automatic exporter of IR deposits and their metadata to Arxiv (and any other central repository, such as PubMed Central or EuroCentral) would be a great step toward convergence and interoperability, and would greatly facilitate both the adoption of and compliance with Green OA self-archiving mandates from both funders and institutions.
Of course the extra investment funds are all fantasy, as the UK Gold OA funds are only to be paid to Gold OA journals, not to be spent on whatever the author wishes! But the support of veteran Arxiv users in favour of implementing automatic IR-to-Arxiv export capability would be a great help even without extra money. The functionality is already available, for both EPrints and DSpace IRs:
Create Export Plugins
Mandate deposit in Institutional Repositories and they will solve the access problem: Reply to M Taylor in LSE
All quotes are from:
Actually what Green OA does is provide access to the author’s draft for those who don’t have access to the publisher’s final version. The difference between night and day for those who have no access at all.
No “class” differences. Just a remedy for the difference between the Haves and the Have-Nots.
MT: "pagination will differ — which means you can’t cite page-numbers reliably.”Negligible loss. Cite by section heading and paragraph number. (Page numbers are obsolescent anyway.)
MT: "I have a paper in press now for which a whole additional figure… was added at the proofing stage.”Add the figure to your author’s draft.
(As Green grows, authors will learn to be more attentive about the needs of the Have-Nots among their potential users in a Green world: Scholarly practice will adapt to the medium, as it always does.)
MT: "[Green OA] creates two classes of researchers… those privileged few who have the “proper” papers and an underclass who have only manuscripts…. Gold OA solves this problem… Green doesn’t.”Gold solves this pseudo-problem at a hefty price, not just in terms of having to double-pay Gold fees out of scarce research funds, over and above existing subscription fees (which already pay for Green), but also in terms of restrictions on authors’ free choice of journal: a forced choice based on journal economic model instead of journal quality and track-record.
The RCUK Gold-preference mandate also encourages publishers to offer hybrid Gold OA and to extend embargoes on Green OA beyond RCUK limits (to force RCUK authors to pick and pay for Gold), thereby making it gratuitously harder for Have-Not nations (who cannot afford Gold) to mandate and provide Green. Pre-emptive Gold also locks-in journals’ current revenues and modus operandi — and does so even if journals offer a full subscription rebate on all Gold OA revenue.
Mandatory Gold also engenders author resentment and resistance.
In contrast, mandatory Green (if effectively mandated, with compliance verification and as an eligibility condition for research evaluation, as HEFCE has proposed for REF) provides OA for the Have-Nots (about 60% immediate-OA and about 40% Button-mediated Almost-OA for embargoed deposits) at no extra cost, with no constraint on authors’ free choice of journals.
Again, no “class” differences. Just a remedy for the difference between the Haves and the Have-Nots.
MT: "Green OA is[n't] cheaper than Gold. …the cost to the world of a paywalled paper (aggregated across all subscriptions) is about $5333. …no reason to think that will change under the Green model…”There is indeed reason. It’s through the (hybrid) Gold model -- which RCUK is perversely reinforcing -- that current overall publisher revenues will be locked in (along with double-dipping too, for sure). Even if all Gold payment is given back as a subscription rebate, the total amount paid to publishers remains unchanged.
In contrast, universal Green will force cost-cutting and downsizing by making subscriptions unsustainable:
MT: "By contrast, even the publisher-influenced Finch estimates… almost exactly half of what we pay by the subscription model.”What those rosy estimates (based on a fantasy of universal conversion of publishers to pure Gold, under pressure from the RCUK mandate!) overlook is the double-payment that must continue while UK subscriptions remain the only way for UK institutional users to access subscription content.
MT: "the true cost of Gold OA is much, much less… half of all Gold OA articles are published at no cost to the author and that the average APC of the other half is about one twelfth of the cost for a paywalled article”Yes indeed, but that cost-free Gold half is unfortunately not the mainstream international journals that are really at issue in all this, for UK authors and users. And it’s that half that is spuriously lowering the average price of APCs well below what the UK Must-Have journals are charging, especially for hybrid Gold.
Mike, I think you too will eventually come to realize that the only way to attain what we both want — which, is not just embargoed Gratis Green, but an end of embargoes, as much Libre OA as users need and researchers want to provide, license reform, publishing reform, and Gold OA at a fair, affordable, sustainable price — is by first taking the compromise step of universally mandating immediate deposit of the author’s draft in the author’s institutional repository, and then letting Nature take its course.
The only thing standing between us and what we all want is keystrokes. Until we mandate those keystrokes, there will be little OA of any sort: Gratis or Libre, Green or Gold, immediate or embargoed.
MT: "there is nothing intrinsic to Green OA that means embargoes must be in place. It’s perfectly possible, and manifestly desirable, that no-embargo Green-OA mandates should be enacted, requiring that authors’ final manuscripts become available immediately on publication. But for whatever historical reasons (and I admit I find this baffling) there are few or no Green-OA mandates that do this. Even the best of them seem to allow a six-month delay; twelve months is not uncommon”Let me unbaffle you then, Mike:
It’s pushback from publishers, who then intimidate authors as well as institutional lawyers — while also lobbying and intimidating politicians. The result is that no one dares mandate un-embargoed Gratis Green (let alone unembargoed Libre Green), and most authors wouldn’t dare provide it even if it were mandated.
(And note that the Harvard-style "rights-retention" mandates not only allow author opt-outs [waivers], which means they are not really mandates at all, but -- as we will shortly be reporting -- they also lead (so far) to exceedingly low deposit rates -- 4% at Harvard and 28.5% at MIT, which is still below the global spontaneous un-mandated baseline self-archiving rate of about 30%, and, paradoxically, amounts to only half of both MIT's and Harvard's own remarkably high self-archiving rate of over 60%: That means only half of the papers that MIT authors self-archive free for all on the Web are deposited in MIT's IR and only 1/15th in the case of Harvard!)
Solution: mandate immediate deposit (no exceptions, no opt-outs, no waivers) and allow (minimal) embargoes on the allowable length of the embargo on access to the deposit. (The "ID/OA mandate.")
That will ensure that the Have-Nots at least gain 60% immediate OA + 40% Almost-OA (Button-mediated).
And then let Nature take its course. Once the keystrokes are being universally done, all you seek, Mike, will not be far behind.
But it will take much longer if we delay (embargo!) the universal adoption of the ID/OA compromise mandate by over-reaching instead for what is not within reach, rather than first grasping what is already fully within reach.
That is called letting the “best” get in the way of the better. And in advocating that, you are playing into the hands of the publisher lobby, which is also using embargoes (of their own making) along with license restrictions as an excuse for delaying the inevitable transition to OA as long as possible, and making sure it only happens on their terms, preserving their current revenue streams and modus operandi.
MT: "Similarly, there is no intrinsic reason why Green OA should mean non-open licences and Gold OA should mean truly open (BOAI-compliant) open access. And yet history has brought us to a point where is often how things are.”Once again: Grasp first what is within immediate reach and the rest will come. Join Finch instead, in deprecating Green, and you will get next to nothing.
MT: "Many institutions don’t even have an IR; or if they do it doesn’t work.”Most research-active institutions in the UK (and Europe, and the US and Canada and Australia) already have an IR, but it doesn’t “work” without an (effective) Green OA mandate from funders and institutions.
Any institution is a just piece of free software, some space on a server and some sysad start-up time away from having an IR.
MT: "Many scholars aren’t associated with an institution and so don’t know where they should deposit their manuscripts.”Few researchers are unaffiliated, but for them there is, for example, OpenDepot -- which is still just as empty as IRs — for want of mandates...
MT: "The use of IRs involves an institution-by-institution fragmentation, with different user interfaces, policies, etc.”Most IRs are highly interoperable. Mandate Green OA and they will be even more so.
(And distributed local deposit with central harvesting is not “fragmentation”: it’s the way of the Web! No one deposits directly in Google. The rest is down to metadata, interoperablity, and harvesting. But there’s no incentive to enrich those while the OA content itself is still so impoverished — for lack of mandates.)
MT: "For whatever reasons, many scholars do not bother to deposit their manuscripts in institution repositories.”You have just casually mentioned OA’s #1 problem for the past 20 years!
But what you forget to say is that even fewer scholars bother to publish in a Gold OA journal.
(With Green deposit [ID/OA], the only deterrent is keystrokes; but with Gold OA there’s price and journal-choice restrictions as further deterrents.)
The remedy is of course mandates. But mandates have to be adopted, and complied with. And that’s why they have to have all the parameters you are lamenting: Gratis, Green, author draft, embargoed. That’s the immediately reachable path of least resistance for mandate adoption and compliance.
But you have set aside thinking of what you’d ideally like to have right away, and think practically about how to get it, not spurning approximations and compromises only to end up with next to nothing.
MT: "Even when mandates are in place, compliance is often miserable, to the point where Peter Suber considers the 80% NIH compliance rate as “respectable”. It really isn’t. 100% is acceptable; 99% is respectable.”There it is again: Reality for the last 20 years has been at 10-40% OA, and you are dismissing as “miserable” a tried and proven means of generating at least 80%!
I don’t wish my 20 miserable years trying to reach OA on anyone, but maybe a dose would not do you any harm, Mike, to help you appreciate the difference between principled armchair wish-lists and practical delivery.
We don’t have another decade to waste on ineffectual over-reaching. (And that’s what’s been holding OA up for the past two decades too.)
(Your questions here are almost all a litany of repetition of the 38+ causes of Zeno’s Paralysis in this 15-year-old list. I could almost answer them by number!)
MT: "Many IRs have abject search facilities, often for example lacking the ability to restrict searches to papers that are actually available.”No one (except maybe institutional administrators and window-shopping prospective-students or staff) searches at the IR level!
IR metadata (and/or full-texts) are harvested (or imported/exported) at the central harvester/search-engine level (Scirus, BASE, MS Academic Search, Google Scholar) and that’s the level at which they are searched.
The central harvester-level search capabilities can be enriched greatly, and they will be, but there’s absolutely no point doing that now, with the sparse OA content that there is in IRs (or in any repository) today. Without mandates to provide that content, nuclear-powered search (and text-mining) capabilities would be spinning wheels.
(And in case you imagine that the solution is direct deposit in institution-external repositories: far from it. That just makes the problem of mandating OA worse, forcing authors to deposit willy-nilly in institution-external repositories — Arxiv, PMC, EuroPMC, etc. — and prevents institutions from being able to monitor compliance with deposit mandates, whether institutional or funder mandates.)
MT: "Many IRs impose unnecessary restrictions on the use of the materials they contain: for example, Bath’s repo prohibits further redistribution.”Most IRs are sensible (though they all make craven — and sometimes excess — efforts to comply with publisher copyright conditions and embargoes).
Once Green OA mandates become sufficiently widespread, IRs will get their acts together. For now, the essential thing is to get papers deposited. Once that is being done, globally, everything else we seek will come, and probably surprisingly quickly.
But not if we continue to carp at minor details like Bath’s overzealousness, as if they were symptoms of ineffectiveness of the Green mandate strategy. They are not. They are simply symptoms of ineffective institutional policy, easily fixed under pressure from other IRs that are doing it right.
MT: "There is no central point for searching all IRs (at least not one that is half-decent; I know about OAIster).”As above: IR metadata (and/or full-texts) are harvested (or imported/exported) at the central harvester/search-engine level (Scirus, BASE, MS Academic Search, Google Scholar) and that’s the level at which they are searched.
The central harvester-level search capabilities can be enriched greatly, and they will be, but there’s absolutely no point doing that now, with the sparse OA content that there is in IRs (or in any repository) today.
Without effective mandates to fill the IRs, central search is not much more “decent” than IR-level search: the OA content is simply far too sparse.
MT: "The quality of metadata within most IRs [is] variable at best”Without mandates to provide the content (and motivate the metadata enrichment) rich metadata on impoverished content are no help.
MT: "Use of metadata across IRs is inconsistent hence many of the problems that render OAIster near-useless.”Scirus, BASE, MS Academic Search, Google Scholar and OAIster are all equally useless without the full-text content. The motivation to enrich and conform the IR metadata will grow with the content, not just as an end in itself.
MT: "Could these issues be addressed? Yes, probably; but ten years have unfortunately not done much to resolve them, so I don’t feel all that confident that the next ten will.”There is in reality only one issue: Getting the keystrokes to be mandated (and hence done). That’s what’s held us up for 20 years, while we ran off in every direction except the one that would get us to our goal.
It is time to pool efforts toward getting institutions and funders worldwide to adopt the Green OA mandates that will get us there. For that we have to stop focussing on fixing frills that are useless until and unless we first get the content deposited, and stop insisting on organic haute cuisine before we have even taken care of the famine of the Have-Nots.
“I have a feeling that when Posterity looks back at the last decade of the 2nd A.D. millennium of scholarly and scientific research on our planet, it may chuckle at us…. [T[here is[n't] any doubt in anyone’s mind as to what the optimal and inevitable outcome of all this will be: The Give-Away literature will be free at last online, in one global, interlinked virtual library, and its QC/C expenses will be paid for up-front, out of the S/L/P savings. The only question is: When? This piece is written in the hope of wiping the potential smirk off Posterity’s face by persuading the academic cavalry, now that they have been led to the waters of self-archiving, that they should just go ahead and drink!“
Saturday, November 10. 2012
Comment on:This turns out to be a stunningly superficial defence of the Finch Report by one of its authors (and the one from whom one might have hoped for a much fuller grasp of the Green/Gold contingencies, priorities and pragmatics).
The substance of Martin Hall's defence of the Finch recommendation that the UK should (double-)pay for Gold instead of strengthening its mandate for Green is that (1) Gold provides the publisher's version of record, rather than just the author's peer-reviewed final draft, that (2) Gold provides text-mining rights and that (3) Gold is the way to solve the journal price problem.
What Hall does not even consider is whether the publisher's version of record and text-mining rights are worth the asking price of Gold, compared to cost-free Green. His account (like everyone else's) is also astonishingly vague and fuzzy about how the transition to Gold is to take place in the UK. And Hall (like Finch) completely fails to take the rest of the world into account. All the reckoning about the future of publishing is based on the UK's policy for its 6% share.
Hall quotes Peter Suber's objection but does not answer it; and he does not even bother to mention (nor give any sign of being aware of) the substance of my own many, very specific points of criticism about both the Finch recommendations and the RCUK policy. (This is rather consistent, however, since if Hall had given any of these points some serious thought, it is hard to see how he could have endorsed the Finch recommendations in the first place; most had already been made before Finch.)
The Swan/Houghton economic analyses, too, are cited by Hall, as if in support, but in fact not heeded at all.
It will be instructive to see whether the remarkable superficiality of Hall's defence of Finch is noticed by the UK academic community, or it is just catalogued as further "authoritative support" for Finch/RCUK.
Monday, October 8. 2012
Appended after my own overview below is a focused and insightful posting by Fred Friend: As RCUK re-thinks its policy draft, and makes the requisite corrections to ensure that all papers are deposited in an OA repository (Green OA), RCUK should on no account emulate the Wellcome Trust's policy of (1) paying publishers to deposit in the (2) Europe (formerly UK) PubMed Central Repository.
Fred Friend (posted on JISC-REPOSITORIES):“Admitting that RCUK was "thinking about" mandatory repository deposit, Mr Thorley said that one idea was to expand the Europe (formerly UK) PubMed Central repository, which currently covers only biomedicine, to encompass all subjects to help publishers automate deposits.” [Mark Thorley of RCUK quoted in an article by Paul Jump in “Times Higher Education” of 4 October 2012.\
I wonder whose idea this was! I can make one or two guesses, but whoever suggested it, it is a bad idea! I welcomed the development of UK PubMed Central, until the point when Wellcome Trust started to pay some publishers to make the deposit on behalf of authors and funders. I do not know whether Wellcome will disclose the sums paid to publishers, but my impression is that whatever is being paid more than covers the cost of making the deposit and is in effect a payment to publishers for open access and re-use rights. When people I know who are not in academia ask me about my work and I explain that I am working for open access to taxpayer-funded research, this is welcomed by whoever I am speaking to – until I say that many publishers are asking to be paid by taxpayers for making articles open access, at which point the welcome from my listener turns to incredulity. Even more incredulity if I mention the level of payments being requested for APCs. So, if RCUK were to go down the road of paying publishers to deposit in Europe PubMed Central, they should be prepared for challenges on such a mis-use of public money, especially if the deposit payment were to be in addition to the payment of an APC. Presumably the existing funders of UKPMC – some of them charities – would also expect a contribution from the non-biomedical RCs towards the high cost of running Europe PMC. This “idea” could cost a lot of money.
I suspect that there will also be objections from subject groups who see their repository needs as being very different from those of the biomedical community. How many times in my long career have I heard that other such all-embracing proposals will not work for subject x or y! UKPMC is a wonderful service for the biomedical community, a service for which they are prepared to pay and have the resources to pay, but its design will not fit all subjects without major modification. Already I hear some concern about the undue influence of the biomedical community and Wellcome in particular upon the Finch Report and thus upon Government policy. The suspicion is that the open access policy of the Wellcome Trust, which works very well for the Trust and for the biomedical community, is being adopted for all UK research outputs without consideration of the way the Trust’s open access decisions can be applied within other very different academic structures.
RCUK: please think again! It is good that you are considering mandatory repository deposit, but there are other repositories which can provide better value for the service you need.
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