Wednesday, May 27. 2015
This is a response to:
Michael Eisen (2015) The inevitable failure of parasitic green open access (blogged May 25, 2015 in it is NOT junk)I will respond to Mike [M.E.] paragraph by paragraph. Here are my first observations:
I think it is subscription journal publishing that is parasitic on the work of researchers, peer-reviewers and their institutions, as well as on the money of the tax-payers who fund the research -- not the other way round.
Green Open Access mandates are the remedy, not the malady.
Gold Open Access is premature until Green OA has been mandated and provided universally, so that it can first make subscriptions cancellable (as publishers anticipate -- and that's the real motivation for their Green OA embargoes).
The reason pre-Green Gold OA is premature is that while access-blocking journal subscriptions still prevail the contents of those journals are accessible only to subscribing institutions, so those subscriptions cannot be cancelled until and unless there is an alternative means of access.
Immediate-Deposit Green OA mandates provide that alternative means of access (and they do so even if the deposited papers are under a publisher OA embargo, thanks to the institutional repositories' copy-request Button, which can provide "Almost-OA" individually with one click from the requestor and one click from the author).
Until subscriptions are cancelled, Gold OA fees have to be paid over and above all existing subscription fees. Hence they are double payments, unaffordable alongside subscriptions.
Pre-Green Gold OA fees are also arbitrarily over-priced: Post-Green, all that will need to be paid for is the editorial management of peer review (picking referees, adjudicating reports and revisions). The rest (archiving, access-provision) will be provided by the worldwide network of Green OA repositories.
Nor is it possible for publishers to prevent Green OA by trying to embargo it. In the virtual world, research-sharing is optimal and inevitable for research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, and the tax-paying public that finances their research) -- and it is also unstoppable, if authors wish to provide it.
M.E.: At the now famous 2001 meeting that led to the Budapest Open Access Initiative [BOAI] – the first time the many different groups pushing to make scholarly literature freely available assembled – a serious rift emerged that almost shattered the open access movement in its infancy.Green Open Access self-archiving (before it even got that name) had already been going on for at least two decades in 2001. There had also been free and subsidized online journals for over a decade. (The names "OA," "Green" and "Gold" came later.)
I would say that the BOAI in 2001 accelerated the OA movement, rather than "almost shattered" it. It also supplied the name for it ("OA").
M.E.: On one side were people like me (representing the nascent Public Library of Science) and Jan Velterop (BioMed Central) advocating for “gold” open access, in which publishers are paid up-front to make articles freely available. On the other side was Stevan Harnad, a staunch advocate for “green” open access, in which authors publish their work in subscription journals, but make them freely available through institutional or field specific repositories.And BOAI opted to endorse both roads to OA -- originally dubbed BOAI-I and BOAI-II, then later renamed Green and Gold OA, respectively.
M.E.: On the surface of it, it’s not clear why these two paths to OA should be in opposition. Indeed, as a great believer in anything that would both make works freely available, I had always liked the idea of authors who had published in subscription journals making their works available, in the process annoying subscription publishers (always a good thing) and hastening the demise of their outdated business model. I agreed with Stevan’s entreaty that creating a new business model was hard, but posting articles online was easy.There is complete agreement on the fact that there are two means of providing OA and both will be important.
But what is hard is not just creating the Gold OA business model but making it affordable and scalable. The problem is current institutional subscription access needs. Until access to each institution's current must-have journals is available by some means other than paid-access (usually subscriptions), Gold OA means double payment: for incoming access via subscription fees and for outgoing publication via Gold OA fees. And double-payment at arbitrarily inflated Gold OA fees, in which many obsolete products and services are still co-bundled, notably, archiving, access-provision, and often also the print edition.
Universally mandated Green OA provides this other means of access, which will in turn make subscriptions cancellable, forcing publishers to cut the obsolete products and services and their costs, downsize to the peer-review service alone, offload archiving and access provision to the global network of Green OA repositories, and convert to affordable, scalable and sustainable post-Green Fair-Gold OA.
The SCOAP3 consortial "flip" model -- flipping individual institutional subscriptions to consortial institutional Gold OA "memberships" -- is unstable, unscalable and unsustainable. Not only can all the planet's ~c30K peer-reviewed journals and ~10K institutions not be consortially "flipped" all at once, but consortial memberships are evolutionarily unstable strategies, being open to institutional defection at any time, especially from institutions that publish little in a given journal, thereby raising the "membership" fee for the remaining institutions. The problem is not solved by flipping instead to individual paper-based fees either, because that faces the double-payment problem. And both models still have arbitrarily inflated prices until there is a means to jettison the obsolete print edition and offload the publisher cost of access-provision and archiving elsewhere.
M.E.: But at the Budapest meeting I learned several interesting things. First, Harnad and other supporters of green OA did not appear to view it as a disruptive force – rather they envisioned a kind of stable alliance between subscription publishers and institutional repositories whereby authors sent papers to whatever journal they wanted to and turned around and made them freely available. And second, big publishers like Elsevier were supportive of green OA.I'm afraid Mike is recalling wrongly here. I have been predicting and advocating a transition from toll-access subscription publishing to (what eventually came to be called) Fair-Gold OA publishing from the very outset (1994). But this was always predicated on a viable, realistic transition scenario to get us from here to there. This always entailed an intermediate phase in which Green OA self-archiving would grow in parallel alongside subscription publishing, rather than an unrealistic attempt to make a direct transition ("flip") to Gold: Green OA needed to become universal (or near-universal) before there could be a viable transition to Gold.
Mike also misinterprets the references to "peaceful co-existence" between Green OA self-archiving and subscription publishing. No one can predict the future with certainty, and it is certainly true that there is no evidence yet of Green OA's causing subscription cancellations, even in fields where it has already attained 100% Green OA for more than two decades. But I never denied my own belief that once all research in all fields had reached or neared 100% Green, subscriptions would become unsustainable and journals would have to downsize and convert to Fair-Gold OA.
Not only was this "disruptive scenario," already implicit in my "Subversive Proposal" of 1994, as well as in my very first posting in August 1998 to the AmSci September Forum (which eventually became the the Amsci OA Forum and then the Global OA Forum (GOAL)), but I made it completely explicit in the 2000 draft of "For Whom the Gate Tolls" in sections 4.1 and 4.2:
"Eight steps will be described here. The first four are not hypothetical in any way; they are guaranteed to free the entire refereed research literature… from its access/impact-barriers right away. The only thing that researchers and their institutions need to do is to take these first four steps. The second four steps are hypothetical predictions, but nothing hinges on them: The refereed literature will already be free for everyone as a result of steps i-iv, irrespective of the outcome of predictions v-viii.This original transition scenario has since been further elaborated many times, starting from before BOAI in Nature in 2001, with updates to keep pace with OA developments (repositories, mandates, embargoes) in 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2015.i. Universities install and register OAI-compliant Eprint Archives…"...However, it is likely that there will be some changes as a consequence of the freeing of the literature by author/institution self-archiving. This is what those changes might be:
M.E.: At first this seemed inexplicable to me – why would publishers not only allow but encourage authors to post paywalled content on their institutional repositories? But it didn’t take long to see the logic. Subscription publishers correctly saw the push for better access to published papers as a challenge to their dominance of the industry, and sought ways to diffuse this pressure. With few functioning institutional repositories in existence, and only a small handful of authors interested in posting to them, green OA was not any kind of threat. But it seemed equally clear that, should green OA ever actually become a threat to subscription publishers, their support would be sure to evaporate.I continue to laud those subscription publishers who do not embargo Green OA as being on the "side of the angels," to encourage them. (And they are indeed on the side of the angels: Green OA mandates would be much more widely adopted and effective if it weren't for the nuisance tactic of publishers embargoing Green OA. But the Button is the antidote to OA embargoes, facilitating "Almost OA," which will nevertheless be enough to carry the transition scenario to 100% Green OA and its sequel; it will just take a little longer.)
And if and when they go over to the dark side (as Elsevier has now done), I immediately name-and-shame them for it.
As it happens, I think Elsevier's reneging too late: Not only will it be extremely costly to them in terms of PR. But they can no longer force the genie back into the bottle...
So it was worth trying to keep them angel-side all these years.
M.E.: Unfortunately, Harnad didn’t see it this way. He felt that publishers like Elsevier were “on the side of the angels”, and he reserved his criticism for PLOS and BMC as purveyors of “fools gold” who were delaying open access by seeking to build a new business model and get authors to change their publishing practices instead of encouraging them to take the easy path of publishing wherever they want and making works freely available in institutional repositories.The ones who were the fools were not the purveyors of the fool's gold, but those who bought it (and, worse, those who tried to mandate that they buy it).
And the reasons it's fool's gold are three: it is not only (1) arbitrarily overpriced, but, being pre-Green -- meaning subscriptions cannot yet be cancelled because the Green version is not yet available -- it is also (2) double-paid (incoming subscription journal fees plus outgoing Gold journal fees) and, to boot, it is (3) unnecessary for OA, since Green OA can be provided for free.
Yes, subscription publishers that do not embargo Green are facilitating the transition to Green OA and eventually to post-Green Fair-Gold; unfortunately, pre-Green Fool's-Gold is not.
(The only reason to publish in any journal, whether subscription or Gold, is the quality of the journal, not in order to provide OA.)
M.E.: At several points the discussions got very testy but we managed to come to make a kind of peace, agreeing to advocate and pursue both paths. PLOS, BMC and now many others have created successful businesses based on APCs that are growing and making an increasing fraction of the newly published literature immediately freely available. Meanwhile, the green OA path has thrived as well, with policies from governments and universities across the world focusing on making works published in subscription journals freely available.Agreed.
M.E.: But the fundamental logical flaw with green OA never went away. It should always have been clear that the second Elsevier saw green OA as an actual threat, they would no longer side with the angels. And that day has come. With little fanfare, Elsevier recently updated their green OA policies. Where they once encouraged authors to make their works immediately freely available in institutional repositories, they now require an embargo before these works are made available in an institutional repository.There was no fanfare but there's plenty of spin, to make it seem that withdrawing an agreed author right was being done for positive reasons (research sharing) rather than negative ones (insurance policy for Elsevier's current income levels). And this is because there was an (accurately) perceived need for a justification. It would have been much easier to sell embargoes to the Elsevier author community if self-archiving had never been allowed. So I'd say that Elsevier's 8-10 years on the side of the angels has served OA well.
Nor is it over. Elsevier and its legal staff have rightly sensed that finding rules that have their intended effect and are accepted by the author community is not so easy to do.
In fact I am quite confident that it is impossible. The virtual genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to get it back in. Stay tuned.
M.E.: This should surprise nobody. It’s a testament to Stevan and everyone else who have made institutional repositories a growing source of open access articles. But given their success, it would be completely irrational of Elsevier to continue allowing their works to appear in these IRs at the time of publication. With every growing threats to library budgets, it was only a matter of time before universities used the available of Elsevier works in IRs as a reason to cut subscriptions, or at least negotiate better deals for access. And that is something Elsevier could not allow.I think Mike is completely mistaken on this. It was exactly the other way around. The global immediate-Green-OA level for any journal today is still under 30% -- probably a lot under, since no one has accurate timing data -- which is certainly no basis for cancelling a journal. Green OA mandates are not yet having any effect on institutional subscriptions, but, because Elsevier began to worry that they eventually might, they first tried, in their pricing deals, to persuade institutions that in exchange for a better price deal they should agree not to mandate Green OA. That failed, so they next tried to embargo only mandatory Green OA. That failed too -- and was rightly seen as so arbitrary and ad hoc that they have now tried to make their embargoes "fair" by embargoing everything -- but they still had to have a sugar coating, and that was "sharing."
Trouble is that it is precisely sharing at which the virtual medium and its software is the most adept and powerful. And Elsevier is about to discover that there is no way to contain it with arbitrary words that have no actual meaning in the virtual medium.
M.E.: Of course this just proves that, despite pretending for a decade that they supported the rights of authors to share their works, they never actually meant it. There is simply no way to run a subscription publishing business where everything you publish is freely available.I agree completely that Elsevier went angel-side just for reasons of image: The OA clamor was growing, alongside all the anti-Elsevier sentiment, and they saw allowing immediate Green OA self-archiving as no risk but a PR asset. And it was.
But this also gave Green OA a chance to grow, via Green OA mandates, which Elsevier had not anticipated in 2004 (though they were already beginning).
So now Elsevier is using "fairness" and "sharing" as their PR ploys for camouflaging the fact that the purpose of the embargoes is purely self-interested (insuring current Elsevier revenue streams).
Well, first, the public is not currently too sympathetic about Elsevier revenue streams (which they hardly see as "fair").
But, more important, now it will be the online medium's Protean resources for sharing that will be Elsevier's embargoes' undoing.
M.E.: I hope IRs will continue to grow and thrive. Stevan and other green OA advocates have always been right that the fastest – and in many ways best – way for authors to provide open access is simply to put their papers online. But we can longer pretend that such a model can coexist with subscription publishing. The only long-term way to support green OA and institutional repositories is not to benignly parasitize subscription journals – it is to kill them.But there is no need at all (nor is there a means) to "kill" established, high quality journals of long standing that researchers want to use and publish in: What there is is a means to induce them to adapt to the OA era -- by mandating Green OA and allowing that to force nature to take its evolutionary course to the optimal and inevitable (via the transition scenario I've now several times described here): First 100% Green Gratis OA, then cancellations, then obsolete-cost-cutting and conversion to affordable, scalable, sustainable Fair-Gold.
No point waiting around instead for some unspecified assassin to kill off perfectly viable journals, needlessly...
Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition. In: Anna Gacs. The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the Electronic Age. L'Harmattan. 99-106.
______ (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine 16 (7/8).
______ (2013) The Postgutenberg Open Access Journal (revised). In, Cope, B and Phillips, A (eds.) The Future of the Academic Journal (2nd edition). 2nd edition of book Chandos.
______ (2014) The only way to make inflated journal subscriptions unsustainable: Mandate Green Open Access. LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog 4/28
Houghton, J. & Swan, A. (2013) Planting the Green Seeds for a Golden Harvest: Comments and Clarifications on "Going for Gold". D-Lib Magazine 19 (1/2).
Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2014) Open Access Mandates and the "Fair Dealing" Button. In: Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.)
Swan, Alma; Gargouri, Yassine; Hunt, Megan; & Harnad, Stevan (2015) Open Access Policy: Numbers, Analysis, Effectiveness. Pasteur4OA Workpackage 3 Report.
Vincent-Lamarre, Philippe, Boivin, Jade, Gargouri, Yassine, Larivière, Vincent and Harnad, Stevan (2015) Estimating Open Access Mandate Effectiveness: I. The MELIBEA Score
I beg the OA community to remain reasonable and realistic.
Please don't demand that Elsevier agree to immediate CC-BY. If Elsevier did that, I could immediately start up a rival free-riding publishing operation and sell all Elsevier articles immediately at cut rate, for any purpose at all that I could get people to pay for. Elsevier could no longer make a penny from selling the content it invested in.
CC-BY-NC-ND is enough for now. It allows immediate harvesting for data-mining.
The OA movement must stop shooting itself in the foot by over-reaching, insisting on having it all, immediately, thus instead ending up with next to nothing, as in the past.
As I pointed out in a previous posting, the fact that Elsevier requires all authors to adopt the CC-BY-NC-ND license is a positive step. Please don't force them to back-pedal!
Please read the terms, and reflect.
Accepted ManuscriptOn Wed, May 27, 2015 at 12:37 PM, Kathleen Shearer
On Tue, May 26, 2015 at 1:08 AM, Michael Eisen posted to the Global Open Access List (GOAL):
Stevan. I hate to say I told you so, but .... at the Budapest meeting years ago it was pointed out repeatedly that once green OA actually became a threat to publishers, they would no longer look so kindly on it. It took a while, but the inevitable has now happened. Green OA that relied on publishers to peer review papers + subscriptions to pay for them, but somehow also allowed them to be made freely available, was never sustainable. If you want OA you have to either fund publishers by some other means (subsidies, APCs) or wean yourself from that which they provide (journal branding). Parasitism only works so long as it is not too painful to the host. It's a testament to a lot of hard work from green OA advocates that it has become a threat to Elsevier. But the way forward is not to get them to reverse course, but to look past them to a future that is free of subscription journals.Mike, I will respond more fully on your blog:
To reply briefly here:
1. The publisher back-pedalling and OA embargoes were anticipated. That’s why the copy-request Button was created to provide access during any embargo already nearly 10 years ago, long before Elsevier and Springer began back-pedalling; and why I kept posting an ongoing tally across the years of publishers that were still on the "side of the angels" or had back-pedalled.
2. Immediate-deposit mandates plus the Button, once adopted universally, will lead unstoppably to 100% OA, and almost as quickly as if there were no publisher OA embargoes. (It is also not that easy to back-pedal to embargoes after a publisher has agreed to immediate Green OA for over 10 years.)
3. For a “way forward,” it is not enough to “look past the present to the future”: one must provide a demonstrably viable transition scenario to get us there from here.
4. Green OA, mandated by institutions and funders, is a demonstrably viable transition scenario, and underway worldwide.
5. Offering paid-Gold OA journals as an alternative and then waiting for all authors to switch is not a viable transition sceario, for the reasons I described again in response to Éric Archambault: multiple journals, multiple subscribing institutions, ongoing institutional access needs, no coherent global “flip” strategy, hence local double-payment (i.e., subscription fees for incoming institutional access to other institutions' output plus Gold publication fees for providing OA to outgoing institutional published output) while funds are still stretched to the limit paying for subscriptions that remain uncancellable — until and unless other institutions' output is made accessible by another means (Green OA).
6. That other means is 4, above. The resulting transition scenario was presented implicitly in 1994, 1998 and 2000, and has since been described explicitly many times, starting in 2001, with updates in 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2015, keeping pace with ongoing mandate and embargo developments.
7. An article that is freely accessible to all online under CC-BY-NC-ND is most definitely OA — Gratis OA, to be exact.
8. For the reasons I have likewise described many times before, the transition scenario is to mandate Gratis Green OA (together with the Button, for embargoed deposits) universally. That universal Green Gratis OA will in turn make subscriptions cancellable, hence unsustainable, which will in turn force publishers to downsize to affordable, sustainable Fair-Gold Libre OA (CC-BY), paid for out of a fraction of the institutional subscription cancellation savings. The worldwide network of mandated Green OA repositories will do the access-provision and archiving.
9. It is a bit disappointing to hear an OA advocate characterize Green OA as parasitic on publishers, when OA’s fundamental rationale has been that publishers are parasitic on researchers and referees work as well as its public funding. But perhaps when the OA advocate is a publisher, the motivation changes…
Monday, May 25. 2015
Alicia Wise wrote:
"This refresh of our policy [is| the first since 2004... Embargo periods have been used by us... for a very long time and are not new. The only thing that’s changed about IRs is our old policy said you had to have an agreement which included embargos..."Is this the old policy that hasn't changed since 2004 (when Elsevier was still on the "side of the angels" insofar as Green OA was concerned) until the "refresh"? (I don't see any mention of embargoes in it...):
Yes Alicia, the definition of authors providing free, immediate online access (Green OA self-archiving) has not changed since the online medium first made it possible. Neither has researchers’ need for it changed, nor its benefits to research.
What has changed is Elsevier policy -- in the direction of trying to embargo Green OA to ensure that it does not put Elsevier's current revenue levels at any risk.
Elsevier did not try to embargo Green OA from 2004-2012 — but apparently only because they did not believe that authors would ever really bother to provide much Green OA, nor that their institutions and funders would ever bother to require them to provide it (for its benefits to research).
But for some reason Elsevier is not ready to admit that Elsevier has now decided to embargo Green OA purely to ensure that it does not put Elsevier's current subscription revenue levels at any risk.
Instead, Elsevier wants to hold OA hostage to its current revenue levels -- by embargoing Green OA, with the payment of Fools-Gold OA publication fees the only alternative if an author wishes to provide immediate OA. This ensures that Elsevier's current revenue levels either remain unchanged, or increase.
But, for public-relations reasons, Elsevier prefers to try to portray this as all being done out of “fairness,” and to facilitate “sharing” (in the spirit of OA).
The “fairness” is to ensure that no institution is exempt from Elsevier’s Green OA embargoes.
And the “sharing” is the social sharing services like Mendeley (which Elsevier owns), about which Elsevier now believes (for the time being) that authors would not bother to use them enough (and their institutions and funders cannot mandate that they use them) -- hence that that they would not pose a risk to Elsevier's current subscription revenue levels.
Yet another one of the “changes” with which Elsevier seems to be trying to promote sharing is by trying to find a way to outlaw the institutional repositories’ "share button" (otherwise known as the “Fair-Dealing” Button).
So just as Elsevier is trying to claim credit for “allowing” authors to do “dark” (i.e., embargoed, non-OA) deposits, for which no publisher permission whatsoever is or ever was required, Elsevier now has its lawyers scrambling to find a formalizable way to make it appear as if Elsevier can forbid its authors to use the Share Button to provide individual reprints to one another, as authors have been doing for six decades, under yet another new bogus formal pretext to make it appear sufficiently confusing and threatening to ensure that the responses to Elsevier author surveys (for its "evidence-based policy") continue to be sufficiently perplexed and meek to justify any double-talk in either Elsevier policy or Elsevier PR.
The one change in Elsevier policy that one can applaud, however (though here too the underlying intentions were far from benign), is the CC-BY-NC-ND license (unless Elsevier one day decides to back-pedal on that too too). That license is now not only allowed but required for any accepted paper that an author elects to self-archive.
Let me close by mentioning a few more of the howlers that keep making Elsevier's unending series of arbitrary contractual bug-fixes logically incoherent (i.e., self-contradictory) and technically nonsensical, hence moot, unenforceable, and eminently ignorable by anyone who takes a few moments to think instead of cringe. Elsevier is trying to use pseudo-legal words to squeeze the virtual genie (the Web) back into the physical bottle (the old, land-based, print-on-paper world):
Locus of deposit: Elsevier tries to make legal distinctions on "where" the author may make their papers (Green) OA on the Web: "You may post it here but not there." "Here" might be an institutional website, "there" may be a central website. "Here" might be an institutional author's homepage, "there" might be an institutional repository.So Alicia, if Elsevier "admires [my] vision," let me invite you to consult with me about present and future OA policy conditions. I'll be happy to share with you which ones are logically incoherent and technically empty in today's virtual world. It could save Elsevier a lot of futile effort and save Elsevier authors from a lot of useless and increasingly arbitrary and annoying nuisance-rules.
[drawing by Judith Economos]
Thursday, May 21. 2015
I will not do yet another detailed, point-by-point rebuttal in response to Alicia/Elsevier's latest tergiversations ("COAR-recting the record"), just to have it all once again ignored, and instead replied to yet again with nothing but empty jargon and double talk:
"At each stage of the publication process authors can share their research: before submission, from acceptance, upon publication, and post publication."This “share” is a weasel word. It does not mean OA. It means what authors have always been able to do, without need of publisher permission: They can share copies — electronic or paper — with other individuals. That’s the 60-year old practice of mailing preprints and reprints individually to requesters. OA means free immediate access online to all would-be users.
"For authors who want free immediate access to their articles, we continue to give all authors a choice to publish gold open access with a wide number of open access journals and over 1600 hybrid titles “In other words, now, the only Elsevier-autthorized way authors can provide OA is to pay extra for it (“Gold OA”).
Since 2004 Elsevier had endorsed authors providing free immediate (un-embargoed) access (“Green OA”) by self-archiving in their institutional repositories. The double-talk began in 2012.
Elsevier can’t seem to bring itself to admit quite openly (sic) that they have (after a lot of ambiguous double-talk) back-pedalled and reneged on their prior policy, instead imposing embargoes of various lengths. They desperately want to be perceived as having taken a positive, progressive step forward. Hence all the denial and double-talk.
Elsevier tries to argue that their decision is “fair” and “evidence based” — whereas in fact it is based on asking some biassed and ambiguous questions to some librarians, authors and administrators after having first used a maximum of ever-changing pseudo-legal gibberish to ensure that they can only respond with confusion to the confusion that Elsevier has sown. In reality all Elsevier is doing is trying to make authors and their institutions hostage to either subscriptions or (Fools) Gold OA fees by embargoing Green OA. Anything that will sustain Elsevier's current revenue streams and M.O.
We cannot get Elsevier to retain a fair, clear policy (along the lines of their original 2004 policy) but we should certainly expose, name and shame them as loudly and widely as possible for the disgraceful and tendentious spin with which they are now trying to sell their unfair, unclear and exploitative back-pedalling.
Friday, May 1. 2015
On May 1, 2015, at 7:30 AM, Wise, Alicia (ELS-OXF)
I've looked over the latest Elsevier revision of its policy on author OA self-archiving, as requested.
The essential points of the latest policy revision are two:
I. Elsevier still endorses both immediate-deposit and immediate-OA, for the pre-refereeing preprint, anywhere (author's institutional home page, author's institutional repository, Arxiv, etc.).My advice is accordingly to go back to the original 2004 policy. You had it right the first time. The rest has only muddied Elsevier's reputation.
With best wishes,
On Fri, May 1, 2015 at 11:21 AM, Wise, Alicia (ELS-OXF)
Hi again Alicia,
I am afraid you missed what I was pointing out:
The 2004 Elsevier OA self-archiving policy endorsed immediate-deposit and immediate (unembargoed) OA.
The latest policy embargoes OA in institutional repositories.
You are using "self-archiving" ambiguously. No "permission" is needed to deposit. What is at issue is when the deposit can be made OA.
Nor do institutional mandates to deposit have anything whatsoever to do with anything. What is at issue is when the deposit can be made OA.
So, as I said in my prior posting, "Elsevier should state quite explicitly that its latest revision of its policy on author OA self-archiving has taken a very specific step backward from the policy first adopted in 2004."
"You are correct that under our old policy, authors could post anywhere without an embargo if their institution didn’t have a mandate."No, Elsevier's original 2004 policy (see below) made no mention of mandates whatsoever (although there were a number of institutional and funder mandates by that time).
Elsevier's attempt to create a link between the author's right to make the final draft OA and their institution's OA policy was made in 2012, after the prior Elsevier policy had been in effect for 8 years.
And then, as now, I maintained that the link with institutional OA policy is absurd and meaningless, and authors should ignore it completely.
"Our new policy is designed to be consistent and fair for everybody, and we believe it now reflects how the institutional repository landscape has evolved in the last 10+ years."The current Elsevier policy now removes the absurd link with institutional OA policy, which had been used as a pretext for embargoing OA. Elsevier makes it "consistent" by embargoing OA in all institutional repositories, whether or not they have an OA mandate.
In contrast, the equally absurd attempt to prevent Arxiv authors from continuing to do what they have been doing since 1991 has now been dropped, so unembargoed OA in Arxiv, previously "forbidden" (though authors have been doing it uninterruptedly for nearly a quarter century) is now offically "permitted" -- in Arxiv but not in institutional repositories.
So neither consistency nor fairness is at issue -- quite the opposite. This is back-pedalling from 2004 (and 2012) being disguised as consistency and fairness, to make it look like a positive rather than a negative step.
"We require embargo periods because for subscription articles, an appropriate amount of time is needed for journals to deliver value to subscribing customers before the manuscript becomes available for free. Libraries understandably will not subscribe if the content is immediately available for free. Our sharing policy now reflects that reality."Although there is still no objective evidence that OA self-archiving reduces subscriptions, I am quite ready to believe that once all journal articles (of all journal publishers) are accessible as immediate OA, subscriptions will become unsustainable. That outcome is inevitable -- and it will happen with or without OA mandates and with or without publisher OA embargoes.
What Elsevier's OA policies are attempting to do is to delay the inevitable for as long as possible, in order to sustain subscription revenue for as long as possible, by embargoing OA.
Fine. There is a fundamental conflict of interest here, between what is best for the publishing industry and what is best for the research community, its institutions, its funders, and the tax-paying public that funds the funders.
OA embargoes impede research. It's as simple as that. But they also sustain subscription revenue. So publishers are simply impeding research in order to sustain subscription revenue.
It would be nice if publishers stated that honestly, in justifying their embargo policies, rather than trying to disguise it as trying to help research and the research community in any way.
The attempt to embargo OA will of course fail -- although it will succeed in slowing OA progress, as it has been doing so far.
What will undermine the attempts to sustain subscription revenue at all costs will be the eventual realization by the research community that all the essential functions of peer-reviewed journal publishing can be provided at far, far lower cost to the research community than either subscription fees or (today's) inflated Gold OA fees (which I have come to call "Fools Gold").
And that is via "Fair-Gold" peer-review service fees, paid for out of a fraction of institutions' windfall savings from cancelling all subscriptions.
And what will make those subscription cancellations possible is exactly what Elsevier and other publishers are trying to prevent, or at least delay as long as possible, by embargoing it, namely universal, immediate, unembargoed Green OA: precisely what the research community is trying to mandate.
Harnad, S (2014) The only way to make inflated journal subscriptions unsustainable: Mandate Green Open Access. LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog 4/28The outcome is inevitable, and optimal (for the research community and the public); the only part that is not predictable (because human rationality is not always predictable) is how long publishers will succeed in delaying the optimal and inevitable...
Thursday, April 23. 2015
In my own opinion there have been four main reasons for the exceedingly slow growth of OA (far, far slower than it could have been) — (1) author inertia and needless copyright worries, (2) publisher resistance via lobbying and OA embargoes, (3) premature and needless fixation on Gold OA publishing and (4) premature and needless fixation on Libre OA (re-use rights, CC-BY).
By far the most urgent and yet fully and immediately reachable objective has always been free online access to refereed journal articles (“Gratis OA”), which could long ago have been provided by authors as Green OA (exactly as computer scientists spontaneously began doing in the 1980s with anonymous ftp archiving, and physicists began doing in the 1990s with XXX (then Arxiv).
Instead, authors in most other fields have proved extremely sluggish — because of (1), and eventually also (2) -- and the public campaign for OA became needlessly and counterproductively focussed on Gold OA and Libre OA, which were neither as urgently needed as Gratis OA, nor could they be as easily provided as Gratis OA.
OA mandates by funders and institutions then began to be recommended and adopted, but these too have been exceedingly slow in coming, and needlessly weak, having gotten needlessly wrapped up in Libre and Gold OA, even though Gratis Green OA is the easiest, most effective and most natural thing to mandate.
And the irony is that this premature and needless fixation on Libre and Gold OA (which still persists) has not only helped slow the progress of Gratis Green OA, but it has also slowed its very own progress.
Because the fastest and surest way to Libre, Fair-Gold OA is to first mandate Gratis Green OA -- which, once it is being universally provided, will usher in Libre, Fair-Gold quickly and naturally. This is evident to anyone who simply thinks it through.
Instead, we now continue to be bogged down in (1) - (4), with many weak and wishy-washy OA policies, Fools’ Gold (as well as predatory junk Gold OA) (3) from publishers clouding the landscape, and an almost superstitious obsession with a Libre OA (2) that most research and researchers don’t need anywhere near as urgently as they need Gratis OA itself.
Meanwhile, hardly noticed, is the fact that mandates could be incomparably stronger and more effective if they simply focussed on requiring Green Gratis OA, in institutional (not institution-external) repositories, where institutions can monitor and ensure compliance by designating immediate-deposit as the sole mechanism for submitting publications for research evaluation (as Liege and HEFCE have done) and implementing the copy-request Button as the antidote against publisher OA embargoes.
In yet another effort to try to get mandates on the fast track — requiring Gratis Green OA — we have now analyzed the few existing OA policies’ effectiveness to identify which conditions maximize compliance, in the hope that the research community can at last be persuaded to adopt evidence-based policies instead of ideology-driven ones:
Vincent-Lamarre, Philippe, Boivin, Jade, Gargouri, Yassine, Larivière, Vincent and Harnad, Stevan (2015) Estimating Open Access Mandate Effectiveness: I. The MELIBEA Score.Here is a quick little history of OA, particularly highlighting Southampton’s contribution:
Carr, L., Swan, A. and Harnad, S. (2011) Creating and Curating the Cognitive Commons: Southampton’s Contribution. In: Curating the European University
Saturday, March 28. 2015
The HEFCE/REF exception is not to the deposit requirement but to the OA requirement, and that makes all the difference in the world.
No publisher can block deposit; all they can do is embargo the date on which access to the deposit is set as Open Access (OA).
All REF submissions must be deposited immediately upon acceptance for publication -- embargo or no embargo. The length of the allowable OA embargo, and exemptions from it, are an entirely separate matter.
Immediate-deposit allows a uniform mandate to be adopted by all institutions and funders, regardless of publisher OA embargo policy.
Once deposited, even if embargoed, access to an individual copy for research purposes can nevertheless be requested and provided on a one-to-one basis by one click each from the requestor to request and one click from the author to comply, thanks to the institutional repositories' copy-request Button.
But only if -- and when -- the papers are deposited.
Sale, Arthur; Couture, Marc; Rodrigues, Eloy; Carr, Les and Harnad, Stevan (2014) Open Access Mandates and the "Fair Dealing" Button. In: Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.). University of Toronto Press.
The scaleable, sustainable solution for global OA is for each author's own mandated institutional repository to be the designated locus of deposit for all published articles. These can of course also be exported to any other locus desired (actually only the link need be exported, once metadata interoperability is ensured).
Arxiv depositors will of course be able to keep on depositing directly in Arxiv as long as they wish. Why not? They were, after all, among the first wave of OA providers, and have been faithfully doing it for decades, unmandated. Their Arxiv deposits can instead be harvested back to their institutions instead of trying to make these heroic depositors change their long-standing and progressive habits because other disciplines didn't have the sense to do it unmandated,
But it remains true that today most papers (across all disciplines) are not being deposited in Arxiv, nor in institutional repositories, nor deposited anywhere within the first year of publication. Mandates from institutions and funders will remedy that.
But for mandates to be effective, they must demand minimal effort from authors and institutions, and it must be possible to monitor and ensure compliance.
The simplest and surest way to monitor and ensure compliance is for both institutions and funders to require convergent deposit in the author's institutional repository. That covers all papers, funded and and unfunded (except the tiny minority by institutionally unaffiliated authors, who can deposit directly in institution-external repositories),
On the web, distributed locus of deposit does not "fragment the literature." No one deposits directly in google; google harvests. Google currently inverts all data and still has the best search functionality.
Once enough of the OA corpus is deposited in institutional repositories (IRs) to make it worthwhile bothering, it will be a piece of cake for an enterprising grad student to write the harvest and search code across the global network of OA IRs, and generations of grad students will continue optimizing these tools beyond even the imagination of today's sluggish, non-depositing scholarly and scientific researcher community...
Thursday, March 5. 2015
(March 3rd 2015 Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Professor Kim Lane Scheppele, Princeton University, USA
(Prof A Bozoki, Central European University) (1 of 4 videos)
How the EU can help restore Democracy in Hungary
(Prof KL Scheppele, Princeton University) (2 of 4 videos)
(Prof. A Gollner, Concordia University) (3 of 4 videos)
Hungarian government response... (4 of 4 videos)
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