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 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...
Monday, June 17. 2013
This is a comment on Richard Poynder's interview on Emerald's "fading" Green OA policy.
Both the perverse effects of the UK's Finch/RCUK policy and their antidote are as simple to describe and understand as they were to predict:
The Perverse Effects of the Finch/RCUK Policy: Besides being eager to cash in on the double-paid (subscription fees + Gold OA fees), double-dipped over-priced hybrid Gold bonanza that Finch/RCUK has foolishly dangled before their eyes, publishers like Emerald are also trying to hedge their bets and clinch the deal by adopting or extending Green OA embargoes to try to force authors to pick and pay for the hybrid Gold option instead of picking cost-free Green.All funders and institutions can and should adopt the immediate-deposit mandate immediately. Together with the Button it moots embargoes (and once widely adopted, will ensure emargoes' inevitable and deserved demise).
And as an insurance policy (and a fitting one, to counterbalance publishers' insurance policy of prolonging Green embargoes to try to force authors to pay for hybrid Gold) funders and institutions should (4) designate date-stamped immediate-deposit as the sole mechanism for submitting published papers for annual performance review (e.g., the Liège policy) or for national research assessment (as HEFCE has proposed for REF).
As to the page that Emerald has borrowed from Elsevier, consisting of pseudo-legal double-talk implying that
"you may deposit immediately if you needn't, but not if you must"That 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!)
Saturday, June 15. 2013
The (shared) goal of open access advocates is presumably open access (OA), not abstractions.
If papers are made OA, it means they are freely accessible to everyone online: both peers and public. If not, not.
So the only problem is getting the papers to be made OA -- and that means getting their authors (peers) to make them OA.
If all or most peers made their papers OA of their own accord, that would be it: The OA era would be upon us.
But most peers don’t make their papers OA of their own accord — for a large variety of reasons, all of them groundless, but nevertheless sufficient to have held back OA for over 20 years now.
The solution, fortunately, is known, and already being adopted, though not quickly or widely enough yet: OA has to be made mandatory. The peers have to be required by their funders and their institutions to provide OA.
The only other thing that is needed, then, is to persuade all research funders and institutions to mandate OA.
To do that, you have to give them a reason that is sufficient to convince funders, institutions and peers that all research needs to be made OA, hence that OA needs to be made mandatory.
So it all comes down to what is a sufficient reason for funders and institutions to mandate and peers to provide OA.
The public’s need for access is a reason for providing OA, to be sure, but not a sufficient reason. Fortunately, it need not be, because peer access is a sufficient reason, and peers are part of the public too, hence OA provides access to both peers and public.
So why all this empty shadow-boxing about ideology and elitism, when the only thing that matters is pragmatics?
What will successfully get all peers to provide OA? Telling them that it’s because the public has a burning need to read their papers certainly will not, since they all know perfectly well that in most (not all!) fields of research hardly anyone needs or wants to read their papers. The few exceptions do not make it otherwise.
Nor do they need to. For making research accessible to all of its potential users (of which the overwhelming majority are of course peers), rather than just to subscribers, as now, is reason enough for funders and institutions to mandate OA, and for peers to provide it.
Anyone is free to say to funders and institutions who mandate OA primarily to ensure peer access: “No, no, you must do it in order to ensure public, not just peer access access!”
But it’s a pointless exercise. And will not get OA provided for all of us sooner; it will just distract us from pragmatics (yet again) in favor of idle ideology.
Saturday, June 8. 2013
Michael Eisen is basically right on the fundamentals: There would be a huge conflict of interest if compliance with the White House Open Access (OA) mandate were left to publishers instead of researchers and their institutions. Publishers would do everything possible to sabotage the policy.
Nothing much can be said in favor of David Wojick's long series of comments except that it is true that Michael's focus is largely on Gold OA publishing, PMC, and re-use rights ("Libre OA") over and above free online access rights ("Gratis OA"), whereas the White House Open Access mandate is for Green OA self-archiving in researchers' OA repositories.
Further re-use rights are also more controversial than free online access rights because they encourage publisher embargoes (to prevent immediate free-riding by rival publishers); nor are they needed nearly as urgently and universally as immediate free online access is needed by authors and users in all disciplines today. (As much Libre OA as users need and authors wish to provide will certainly follow after universal Green Gratis OA has been successfully mandated and provided globally, but it must not be made into a needless obstacle today.)
Thursday, June 6. 2013
The OSTP should on no account be taken in by the Trojan Horse that is being offered by the research publishing industry's "CHORUS."
CHORUS is just the latest successor organisation for self-serving anti-Open Access (OA) lobbying by the publishing industry. Previous incarnations have been the "PRISM coalition" and the "Research Works Act."
1. It is by now evident to everyone that OA is inevitable, because it is optimal for research, researchers, research institutions, the vast R&D industry, students, teachers, journalists and the tax-paying public that funds the research.Let the OSTP not be taken in this time either.
Giles, J. (2007) PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access. Nature 5 January 2007.
Harnad, S. (2012) Research Works Act H.R.3699: The Private Publishing Tail Trying To Wag The Public Research Dog, Yet Again. Open Access Archivangelism 287 January 7. 2012
Wednesday, May 29. 2013
The Global Research Council’s Open Access Action Plan is, overall, timely and welcome, but it is far too focused on OA as (“Gold”) OA publishing, rather than on OA itself (online access to peer-reviewed research free for all).
And although GRC does also discuss OA self-archiving in repositories (“Green” OA), it does not seem to understand Green OA’s causal role in OA itself, nor does it assign it its proper priority.
There is also no mention at all of the most important, effective and rapidly growing OA plan of action, which is for both funders and institutions to mandate (require) Green OA self-archiving. Hence neither does the action plan give any thought to the all-important task of designing Green OA mandates and ensuring that they have an effective mechanism for monitoring and ensuring compliance.
The plan says:
“The major principles and aims of the Action Plan are simple: they are (a) encouragement and support for publishing in open access journals, (b) encouragement and support for author self-deposit into open access repositories, and (c) the creation and inter-connection of repositories.”Sounds like it covers everything -- (a) Gold, (b) Green, and (c) Gold+Green – but the devil is in the details, the causal contingencies, and hence the priorities and sequence of action.
“In transitioning to open access, efficient mechanisms to shift money from subscription budgets into open access publication funds need to be developed.”But the above statement is of course not about transitioning to OA itself, but just about transitioning to OA publishing (Gold OA).
And the GRC’s action plans for this transition are putting the cart before the horse.
There are very strong, explicit reasons why Green OA needs to come first -- rather than double-paying for Gold pre-emptively (subscriptions plus Gold) without first having effectively mandated Green, since it is Green OA that will drive the transition to Gold OA at a fair, affordable, sustainable price:
Worst of all, the GRC action plan proposes to encourage and support hybrid Gold OA, with publishing not just being paid for doubly (via subscriptions to subscription publishers + via Gold OA fees to Gold OA publishers) but, in the case of hybrid Gold, with the double-payment going to the very same publisher, which not only entails double-payment by the research community, but allows double-dipping by the publisher.Plans by universities and research funders to pay the costs of Open Access Publishing ("Gold OA") are premature. Funds are short; 80% of journals (including virtually all the top journals) are still subscription-based, tying up the potential funds to pay for Gold OA; the asking price for Gold OA is still high; and there is concern that paying to publish may inflate acceptance rates and lower quality standards. What is needed now is for universities and funders to mandate OA self-archiving (of authors' final peer-reviewed drafts, immediately upon acceptance for publication) ("Green OA"). That will provide immediate OA; and if and when universal Green OA should go on to make subscriptions unsustainable (because users are satisfied with just the Green OA versions) that will in turn induce journals to cut costs (print edition, online edition, access-provision, archiving), downsize to just providing the service of peer review, and convert to the Gold OA cost-recovery model; meanwhile, the subscription cancellations will have released the funds to pay these residual service costs. The natural way to charge for the service of peer review then will be on a "no-fault basis," with the author's institution or funder paying for each round of refereeing, regardless of outcome (acceptance, revision/re-refereeing, or rejection). This will minimize cost while protecting against inflated acceptance rates and decline in quality standards.
That is the way to leave both the price and the timetable for any transition to OA in the hands of the publisher.
Action 6: Monitor and assess the affordability of open accessThere is no point monitoring the affordability of Gold OA today, at a stage when it is just a needless double-payment, at the publisher’s current arbitrary, inflated Gold OA asking price.
What does need monitoring is compliance with mandates to provide cost-free Green OA, while subscriptions are still paying in full (and fulsomely) for the cost of publication, as they are today.
Action 7: Work with scholarly societies to transition society journals into open accessThe only thing needed from publishers today – whether scholarly or commercial – is that they not embargo Green OA. Most (60%) don’t.
The transition to Gold OA will only come after Green OA has made subscriptions unsustainable, which will not only induce publishers to cut obsolete costs, downsize and convert to Gold OA, but it will also release the concomitant institutional subscription cancellation windfall savings to pay the price of that affordable, sustainable post-Green Gold.
Action 8: Supporting self-archiving through funding guidelines and copyright regulationsYes, Green OA needs to be supported. But the way to do that is certainly not just to “encourage” authors to retain copyright and to self-archive.
It is (1) to mandate (require) Green OA self-archiving (as 288 funders and institutions are already doing: see ROARMAP), (2) to adopt effective mandates that moot publisher OA embargoes by requiring immediate-deposit, whether or not access to the deposit is embargoed, and (3) to designate institutional repository deposit as the mechanism for making articles eligible for research performance review. Then institutions will (4) monitor and ensure that their own research output is being deposited immediately upon acceptance for publication.
Action 9: Negotiate publisher services to facilitate deposit in open access repositoriesAgain, the above is a terribly counterproductive proposal. On no account should it be left up to publishers to deposit articles.
For subscription publishers, it is in their interests to gain control over the Green OA deposit process, thereby making sure that it is done on their timetable (if it is done at all).
For Gold OA, it’s already OA, so depositing it in a repository is no challenge.
It has to be remembered and understood that the “self” in self-archiving is the author. The keystrokes don’t have to be personally executed by the author (students, librarians, secretaries can do the keystrokes too). But they should definitely not be left to publishers to do!
Green OA mandates are adopted to ensure that the keystrokes get done, and on time. Most journal are not Gold OA, but a Green OA mandate requires immediate deposit whether or not the journal is Gold OA, and whether or not access to the deposit is embargoed.
Action 10: Work with publishers to find intelligent billing solutions for the increasing amount of open access articlesThe challenge is not to find “billing solutions” for the minority of articles that are published as Gold OA today. The challenge if to adopt an effective, verifiable Green OA mandate to self-archive all articles.
Action 11: Work with repository organisations to develop efficient mechanisms for harvesting and accessing informationThis is a non-problem. Harvesting and accessing OA content is already powerful and efficient.
It can of course be made incomparably more powerful and efficient. But there is no point or incentive in doing this while the target content is still so sparse – because it has not yet been made OA (whether Green or Gold)!
Only about 10 – 40% of content is OA most fields.
The way to drive that up to the 100% that it could already have been for years is to mandate Green OA.
Then (and only then) will be there be the motivation to “develop [ever more] efficient mechanisms for harvesting and accessing [OA] information”
Action 12: Explore new ways to assess quality and impact of research articlesThis too is happening already, and is not really an OA matter. But once most articles are OA, OA itself will generate rich new ways of measuring quality and impact.
(Some of these comments have already been made in connection with Richard Poynder's intreview of Johannes Fournier.)Harnad, S. (2009) Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise. Scientometrics 79 (1)
Sunday, May 26. 2013
Comment on Richard Poynder's "The UK’s Open Access Policy: Controversy Continues":
Yes, the Finch/RCUK policy has had its predictable perverse effects:
1. sustaining arbitrary, bloated Gold OA fees
2. wasting scarce research funds
3. double-paying publishers [subscriptions plus Gold]
4. handing subscription publishers a hybrid-gold-mine
5. enabling hybrid publishers to double-dip
6. abrogating authors' freedom of journal-choice [based on cost-recovery model, embargo or licence instead of on quality]
7. imposing re-mix licenses that many authors don't want and most users and fields don't need
8. inspiring subscription publishers to adopt and lengthen Green OA embargoes [to maxmize hybrid-gold revenues]
9. handicapping Green OA mandates worldwide [by incentivizing embargoes]
10. allowing journal-fleet publishers to confuse and exploit institutions and authors even more
But the solution is also there (as already adopted in Francophone Belgium and proposed by the UKèsHEFCE for REF):
a. funders and institutions mandate immediate-deposit
b. of the peer-reviewed final draft
c. in the author's institutional repository
d. immediately upon acceptance for publication
e. whether journal is subscription or Gold
f. whether access to the deposit is immedate-OA or embargoed
g. whether license is transfered, retained or CC-BY;
h. institutions implement repository's facilitated email eprint request Button;
i. institutions designate immediate-deposit the mechanism for submitting publications for research performance assessment;
j. institutions monitor and ensure immediate-deposit mandate compliance
This policy restores author choice, moots publisher embargoes, makes Gold and CC-BY completely optional, provides the incentive for author compliance and the natural institutional mechanism for verifying it, consolidates funder and institutional mandates; hastens the natural death of OA embargoes, the onset of universal Green OA, and the resultant institutional subscription cancellations, journal downsizing and transition to Fair-Gold OA at an affordable, sustainable price, paid out of institutional subscription cancellation savings instead of over-priced, double-paid, double-dipped Fool's-Gold. And of course Fair-Gold OA will license all the re-use rights users need and authors want to allow.
Saturday, May 18. 2013
CC-BY or CC-NC?
If the topic is Open Access to refereed research journal articles, this is the wrong question to ask.
The right license, providing the right re-use rights, will depend on the field of research, the specific research findings, and the researchers.*
But we are nowhere near ready to consider such questions yet, for the simple reason that there is no basic Open Access yet.
We cannot remind ourselves often enough that Open Access is -- first and foremost -- about access: What made Open Access possible was the advent of the online medium (the Internet and Web): It made it possible to make refereed research journal articles accessible to all users, not just to those whose institutions could afford subscription access.
That possibility has been there for at least a quarter century now, and yet three quarters of research published yearly today is still accessible only to users whose institutions can afford subscription access.
So why are we talking about CC-BY vs. CC-NC, while still not having provided basic Open Access?
Institutions and funders should first and foremost mandate making refereed research journal articles accessible to all users, not just those whose institutions can afford subscription access.
The ideal mandate would require the author's refereed final draft to be deposited in an OA repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, and also made OA immediately upon deposit.
A compromise that is much easier for everyone to adopt as a first step is to require the author's refereed final draft to be deposited in an OA repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, and strongly encourage (but not require) that it be made OA immediately upon deposit (and to put a cap on how long it is allowed to embargo OA).
Once immediate deposit has become universal, the first and biggest hurdle of OA -- still not surmounted after 25 years now -- will at last be surmounted.
And once that has at last happened, all the rest will follow:
-- the death of embargoes,Instead focusing prematurely and needlessly on CC-BY vs CC-NC today is putting the cart before the horse -- and getting us next to nowhere.
*In general, scientists prefer not to have their work altered without their permission. So the CC license that virtually all researchers would agree to is CC-ND: no derivatives (meaning the text cannot be altered). For allowing re-mix, it depends on the field and the researcher. And of course machine data-mineability for research as well as for search and retrieval are always desirable and beneficial.
But anothor contingency to bear in mind in this transitional period is this: What we need most is immediate, unembargoed OA. If we insist on a CC-BY license, publishers will insist on an OA embargo; I think many will insist even with CC-NC. The former would allow immediate free riding by rival publishers. The latter would still allow competing republication. So both encourage publishers to adopt embargoes.
In contrast, immediate-deposit Green works with or without publisher embargoes -- and once it becomes global, it will undermine all OA embargoes, thereby opening the door to subscription cancellations, Gold OA and as much CC as we want.
First things first. Mandate immediate-deposit. But don't turn it into a restriction on authors' journal choice by insisting on CC-X prematurely (and needlessly).
If it is not part of the mandate, of course, and a field has a preference for one of the CC licenses where posssible, its use can be recommended.
Wednesday, May 1. 2013
What UK institutions (and RCUK) need far more urgently than an RCUK compliance mechanism to collect, monitor and disburse the UK funds for Gold double-payments (sic) is an RCUK compliance monitoring mechanism for cost-free Green OA -- and HEFCE/REF have proposed a natural way to accomplish this:
1. HEFCE proposes to make immediate deposit of the final draft of peer reviewed articles in the institutional repository, immediately upon acceptance for publication, a requirement for eligibility for submission to REF 2020.That done, institutions can go back to counting the gold chicks allotted them by RCUK's golden hen, knowing that their RCUK mandate requirements are already fulfilled via Green. No worries about running out of money to pay for publication.
And the added bonus is that if the Gold is not spent on paying publishers even more money than is being spent already for subscriptions, any leftover can now be spent on facilitating and implementing Green OA and monitoring compliance (see replies of Doug Kell to the BIS Parliamentary Select Committee about what can be done with the RCUK Gold OA funds if there is no need to spend them on Gold OA).
The natural next step toward global OA will be to integrate institutional and funder mandates worldwide to make them convergent and mutually reinforcing. HEFCE/REF have shown the way to do so.
This will also put the UK back into the worldwide OA leadership role it had from 2004-2012 and then lost with the Finch Committee's egregious proposal to mandate paid Gold (by restricting UK authors' right to choose their journals for their quality standards alone, rather than their cost-recovery model, and by redirecting scarce research funds to double-pay publishers for Gold OA instead of just providing cost-free Green OA).
Monday, April 29. 2013
video -- transcript
In the online era, the sole remaining barrier separating both the UK and the rest of the world from Open Access (OA) to their refereed research journal article output is keystrokes. It is important to bear this in mind in considering the following comments. Once global OA policy has seen to it that those keystrokes are being universally and systematically executed worldwide, not only OA itself, with all its resulting benefits for research productivity and progress, but all the other desiderata sought – the end of Green OA embargoes, a transition to Gold OA publishing at a fair and sustainable price, CC-BY, text-mining, open data – will follow as a natural matter of course.
But not if the keystroke barrier is not first surmounted, decisively and globally.
It is in the interests of surmounting this keystroke barrier to global OA that this summary strongly supports the institutional-repository immediate-deposit mandate proposed by HEFCE/REF to complement and reinforce the RCUK OA mandate.
Embargoes: About 60% of subscription journals (including most of the top journals in most fields) affirm their authors’ right to provide immediate, un-embargoed Green Open Access (OA) to the peer-reviewed final draft of their articles by self-archiving them in their institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication as well as making them OA immediately. The remaining 40% of journals impose an embargo of 6-12-24+ months on Green OA.
The optimal solution is for research funders and institutions to mandate that authors deposit the peer-reviewed final draft of all their articles in their institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication, set access to the 60% of deposits that are un-embargoed as Open Access immediately, and set access to the other 40% as Closed Access during the embargo.
This means that for the 40% of the immediate-deposits that are embargoed, users web-wide will still have immediate access to the bibliographic metadata (author, title, journal, abstract) during the embargo, and individual users can request an individual copy for research purposes by clicking the repository’s “request copy” Button; the author receives an immediate email and can then authorize emailing the requested eprint with one click.
This compromise is not OA but “Almost-OA” and it can tide over user needs during any allowable embargo period – as long as all the papers are systematically deposited immediately, not just the un-embargoed ones.
Regardless of whether the author publishes in a subscription journal or a Gold OA journal, regardless of whether the OA is immediate or embargoed, regardless of how long an OA embargo is allowed, OA mandates should require immediate deposit of all papers upon acceptance for publication.This ensures that everything is deposited, as clocked by the date of the journal acceptance letter, that 60% is immediately Green OA, and that the remaining 40% can have “Almost-OA” during the embargo.
This is a practical compromise that has already been tested and demonstrated to be effective. To insist instead on mandating immediate or almost-immediate Green OA (i.e., no or almost no embargo at all), needlessly risks non-compliance by authors, who will not give up their right to publish in their journal of choice simply because the journal embargoes Green OA. The right compromise is to mandate immediate deposit, and to tolerate embargoes for the time being. Once mandatory immediate deposit with 60% immediate-OA and 40% Almost-OA becomes universal, embargoes will shrink and disappear as a natural matter of course, under global pressure from the growth and benefits of OA. But everything must be immediately deposited first.
An immediate institutional-deposit mandate, as proposed by HEFCE/REF, will also recruit institutions to monitor and ensure timely compliance with the HEFCE mandate in order to be eligible for REF, thereby remedying the current defect in the RCUK OA mandate, which has compliance mechanisms for Gold OA compliance, but none for Green OA compliance.
Access Rights vs. Re-Use Rights (CC-BY): Online access to peer-reviewed research, free to all users, not just subscribers, is urgently needed in all fields of scholarly and scientific research. There exists no field of research publication in which access-denial is not a problem: for users, in terms of lost access to findings, for authors, in terms of lost user uptake and usage of their findings, and for the tax-paying public who fund the research, there is the lost return on their investment, in terms of lost research uptake, usage, applications, impact, productivity and progress.
Apart from the urgent and universal need for access to research findings, there are also further potential benefits from being able to re-use the texts of the articles in various ways: to text-mine and data-mine them by machine as well as to re-publish them in various new re-mixes or “mashups.”
However, this further need for re-use rights, over and above online-access rights is neither urgent nor universal. In some fields, such as crystallography, certain journal-article re-use rights would indeed be very useful today; but in most fields the need for journal-article re-use rights is not pressing. Indeed many authors may not even want to allow it -- especially in the humanities, where preserving text-integrity is particularly important, but also in other scholarly and scientific fields where authors are resistant to allowing re-mix and re-publication rights on their verbatim texts:
Note that all users that can access them are of course already free to re-use the findings (i.e., the content of the texts) of published articles (as long as author credit is provided through citation). But free online access already allows the re-use of findings. Text re-mixes and re-publication are another matter.
Moreover, there is an important negative interaction between re-use rights and publisher embargoes on Green OA: If Green OA did not just mean online-access rights, but also re-use and re-publication rights (e.g., CC-BY), then publishers would understandably be much more inclined to embargo Green OA: For if they authorized immediate re-publication rights, their own opportunity to recover their investment could be undercut by rival publishers free-riding on their content immediately upon publication! So subscription publisher embargoes on Green OA (now only 40%) would multiply and lengthen if re-use rights, over and above free online access, were mandated too.
The optimal OA policy is hence to mandate only free online access, and leave it up to the publisher and the author what further re-use rights they may wish to grant.Once mandatory Green OA prevails universally, all this will change, and authors will be able to grant whatever rights they wish. But pre-emptive insistence on re-use rights today will only serve to further retard and constrain basic access-rights and provoke author resistance and noncompliance.
Author Choice and Journal Quality: One of the most fundamental rights of scholars and scientists is the right to choose whether, when and where to publish their findings. It is a great (and unnecessary) strategic mistake – and will only generate author resistance and policy failure – to try to force scientists and scholars to choose journals based on the journal’s economic model (subscription or Gold), licensing policy (CC-BY) or embargo length instead of the journal’s quality and suitability.
Journals earn quality track-records on the basis of the level of the peer-review standards that they maintain. Researchers – as well as their institutions and funders – want to meet the highest quality standards they can. And users rely on them to judge what work is of sufficient quality to risk investing their scarce time and resources into reading, using, and trying to apply and build upon. Unreliable and invalid research can retard productivity and progress just as surely as access-denial can.
The only requirement of an OA mandate should be immediate deposit of the final draft, with as short an embargo on OA as feasible, and as many re-use rights as the author can and wishes to allow. No restriction on journal choice, which should be based on journal quality-standards alone.Gold OA and CC-BY should be left as options for authors to choose if and when they wish. They will grow naturally of their own accord once mandatory immediate-deposit becomes universal.
Pre-Emptive Unilateral Double-Payment by the UK: The UK publishes about 6% of the world’s annual research output. The majority of journals today are subscription journals. Hence the UK pays for about 6% of worldwide annual institutional journal subscriptions. Gold OA fees are additional expenditure, over and above what the UK spends on annual subscriptions, because institutional Gold OA fees are for providing OA to UK output (6%) whereas institutional subscriptions are for buying in access to incoming articles from other institutions, both in the UK (6%) – and the rest of the world (94%). So institutional journal subscriptions cannot be cancelled until not only UK articles but the remaining 94% of published articles are made OA.
Suppose the UK decides unilaterally to pay Gold OA fees for all of its annual research output. That increases UK publication spending – already stretched to the limit today -- by 6%, to 106% of what it is today. Some of this extra UK expenditure (out of already scarce and overstretched research funds) will simply be extra payments to pure Gold OA publishers; some of it will be double-payments to hybrid subscription/Gold publishers. Both mean double-payment on the part of the UK (subscriptions + Gold); but hybrid Gold also means double-dipping on the part of hybrid Gold publishers.
Some hybrid Gold publishers have promised to give a subscription rebate proportional to their uptake of hybrid Gold. If all publishers offered hybrid Gold (as they can all do, easily and at no extra cost, in order to earn UK’s unilaterally mandated Gold subsidy) and all gave full rebates on subscriptions, that would mean that all subscribers worldwide would receive a 6% rebate on their subscriptions, thanks to the UK’s unilateral double-payment.
But for the UK, this would mean that the UK gets back in subscriptions only 6% of the 6% that the UK has double-paid for hybrid Gold OA (6% x 6% = 0.4% UK rebate), while the rest of the world gets a rebate of 94% of the 6% that the UK (alone) has unilaterally double-paid for hybrid Gold OA (6% x 94% = 5.6% rebate to the rest of the world).
In other words, unilateral UK hybrid Gold OA double-payments not only make UK output OA for the UK and the rest of the world, but, if rebated, they also subsidize the subscriptions of the rest of the world. (This is a classic “Prisoner’s Dilemma,” in which it is to the rest of the world’s advantage to mandate cost-free Green, and at the same time cash in on the rebate from the UK’s unilateral Gold mandate.)
The optimal RCUK policy is hence to leave it up to authors whether they wish to pick and pay for the Gold OA option, but on no account require or prefer Gold, and particularly in the case of hybrid Gold OA.(If publishers instead gave the full Gold OA rebate to the subscribing institution, that would be tantamount to letting all subscribing institutions publish Gold OA at no cost – a “subscription” deal that publishers are not likely to be in a big hurry to make, because if it scaled it would leave “subscriptions” hanging from a skyhook! Even the premise that all hybrid Gold OA publishers would indeed faithfully refrain from double-dipping by giving a full rebate for the UK 6% Gold by reducing worldwide subscription costs by 6% is a very tenuous assumption.)
UK Leadership in OA: The UK was indeed the worldwide leader in OA from 2000-2012, thanks to the contributions of JISC, EPrints, and especially the 2004 Parliamentary Select Committee which first recommended that UK funders and institutions mandate Green OA. RCUK followed this UK Green OA recommendation and it has since been followed by 80 funders and over 200 institutions worldwide.
But this UK world leadership in OA ended in 2012 with the Finch Report and the resulting new RCUK policy of (1) restricting UK authors’ journal choice, (2) downgrading Green OA, and (3) preferring and funding Gold OA and CC-BY, when what was really needed was only a (cost-free) upgrading of the RCUK compliance monitoring and assurance mechanism for Green OA.
Fortunately, HEFCE/REF has now proposed precisely the upgraded Green OA compliance mechanism that can once again earn back the UK’s worldwide leadership role in OA:
In order to be eligible for submission for REF 2020, all peer-reviewed journal articles must be deposited in the author’s institutional repository immediately upon publication (not retrospectively), regardless of whether they are published in a subscription journal or a Gold OA journal, regardless of whether their license is CC-BY, and regardless of whether OA to the immediate-deposit is immediate or embargoed.Green OA Compliance Mechanism: The proposed HEFCE/REF immediate institutional-deposit mandate overcomes all the major obstacles and objections concerning author restrictions on journal choice, embargo lengths, sufficiency and disbursement of Gold OA funding, double payment, double-dipping, and (unavailable or unwanted) re-use rights:
All UK authors can publish in their journal of choice and no author is prevented from publishing for lack of Gold OA funds. Institutions are recruited to monitor and verify compliance with the immediate-deposit requirement for their own research output, ensuring that all deposits are made on or near the calendar date of acceptance for publication. Access is immediately Green OA (60%) or Almost-OA (40% during any allowable embargo period) (via the repository’s request a copy Button), thereby remedying the RCUK policy’s failure to provide a mechanism for ensuring Green OA compliance.
OA Benefits: The primary benefit of OA is that it ensures that no would-be user of the research is denied access for lack of subscription access.
As has been demonstrated in study after study, in every scholarly and scientific field: OA maximizes research downloads and citations, thereby maximizing research uptake, usage, applications, productivity and progress.Gold OA Transitional Costs: The secondary benefit of OA is that it will eventually make publishing less costly. But for this to happen, Green OA must be universally mandated first. Pre-emptive double-payment (subscriptions plus Gold OA fees) by the UK, unilaterally, would just mean that the UK was paying even more than it is already paying for subscriptions, in order to make its own research output OA (Gold CC-BY). This is a highly counterproductive policy.
The UK should lead the way toward effectively mandated Green OA worldwide. Once Green OA is universal, institutional subscription cancellation pressure will force publishers to downsize and convert to Gold OA at a fair price, paid for out of institutional subscription cancellation windfall savings instead of double-paid, as with the unilateral pre-emptive Gold funding proposed by Finch/RCUK.The worldwide network of Green OA repositories will take over the function of access-provision and archiving, unbundling the management of peer review to leave it as the sole remaining essential value still provided by peer-reviewed journal publishing and hence the sole remaining publishing cost. This “Fair Gold will cost a fraction of the current price per article, reckoned as 1/Nth of the worldwide subscription revenue of a subscription journal publishing N articles per year today. Hence Fair Gold will cost an order of magnitude less than the ￡500 - ￡5000+ asking-price for Gold OA today. (Please see the evidence of Swan & Houghton on the Green/Gold transition and the relative cost/benefits of Green and Gold OA, unilaterally vs. universally.)
HEFCE/REF mandate proposal: The proposed HEFCE/REF institutional immediate-deposit mandate, if adopted, will completely remedy the flaws of the Finch/RCUK policy.
Embargoes and compromise: An interim compromise is needed on the problem of publisher embargoes on Green OA: The optimal compromise is not to insist on double-paying for immediate Gold CC-BY today, preemptively, unilaterally and needlessly, with all its perverse consequences, but instead to mandate immediate deposit of all articles independently of whatever allowable Green OA embargo length is agreed upon.
Journal Prestige & Price: A journal’s “prestige” is based on its public track-record for quality. A journal’s quality depends on its peer-review standards. The higher the quality standards, the more rigorous and selective is the peer reviewing. The cost per accepted, published article of a highly selective, high-standard journal can be higher because the cost for the peer review of all the submitted and refereed articles that did not meet the journal’s quality standard must be factored into the price of every accepted article. With post-Green Fair-Gold not only is the cost of peer review unbundled from the cost of access-provision and archiving, but peer review can be provided on a “no fault” basis, with each round of the peer-review service paid for, per paper submitted, irrespective of whether the outcome is acceptance, revision, or revision/resubmission and re-refereeing. This unbundling will re-distribute the cost of the peer review service equitably, so the no-fault peer review fee (1) discourages authors from making unrealistic submissions to journals whose quality standards their work is unlikely to meet, as in the days when peer-review was paid for by subscriptions and hence cost-free to the author, and (2) discourages journals from accepting substandard articles in order to earn more peer review revenues, because their revenue is based on peer review rather than acceptance, and their reputation depends on their track-record for quality.
Publishing costs as research costs: It has been repeatedly stated (particularly by the Wellcome Trust) that “publishing costs are just a small part of research costs” (c. 1.5%), and hence that research funders should be prepared to pay them as such – in the form of Gold OA fees. This sounds fine from the standpoint of a research funder like Wellcome, which need only fund research. But, as noted above, most publication costs today are paid in the form of institutional journal subscriptions. Wellcome does not pay the institutional journal subscriptions of its fundees’ institutions: Those are paid by others, from other resources. Hence Wellcome payment of Gold OA fees (at today’s inflated asking-price, and often paid to hybrid subscription/Gold journals) is double-payment, but the double-payment is not by Wellcome. The UK government is ultimately paying for both journal subscriptions and RCUK Gold OA fees. Hence Wellcome’s motto that “publishing costs are just a small part of research costs” cannot be applied to UK governmental funding until UK subscription costs no longer need to be paid and peer review costs have been unbundled and offered as Gold OA at a fair price. In other words, after global Green OA has prevailed globally.
Disproportionate publication costs for research-intensive institutions and countries: When publishing costs are paid by the institutions that provide the research (in the form of Gold OA fees) instead of by the institutions that consume the research (in the form of subscription fees), more research-intensive institutions pay more than less research intensive institutions do. But, as Houghton & Swan have shown, both will still pay substantially less than they are paying today in subscriptions, because the price of post-Green Fair-Gold publishing (freed from double-payment and downsized -- by universal Green -- to peer-review costs alone) will be so much lower than the current price of subscription publishing.
The cost of institutional repositories: Most institutions in the UK, EU and US already have institutional repositories (for a variety of institutional purposes, including OA). Their start-up costs were low, and have already been invested. Their annual maintenance costs (a server and some sysad time) are low, and part of existing institutional network infrastructure. The cost per paper deposited in an institutional repository is virtually zero, yet this represents the institution’s contribution to globally distributed access-provision and archiving. (Even for a global central repository like Arxiv, the price per paper is less than $7.) This is what will permit the current publication price per article – paid in the form of worldwide institutional subscriptions – to be reduced to just the price of peer review alone.
Finch on repositories: The Finch report, under the influence of publishers, suggested that Green OA is a failure in practise as well as inadequate in principle, so Finch accordingly recommended downgrading institutional repositories to the role of (1) data-archiving, (2) digital preservation, and (3) linking data to publishers’ websites, where the articles reside. It should be evident now that this was a self-serving assessment on the part of publishers (as was Elsevier’s Alicia Wise’s plea during the BIS hearing not to have institutional repositories needlessly “duplicate” access-providing and archiving functions that publishers already perform: “Leave it to us!”). What institutional repositories need in order to successfully provide OA to journal articles is for funders and institutions to upgrade their Green OA mandates and compliance mechanisms to ensure immediate deposit of all articles, as proposed by HEFCE/REF (see above).
Publisher deposit: Publishers, in an effort to retain control over as much of the transition to OA as possible, have proposed to deposit papers (in institution-external repositories), on behalf of their authors, on publishers’ terms and timetables. On no account should publishers be relied upon to ensure compliance with OA mandates: the mandates apply to researchers, not to publishers. Publishers are happy to comply when they are paid for Gold. But it is not in publishers’ interests to comply with Green -- nor are they required to do so. Authors are perfectly capable of doing the few keystrokes of self-archiving for themselves, at no cost. Once again, the optimal policy is HEFCE/REF’s, which proposes mandating immediate-deposit, by the author, in the author’s institutional repository, immediately upon publication. Institutions can then monitor and ensure timely compliance for their own institutional publication output, in their own institutional repository.
Complementary self-archiving mandates from funders and institutions: The RCUK/HEFCE/REF OA mandates can and should be complemented by institutional OA mandates, likewise requiring immediate-deposit, as well as designating institutional immediate-deposit as the sole mechanism for submitting published articles for institutional performance review. Belgium has provided the optimal integrated institution/funder model for this.
Patents, plagiarism: Both patents and plagiarism are red herrings, insofar as OA is concerned. OA concerns access to published articles. What authors wish to conceal, they do not publish, hence OA is moot. Plagiarism is possible with all published work, OA or non-OA. OA merely makes the words accessible to all users, not just subscribers. And inasmuch as copyright protects against plagiarism, it protects OA and non-OA work equally. Even CC-BY requires acknowledgement of authorship (that’s what the “BY” refers to) (although in a “mash-up,” the re-mix of words, even listing all authors, can be rather like crediting body-parts in a common grave); but for now, allowing CC-BY should be left entirely a matter of author choice.
Institutional vs. central repositories: All OAI-compliant repositories are interoperable, hence harvestable and hence searchable as if they were all one global archive. So it does not matter technically or functionally where articles are deposited, as long as they are deposited immediately (and made OA). But it matters a great deal strategically -- for the effectiveness of mandates, for compliance verification, and to minimize author keystrokes, effort and hence resistance and resentment – that mandates should require institutional deposit (and just once). Once, deposited, the metadata can be automatically exported to or harvested by other repositories, so they can be searched at a central-repository level for a discipline, nation, or globally.
“Evidence of harm”: Publishers often speak of repositories and Green OA self-archiving in terms of the presence or absence of “harm.” But one must ask what “harm” means in this context: Increased access, downloads and citations overall are certainly not evidence of harm -- to research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, R&D businesses and the tax-paying public -- quite the contrary, irrespective of whether the increase usage occurs at the publisher’s website or institutional repositories. Nor is it clear that if and when mandatory Green OA should eventually make subscriptions unsustainable -- inducing cost-cutting and a transition to Gold OA at a fair price and without double-payment -- that this should be counted as “harm” rather than as yet another benefit of OA -- to research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, R&D businesses and the tax-paying public -- in the natural evolution of scientific and scholarly communication with technology (bringing not just universal research access, but lower publication cost), to which the publishing industry can and must and will adapt, rather than the reverse.
Embargoes and compromise: It has to be clearly understood that embargoes on providing Open Access to the author’s final draft are imposed by the publisher in order to protect and sustain subscription revenues and the subscription model. If the objective is a transition to sustainable Gold OA at a fair price, publisher OA embargoes are not in the interests of the research community. However, as a compromise, they can be tolerated, for the time being, as long as the HEFCE/REF immediate-deposit mandate proposal is adopted.
Redirecting funds: It is premature to speak of “redirecting funds” from subscription payment to Gold OA payment. Journal subscriptions cannot be cancelled until the journal articles are accessible in another way. That other way is Green OA. Hence Green OA must be universally mandated first. The alternative is double-payment and double-dipping (see above).
Added value: The values added by publishers to the author’s un-refereed draft are: (1) peer-review, (2) copy-editing, (3) formatting & tagging, (4) print edition, (5) online PDF edition, (6) access-provision, (7) archiving. Once Green OA is universally mandated, (3) – (7) become obsolete. It is not clear how much copy-editing (2) is still being done or needed. So the only remaining essential post-Green function of peer-reviewed journal publishing is the service of peer review (1). This is what can be paid for as Gold OA, at a fair, sustainable post-Green price.
Hybrid gold and embargo: One of the perverse effects of the Finch report’s recommendation to require authors to pick and pay for Gold OA if a journal offers it is to encourage subscription publishers to offer hybrid Gold as an option and to adopt and lengthen Green OA embargo periods beyond the allowable limit, so as to make sure that authors must pick and pay for Gold. This is why the Green option must always be allowed and embargo limits must not be draconian.
Open data vs article access: It is a misunderstanding as well as a strategic mistake to conflate open data and OA. The purpose of data is to be used. In general, the one who gathered the data must be allowed fair first data-mining rights. After that, it is reasonable for the funder to require that the data be made open for re-use. But articles are not data, and authors must be allowed to decide whether or not to allow their text to be re-used. (The findings and ideas can of course always be re-used, with acknowledgement; but that is not the same thing as re-using, re-mixing or re-publishing the verbatim text itself.)
Discipline differences: There may be discipline differences in the length of OA embargo needed to sustain subscriptions, but there are no discipline differences in the need for free online access to research for all would-be users, not just those who have subscription access.
“Reasonable access”: At the hearings it was asked “what is ‘reasonable’ access”: it’s free online access to peer-reviewed research, immediately upon publication.
(Page 1 of 96, totaling 960 entries) » next page
Syndicate This Blog
Materials You Are Invited To Use To Promote OA Self-Archiving:
The American Scientist Open Access Forum has been chronicling and often directing the course of progress in providing Open Access to Universities' Peer-Reviewed Research Articles since its inception in the US in 1998 by the American Scientist, published by the Sigma Xi Society.
The Forum is largely for policy-makers at universities, research institutions and research funding agencies worldwide who are interested in institutional Open Acess Provision policy. (It is not a general discussion group for serials, pricing or publishing issues: it is specifically focussed on institutional Open Acess policy.)
You can sign on to the Forum here.