Your search for boycott returned 18 results:
Wednesday, April 20. 2016
[This comment was written before I read Richard Poynder's Interview of Tim Gowers. In part 2 I comment after having read the posting.]
I don't know about Richard, but I have not despaired of green, or green mandates; I've just grown tired of waiting.
I don't see pre-emptive gold (i.e., pre-green "fool's gold") as an alternative but as just another delay factor, the principal delay factor being human sluggishness.
And I think the notion of a "flip" to fool's gold is incoherent -- an "evolutionary unstable strategy," bound to undo itself: not only because it requires self-sacrificial double-payment locally as well as unrealistic collaboration among nations, institutions, funders, fields and publishers globally, but because the day after it was miraculously (and hypothetically) attained globally it would immediately invite defection (from nations, institutions, funders, and fields) to save money (invasion by the "cheater strategy"). Subscriptions and gold OA "memberships" are simply incommensurable, let alone transformable from one into the other. (Memberships are absurd, and only sell -- a bit, locally -- while subscriptions still prevail, via local Big Deals.
The only evolutionarily stable strategy is offloading onto green OA repositories all but one of the things that publishers traditionally do, leaving only the service of peer review to be paid for as fair-gold OA.
But that requires universal green OA first, not flipped pre-emptive fool's gold.
It will all eventually sort itself out that way after a huge series of false-starts. My loss of patience is not just with the needless loss of time but with the boringly repetitious nature of the recurrent false starts. I'd say my last five years, at the very least, have been spent just repeating myself in the face of the very same naive bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and non-viable non-starters. Locally in space and time, some people sometimes listened to my objections and my alternative strategy, but globally the very same non-starters kept popping up, one after the other, independently.
So (with an occasional exception like this) I've stopped preaching. Time will either show that I was wrong or, like evolution, it will undo the maladaptive strategies and stumble blindly, but inevitably toward the stable strategy (which also happens to be the optimal one): universal green first, then a rapid downsizing and transition to scalable, affordable, sustainable fair-gold. Amen.
1. Publisher green OA embargoes are ineffectual against the right green OA mandate: immediate deposit plus the almost-OA Button
2. That a “self-styled archivangelist” has left the arena is neither news nor an OA development. It is indeed just symbolic.
3. The fool's gold "flip" is an evolutionarily unstable strategy, fated to flop, despite the fond hopes RCUK, Wellcome, VSNU or MPG.
4. The "impact factor" is, as ever, utterly irrelevant to OA, one way or the other. Metrics will only be diversified and enriched by OA.
5. An immediate-deposit requirement is not an "onerous bureaucratic rule" but a few extra keystrokes per paper published: a no-brainer. Researchers are not "foot-soldiers" but finger-soldiers, and the immediate-deposit mandate is just intended to set those last few digits into motion (the publish-or-perish mandate having already mobilized the legions ahead of it).
6. Leaders are welcome (if not Wellcome), but boycotts are busts (and there have been plenty).
7. Exposés of publisher profiteering are welcome, but not solutions. In any case, the root problem is not affordability but accessibility, and providing access (via green OA) is also the solution, first to accessibility and then, as a natural matter of course, to affordability (post-green fair-gold).
8. Founding a new gold OA journal is hardly new. Offloading everything but peer review onto green repositories is also not new (in fact it will be part of the post-green end-game: fair-gold). But making it scalable and sustainable pre-emptiively would be new...
9. Subsidizing fair-gold costs would be fine, if someone had the resources to subsidize at least 30,000 journals across all disciplines. But while journals are being sustained by subscriptions, and there is no alternative way to access the contents, there is unlikely to be enough subsidy money to do the job. (Universally mandated green, in contrast, would allow journal subscriptions to be cancelled, releasing the money to pay for fair-gold out of just a fraction of the windfall savings.)
10. The impact factor, it cannot be repeated often enough, is absolutely irrelevant to (green) OA. The known track-record of journals, in contrast, will always be a factor.
11. Open "peer" review, or crowd-sourced quality control, likewise a notion aired many times, is, IMHO, likewise a non-starter. Suitable for peddling products and blog postings, but not for cancer cures and serious science or scholarship. (That said, anyone is everyone is already free to post their unrefereed work for all comers; that's what blogs and open commentary are for...)
12. Open online collaboration is very welcome (and more and more widespread) but it is a supplement, not a substitute, for publishing peer-reviewed findings.
13. Mathematics and, to a lesser extent, physics, are manifestly atypical fields in that their practitioners are (1) more willing than others to make their own unrefereed findings public and (2) eager to see and use the unrefereed findings of others. If this had been true of other fields, Arxiv would long ago have become the global unrefereed preprints and refereed postrprint repository for all fields, universal (central) green OA would already have been reached long ago, and the transition to fair gold would already have taken place. (Arxiv has been held up -- including, for a while, by me -- as the way to go since 1991. But things have not gone that way. That's why I switched to promoting distributed institutional repositories.)
14. What if the "P" in APCs -- for those who are "imPlacably opposed" to article processing charges -- stood instead for Peer-Review, and paid only for the editorial expertise in the refereeing (the peers review for free): selecting referees, selecting which referee recommendations need to be followed, selecting which revisions have done so and are hence accepted. These are the sole costs of fair gold -- but they are predicated on universal green to "overlay" on...
15. The two crucial features of peer review are expertise and answerability. This is what is provided by a qualified editor and established journal and absent in self-selected, crowd-sourced, take-it-or-leave-it vetting (already proposed many times, including by another distinguished mathematician). "Fair OA" is synonymous with fair gold, but universal green is the only viable way to get there.
16. Open peer commentary is a fine idea (if I do say so myself) but it is a supplement to peer review, not a substitute for it.
...And let's get our figures straight
Rick Anderson posted the following comment on Richard Poynder's posting in google+: “Institutional Green OA mandates (as distinct from non-mandatory OA policies) are effectively nonexistent in the US, and it's difficult to see how they could ever become widespread at the institutional level. That's just the US, of course, but the US produces an awful lot of research publication.”
According to ROARMAP, which was recently upgraded to expand, classify and verify the entries, although it is probably not yet exhaustive (some mandates may not yet be registered) there are 764 OA policies worlwide, at least 629 of them Green (i.e., they either or request deposit)
The following are the total(subset) figures broken down by country for
total policies and the subset requiring - not requesting - deposit
for Institional and Funder policies.
Inst 632 (390)
Fund 132 (82)
Inst 96 (69)
Fund 34 (11)
Inst: 93 (79)
Fund 24 (23)
Inst 26 (2)
Fund 1 (0)
Inst 11 (6)
Inst 17 (3)
Fund 3 (3)
Inst 15 (7)
Fund 12 (9)
Inst 31 (15)
Fund 2 (2)
Rick Anderson: Happy to provide examples.
Stevan Harnad: The Harvard FAS OA Policy model (which may or may not have been adopted by the other institutions you cite without their fully understanding its conditions) is that:
(1) Full-text deposit is required
(2) Rights-retention (and OA) may be waived on an individual article basis
The deposit requirement (1) cannot be waived, and is not waived if the author elects to waive (2).
This is the policy that Peter calls "dual deposit/release" (and I call immediate-deposit/optional-access, ID/OA):
(soton site temporarily down today, apologies)
Rick Anderson: Stevan, your characterisation of the Harvard policy seems to me to be simply inaccurate. The full text may be read at https://osc.hul.harvard.edu/policies/fas/. The relevant sentence reads as follows: "The Dean or the Dean's designate will waive application of the policy for a particular article upon written request by a Faculty member explaining the need." This language seems pretty clearly to me to refer to the policy as a whole, not just one component of it -- nor does the policy itself include an OA requirement; instead it provides the possibility that "the Provost's Office may make the article available to the public in an open-access repository" (note the word "may," not usually a prominent feature in mandatory instructions).
Peter Suber: Stevan's restatement of the Harvard policy is correct. Our waiver option only applies to the license, not to the deposit.
Rick Anderson: OK, thanks for clearing that up, Peter. (You guys might want to consider revising the wording of your policy to resolve the ambiguity.)
Stevan Harnad: The other three policies you cited seem to have adopted the Harvard model policy. If they have diverged from it, they need to indicate that explicitly (and unambiguously). ROARMAP incorporates updates of corrections when it receives them. The ones you mention were either registered by the institutions themselves or derived from their documentation and sent to them for vetting.
I cannot vouch for 100% compliance or accuracy. But your assertion was not about that. Your assertion was “Institutional Green OA mandates (as distinct from non-mandatory OA policies) are effectively nonexistent in the US."
Do you think your four examples show that? One out of the four, Harvard FAS, would already disconfirm "nonexistent" ("effectively" being a weasel-word) even without the added fact that Harvard is not just any university, and the one whose model many US universities have adopted. And even if you could show (as you certainly have not done) that not one of the remaining 65 US institutional mandates (out of the total 96 US institutional OA policies in ROARMAP) was a mandate. Do you disagree?
Rick Anderson: All of the examples I provided (including the Harvard example) constitute evidence in support of my statement, since they are instances in which Green OA is not mandatory. They don't constitute the entire evidence base. I made my statement based on the fact that I have read many OA policies from US institutions, and I have not yet encountered (nor heard of) a single one that requires faculty to make their work available on an OA basis. A policy that requires deposit but does not require OA is not a mandatory OA policy.
Stevan Harnad: I would like to avoid empty semiological quibbling. The US has 96 institutional OA policies. That is uncontested. Of these, 69 are registered as deposit mandates, hence mandates.
There are many other conditions (such as whether and when it is mandatory to make the deposit OA), but it may be helpful to understand that the reason mandatory (full-text) deposit is the crucial requirement is that if (and only if) the full-text is deposited, the repository's automated copy-request Button (if and when implemented) can provide almost-immediate, almost-OA to any user who clicks it (if the author too chooses to comply, with a click).
The hypothesis (and it is indeed a hypothesis, not a certainty) is that this compromise mandate (DD/R, ID/OA), if universally adopted, will not only provide almost 100% Green OA, but will prove sufficient to eventually make subscriptions cancellable, thereby inducing journal publisher downsizing, the phasing out of obsolete products and services, and a transition to affordable, scalable and sustainable Fair-Gold OA, charging for peer-review alone, and paid for out of a fraction of the institutional subscription cancellation savings, instead of the over-priced, double-paid, and unnecessary Fool's Gold that is on offer now, paid for out of already over-stretched subscription as well as research funds.
Tuesday, July 7. 2015
Sander Dekker, Netherlands’ State Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science wants Open Access and has set some deadlines for how soon he wants it for Netherlands. That’s fine.
But the Netherlands' Sander Dekker, like the UK's Finch Committee, wants Gold Open Access.
That means Universities must pay Elsevier’s asking price for Gold OA.
Elsevier’s asking price is a price per article that will maintain Elsevier's current total net subscription revenue.
Elsevier’s current total net subscription revenue is enormously bloated — not only by huge profit margins (c. 40%) but by obsolete product and service costs forcibly co-bundled into the price (print edition, online edition, access-provision, archiving).
The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) has a consortial Big Deal subscription with Elsevier, and they have said they will continue to pay it if Netherlands authors can have Gold OA for their articles at no extra charge.
This is basically trying to transform a bloated subscription deal into a bloated Gold OA membership deal, rather like SCOAP3.
The reasons this transformation cannot work globally are many, but locally it can be made to work, for a while, by fiat, if VSNU collaborate and Elsevier agrees.
And on the surface it is not obvious why Elsevier would not agree, since it looks as if the deal would give Elsevier exactly what it wants: current revenue levels per Elsevier article will be maintained, but with the Netherlands paying its share not as subscriptions but as memberships, in exchange for Gold OA for Elsevier articles by Netherlands authors.
But what about the rest of the world? They continue paying subscriptions — not just to Elsevier, but to all other publishers. And VSNU, too, must continue paying subscriptions to all other publishers whose journals Netherlands users need.
Would this local Netherlands solution be stable, sustainable and scalable?
The answer is that it would be none of these -- and Elsevier knows that perfectly well. And that explains why they are not eager to make this local Gold membership deal with VSNU (even though Springer has been trying to encourage the consortial Gold membership model for its subscribers) -- and why VSNU is contemplating asking Elsevier editors at Netherlands institutions (and eventually all Elsevier authors in Netherlands) to boycott Elsevier unless Elsevier makes this transition to Gold
A Gold consortial membership model is unstable, unsustainable and unscalable because memberships, like subscriptions, are locally cancellable -- by an institution or a country -- and because there are other (competing) publishers in the world.
And membership would be unstable and unsustainable even if the scalability problem could be magically surmounted by a global “flip” in which all institutions on the planet and all publishers on the planet solemnly agree jointly to go from their current subscriptions to Gold OA memberships for all their journals with all their publishers at their current subscription price all on the same day.
The very next day the system would destabilize, with cash-strapped institutions cancelling their “memberships” to journals that their users needed to use but in which their authors published little, preferring instead to pay for publishing by the piece for the few articles they publish in them.
This would in turn destabilize the sustainability of yesterday’s subscription revenue streams via memberships, which would mean that membership fees would have to increase for the non-defecting institutions to sustain all publishers' net revenue, which would in turn mean that institutions would be paying more for memberships than they had been paying for subscriptions.
And the Global Consortial Gold Membership Deal (which is in reality a global producer oligopoly sustained by a global consumer consortium) would begin unravelling the moment it was “flipped.”
Trying instead to get there more gradually, institution by institution, publisher by publisher, journal by journal rather than via a miraculous global “flip” instead destabilizes the scalability of the Gold membership model rather than just its sustainability. Institutions as well as publishers would be participating in a multi-player prisoner's dilemma, with defection always being the optimal choice.
But this is also the relevant point to recall that there is another way to give and get OA, namely, Green OA self-archiving:
For institutions struggling with bloated, unaffordable journal subscription prices, the far more natural route is to reduce subscriptions to just their users' must-have journals and to mandate Green OA, in their own institutional repositories, for their own publication output, rather than to lock themselves into increasingly unaffordable subscriptions in the form of membership fees in exchange for Gold OA for their own institutional publication output.
This, of course, is exactly why publishers are trying so hard to embargo Green OA: Not because the survival of refereed journals is at stake but in order to hold publication hostage to either current bloated subscriptions or bloated Gold OA fees that sustain the same net revenue either way they are paid.
That way the bloated asking price price will never go down and the costs of the obsolete products and services can continue to be forcibly co-bundled into the asking price.
But publishers know perfectly well that they are fighting a battle that they will ultimately lose, and that all they are doing now is whatever they can to sustain their current revenue levels as long as possible, with the vague hope that piece-wise Gold OA fees might continue to sustain the bloat as unstable, unscalable and unsustainable consortial "memberships" could not.
So publishers continue conning the likes of Sander Dekker into believing that today's bloated Fool's Gold OA is the only way to have OA, and that Green OA would destroy journals altogether, so it must be embargoed.
And VSNU thinks it is fighting the good fight by threatening another boycott against Elsevier unless they agree to Fool's Gold consortial OA membership for the Netherlands.
A stable, scalable, sustainable solution, of course, is within reach, through a transition to affordable, unbloated Fair Gold induced by first universally mandating and providing Green OA (there is even an antidote for publishers' embargoes on Green OA) -- but neither Sander Dekker nor VSNU are grasping it.
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 JASIST, in press.
Sunday, December 8. 2013
Elsevier may have enough clout with take-down notices to 3rd-party service providers like academia.edu, ResearchGate or (its own!) Mendeley (and might be able to weather the fierce backlash blizzard that will now follow) -- but not if they try it with authors or institutions self-archiving the refereed final drafts of their own research output.
This latest incident is yet another cue to push worldwide for the adoption of immediate institutional deposit mandates (and the repositories' automated copy-request Button) by all research institutions and funders.
Since 2004 Elsevier formally recognizes their authors' right to do immediate, unembargoed OA self-archiving of their refereed final drafts (not the Elsevier PDF version of record) on their institutional websites.
And even if they ever do try to rescind that, closed-access deposit is immune to take-down notices.
(But I don't think Elsevier will dare arouse that global backlash by rescinding its 9-year-old policy of endorsing unembargoed Green OA by Elsevier authors -- they will instead try to hope that they can either bluff authors off with their empty double-talk about "systematicity" and "voluntariness" or buy their institutions off by sweetening their publication big-deal on condition they don't mandate Green OA…)
Thursday, October 17. 2013
For those Elsevier authors who wish to provide OA rather than continuing to agonize over what Elsevier might intend or mean:
Believe Elsevier when they state officially that "Elsevier believes that individual authors should be able to distribute their AAMs for their personal voluntary needs and interests, e.g. posting to their websites or their institution’s repository, e-mailing to colleagues."
Go ahead and deposit your final draft immediately upon acceptance for publication, set access to the deposit as OA, and ignore all the accompanying Elsevier hedging completely. It means absolutely nothing.
And for those who nevertheless remain tormented by irrational doubts:
Don't stress: Deposit immediately just the same, but set access to the deposit as restricted access (only you can access it) instead of OA, and rely on the repository's copy-request Button to forward individual eprint requests to you from individual requestors: you can decide for each request, on a case by case basis, whether or not you wish to fulfill that request, with one click.
This will tide over potential user needs till either the Elsevier embargo elapses or your irrational doubts subside -- whichever comes first.
(The battle-ground for OA has now become the 1-year embargo, which publishers try to impose in order to protect their current revenue streams come what may. Publishers -- though so far not Elsevier -- have tried to redefine Green OA as access after a 1-year embargo, leaving authors who want to provide immediate access with only one option: pay extra for Gold OA. The immediate-deposit mandate plus the eprint-request Button -- not petitions, boycott threats or hand-wringing -- are the way the research community can protect the interests of research from the self-interest of publishers.)
Tuesday, June 19. 2012
1. The Finch Report is a successful case of lobbying by publishers to protect the interests of publishing at the expense of the interests of research and the public that funds research.
2. The Finch Report proposes to do precisely what the (since discredited and withdrawn) US Research Works Act (RWA) failed to do: to push "Green" OA self-archiving (by authors, and Green OA self-archiving mandates by authors' funders and institutions) off the UK policy agenda as inadequate and ineffective and, to boot, likely to destroy both publishing and peer review -- and to replace them instead with a vague, slow evolution toward "Gold" OA publishing, at the publishers' pace and price.
3. The result would be very little OA, very slowly, and at a high Gold OA price (an extra 50-60 million pounds per year), taken out of already scarce UK research funds, instead of the rapid and cost-free OA growth vouchsafed by Green OA mandates from funders and universities.
4. Both the resulting loss in UK's Green OA mandate momentum and the expenditure of further funds to pay pre-emptively for Gold OA would be a major historic (and economic) set-back for the UK, which has until now been the worldwide leader in OA. The UK would, if the Finch Report were heeded, be left behind by the EU (which has mandated Green OA for all research it funds) and the US (which has a Bill in Congress to do the same -- the same Bill that the recently withdrawn RWA Bill tried to counter).
5. The UK already has 40% Green OA (twice as much as the rest of the world) compared to 4% Gold OA (less than the rest of the world, because it costs extra money and Green OA provides OA at no extra cost). Rather than heeding the Finch Report, which has so obviously fallen victim to the publishing lobby, the UK should shore up and extend its cost-free Green OA funder and institutional mandates to make them more effective and mutually reinforcing, so that UK Green OA can grow quickly to 100%.
6. Publishers will adapt. In the internet era, the research publishing tail should not be permitted to wag the research dog, at the expense of the access, usage, applications, impact and progress of the research in which the UK tax-payer has invested so heavily, in increasingly hard economic times. The benefits -- to research, researchers, their institutions, the vast R&D industry, and the tax-paying public -- of cost-free Green Open Access to publicly funded research vastly outweigh the evolutionary pressure -- natural, desirable and healthy -- to adapt to the internet era that mandated Green OA will exert on the publishing industry.
If the UK %Gold is currently lower than the current %Gold globally [as measured by Laasko/Bjork's latest estimates -- we have not yet checked that directly] then the likely explanation is that where cost-free Green is mandated, there is less demand for costly Gold.
That makes sense: it shows why paying for Gold, pre-emptively, now, at today's asking prices, while still locked into subscriptions, instead of just providing cost-free Green is a foolish strategy --and it makes the recent recommendations of the Finch report even more counter-productive. The time to pay for Gold is when global Green has made subscriptions unsustainable, forced publishing to downsize to peer review alone, and released the subscription cancelation funds to pay for it on the Gold OA model. Then, and only then, will Gold OA's time have come.
Gargouri, Y., Hajjem, C., Lariviere, V., Gingras, Y., Brody, T., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2010) Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research. PLOS ONE 5 (10) e13636
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.
Harnad, S. (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine 16 (7/8).
Harnad, S. (2011) Gold Open Access Publishing Must Not Be Allowed to Retard the Progress of Green Open Access Self-Archiving Logos: The Journal of the World Book Community 21(3-4): 86-93
Harnad, S. (2010) The Immediate Practical Implication of the Houghton Report: Provide Green Open Access Now. Prometheus 28 (1): 55-59.
Saturday, June 2. 2012
This is a comment on
A €80 Billion Battlefield for Open Access"
an article in AAAS's ScienceInsider which notes that:
"Elsevier's embargoes for green open access currently range from 12 to 48 months"First, it has to be clearly understood that the existing EU mandate (i.e., requirement) that the EU is now proposing to extend to all of the EU's €80 Billion's worth of funded research -- while something similar is being proposed for adoption in the US by the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) as well as by the currently ongoing petition to the White House (rapidly nearing the threshold of 25,000 signatories) -- is a mandate for the Green OA self-archiving, by researchers, of the final drafts of articles published in any journal. (What is to be mandated is not Gold OA publishing: You cannot require researchers to publish other than in their journals of choice, nor require them to pay to publish.)
And although some publishers do over-charge, and do lobby against Green OA mandates, the majority of journals (including almost all the top journals) have already formally confirmed that their authors retain the right to self-archive their final drafts immediately upon publication -- not just after an embargo period has elapsed.
Moreover, that majority of journals that have formally endorsed immediate, un-embargoed Green OA include all the journals published by the two biggest journal publishers, Springer and Elsevier! The only difference is that unlike Springer, Elsevier has just recently tried to hedge its author rights-retention policy with a clause to the effect that authors retain the right to self-archive if they wish but not if they must (i.e., not if it is mandated!). (See Elsevier's "Authors' Rights & Responsibilities")
(Curious "right," that one may exercise if one wishes, but not if one must! Imagine if citizens had the right to free speech but not if it is required (e.g., in a court of law). But strange things can be said in contracts...)
Elsevier is having an increasingly severe public image problem: It is already widely resented for its extortionately high prices, hedged with "Big Deals" that sweeten the price package by adding journals you don't want, at no extra charge. Elsevier is also itself the subject of an ongoing boycott petition (with over 10,000 signatories) because of its pricing policy.
So Elsevier cannot afford more mud on its face. Elsevier has accordingly taken a public, formal stance alongside Springer, on the side of the angels regarding Elsevier authors' retained right to do un-embargoed Green OA self-archiving of their final drafts on their institutional websites -- but Elsevier alone has tried to hedge its progressive-looking stance with the clause defining the authors' right to exercise their retained right only if they are not required to exercise it..
Elsevier's cynical attempt to hedge its green rights-retention policy against OA mandates will no doubt be quietly jettisoned once it is publicly exposed for the cynical double-talk it is. Meanwhile, Elsevier authors can continue to exercise their immediate, un-embargoed self-archiving rights, enshrined in Elsevier's current rights agreement, with hand on heart, declaring that they are self-archiving because they wish, not because they must, even if it is mandated. A mandate, after all, can either be complied with or not complied with; both choices are exercises of free will, yet another basic right…
Saturday, March 3. 2012
Comments on Richard Poynder's interview of Claudio Aspesi in Open and Shut: "Scholarly Publishing: Where is Plan B?"
1. Research libraries cannot, need not and will not cancel (important) journals until all or almost all their contents are freely accessible to their users by some other means.(It is this optimal and inevitable outcome for research and researchers that the publishers' lobby is doing its best to forestall as long as it possibly can. But it's entirely up to the research community how long they allow them to do it. As long as they do, it amounts to allowing the flea on its tail to wag the research/dog…)
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.
Tuesday, February 28. 2012
A "Compromise" Worthy of Solomon:
Between the (Publicly-Funded Research) Dog
and the (Publishing) Flea on its Tail...'
New York Times, February 27, 2012: "Gulf on Open Access to Federally Financed Research" by Guy Gugliotta
"The debate between these two extremes has been remarkably vitriolic, in part, perhaps, because neither side has been completely honest. Mr. Adler would not discuss publishers’ profit margins, and open-access advocates frequently say that the journals are low-overhead cash cows that are gouging the public. Open-access scientists, on the other hand, are less than candid about how important it is to their careers to be published in prominent traditional journals. If scientists truly wished to kill the system, all they would have to do is withhold submissions."This balanced midpoint between "extremes" is utter nonsense, of course.
(1) The need (and reasons) of researchers for publishing in journals with high peer review standards are no secret (and nothing to hide or apologize for!)
(2) The objective of OA is not to "kill the system" but to provide OA.
(3) As usual, the false assumption is that OA = Gold OA publishing.
(4) OA has nothing to do with "withholding submissions" or boycotting.
(5) Both bills (FRPAA and RWA) are about mandating Green OA self-archiving of published journal articles.
What's worth writing an article (or book) about is how this relentless misunderstanding of something so stunningly simple just keeps propagating itself, year after year after year.
And it looks like Congress will yet again wimp out this year on FRPAA, splitting the difference with RWA in much the same clueless spirit as the above sterling example of "balanced" journalism...
So it's back to yet another year of trying to talk sense into universities about mandating Green OA...
One thing the journalist got right: There is indeed something that researchers are less than candid about: not withholding submissions but withholding keystrokes...
Harnad, S. (2006) Opening Access by Overcoming Zeno's Paralysis, in Jacobs, N., Eds. Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects. Chandos.
Thursday, February 2. 2012
While the worldwide researcher community is again busy working itself up into an indignant lather with yet another publisher boycott threat, I am still haunted by a "keystroke koan":
"Why did 34,000 researchers sign a threat in 2000 to boycott their journals unless those journals agreed to provide open access to their articles - when the researchers themselves could provide open access (OA) to their own articles by self-archiving them on their own institutional websites?"Not only has 100% OA been reachable through author self-archiving as of at least 1994, but over 90% of all refereed journals (published by 65% of all refereed journal publishers) have already given their explicit green light to some form of author self-archiving -- with over 60% of all journals, including Elsevier's -- giving their authors the green light to self-archive their refereed final drafts ("postprint") immediately upon acceptance for publication...
So why are researchers yet again boycotting instead of keystroking, with yet another dozen years of needlessly lost research access and impact already behind us?
We have met the enemy, Pogo, and it's not Elsevier.
(And this is why keystroke mandates are necessary; just keying out boycott threats to publishers is not enough.)
Tuesday, July 27. 2010
In a UKSG Serials News posting, University of Huddersfield and Chair, UK Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR) wrote:
GS: "Not too long ago, I took a phone call from an academic colleague from the Health Sciences regarding the submission of an article to Biomed Central. [The colleague] phoned me as I am the 'Repository guy' and [the colleague was] learning to play the 'Repository game', that is getting their work out there on open access and increasing their citations. [The colleague was] very impressed that so many people downloaded their last paper within days of it appearing in the Repository."This upbeat-sounding paragraph is unfortunately a series of (familiar) misunderstandings and non-sequiturs about Open Access (OA) and Institutional Repositories (IRs):
(1) Biomed Central (BMC) is a gold OA (pay-to-publish) journal publisher.
(2) Publishing in a BMC journal has nothing to do with depositing an article in "the Repository."
Which Repository -- Huddersfield's? You don't need to publish in a pay-to-publish gold OA journal in order to deposit in a green OA Institutional Repository (IR) like Huddersfield's, nor in order to benefit from the increased downloads and citations that OA makes possible. All you do is publish in whatever journal you publish in, and deposit the final refereed draft in your OA IR as soon as it is accepted for publication.
Or was the deposit in PubMed Central (PMC, not BMC)? Likewise no payment required (but what does deposit in that institution-external repository have to do with U. Huddersfield's IR, or its IR manager?).
(3) There is no "Repository game". There is just the research and publication game.
(Providing OA maximizes research access, usage and impact, and OA can be provided in two ways. I. "Gold OA": by publishing in an OA journal (of which the major ones require payment to publish); or II. "Green OA": by publishing in any journal at all -- whether subscription-based or OA -- and also depositing the final draft in your OA IR: no payment required. The "game" is merely ensuring that all potential users have online access to your published articles, not just those whose institutions can afford to subscribe to the journal in which it happened to be published.)
GS: "It struck me as very interesting that to [this colleague], the next stage of the 'game' was to consider switching from green to gold open access - providing someone would pay of course!"The colleague sounds like a researcher who has just deposited an article for the first time in an OA repository (perhaps PMC, though it should have been Huddersfield's IR), and not a researcher who has just paid BMC for gold OA publication (otherwise the colleague would know who was paying!).
Something has definitely been garbled here...
GS: "This is not the first time that this topic has come up in conversation in the past few weeks. At the recent LIBER conference at Aarhus University in Denmark discussion over dinner turned to open access. One comment from a colleague was that green open access could not be successful in the long run as this was a compromise, and 'compromises never work'."How is providing OA to one's published article by depositing it in one's IR a "compromise"?
A compromise of what, with what, for whom?
Depositing an article in an IR consists of a few minutes' worth of keystrokes that maximize the access, usage and impact of one's article.
But perhaps the LIBER discussion was not among (1) researchers, discussing the problem of how to "get their work out there on open access and increase their citations" rather than continue to allow access to it to be restricted only to those researchers whose institutions can afford to pay for subscription access to the journal in which it happens to be published...
Perhaps the LIBER discussion was instead among (2) librarians, discussing the problem of how to afford to pay for subscription access?
Or perhaps the LIBER discussion was among (3) publishers, discussing the problem of how to guarantee current subscription revenue streams in a growing climate of demand for open access on the part of researchers, their institutions, their funders, and the tax-paying public that funds the research?
To repeat: In what sense is green OA self-archiving a "compromise"?
A compromise of what, with what, for whom?
Is a university repository manager a representative of the immediate interests of the university's researchers (and their institutions, funders, and the tax-paying public that funds the research), or of the interests of publishers and their present and future business models?
If librarians are to fulfill the role of repository managers, they need to re-think what they are doing, and why, and what it is that researchers and research need in the OA era.
An OA IR is not a buy-in collection of journal subscriptions: It is a give-away provision of access to an institution's published journal articles.
An OA IR manager is not a serials librarian, nor someone appointed to direct or second-guess the future course of serials publishing.
An OA IR manager is someone appointed to make sure the university's OA IR is filled with its primary target content: the university's published journal article output.
"UKCoRR has a vision of the work of repository management as a professionally recognised and supported role within UK research institutions." -- What is that "professionally recognised and supported role" if it is not filling their institution's repository with its intended content?
GS: "The road to open access is covered in gold and this is the way forward."The way forward for whom? And according to whom? And in the interests of what?
Researchers can be mandated to provide green OA for their published work. (Without mandates, only about 20% or articles are self-archived.)
And funds -- if any are available -- can be provided to pay for gold OA.
But publishers cannot be mandated to provide gold OA.
And the funds to pay for gold OA cannot be mandated while they are still tied up in paying for subscriptions (and while the asking price for gold OA is designed to preserve publishers' current revenue streams and modus operandi, come what may).
The road to green OA is wide open, and traversing it is entirely in the hands of researchers (and their institutions and funders).
The road to gold OA is not wide open; it costs money, and it is in the hands of publishers, not researchers. And the potential money to pay for gold OA is currently tied up in institutions' subscription fees, which are being paid to publishers, by institutions' libraries.
So how is the road to OA covered with gold, and how is it the way forward?
And what has this to do with the research repository manager's "professionally recognised and supported role within UK research institutions"?
GS: "A few days earlier, Kurt de Belder from Leiden University in the Netherlands had laid out his vision of the future, which assumed that open access would be via the gold route and if Repositories existed, they would only contain grey literature."Kurt de Melder is the director of Leiden University's library (and an advisor to several publishers). Does his golden vision (like the green vision) include a practical means (like the green vision's mandates) of getting us from here to there? Or is it all just a golden wish, waiting passively (apart from any spare money being spent on pre-emptive gold OA payments) for publishers to convert to gold and release everyone's subscription money (for incoming journals) to pay their asking price for gold OA (for outgoing articles)?
And while the institution's library keeps waiting for this to happen directly, of its own accord, is the access, usage and impact of the institution's research output to continue to be denied to all but subscribing institutions, as it is today, while institutions' IRs (which already exist, by the way) are devoted instead to "grey literature" (whatever that means) instead of to refereed research (green OA)?
And meanwhile, visions aside, those who have their eyes wide open cannot help but notice that IRs (which already do exist, remember) do contain green content (20%) rather than just grey content, and that green deposit mandates can and do drive up the percentage green from the baseline 20% to 60%, and approaching 100% within a few years.
What's missing, and needed (for those with eyes wide open to see) is more green OA mandates from institutions and funders -- not armchair or dinner-table visions of the future of publishing, evoked in the thrall of pre-emptive gold fever (with no critical reflection on or answerability to practical means and ends).
That, perhaps (rather than gold fever), would come closer to a substantive "vision of the work of repository management as a professionally recognised and supported role within UK research institutions."
GS: "Personally, and not as Chair of UKCoRR (UK Council of Research Repositories), I must admit that I am starting to agree with the gold only route, although I'm not sure I should."If the Chair of UK's Council of Research Repositories is starting to agree (whether personally or ex officio) with the gold-only route, then perhaps it is time for the Chair to think of resigning, and allowing UKCoRR's direction to be set by those who understand the needs of research and researchers, the power of green OA IRs, and the urgent need for Green OA mandates.
Surely there is a "UK Council of Publishing Business Models" that could be joined instead, by those who have become afflicted with gold fever, forgetting about research and researchers' urgent immediate need for OA, and IRs' mission to provide it.
GS: "I have been espousing the virtues of green open access for nearly five years. At Huddersfield we have 26% full text in the Repository despite not yet having a mandate and our full text downloads are really taking off - 46,000 in the last 12 months."If that 26% is 26% of Huddersfield's current yearly research output, then that deposit rate is somewhat above the global spontaneous (i.e., unmandated) baseline deposit rate of about 20%, but it is a far cry from what the deposit rate would be if Huddersfield were to adopt a mandate.
A repository manager espousing the interests of Huddersfield's researchers should be espousing the virtues of green OA mandates to Huddersfield's researchers and administration, not just the virtues of providing green OA spontaneously (although that is, of course, welcome too).
Well over five years' consistent experience (and surveys) worldwide have shown that most researchers will not deposit spontaneously but they will deposit (willingly) if deposit is mandated. In the past few years, it is not spontaneous deposit rates that have been picking up, but the rate of adoption of deposit mandates, and the resulting green OA.
This is not the time for repository managers to succumb to gold fever (which leads next to nowhere, and is not even part of their remit), resigning their IRs to warehousing "grey literature."
GS: "However, for some time I have had my doubts as to whether the championing of green open access was actually taking us down the right road. I could see that gold open access was a good business model. "If we all commit to deposit, we don't need green OA self-archiving mandates.
But we don't all commit to deposit, even though it costs nothing. Only about 20% commit unmandated (26% at Huddersfield, perhaps because the IR manager has for five years espoused the virtues of spontaneous deposit so persuasively).
But even fewer commit to gold OA, because it costs money, because most of the top journals don't offer it, and because the money to pay for it is still tied up in paying for subscriptions.
And there are no mandates to require researchers to pay for gold OA, nor to release the subscription money, nor to dictate publishers' business model or modus operandi, nor to set their asking price.
Besides, none of that is within an OA IR manager's remit. It has nothing to do with "the work of repository management as a professionally recognised and supported role within UK research institutions."
An OA IR manager is supposed to get his IR filled with OA's target content, and that target content is supposed to be, first and foremost, peer-reviewed journal articles, most of which are today still being published in subscription journals.
What needs to be championed by IR managers (and a fortiori, by the Chair of the UK Council of Research Repositories), and championed for their researchers and their institutions, are the virtues of green OA mandates that will fill their IRs -- not the virtues of "good business models," championed for publishers, by librarians. (You don't need to be a "professional and supported" IR manager to go down that road.)
And those who are indeed committed to championing green OA mandates worldwide are beginning to win them.
GS: "The trouble to me is that the [gold OA] model only really works if we all commit. Otherwise, you end up paying twice, once for the open access article and once for the journal subscription. I just didn't see how we arrived at this brave new world of gold open access journals, no serials budgets and stuff in the cloud."Yes, that's indeed the size of it: "The [gold OA] model only really works if we all commit. Otherwise, you end up paying twice, once for the open access article and once for the journal subscription."
Trying to go directly from the status quo to gold OA is quite simply self-contradictory, like an Escher drawing of an impossible shape:
Institutional subscription access tolls are paid per incoming journal; individual OA publication fees are paid per outgoing article. The money to pay for gold OA fees is tied up in subscription tolls. But institutions cannot cancel their journal subscriptions unless the journals' contents are accessible to their users otherwise. Institutions are not necessarily even subscribing annually, for their users, to the same journals in which their researchers are occasionally publishing. Catch 22.
(And, as Graham notes, anyone foolish and gullible enough to believe hybrid gold publishers (the ones who charge both subscription tolls + optional gold OA fees) when they say they will reduce subscription tolls proportionately as gold OA fee revenues increase is forgetting that this requires institutions to find the money to pay the gold asking price first, while it is still being spent on the subscriptions! A good "business model" indeed…)
(By the way, the somewhat uneven distribution of wealth on the planet can also be fixed "if we all commit." That's not just gold fever, it's the Golden Rule -- but alas far too few in our gene pool are committed to practising it...)
GS: "But maybe I can see how we get to gold open access now? With researchers taking ownership of the 'game' by realising that gold open access is the only way to ensure access for all and increased citations, maybe we are on the right road after all?"Researchers "taking ownership of the 'game'"? by "reaising that gold OA is the only way"?
The self-contradiction on the road to there from here is resolved by "realisation"? By researchers? (The same researchers for whom the only thing they need to do to provide OA is a few keystrokes? And they're not even "committed" enough to do those keystrokes, unless they are first mandated by their institutions or funders?)
What does this vision envision that researchers are to do with this newfound golden realisation of theirs? The same thing 34,000 of them did (unsuccessfully) back in 2000? Sign a petition to boycott their journals if they don't go OA?
And if researchers were really that committed to "ensuring access for all and increased citations," wouldn't it be simpler than making empty threats against all their publishers just to petition their one and only institution to mandate deposit?
Better still, if their realisation about "the only way" were that profound, wouldn't researchers just go ahead and do the keystrokes to deposit of their own accord, unmandated, in order to "ensure access for all, and increased citations"?
And would it not be a remarkable coincidence it it turned out that the most pressing thing on researchers' minds was not, in fact, the access and impact of their work (which they can already maximize with a few green keystrokes), but a "good business model" for their publishers and their long-suffering librarians?
A remarkable coincidence that what researchers had been yearning for all along turned out (upon "realisation") to be exactly the same thing their librarians had been yearning for -- which was not the filling of their OA IRs but relief from the serials crisis?
GS: "And maybe, instead of the superfast highway to gold open access that some envisage, are we travelling down the leafy lane of green open access with gold just around the next corner? A bit round the houses, but yes we are certainly getting there."The super-fast highway to gold OA? Amidst all this "realisation," I don't recall hearing the game plan for solving the problem of the toll booths posted along the ubiquitous subscription highways -- the ones that are currently gobbling up institutions' serial budgets (i.e., the funds that would be used instead to pay for gold OA)...
But it is true that green OA, once it becomes universal, may eventually get us to gold OA too -- if universal availability of green eventually causes universal cancellations, forcing journals to cut costs, downsize, and convert to gold OA, thereby releasing the windfall subscription savings to pay the reduced cost of gold OA (peer review alone, with the print and online editions gone, and all access-provision and archiving offloaded onto the worldwide network of OA IRs).
But that's not around the next corner, when we're still at 20% green OA.
And we are certainly getting ahead of ourselves, if we don't provide the universal green OA first -- for that's what any eventual subscription cancellation windfall is dependent upon. The cancellations can't be done pre-emptively. Certainly not by a single institution, or IR manager -- not even the Chair of the UK Council of Research Repositories. That would require universal institutional subscription cancellations, and all at once (not one institution or country at a time -- otherwise the researchers of that institution or country, instead of gaining open access, lose subscription access altogether).
My recommendation to OA IR managers who envision "the work of repository management as a professionally recognised and supported role within UK research institutions" would be to focus on their own mandate, which is to fill their own institution's IRs, not to dream about business models that are as good as gold.
And the way to get their OA IRs filled is already known: It is by getting their institutions to mandate green OA. (No one connected in any way with OA IRs has a more "professionally recognised and supported role within [their] research institutions" then Southampton's Les Carr and Harvard's Stuart Shieber, the architects of their respective institutions' green OA mandates (Southampton's being the first and Harvard's the most famous). It's not too late for Huddersfield -- or Nottingham, or the rest of the 17,000 universities that have not yet adopted a mandate.
That's all. And that's enough. Mandate green OA for your institution and rest will take care of itself, in its own time. But meanwhile your institution's researchers will "ensure access for all, and increased citations."
That, after all -- not "a good business model" -- is the purpose of OA, and hence the mandate of OA IR managers.
See "Waiting for Gold"
On 2010-07-30, at 2:50 AM, Charles Oppenheim [CO] wrote in JISC-Repositories:
CO: "Mr Stone's (and other repository managers') Job Specifications may say something like "your job is to ensure that articles produced by staff in this University are made OA, whether by means of the Institutional Repository or by any other means deemed appropriate." So, whilst not disagreeing with the argument that the priority should be green repositories, repository managers should not ignore alternative approaches that also produce increased downloads and citations and promote the institution's reputation. Even if their job specification is tied to their IR, it would be an unprofessional Repository Manager who was not interested in the pros and cons of alternative methods for achieving OA. Being professional means taking a holistic view of things! I see nothing incompatible therefore between Mr Stone's remarks and being chairman of UKCoRR."But GS had written:
And CO has replied:GS: "I have been espousing the virtues of green open access for nearly five years… However, for some time I have had my doubts as to whether the championing of green open access was actually taking us down the right road… Kurt de Belder... assumed that open access would be via the gold route and if Repositories existed, they would only contain grey literature… I must admit that I am starting to agree with the gold only route…"
If the university repository manager's "job is to ensure that articles produced by staff in this University are made OA, whether by means of the Institutional Repository or by any other means deemed appropriate," it is not clear why the job is called "repository manager."CO: "...priority should be given to green repositories..."
(It sounds like something more like "publication advisor" -- and if that advice is to take the gold only route, then it sounds like an anti-repository manager!)
Rather than twist simple and obvious job descriptions into complicated ideological knots, might it not be more sensible to look carefully at the concrete, practical reasons why repository managers' "priority should be [filling] green repositories" rather than "the gold only route"?
After all, GS himself wrote that the "trouble to me is that the [gold OA] model only really works if we all commit. Otherwise, you end up paying twice."
But GS never went on to explain how to surmount this impasse (whereas my posting [above] explains quite explicitly why you could not -- unless universal green OA came first).
Yet this impasse did not seem to deter Huddersfield's green repository manager and UKCoRR's chairman from announcing that he was "starting to agree with the gold only route" because he "could see that gold open access was a good business model."
CO: "And before Stevan explodes at this posting, let me say (yet again) that I am a strong supporter of the green approach to OA. But I am not blind to the existence, and in some cases success, of alternative OA approaches."Indisputably there is not one but two ways to provide OA. (We -- CO and 8 other co-authors -- defined the two ways ourselves in a Nature Web Focus six years ago:
But from the capability of providing OA to some of the planet's annual 2.5 million refereed journal articles in two different ways, green and gold, it does not follow that each of the ways is capable of scaling up to providing OA to all (or even much or most) of the planet's annual 2.5 million refereed journal articles.Harnad, S., Brody, T., Vallieres, F., Carr, L., Hitchcock, S., Gingras, Y, Oppenheim, C., Stamerjohanns, H., & Hilf, E. (2004) The green and the gold roads to Open Access. Nature Web Focus.
This is where the sticky Escherian details (about annual percentage green and gold OA, ongoing subscription needs and commitments, double payment, and especially the power of green mandates) come in.
Surely the practical and professional mandate of the newly minted job title "repository manager" is not just a matter of abstract principles but of concrete, practical reality.
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