What Institutions Can Do To Facilitate the Transition to Open Access

SUMMARY: Leo Waaijers recommends (1) that authors should retain copyright, (2) that institutions should use metrics richer than just the journal impact factor to assess their researchers, and (3) and that “supra-institutional organisations” (such as the European University Association) should “take the necessary initiative” for “[s]witching to Open Access” [OA] from the “traditional subscription model.”
    It is good for authors to retain copyright whenever they can, but
it is not necessary — and hence gratuitously raises the bar — if stipulated as a precondition for providing or mandating OA: The only thing necessary for providing or mandating OA is that authors should deposit in their Institutional Repositories (IRs) (and that their institutions and funders should mandate that they deposit) the final drafts of their peer-reviewed journal articles, which 63% of journals already formally endorse making OA immediately upon acceptance. (The remaining 37% can be provisionally deposited in Closed Access, likewise immediately upon acceptance, with the IR’s semi-automatic “email eprint request” button tiding over all user needs during any publisher embargo, during which the author can also try to negotiate copyright retention with the publisher, if he wishes. But on no account should copyright retention be required as a precondition, either for depositing or for adopting an institutional mandate to deposit.)
    It is good to use richer metrics, but these will not generate OA; rather, OA will generate richer metrics.
    Institutions can mandate deposit in IRs, and deposits can be made OA, but this is Green OA self-archiving of articles published in “traditional subscription model” journals; it is not Gold OA journal publishing. Institutions and funders cannot mandate that publishers switch to Gold OA publishing, nor should they try to mandate that authors switch to Gold OA journals just for the sake of providing OA, since OA can already be provided by mandating Green OA self-archiving, without constraining authors’ choice of journal.

In Ariadne 57, October 2008, Leo Waaijers has written an article on “What Institutions Can Do to Ease Open Access.”

Since Open Access (OA) itself needs no “easing,” I assume that what Leo meant was something more like: “What Institutions Can Do to Facilitate a Transition to Open Access.”

In his article, Leo made three recommendations, which I discuss in an exchange below:

On 1-Dec-08 Leo Waaijers wrote in SPARC-OAForum:

Dear Stevan,

Most authors do not self-archive their publications spontaneously. So they must be mandated. But, apart from a few, the mandators do not mandate the authors. In a world according to you they themselves must be supermandated. And so on. This approach only works if somewhere in the mandating hierarchy there is an enlightened echelon that is able and willing to start the mandating cascade.

Leo, you are quite right that in order to induce authors to provide Green OA, their institutions and funders must be induced to mandate that they provide Green OA, as far too few authors will otherwise do the few requisite keystrokes. Authors can be mandated by their institutions and funders to do the keystrokes, but institutions and funders cannot be mandated to mandate (except possibly by their governments and tax-payers) — so how to persuade them to mandate the keystrokes?

The means that I (and others) have been using to persuade institutions and funders to mandate that their authors provide OA have been these:

(1) Benefits of Providing OA: Gather empirical evidence to demonstrate the benefits of OA to the author, institution, and funder, as well as to research progress and to tax-paying society (increased accessibility, downloads, uptake, citations, hence increased research impact, productivity, and progress, increased visibility and showcasing for institutions, richer and more valid research performance evaluation for research assessors, enhanced and more visible metrics of research impact — and its rewards — for authors, etc.).

(2) Means of Providing OA: Provide free software for making deposit quick, easy, reliable, functional, and cheap, for authors as well as their institutions. Provide OA metrics to monitor, measure and reward OA and OA-generated research impact.

(3) Evidence that Mandating (and Only Mandating) Works: Gather empirical data to demonstrate that (a) the vast majority of authors (> 80%) say, when surveyed, that they would deposit willingly if it were mandated by their institutions and/or funders, but that they will not deposit if it is not mandated (< 15%) (Alma Swan’s surveys); and that (b) most authors (> 80%) actually do what they said in surveys they would do (deposit if it is mandated [> 80%] and not deposit if it is not mandated [< 15%] even if they are given incentives and assistance [< 30%] (Arthur Sale’s Studies).

(4) Information about OA: Information and evidence about the means and the benefits of providing OA has to be widely and relentlessly provided, in conferences, publications, emails, discussion lists, and blogs. At the same time, misunderstanding and misinformation have to be unflaggingly corrected (over and over and over!)

There are already 58 institutional and funder Green OA mandates adopted and at least 11 proposed and under consideration. So these efforts are not entirely falling on deaf ears (although I agree that 58 out of perhaps 10,000 research institutions [plus funders] worldwide — or even the top 4000 — is still a sign of some hearing impairment! But the signs are that audition is improving…)

To create such a cascade one needs water (i.e. arguments) and a steep rocky slope (i.e. good conditions). The pro OA arguments do not seem to be the problem. In all my discussions over the last decade authors, managers and librarians alike agreed that the future should be OA also thanks to you, our driving OA archivangelist.

But alas it is not agreement that we need, but mandates (and keystrokes)! And now — not in some indeterminate future.

So, it must be the conditions that are lacking. This awareness brought me to the writing of an article about these failing conditions. Only if we are able to create better conditions mandates will emerge and be successful on a broad scale. A fortiori, this will make mandates superfluous.

I am one of the many admirers of your splendid efforts and successes in the Netherlands, with SURF/DARE, “Cream of Science,” and much else.

But I am afraid I don’t see how the three recommendations made in the Ariadne article will make mandates emerge (nor how they make mandates superfluous). On the contrary, I see the challenge of making the three recommendations prevail to be far, far greater than the challenge of getting Green OA self-archiving mandates to be adopted. Let me explain:

LW Recommendation 1: Transferring the copyright in a publication has become a relic of the past; nowadays a ?licence to publish? is sufficient. The author retains the copyrights. Institutions should make the use of such a licence part of their institutional policy.

Persuading authors to retain copyright is a far bigger task than just persuading them to deposit (keystrokes): It makes them worry about what happens if their publisher does not agree to copyright retention, and then their article fails to be published in their journal of choice.

Doing the c. 6-minutes-worth of keystrokes that it takes to deposit an article — even if authors can’t be bothered to do those keystrokes until/unless it is mandated — is at least a sure thing, and that’s the end of it.

In contrast, it is not at all clear how long copyright retention negotiations will take in each case, nor whether they will succeed in each case.

Moreover, just as most authors are not doing the deposit keystrokes spontaneously, but only if mandated, they are not doing the copyright retention negotiations either: Do you really think it would be easier to mandate doing copyright retention than to mandate a few keystrokes?

(Harvard has adopted a kind of a copyright-retention mandate, though it has an opt-out, so it is not clear whether it is quite a mandate — nor is it clear how well it will succeed, either in terms of compliance or in terms of negotiation [nor whether it is even thinkable for universities with authors that have less clout with their publishers than Harvard’s]. But there is a simple way to have the best of both worlds by upgrading the Harvard copyright-retention mandate with opt-out into a deposit mandate without opt-out that is certain to succeed, and generalizable to all universities — the Harvards as well as the Have-Nots. To instead require successful copyright renegotiation as a precondition for providing OA and for mandating OA, however, would be needlessly and arbitrarily to raise the bar far higher than it need be — and already is — for persuading institutions and funders to mandate deposit at all: “Upgrade Harvard’s Opt-Out Copyright Retention Mandate: Add a No-Opt-Out Deposit Clause.”)

LW Recommendation 2: The classic impact factor for a journal is not a good yardstick for the prestige of an author. Modern digital technology makes it possible to tailor the measurement system to the author. Institutions should, when assessing scientists and scholars, switch to this type of measurement and should also promote its further development.

This is certainly true, but how does using these potential new impact metrics generate OA or OA mandates, or make OA mandates superfluous? On the contrary, it is OA (and whatever successfully generates OA) that will generate these new metrics (which will, among other things, in turn serve to increase research impact, as well as making it more readily measurable and rewardable)!

Brody, T., Carr, L., Gingras, Y., Hajjem, C., Harnad, S. and Swan, A. (2007) Incentivizing the Open Access Research Web: Publication-Archiving, Data-Archiving and Scientometrics. CTWatch Quarterly 3(3).

Harnad, S. (2007) Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise. In Proceedings of 11th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics 11(1), pp. 27-33, Madrid, Spain. Torres-Salinas, D. and Moed, H. F., Eds. h

Harnad, S. (2008) Validating Research Performance Metrics Against Peer Rankings. Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 8 (11) doi:10.3354/esep00088 The Use And Misuse Of Bibliometric Indices In Evaluating Scholarly Performance

Shadbolt, N., Brody, T., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2006) The Open Research Web: A Preview of the Optimal and the Inevitable, in Jacobs, N., Eds. Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects. Chandos.

LW Recommendation 3: The traditional subscription model for circulating publications is needlessly complex and expensive. Switching to Open Access, however, requires co-ordination that goes beyond the level of individual institutions. Supra-institutional organisations, for example the European University Association, should take the necessary initiative.

The European University Association has already taken the initiative to recommend that its 791 member universities in 46 countries should all mandate Green OA self-archiving! Now the individual universities need to be persuaded to follow that recommendation. The European Heads of Research Councils have made the same recommendation to their member research councils. (I am optimistic, because, for example, 6 of the 7 RCUK research funding councils have so far already followed the very first of these recommendations to mandate — from the UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology.) And the 28 universities that have already adopted Green OA self-archiving mandates show that institutional mandates are at last gathering momentum too.

But if it is already considerably harder to mandate author copyright-retention than it is to mandate author self-archiving in their institutional repositories (Green OA), it is surely yet another order of magnitude harder to mandate “Switching to Open Access” from the “traditional subscription model”:

If authors are likely to resist having to renegotiate copyright with their journal of choice at the risk of not getting published in their journal of choice, just in order to provide OA, they are even more likely to resist having to publish in a Gold OA journal instead of in their journal of choice, just in order to provide OA — especially as they need do neither: They need merely self-archive.

And journal publishers are likely to resist anyone trying to dictate their economic model to them. (Moreover, publishers’ economic policies are beyond the bounds of what is within the university community’s mandate to mandate!)

So mandating Green OA is still the fastest, surest, and simplest way to reach universal OA. Let us hope that the “enlightened echelon” of the institutional hierarchy will now set in motion the long overdue “mandating cascade.”

Best wishes,

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Institutional and Central Repositories: Interactions

The JISC/SIRIS “Report of the Subject and Institutional Repositories Interactions Study” (November 2008) “was commissioned by JISC to produce a set of practical recommendations for steps that can be taken to improve the interactions between institutional and subject repositories in the UK” but it fails to make clear the single most important reason why Institutional Repositories’ “desired ?critical mass? of content is far from having been achieved.”

The following has been repeatedly demonstrated (1) in cross-national, cross-disciplinary surveys (by Alma Swan, uncited in the report) on what authors state that they will and won’t do and (2) in outcome studies (by Arthur Sale, likewise uncited in the report) that confirm the survey findings, reporting what authors actually do:

Most authors will not deposit until and unless their universities and/or their funders make deposit mandatory. But if and when deposit is made mandatory, over 80% will deposit, and deposit willingly. (A further 15% will deposit reluctantly, and 5% will not comply with the mandate at all.) In contrast, the spontaneous (unmandated) deposit rate is and remains at about 15%, for years now (and adding incentives and assistance but no mandate only raises this deposit rate to about 30%).

The JISC/SIRIS report merely states: “Whether deposit of content is mandatory is a decision that will be made by each institution,” but it does not even list the necessity of mandating deposit as one of its recommendations, even though it is the crucial determinant of whether or not the institutional repository ever manages to attract its target content.

Nor does the JISC/SIRIS report indicate how institutional and funder mandates reinforce one another, nor how to make both mandates and locus of deposit systematically convergent and complementary (deposit institutionally, harvest centrally) rather than divergent and competitive — though surely that is the essence of “Subject and Institutional Repositories Interactions.”

There are now 58 deposit mandates already adopted worldwide (28 from universties/faculties, including Southampton, Glasgow, Liège, Harvard and Stanford, and 30 from funders, including 6/7 Research Councils UK, European Research Council and the US National Institutes of Health) plus at least 11 known mandate proposals pending (including a unanimous recommendation from the European Universities Association council, for its 791 member universities in 46 countries, plus a recommendation to the European Commission from the European Heads of Research Councils).

It is clear now that mandated OA self-archiving is the way that the world will reach universal OA at long last. Who will lead and who will follow will depend on who grasps this, at long last, and takes the initiative. Otherwise, there’s not much point in giving or taking advice on the interactions of empty repositories…

Swan, A., Needham, P., Probets, S., Muir, A., Oppenheim, C., O?Brien, A., Hardy, R., Rowland, F. and Brown, S. (2005) Developing a model for e-prints and open access journal content in UK further and higher education. Learned Publishing, 18 (1). pp. 25-40.

Swan A, Needham P, Probets P, Muir A, O ‘Brien A, Oppenheim C, Hardy R and Rowland F (2004). Delivery, management and access model for E-prints and open access journals within further and higher education Report of JISC study. pp 1-121.

On 30-Nov-08, at 9:08 AM, Neil Jacobs (JISC) replied in JISC-REPOSITORIES:

“Thanks Stevan,

You’re right, of course, the report does not cover policies. The brief for the work was to look for practical ways that subject/funder and institutional repositories can work together within the constraints of the current policies of their host organisations. There are discussions to be had at the policy level, but we felt that there were also practical things to be done now, without waiting for that.”

Hi Neil,

I was referring to the JISC report’s recommendations, which mention a number of things, but not how to get the repositories filled (despite noting the problem that they are empty).

It seems to me that the practical problems of what to do with — and how to work together with — empty repositories are trumped by the practical problem of how to get the repositories filled.

Moreover, the solution to the practical problem of how the repositories (both institutional and subject/funder) can work together is by no means independent of the practical problem of how to get them filled — including the all-important question of the locus of direct deposit:

The crucial question (for both policy and practice) is whether direct deposit is to be divergent and competitive (as it is now, being sometimes institutional and sometimes central) or convergent and synergistic (as it can and ought to be), by systematically mandating convergent institutional deposit, mutually reinforced by both institutional and funder mandates, followed by central harvesting — rather than divergent, competing mandates requiring deposits willy-nilly, resulting in confusion, understandable resistance to divergent or double deposit, and, most important, the failure to capitalize on funder mandates so as to reinforce institutional mandates.

Institutions, after all, are the producers of all refereed research output, in all subjects, and whether funded or unfunded. Get all those institutions to provide OA to all their own refereed research output, and you have 100% OA (and all the central harvests from it that you like).

As it stands, however, funder and institutional mandates are pulling researchers needlessly in divergent directions. And (many) funder mandates in particular, instead of adding their full weight behind the drive to get all refereed research to be made OA, are thinking, parochially, only of their own funded fiefdom, by arbitrarily insisting on direct deposit in central repositories that could easily harvest instead from the institutional repositories, if convergent institutional deposit were mandated by all — with the bonus that all research, and all institutions, would be targeted by all mandates.

It is not too late to fix this. It is still early days. There is no need to take the status quo for granted, especially given that most repositories are still empty.

I hope the reply will not be the usual (1) “What about researchers whose institutions still don’t have IRs?“: Let those author’s deposit provisionally in DEPOT for now, from which they can be automatically exported to their IRs as soon as they are created, using the SWORD protocol. With all mandates converging systematically on IRs, you can be sure that this will greatly facilitate and accelerate both IR creation and IR deposit mandate adoption. But with just unfocussed attempts to accommodate to the recent, random, and unreflecting status quo, all that is guaranteed is to perpetuate it.

Nor is the right reply (2) “Since all repositories, institutional and subject/funder, are OAI-interoperable, it doesn’t matter where authors deposit!” Yes, they are interoperable, and yes, it would not matter where authors deposited — if they were indeed all depositing in one or the other. But most authors are not depositing, and that is the point. Moreover, most institutions are not mandating deposit at all yet and that is the other point. Funder mandates can help induce institutions — the universal research providers — to create IRs and to adopt institutional deposit mandates if the funder mandates are convergent on IR deposit. But funder mandates have the opposite effect if they instead insist on central deposit. So the fact that both types of repository are interoperable is beside the point.

Une puce à l’oreille (not to be confused with a gadfly),


The Immediate-Deposit/Optional Access (ID/OA) Mandate: Rationale and Model

Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates: What? Where? When? Why? How?

How To Integrate University and Funder Open Access Mandates

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Elsevier Again Confirms Its Position on the Side of the Green OA Angels

SUMMARY: A publisher that has a Green policy on OA self-archiving (by the author) is removing the single biggest obstacle to Green OA (hence to OA), as well as to Green OA Mandates by authors’ institutions and funders, namely, the author’s worry that to self-archive would be to violate copyright and/or to risk not being published by his journal of choice. No one is asking non-OA publishers to support OA — just not to oppose it. What will ensure that not only a small fraction of authors but all authors provide Green OA is Green OA mandates. Green OA mandates are facilitated by publishers with Green policies on OA self-archiving. That does not, however, require that publishers agree to allow 3rd parties to download their proprietary files automatically (simply because authors themselves cannot be bothered to do the requisite keystrokes), for that would be tantamount to asking publishers to become Gold OA publishers.

On 26 November 2008, Colin Smith [CS], Research Repository Manager of the Open University’s Open Research Online (ORO), sent the following posting to UKCORR-DISCUSSION (which I reposted on the American Scientist Open Access Forum):

CS: “A short while ago I mentioned on this list that Elsevier are producing PDFs of the final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript and publishing them online as part of their ‘Articles in Press’ system (see attached example). The ‘Accepted Manuscript’ will stay online until the ‘Uncorrected Proof’ replaces it.

“Everyone knows that Elsevier‘s [author self-archiving] policy (like [that of] most other publishers) allows the use of the final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript in repositories, but I wondered whether they would be happy about us making us of the ‘Accepted Manuscript’ version they are producing and publishing online.

“The answer (officially ? from Daviess Menefee, Director of Library Relations at Elsevier) is ‘yes’.

“This is really good news because it gives us (Repository Managers and Administrators) a window of opportunity to always get hold of the final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript for Elsevier items (assuming your institution subscribes to the journal in question). The ‘window of
opportunity’ is that time between which the ‘Accepted Manuscript’ appears online and is replaced by the ‘Uncorrected Proof’.”

Elsevier’s Senior Vice President Karen Hunter [KH] followed up with this clarification:

KH: “As much as Elsevier appreciates praise for its policies, we also want to prevent misunderstanding.

“We are grateful that Colin Smith, Research Repository Manager of the Open University, approached us with a question on our author posting policy. Mr. Smith had noticed that for some journals an early “accepted manuscript” version of an author’s paper was available on ScienceDirect and he wanted to know if authors could download it and deposit it to their institutional repositories. As our longstanding policy permits authors to voluntarily post their own author manuscripts to their personal website or institutional repository, we responded that we would not object to an author downloading this version.

“However, our broader policy prohibits systematic downloading or posting. Therefore, it is not permitted for IR managers or any other third party to download articles or any other version such as articles-in-press or accepted manuscripts from ScienceDirect and post them. To the extent that Colin Smith’s message could be read as encouraging IR managers to download, it is a misinterpretation of our position.”

I [SH] , in turn, followed up with this AmSci posting:

SH: Karen Hunter’s response is very fair, and Elsevier’s policy on author self-archiving is both very fair and very progressive — indeed a model for all Publishers that wish to adopt a Green OA policy.

I know there will be extremists who will jump on me for having said this, and I am sure nothing I say will be able to make them realize how unreasonable they are being — and how their extremism works against OA.

Green OA self-archiving provides the opportunity for achieving universal OA precisely because it is author self-archiving. Thus is it is perfectly reasonable for Green publishers to endorse only self-archiving, not 3rd-party archiving; to endorse self-archiving in the author’s own institutional repository, but not in a 3rd-party repository; and to endorse depositing the author’s own final draft, not the publisher’s draft.

The fact that we do not yet have universal Green OA is not publishers’ fault, and certainly not Green publishers’ fault. The only thing standing between us and universal Green OA is keystrokes — authors’ keystrokes. And the way to persuade authors to perform those keystrokes — for their own benefit, as well as for the benefit of the institutions that pay their salaries, the agencies that fund their research, and the tax-paying public that funds their institutions and their funders — is for their institutions and funders to mandate that those keystrokes are performed.

It would not only be unjust, but it would border on the grotesque, if the punishment for publishers who had been progressive enough to give their official green light to their authors to perform those keystrokes — yet their authors couldn’t be bothered to perform the keystrokes, and their institutions and funders could not be bothered to mandate the keystrokes — were that their green light was construed as permission to automatically harvest from the publisher’s website the drafts that their own authors could not be bothered or persuaded to deposit in their own institutional repository.

No. Open Access is a benefit that the research community needs to provide for itself. The only reasonable thing to ask of publishers is that they should not try to prevent the keystrokes from being performed. It would be both unreasonable and unfair to demand that publishers also perform the keystrokes on the authors’ behalf, through automated downloads, for that would be tantamount to demanding that they become Gold OA publishers, rather than just endorsing Green OA.

What is needed is more keystroke mandates from institutions and funders, not more pressure on Green publishers who have already done for Green OA all that can be reasonable asked of them.

Mike Eisen’s [MBE], of Public Library of Science, then responded on AmSci. His response is excerpted here and interwoven with my replies:

MBE: “…I will proudly claim the mantle of an OA extremist if it means calling [them] on Elsevier’s policy. I am very happy to see Karen Hunter’s message, because it confirms what I and many others have been saying for years – that Elsevier only supports Green OA publishing because they know it will be adopted by a small fraction of their authors.”

SH: (1) There is no Green OA publishing, there is only Green OA self-archiving (by the author).

(2) A publisher that is Green on OA self-archiving (by the author) is removing the single biggest obstacle to Green OA (hence to OA), as well as to Green OA Mandates by authors’ institutions and funders: The author’s concern that to self-archive would be to violate copyright and to risk not being published by his journal of choice.

(3) No one is asking non-OA publishers to support OA — just not to oppose it.

(4) What will ensure that not only a small fraction of authors but all authors provide Green OA is Green OA mandates.

(5) Green OA mandates are facilitated by publishers with Green policies on OA self-archiving.

(6) None of this requires that publishers agree to allow 3rd parties to download their proprietary files automatically.

MBE: “What more evidence do you need that Elsevier is not actually committed to OA than this explicit statement that they prohibit the clearest and easiest path towards achieving Green OA to their published articles?”

SH: The clearest and easiest path to achieving Green OA to all published articles is for their authors to deposit them in their institutional repositories and for their institutions and funders to mandate that they deposit them in their institutional repositories. It is not Elsevier that is holding up that process. It is authors, in failing to self-archive of their own accord, and their institutions and funders, in failing to mandate that they self-archive.

The only relevant evidence from Elsevier here is that Elsevier has removed the obstacles to immediate author self-archiving, as well as to institutional and funder immediate self-archiving mandates. There is nothing more that needs to be asked of Elsevier on this score, nor anything more that Elsevier need do.

(I make no mention here about something else on which Elsevier can indeed be faulted, namely, that they are an active part of the publisher lobbying against Green OA mandates! But I think that on balance their Green policy and example on immediate OA self-archiving is far more of a help to progress on Green OA and Green OA mandates than the publisher lobbying against Green OA mandates is a hindrance; indeed the lobbying is failing, globally, and especially failing against individual institutional mandates, which are far less vulnerable to industry lobbying than governmental funding agencies, although those too are successfully resisting the industry lobbying.)

MBE: “Why should Elsevier care whether authors download the articles themselves or if someone else does it for them other than the expectation that in the former case, the practical obstacles will prevent most authors from doing so.”

SH: Because construing a Green Light for authors to self-archive as a Green Light for 3rd-party “self”-archiving, and 3rd-party archives would be a carte blanche to 3rd-party rival publishers to free-ride on Elsevier content.

(Again, the distinction is completely mooted, in practical terms, by the nature of the Web and of Open Access: Once content is free for all in one place, it is free for all in any place, and there is scarcely any scope for “free-riding” on free content. But these are alas still early days, and while authors and their institutions and funders are still dragging their feet on self-archiving and self-archiving mandates, there is plenty of scope for free-riders to have a little field day with an Elsevier policy that allows anyone to download and re-use their proprietary files today.)

MBE: “Unless and until Elsevier radically restructures its business model for scientific publishing, they will only permit Green OA so long as it is largely unsuccessful – the moment it becomes possible to get most Elsevier articles in IRs they will have to end this practice, as their current policy against IR downloads makes abundantly clear.”

SH: On this point, Mike, I am afraid we will have to continue to disagree, profoundly. You are an advocate of a direct transition to Gold OA publishing; I am not, because I see so clearly that universal Green OA is within reach, awaiting only universal Green OA mandates by authors’ institutions and funders. Those universal Green OA mandates by authors’ institutions and funders (which Elsevier’s Green policy greatly facilitates) — along with time itself — make it increasingly difficult for publishers even to contemplate back-tracking on their Green policies.

So I think you are simply wrong about this back-tracking bugaboo, which is about as valid as the publisher lobby’s repeated bugaboo that OA will destroy peer review.

You continue to be impatient for Gold OA, whereas my overtaxed patience is just for OA itself — which, unlike Gold OA, is already within sight and reach. All it takes is universal Green OA self-archiving mandates by institutions and funders. Elsevier’s Green policy is such a great help in that (even though even that help is not essential) that I think it far outweighs their lobbying against Green OA mandates. And it certainly outweighs their unwillingness to allow 3rd-party downloading of their proprietary files.

The discussion reached closure with Colin Smith’s reply to Karen Hunter:

CS: “Karen, I very much appreciate you pointing out that my posting could have been interpreted as a rallying call to IR Managers and Administrators to systematically download Elsevier items on behalf of authors. This is not what I meant – my apologies.

“Where I originally said:

‘This is really good news because it gives us (Repository Managers and Administrators) a window of opportunity to always get hold of the final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript for Elsevier items (assuming your institution subscribes to the journal in question).’

“I should have said:

‘This is really good news because it gives us (Repository Managers and Administrators) the opportunity to inform our academics that there may well be an online version of their accepted manuscript that they can retrieve, should they have failed to retain it themselves.’

“I have to say that, while I am not averse to occasional third-party depositing, on the whole I believe Green OA can only be sustainable if the academics themselves are choosing to do it. If IR Managers and Administrators are busying around in the background, mass-uploading items without the knowledge of authors, yes your repository may grow substantially in size and it may look to the outside world that Green OA is taking off, but have you actually embedded OA into the culture of your institution? I suspect not. We have to encourage self-archiving because only by doing it themselves, engaging with their IR on a regular basis, will our academics become aware of how much there is to gain for what is actually very little pain.

“On that note, just to reiterate (and again I thank Karen for pulling me up on this), I am certainly not advocating that we in any way trawl Science Direct for accepted manuscripts. That would, in my opinion, be a non-sustainable approach and detrimental to the coexistence of IRs and academic publishing.”

Elsevier Still Solidly on the Side of the Angels on Open Access

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Comment on EU Green Paper: “Copyright in the Knowledge Economy”

Comment on EU Green Paper:
Copyright in the Knowledge Economy

(Send your own comments here — till Nov 30)

I am commenting only on the bearing of EC policy on one specific body of content: The 2.5 million articles per year published in the world’s 25,000 peer-reviewed research journals in all fields of science and scholarship.

The authors of all these articles neither receive nor seek royalty or fees from access-tolls to their users or their users’ institutions. These authors only seek that these research findings should be accessed and used as fully and widely and possible, to the benefit of research progress and applications, and hence to the benefit of the society that funds their research and their institutions.

Making this specific body of research accessible free for all on the Web (“Open Access”) will maximise its usage and impact. It does not require a major or even minor reform in copyright law. All it requires is that the authors of these 2.5 million annual peer-reviewed research articles make them open access by depositing them in their own institution’s/university’s Repository. Sixty-three percent of journals already formally endorse depositing the author’s final, revised, peer-reviewed draft in their institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, and immediately making that deposited draft accessible free for all.

For that 63% of articles, it should be evident that no copyright reform whatsoever is needed. What is needed is that the authors’ institutions and funders mandate (require) that they deposit and make them Open Access immediately upon acceptance by those journals.

The remaining 37% of articles can also be deposited in the author’s institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, but unless their publisher endorses making them immediately Open Access, the deposit has to be set initially as Closed Access (accessible only institution-internally, to the author and his employer).

It is here that legislation can help, although it is not certain that even that is necessary: A Europe-wide law requiring that publicly-funded research and research produced by employees of publicly funded universities must be made openly accessible will exert the requisite pressure on the remaining 37% journals so that they too should endorse that the deposited articles are immediately made Open Access rather than Closed Access.

Note that peer-reviewed research is fundamentally unlike books, textbooks, software, music, and videos. It is in its very essence author give-away content, written only to be used, applied and built-upon. Unlike the creators of the other kinds of content, all the authors of the annual 2.5 million peer-reviewed journal articles want them to be free to all would-be users.

Hence, whatever rationale there may be for changing copyright law for all the other kinds of digital content, in the case of the target content of the Open Access movement, no change is necessary other than a formal publisher endorsement of making the author’s final draft freely accessible online.

Free online access provides for the following forms of usage: Being able to find online, link, view online, download, store, print-off (for individual use) and data-mine. These uses all come automatically all come automatically with free online access. Open Access content is also harvested by search engines like google.

But there are further uses, over and above these, that some fields of research feel they need, including modification and republication. It is likely that free online access will moot the need for copyright modification to guarantee these further uses, but there is no harm in trying to stipulate them formally in advance, as long as it is not treated as a prerequisite for Open Access, of for Open Access Mandates.


Stevan Harnad

ABSTRACT: Free online access (“Open Access,” OA) to all the articles published annually in the world’s 25,000 peer-reviewed journals , in all disciplines and all languages, is optimal and inevitable. It has, however, been delayed by misunderstandings about copyright. It has been wrongly thought that universities and research funding councils cannot mandate the immediate deposit of all their research article output in their OA repositories unless they can somehow change authors’ copyright transfer contracts first. Unless institutional consensus can be quickly and successfully reached on adopting an OA deposit mandate that requires the author to contractually reserve the right to make the article OA immediately, the adoption of OA mandates should not be weakened by copyright reservation clauses from which authors can opt out (as in the Harvard University mandate) or by allowing deposit itself to be delayed for an embargo period (as in the EU mandate). Deposit should in all cases be mandated to take place immediately upon acceptance for publication. Over 60% of journals already endorse making the deposit immediately Open Access. For the rest, the deposit can be Closed Access for the time being, disclosing only its bibliographic metadata. The repository’s semi-automatic “email eprint request” button can then allow users webwide to request, and authors to provide, an email eprint with just a few extra keystrokes for the Closed Access articles. This 60% OA and 40% “almost-OA” will fulfill worldwide research needs for now, faciilitate universal OA mandates, and usher in 100% OA soon thereafter, on the strength of OA itself and its manifest benefits alone. Copyright and publishing reform can then follow. Trying to make those reforms precede instead, as a contractual precondition, is both unnecessary and a great strategic mistake, delaying consensus on mandates or allowing delays or opt-outs, at a great continuing loss in research access, usage and impact.

Copyright Regulation in Europe

Optimizing Harvard’s Proposed Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate

Open Access and Open Data

Copyright retention is not a prerequisite for self-archiving

Making Ends Meet in the Creative Commons

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Two Articles on Open Access in France and Worldwide by Hélène Bosc

Two articles [with which I could hardly agree more!] by France’s OA pioneer, Hélène Bosc:SH

Bosc, H, (2008) [in French]
L?auto-archivage en France : deux exemples de politiques différentes et leurs résultats 
[Self-Archiving in France: Two Different Policies and Their Results]
Liinc em Revista, 4 (2): 196-217 
ABSTRACT (in English: French abstract below): In France, the first Institutional Repositories (IRs) were set up in 2002, using the E-Prints software. At the same time, a centralized repository was organized by CNRS, a French multidisciplinary research institute, for the deposit of all French research output. In 2006, most of the French scientific and scholarly research organisations signed a ?Protocol of Agreement? to collaborate in the development of this national archive, HAL. Independently, the Ifremer Research Institute launched its own IR (Archimer) in 2005. We have compared the development of HAL and Archimer. Our results show that Ifremer?s policy of self-archiving has resulted in 80% of its research output being made Open Access (OA). In the same time interval, HAL, lacking a self-archiving mandate, had only 10% of its target research output deposited. Ifremer?s specific implementation of its mandate (a staff dedicated to self-archiving) is probably not affordable for most French research institutions but its self-archiving mandate itself is, and Arthur Sale?s comparative studies in Australia have shown that the essential element is the mandate itself. The European Universities Association, mindful of the benefits of mandating OA, has recommended self-archiving mandates for its 791 universities. Self-archiving mandates have already been adopted by 22 universities and research institutions worldwide (including Harvard, Southampton, CERN, and one CNRS research laboratory) as well as 22 research funding agencies (including NIH, ERC, & RCUK). OA maximizes research usage and impact. It is time for each of the universities and research institutions of France to adopt their own OA self-archiving mandates.

Bosc, H. (2008) (preprint; in French)
Le droit des chercheurs à mettre leurs résultats de recherche en libre accès : appropriation des archives ouvertes par différentes communautés dans le monde
[Researchers’ Right to Self-Archive Their Articles In Open Access Repositories: Evolving Policy Worldwide]

ABSTRACT (in English: French abstract below): In 2002, a group of researchers, librarians and publishers, launched the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), formulating the concept of Open Access (OA) as well as the two strategies for achieving it ? OA self-archiving (BOAI-1, ?Green OA?) and OA publishing (BOAI-2, ?Gold OA?). The concept of OA spread rapidly among researchers and research policy-makers, but was at first equated almost completely with Gold OA publishing alone, neglecting Green OA self-archiving, despite the fact that it is Green OA that has the greatest immediate scope for growth. After considerable countervailing effort in the form of strategic analysis, research impact and outcome studies, and the development of technical tools for creating OA archives (or  ?Institutional Repositories? IRs) and measuring their impact, the importance and power of Green OA has been demonstrated and recognised, and with it has come a growing number of IRs and the adoption of mandatory OA self-archiving policies by universities, research institutions and research funders. In some countries OA self-archiving policies have even been debated and proposed at the governmental level. This strong engagement in Green OA by policy makers has begun to alarm journal publishers, who are now lobbying vigorously against OA, successfully slowing or halting legislation in some cases. It is for this reason that the research community itself ? not vulnerable to publisher lobbying as politicians are ? is now taking the initiative in OA policy-making, mandating self-archiving at the university level.

L?auto-archivage en France: deux exemples de politiques différentes et leurs résultats
      Résumé: Les premières archives ouvertes se sont développées en France, en 2002 avec le logiciel E-Prints. Dans ce même temps une archive centralisée, à vocation nationale (HAL)1 a été mise en place par le CNRS. En 2006, la plupart des institutions de recherche française ont adhéré au projet HAL et se sont engagées à participer au développement de cette archive en signant un « protocole d?accord ». Presque au même moment, en 2005, un organisme de recherche l’Ifremer a mis en place une archive institutionnelle (Archimer)2 indépendamment de HAL. Nous avons comparé le développement de HAL et celui d?Archimer. Les résultats montrent que la politique de l?Ifremer permet de mettre en Libre Accès (LA) 80% la production « majeure » de l?organisme. HAL qui n?a pas été accompagnée de mesures fortes ne met en LA qu?environ 10% de la production française. Les moyens mis par l?Ifremer (financement de postes dédiés à l?autoarchivage) ne peuvent sans doute pas être pris par toutes les institutions de recherche françaises mais celles-ci peuvent exiger que leurs chercheurs déposent eux-mêmes leurs documents dans une archive -les études d?Arthur Sale ayant montré que l?obligation de dépôt est l?élément essentiel de la réussite d?une archive. L?Association des Universités Européennes (UEA) qui a vu tout l?intérêt de cette obligation pour le chercheur et pour son organisme, soutient cette démarche. Cette obligation a déjà été adoptée par plusieurs institutions de recherche dans le monde (entre autres Harvard, Southampton, le CERN et un laboratoire du CNRS) tout comme 27 fondations qui subventionnent la recherche (parmi lesquelles les NIH, l?ECR, les RCUK, et l’ANR en France). Le Libre Accès permet une meilleure utilisation de la recherche et augmente son impact. Les universités françaises et les organismes de recherche pour tirer profit de tous ces avantages, doivent maintenant obliger le dépôt de leur production.

Le droit des chercheurs à mettre leurs résultats de recherche en libre accès : appropriation des archives ouvertes par différentes communautés dans le monde
Le développement d’Internet a permis à la communauté scientifique de prendre conscience de son droit : celui de mettre en libre accès ses propres résultats de recherche. En 2002, un groupe de chercheurs et éditeurs a lancé la Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI). Il a formulé le concept du libre accès (LA) et les deux stratégies pour y parvenir : déposer dans une archive ouverte le double d’un article publié dans un périodique payé par souscription (« LA Vert »), et/ou publier dans une revue en libre accèsLA Doré »). Le concept du libre accès s’est rapidement étendu mais il a d’abord été presque complètement assimilé au seul « LA Doré ». L’auto-archivage a été négligé en dépit du fait que cette voie verte représente la possibilité de croissance du LA la plus immédiate et la plus rapide. Les efforts déployés alors (analyses stratégiques, études, développement d’outils techniques pour créer des archives institutionnelles et mesurer leur impact) ont permis de démontrer l’importance et les avantages de l’auto-archivage. De ce fait le nombre d’archives a augmenté, tout comme l’obligation d’auto-archiver dans les universités, les institutions et les fondations de recherche. Dans quelques pays, une politique d’auto-archivage a été proposée au niveau gouvernemental. Cet engagement des hommes politiques commence à inquiéter certains éditeurs scientifiques, qui s’organisent en lobby anti-LA et réussissent dans certains cas à ralentir ou arrêter la législation. C’est pour cette raison que la communauté scientifique, moins vulnérable au lobby des éditeurs – que peuvent l’être les politiciens – prend l’initiative d’organiser une politique de LA avec l’obligation d’auto-archivage au niveau de l’université.

Open Access Allows All the Cream to Rise to the Top

Tenopir & King‘s confirmation of the finding (by Kurtz and others) — that as more articles become accessible, more articles are indeed accessed (and read), but fewer articles are cited (and those are cited more) — is best explained by the increased selectivity made possible by that increased accessibility:

The Seglen “skewness” effect is that the top 20% of articles receive 80% of all citations. It is probably safe to say that although there are no doubt some bandwagon and copycat effects contributing to the Seglen effect, overall the 20/80 rule probably reflects the fact that the best work gets cited most (skewing citations toward the top of the quality distribution).

So when more researchers have access to more (or, conversely, are denied access to less), they are more likely to access the best work, and the best work thereby increases its likelihood of being cited, whereas the rest correspondingly decreases its likelihood of being cited. Another way to put it is that there is a levelling of the playing field: Any advantage that the lower 80% had enjoyed from mere accessibility in the toll-access lottery is eliminated, and with it any handicap the top 20% suffered from inaccessibility in the toll-access lottery is eliminated too. Open Access (OA) allows all the cream to rise to the top; accessibility is no longer a constraint on what to cite, one way or the other.

(I would like to point out also that this “quality selectivity” on the part of users — rather than self-selection on the part of authors — is likely to be the main contributor to the citation advantage of Open Access articles over Toll Access articles. It follows from the 20/80 rule that whatever quality-selectivity there is on the part of users will be enjoyed mostly by the top 20% of articles. There is no doubt at all that the top authors are more likely to make their articles OA, and that the top articles are more likely to be made OA, but one should ask oneself why that should be the case, if there were no benefits [or the only benefit were more readers, but fewer citations!]: One of the reasons the top articles are more likely to be made OA is precisely that they are also the most likely to be used, applied and cited more if they are made OA!)

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Please Don’t Conflate Green and Gold OA

At the Students for a Free Culture Conference, Lawrence Lessig advised students, on “Remix Culture“:

I think the obvious, low-hanging-fruit fight for the Students for Free Culture movement right now is to start having sit-ins in universities where they don?t adopt Open Access publishing rules. It?s ridiculous that scholars publish articles in journals that then charge 5, 10, 15 thousand dollars for people around the world to get access to it.”

It may just be because of the wrong choice of words (“Open Access publishing rules”), but as stated, this does not sound like the right advice to give to students on what to do to help persuade universities to provide Open Access to their refereed research journal article output, nor does it correspond with what is being mandated by the 28 pioneer universities and departments (including Harvard and Stanford, and 30 research funders, including NIH) that have actually mandated OA.

As noted in Larry’s link, OA is

free, immediate, permanent, full-text, online access, for any user, web-wide… primarily [to] research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

But that OA can be provided by two means:

“Gold OA” publishing (authors publishing in journals that make their articles free online, sometimes at a fee to the author/university)


“Green OA” self-archiving (authors publishing articles in whatever journals they choose, but depositing their final refereed draft in their university’s institutional repository to make it free online)

The 28 pioneering universities/departments (and 30 funders) have all mandated Green OA (mandatory deposit), but Larry seems to be advocating that students strike for mandating Gold OA (mandatory publishing in a Gold OA journal).

Please see

The University?s Mandate to Mandate Open Access

on the Open Students: Students for Open Access to Research blog, where I have tried to describe what students can do to help persuade universities to provide Open Access to their refereed research journal article output.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

EPrints Demonstration Repository for SWORD protocol: IR to IR Batch Importing/Exporting

The standard EPrints public demo repository has been supporting SWORD for some time now…

     – Leslie Carr

So henceforth “I’ve already done the keystrokes once” is no longer an excuse for not depositing all your research article output in your Institutional Repository (nor an impediment to adopting an institutional Green OA mandate!

Try the demonstrator of Eprints (the first — and, in my opinion, the best — of the free IR softwares!).

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

US’s 6th Green OA Mandate, Planet’s 58th: Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks (US* funder-mandate)

Institution’s/Department’s OA Eprint Archives

Institution’s/Department’s OA Self-Archiving Policy

All researchers who receive an Autism Speaks grant will be required to deposit any resulting peer-reviewed research papers in the PubMed Central online archive, which will make the articles available to the public within 12 months of journal publication.

Copyright Regulation in Europe

Copyright Regulation in Europe ? An Enabling or Disabling Factor for Science Communication

Urheberrechtsregulierung als Ermöglichungs-bzw. als Verhinderungsfaktor für Wissenschaftskommunikation

European Network for Copyright in Support of Education
European Workshop Program
Nov. 14-15, 2008
Location: Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, Berlin-Mitte, Germany

Thursday ? Nov. 13, 2008

21:00 ? 22:30 Chimney talk : Jerzy Montag, MP,spokesman for law politics, BÜNDNIS90/DIE GRÜNEN (Green Party) in the German Parliament

Friday – Nov. 14, 2008

9:00 ? 9:15 Ralf Fücks, Andreas Poltermann, Heinrich-Böll-Foundation
Welcome addresses, Introduction to the conference
9:15 ? 9:30 All participants Introduction

Session 1: Copyright and science ? Demands and objectives
Moderation: Rainer Kuhlen

9:30 ? 10:15 Rainer Kuhlen, University of Konstanz (Germany)
Copyright and science ? Demands and objectives

10:15 ? 10:45 Gerhard Fröhlich, University of Linz (Austria)
Free copying or plagiarism?

10:30 ? 11:00 Panel discussion:
Rainer Kuhlen, Gerhard Fröhlich, Stuart Taylor, The Royal Society (United Kingdom), Florin Filip, Academy of Romania (Romania), Agnès Ponsati, CSIC Library Network, Spanish National Research Council (Spain)

Session 2: Exceptions and limitations or a copyright blanket clause for science
Moderation: Wolf-Dieter Sepp

11:30 ? 12:00 Lucie Guibault, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
A framework for an obligatory system of exceptions and limitations

12:00 ? 12:30 Séverine Dusollier, University of Namur (Belgium)
A systematic approach to exceptions in the European Union

12:30 ? 13:00 Panel discussion:
Lucie Guibault, Séverine Dusollier, María J. Iglesias, University of Namur (Belgium), Jaak Järv, Estonian Academy of Sciences (Estonia), Benjamin Bajon, Max-Planck-Institut für Geistiges Eigentum, Wettbewerbs-und Steuerrecht (Germany)

Session 3: Open Access ? An alternative to or a replacement for copyright
Moderation: Lucie Guibault

14:00 ? 14:30 Stevan Harnad, UQAM (Canada) & University of Southampton (United Kingdom) (via teleconference)
Copyright Reform Should Not Be Made A Precondition For Mandating Open Access

14:30 ? 15:00 Hélène Bosc, Euroscience Open Access Working (France)
Open access to the scientific literature: a peer commons open to the public

15:00 ? 15:30 Panel discussion:
Stevan Harnad, Hélène Bosc, Rainer Kuhlen, Ji?i Rákosník, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (Czech Republic), Jaak Järv, Estonian Academy of Sciences (Estonia)

Session 4: The Green Paper “Copyright in the Knowledge Economy”
Moderation: Gerald Spindler, University of Göttingen (Germany)

16:00 ? 16:30 Rainer Kuhlen, Information Science, University of Konstanz (Germany)
Introduction to Green Paper

16:30 ? 18:00 Workshop:
Green Paper on “Copyright in the Knowledge Economy”; elaboration of a common statement

Saturday ? Nov 15, 2008

Session 5: Science communication and collaboration
Moderation: Michael Seadle, Institute for Library and Information Science, HU Berlin

9:30 ? 10:00 Paul Ayris (UK), UNICA Scholarly Communications Group
The future of scholarly publication

10:00 ? 10:30 Panel discussion:
Paul Ayris, Gerhard Fröhlich, University of Linz (Austria), Ágnes Téglási, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungary), Rosa Nyárády, UNESCO chair in communication (Hungary), Ján Bako?, Slovak Academy of Sciences (Slovakia)

Session 6: Founding of the ENCES network: European Network for Copyright in support of Education and Science
Moderation: Rainer Kuhlen, University of Konstanz (Germany)

11:00 ? 12:00 Workshop:
Green Paper “Copyright in the Knowledge Economy”; common statement and forming of ENCES ( = European Network for Copyright in support of Education and Science)