Orbán?s Depredations

Unlike Professor Éva Balogh, who has been monitoring, analyzing and reporting on Orban?s depredations for nearly 20 years now, I only got my first clue in 2011, with the Philosopher Affair.

But what I find remarkable is how just about every element of what was eventually going to become patently obvious to me ? and to everyone else who pays attention ? was already there, in its full, flagrant, foul odors and colors, in that formative and shocking affair, scarcely believable at the time, or even now.

For me, as an academic, it has since become a life-long wake-up call ? and (academic) call-to-arms.

The escalating and unending revelations since then are hardly surprises any more, though they still take one?s breath away.

Stevan Harnad
External Member, Hungarian Academy of Sciences


RP: “I have repeatedly said that I harbour no suspicions about EOS. You repeatedly assert that I do.
     You likewise keep assigning a variety of different motivations to me that are not true (and how would you know what my motivations are anyway?)

I do read your posts, Richard, including the snippets you tweet, to garner traffic for your blog.

But, by way of proof that I read your posts, here are a few snippets of my own, about suspicions, secretiveness and attributing motivations, to remind you:

RP: “I would like to thank Bernard Rentier for his detailed and frank account of EOS… That said, it does seem odd to me that it took Rick Anderson two attempts to get this response from EOS.”

RP: “To reiterate: I did not mention EOS in my post, and I harbour no suspicions about the organisation… That said, the defensive response to Rick?s questions about EOS underlines for me the fact that OA advocates are not by nature inclined to be open in their processes.”

RP: “In fact, one might argue that the overly defensive responses to Rick?s questions themselves flirt with paranoia. Certainly they confirm me in my belief that there is a strand within the OA movement that tends towards non-transparency and non-inclusiveness.”

RP: “Nor are they instinctively democratic. One need only monitor the Global Open Access List for a few weeks to see the hauteur with which OA ?old sweats? pronounce on the topic, and castigate anyone who dares express a contrary view.”

You seem to be (1) confusing derisiveness (about the risible) with defensiveness, Richard, and (for some longstanding reason I really cannot fathom) (2) confusing openly, publicly “castigat[ing] anyone who dares express a contrary view” with “non-transparency and non-inclusiveness… instinctively [un]democratic.”

I think you are quite mistaken. There is nothing undemocratic or non-transparent or non-exclusive about open, public criticism, quite the opposite (and regardless of the “hauteur” with which it might be expressed).

And I continue to hold and air openly the view — which you are democratically free to ignore or refute or deride — that (insofar as EOS or BOAI or your humble servant are concerned) you are sowing suspicions — about closedness and exclusiveness — that have no substance whatsoever.

I have two interpretations as to why you are doing this, one more charitable, the other less so:

The charitable interpretation is that you really believe the suspicions, which are fuelled by (or themselves fuel) your longstanding hypothesis that the reason the open access movement is moving so slowly is that it does not have an umbrella organization that includes all interested parties. (I think the hypothesis is mistaken, and that the slow progress is because of conflicts of interest — as well as apathy — that would not be resolved even if it were possible to draw everyone into the same tent.)

The uncharitable interpretation — but even that one, since I know you, and know you have integrity, is only about what may be an unconscious “instinctive” tendency (dare I call it a journalistic one?), rather than a deliberate, calculating strategy — is that you are airing the suspicions at times when there is no OA news of substance because they draw attention and traffic.

RP: “BOAI was a meeting between a small group of like-minded people, and organised by a philanthropist with a specific political agenda. In the wake of that meeting OSI committed several million dollars to fund a number of OA initiatives (and has continued to play a key role in the OA movement since then). As such, those who attended BOAI took the Soros money but did nothing to make the movement ?official? or inclusive, or seek to engage the research community in their plans…”

I have to leave it to others to reply to this, as I do not think it deserves to be dignified by a response. If I made one it would undoubtedly be derisive…

There is a secondary hypothesis I also think you may hold, Richard (though I’m ready to say I’m mistaken, if you deny it), which is that you feel there is something undemocratic or contrary to academic freedom about OA mandates. I think the instincts that may be fuelling this secondary hypothesis in you are (1) the feeling that academics today are already far too put upon, along with (2) scepticism about metrics and perhaps about research evaluation in general, including peer review.

This is scepticism that I may partly share, but that I regard as having nothing to do with OA itself, which is about access to published, peer-reviewed research, such as it is. Reforms would be welcome, but what’s needed in the meanwhile is access.

(And of course mandating a few dozen extra keystrokes per year for their own good is hardly a credible academic grievance; the real reasons for the resistance are not ergonomic but symbolic, ideological, psychological and wrong-headed. In a word, risible.)

And last, I think you are (instinctively) conflating OA with FOI.

Stevan Harnad

No Sweat

Richard Poynder and I are apparently both OA “Old Sweats“: Richard has been banging on about OA’s needing an open umbrella organization about as long as I’ve been banging on about OA’s needing Green OA mandates.

Now Richard is blaming OA’s slow progress on his recommendation’s not having been heeded; I do much the same.

So what is the difference between us?

I just keep banging on about the need for Green OA mandates, but Richard is now beginning to suspect that some secret conspiracy (because of the failure to create an OA open umbrella organization) is going on.

Richard is no doubt right that publishers are up to something, and it has to do with Gold OA and prospective deals with institutions and funders. The dealing is not open, but the fact that it’s going on is no secret.

But it’s trying to squeeze journalistic fodder out of a stone to seek anything of substance with these breath-takingly silly suspicions about BOAI and EOS.

Lampoon my own efforts all you like, Richard, but the one whose credibility is being retroactively eroded is yourself, if you don’t resist taking the tabloid track in lean years.

And please de-conflate OA (open access to published research) from (FOI) freedom of information. Published research is already “free information” (in the FOI sense). It’s the access to it (in the OA sense) that’s not cost-free. FOI covers a lot more sinister territory, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with OA.

It wouldn’t hurt to de-conflate OA from yet another sexy topic too — “academic freedom”: No, neither mandating nor providing OA is an assault on or threat to academic freedom, quite the opposite.

If you do decide to branch off into FOI and academic freedom, Richard, that will be splendid. There’s much to do and learn there. — But then forget about OA. There’s no interesting connection whatsoever.

Now peer-review reform (if there were anything new and interesting to say about it) would certainly be relevant to peer-reviewed research publication ? hence indirectly relevant to open access to peer-reviewed research publication. But only very indirectly. OA?s goal is already ambitious enough (and still far-away enough) without enlarging it to include peer-review reform (let alone feeding the planet, curing disease or redistributing wealth). But peer-review reform would certainly be a useful journalistic topic ? if only there were something more than the already well-known speculations and failed experiments to report about it…

A caricature of its own making

From the thread “A creature of its own making?” on GOAL (Global Open Access List).

Jean-Claude Guédon: “Alicia Wise always speaks with a forked tongue! I wonder how much she is paid to practise this dubious art?”

Richard Poynder: “I am not aware that Alicia Wise has ever been anything other than polite to members of this list. It does not show open access in a good light that every time she posts to the list her comments generate the kind of response we see below.”

I wonder what is going on here? Why are we getting lessons in etiquette on GOAL rather than discussing OA matters of substance?

Yes, Alicia is paid to keep on talking Elsevier double-talk. Yes, she does it politely. That’s not the point. The point is that it is double-talk:

Alicia Wise: “All our authors… have both gold and green Open Access publishing options.”

What that means is:

You may either (1) pay
(always over and above what you pay for subscriptions overall, always heavily, and sometimes even doubly)
for (gold) OA
or else you may (2) wait

(for twelve or more months*)
for (green) OA.

That is indeed fork-tongued double-talk*: Say what sounds like one thing but mean another, and say it politely. (Why rile the ones you are duping?)

*Actually, it’s double-double-talk, and, as pointed out many times before, if Elsevier authors were sensible they would realize that they can provide immediate, unembargoed green OA if they wish, ignoring Elsevier’s never-ending attempts at updating their pseudo-legal double-talk to sound both permissive and prohibitive at the same time.

So, yes, Richard is right — and others (including myself: google ?harnad pogo?) have already said it time and time again in this self-same Forum — that Elsevier is not the only one to blame. There are the dupers (Elsevier) and the duped (universities and their researchers). We all know that.

But it is not a co-conspiracy — much as conspiratorial thinking comes in handy at lean times when there is nothing new to talk about.

So although the dupees have themselves to blame for allowing themselves to be duped, that does not put them on the same plane of culpability as the dupers. After all, it is the dupers who gain from the duping, and the dupees who lose, whether or not they have themselves to blame for falling for it.

Blaming the victim, as Richard does, below, also has a long pedigree in this Forum, but I will not rebut it again in detail. The short answer is that adopting effective Green OA mandates (rather than vilifying the victims for their foolishness) is the remedy for all the damage the victims have unwittingly allowed to be done them for so long.

And stop fussing about metrics. They too will sort themselves out completely once we have universally mandated (and provided) green OA.

Richard Poynder: “What Jean-Claude?s criticism of large publishers like Elsevier and Wiley omits is the role that the research community has played in their rise to power, a role that it continues to play. In fact, not only has the research community been complicit [emphasis added] in the rise and rise [sic] of the publishing oligarchy that Jean-Claude so deprecates, but one could argue that it created it ? i.e. this oligarchy is a creature of its own making.
    ”After all, it is the research community that funds these publishers, it is the research community that submits papers to these publishers (and signs over copyright in the process), and it is the research community that continues to venerate the brands (essentially a product of the impact factor) that allow these publishers to earn the high profits that Jean-Claude decries.
    ”And by now seeking to flip this oligarchy?s journals to OA the research community appears to be intent on perpetuating its power (and doubtless profits).
    ”One might therefore want to suggest that Jean-Claude?s animus is misdirected. [emphasis added]”

And so are Richard’s reproaches…

Your increasingly bored archivangelist,

Stevan Harnad

“EOS” Exposed!

Rick Anderson: “Stevan, is it really true that any institution can join the EOS? According to the webpage, membership is “available to approved institutions” (emphasis mine). I assume that EOS itself does the approving — is that correct? And if so, that means that it’s not really true that “any institution can join,” is it?”

Ok. You caught me, Rick! I guess I’ll have to ‘fess up now: EOS is a secret organization whose true goals I am not at liberty to divulge. The approval of the approved institutions (just a small subset of the many who have applied for approval across the years) is done by an invisible college whose identities are all classified, along with the identities of the institutions and the true goal of the organization, but if you make a formal FOI request it might be possible to provide you with an edited transcript of the list (with identities coded for confidentiality).

Rick Anderson: “Stevan, Is it really true that the EOS is “public”? I don’t see any list of its members anywhere on the site. (If I’m missing it, please do provide a link.) I would assume that an organization that is “public” (as distinct from a “secret society,” the term at which you took such umbrage) would at the very least make its institutional membership a matter of public record, wouldn’t it?”

You’re right again, Rick. EOS is indeed not public: It is a secret society whose true purposes (which have no relation to what it says on the website) I am not free to reveal.

Rick Anderson: “And does the EOS really make all of its documents public? On the site I see a small list of briefing papers — are those the only documents the organization has produced? No minutes, no agendas, no other documents that would normally characterize the work of an organization committed to transparency and public openness?”

I’m truly embarrassed now, Rick. Fact is, you’ve got me again! The documents on the website have nothing to do with the true objectives and activities of EOS. We do have minutes and agendas, but those are all confidential (especially our true goals) as we are in fact not committed to transparency and public openness — or, for that matter, to openness of any kind.

[Please get out the clippers. Many quotes here suitable for clipping and using in the context of your choice, Rick!]

Rick Anderson: “To be clear, the EOS is under no more obligation to be public and transparent in its work than any other organization is — this isn’t about legal or ethical obligation. It’s just about commitment to principles of openness and transparency.”

You’re quite right Rick, and I’m really grateful to you (and to Richard too) for giving me this opportunity to unburden my conscience, which has been weighed down for years with remorse about all the play-acting we’ve been doing. Indeed Yuletide is almost the optimal moment for at last coming clean about this shabby business. (I can think of only one early spring date that might have been even better.)

Congratulations on your successful sleuthing! You have both (and of course the intrepid PMR too!) performed an invaluable service to the academic community and the public at large for unmasking this sordid affair. Please do keep up the courageous and insightful work in the service of openness, transparency and verity. In the world we live in today, one can’t be too careful.

“Stevan Harnad”

Instalment #2 (2015/12/28)


Despite the season, I am beginning to take a less jolly view of this exchange than Bernard Rentier does (if only because I have been less successful in my planned holiday catch-up than I had hoped, which makes the diminishing returns from this sort of dawdling increasingly diminutive).

In particular, although the suspicions about EOS were silly from the get-go — they didn’t even have the elementary support of a putative motive that even amateur detective novels know they need in order to generate suspicion — they seem now to have sunk into abject absurdity. Levity is clearly unavailing to restore common sense, so let me provide a motive (in fact three) — not for the suspected lack-of-transparency on the part of the suspects, but for the suspiciousness on the part of the sleuths:

(1) For PMR the motive is an inordinate fondness for open data, even if it is at odds with OA — a motive EOS clearly does not share.

(2) For RA the motive is unfondness of OA itself, which EOS again clearly cannot share (I won’t venture an ulterior motive for RA’s unfondness).

(3) For RP the motive is seasonal shortage of substance.

So let me propose three topics of substance, any of which would make a jolly basis for seasonal discussion in “Open and Shut”:

I. Can anyone provide a substantive link between the need for open access to published, peer-reviewed research and the need for peer review reform?

II. Can anyone provide a substantive link between the need for open access to published, peer-reviewed research and the need for academic freedom?

III. Can anyone provide a substantive link between the need for open access to published, peer-reviewed research and the need for freedom of information?

(And can anyone still remember what the words “access to research” meant before they somehow got conflated with re-use rights or with “transparency”?)

I’ve been on this ride a long time now but I can’t help noting that as we get exercised over all these other worthy matters, we are still rather far from having open access to published, peer-reviewed research…

New journal – “Animal Sentience” – on the other-minds problem

The only feelings we can feel are our own. When it comes to the feelings of others, we can only infer them, based on their behavior ? unless they tell us. This is the ?other-minds problem.?

Within our own species, thanks to language, the other-minds problem arises only for states in which people cannot speak (infancy, aphasia, sleep, anaesthesia, coma). Our species also has a uniquely powerful empathic or ?mind-reading? capacity: We can (sometimes) perceive from the behavior of others when they are in states like our own. Our inferences have also been systematized and operationalized in biobehavioral science and supplemented by cognitive neuroimagery. Together, these make the other-minds problem within our own species a relatively minor one.

But we cohabit the planet with other species, most of them very different from our own, and none of them able to talk. Inferring whether and what they feel is important not only for scientific but also for ethical reasons, because where feelings are felt, they can also be hurt.

Animal Sentience [ASent] is a new international, interdisciplinary journal devoted to the other-minds problem across species. As animals are at long last beginning to be accorded legal status and protection as sentient beings, ASent will explore in depth what, how and why organisms feel. Individual ?target articles? (and sometimes précis of books) addressing different species? sentient and cognitive capacities will each be accorded ?open peer commentary,? consisting of multiple shorter articles, both invited and freely submitted ones, by specialists from many disciplines, each elaborating, applying, supplementing or criticizing the content of the target article, along with responses from the target author(s).

The members of the nonhuman species under discussion will not be able to join in the conversation, but their spokesmen and advocates, the specialists who know them best, will. The inaugural issue launches with the all-important question (for fish) of whether fish can feel pain.

ASent is a publication of the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy (HSISP). Based in Washington DC, HSISP?s mandate is to advance the application of scientific and technical analysis and expertise to animal welfare issues and policy questions worldwide. The HSISP is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, the world?s largest animal protection organization.

ASent is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal. Thanks to HSISP sponsorship, ASent need not charge either publication fees to authors or subscription fees to readers.

Authors’ opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or editors.

The table of contents of the inaugural issue of ASent follow below. Commentaries by scientists, scholars, practitioners, jurists and policy-makers are invited on any of the target articles (in bold); continuing commentary is also invited on the commentaries and responses. And of course the journal now calls for the submission of target articles. All target articles are peer-reviewed and all commentaries are editorially reviewed. Open peer commentary is intended particularly for new target articles written specifically for ASent, but updated versions of articles that have appeared elsewhere may also be eligible for publication and open peer commentary.

(Open peer commentary is modelled on the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), of which the editor-in-chief of ASent was also the founder and editor-in-chief for 20 years.)

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Inaugural Issue (2016)

Harnad, Stevan (2016) Inaugural Editorial – Animal sentience: The other-minds problem Animal Sentience 2016.001

Safina, Carl (2016) Animals think and feel: Précis of Beyond words: What animals think and feel (Safina 2015) Animal Sentience 2016.002

Key, Brian (2016) Why fish do not feel pain Animal Sentience 2016.003

Balcombe, Jonathan (2016) Cognitive evidence of fish sentience Animal Sentience 2016.008

Braithwaite, Victoria A. and Droege, Paula (2016) Why human pain can?t tell us whether fish feel pain Animal Sentience 2016.009

Broom, Donald M. (2016) Fish brains and behaviour indicate capacity for feeling pain Animal Sentience 2016.010

Brown, Culum (2016) Comparative evolutionary approach to pain perception in fishes Animal Sentience 2016.011

Chella, Antonio (2016) Robot fish do not need sentience Animal Sentience 2016.012

Dinets, Vladimir (2016) No cortex, no cry Animal Sentience 2016.013

Haikonen, Pentti O. (2016) On the sentience of fish Animal Sentience 2016.014

Hart, Paul J.B. (2016) Fighting forms of expression Animal Sentience 2016.015

Jones, Robert C. (2016) Fish sentience and the precautionary principle Animal Sentience 2016.016

Manzotti, Riccardo (2016) No evidence that pain is painful neural process Animal Sentience 2016.017

Mather, Jennifer A. (2016) An invertebrate perspective on pain Animal Sentience 2016.018

Ng, Yew-Kwang (2016) Could fish feel pain? A wider perspective Animal Sentience 2016.019

Seth, Anil K. (2016) Why fish pain cannot and should not be ruled out Animal Sentience 2016.020

Striedter, Georg (2016) Lack of neocortex does not imply fish cannot feel pain Animal Sentience 2016.021

Key, Brian (2016) (Response I) Going beyond just-so stories Animal Sentience 2016.022

Balu?ka, Franti?ek (2016) Should fish feel pain? A plant perspective Animal Sentience 2016.023

Burghardt, Gordon (2015) Mediating claims through critical anthropomorphism Animal Sentience 2016.024

Derbyshire, Stuart W.G. (2016) Fish lack the brains and the psychology for pain Animal Sentience 2016.025

Elwood, Robert W. (2016) A single strand of argument with unfounded conclusion Animal Sentience 2016.026

Gagliano, Monica (2016) What would the Babel fish say? Animal Sentience 2016.027

Godfrey-Smith, Peter (2016) Pain in parallel Animal Sentience 2016.028

Gonçalves-de-Freitas, Eliane (2016) Pain and fish welfare Animal Sentience 2016.029

Merker, Bjorn (2016) Drawing the line on pain Animal Sentience 2016.030

Panksepp, Jaak (2016) Brain processes for ?good? and ?bad? feelings: How far back in evolution? Animal Sentience 2016.031

Rose, James D. (2016) Pain in fish: Weighing the evidence Animal Sentience 2016.032

Segner, Helmut (2016) Why babies do not feel pain, or: How structure-derived functional interpretations can go wrong Animal Sentience 2016.033

Shriver, Adam J. (2016) Cortex necessary for pain ? but not in sense that matters Animal Sentience 2016.034

Sneddon, Lynne U. and Leach, Matthew C. (2016) Anthropomorphic denial of fish pain Animal Sentience 2016.035

Stevens, E. Don (2016) Why is fish ?feeling? pain controversial? Animal Sentience 2016.036

Van Rysewyk, Simon (2016) Nonverbal indicators of pain Animal Sentience 2016.037

Wadiwel, Dinesh Joseph (2016) Fish and pain: The politics of doubt Animal Sentience 2016.038/

Key, Brian (2016) (Response II) Falsifying the null hypothesis that ?fish do not feel pain” Animal Sentience 2016.039

Brown, Culum (2016) Fish pain: An inconvenient truth Animal Sentience 2016.058

Damasio, Antonio and Damasio, Hanna (2016) Pain and other feelings in humans and animals Animal Sentience 2016.059

Devor, Marshall (2016) Where is pain in the brain? Animal Sentience 2016.060

Diggles, B. K. (2016) Fish pain: Would it change current best practice in the real world? Animal Sentience 2016.061

Edelman, David B. (2016) Leaving the door open for fish pain: Evolutionary convergence and the utility of ?just-so stories? Animal Sentience 2016.062

Walters, Edgar T. (2016) Pain-capable neural substrates may be widely available in the animal kingdom Animal Sentience 2016.063

King, Barbara J. (2016) Animal mourning: Précis of How animals grieve (King 2013) Animal Sentience 2016.004

Botero, Maria (2016) Death in the family Animal Sentience 2016.040

Fox Hall, Tara (2016) Anticipatory grief Animal Sentience 2016.041

Gardiner, Martin (2016) Modulation of behavior in communicating emotion Animal Sentience 2016.042

Glymour, Clark (2016) The object of grief Animal Sentience 2016.043

Probyn-Rapsey, Fiona (2016) Love?s claim on grief Animal Sentience 2016.044

Proctor, Helen (2016) Monkey say, monkey do, monkey grieve? Animal Sentience 2016.045

Ristau, Carolyn (2016) Evidence for animal grief? Animal Sentience 2016.046

King, Barbara J. King (2016) (Response) Understanding emotional suffering Animal Sentience 2016.047

Broom, Donald M. (2016) Considering animals? feelings: Précis of Sentience and animal welfare Animal Sentience 2016.005

Chandrasekera, Charukeshi (2016) From sentience to science: Limits of anthropocentric cognition Animal Sentience 2016.048

Clarke, Nancy (2016) Sentience and animal welfare: Affirming the science and addressing the skepticism Animal Sentience 2016.049

Copeland, Marion W. (2016) Life in translation Animal Sentience 2016.050

Donaldson, Sue and Kymlicka, Will (2016) Linking animal ethics and animal welfare science Animal Sentience 2016.051

Duncan, Ian J.H. (2016) Is sentience only a nonessential component of animal welfare? Animal Sentience 2016.052

Durham, Debra (2016) The science of sentience is reshaping how we think about animals Animal Sentience 2016.053

Rolle, M.E. (2016) Animal welfare and animal rights Animal Sentience 2016.054

Rowlands, Mark (2016) Mentality and animal welfare Animal Sentience 2016.055

Sammarco, Andrea L. (2016) Is humanitarianism recent? Animal Sentience 2016.056

Broom, Donald M. (2016) (Response) Sentience and animal welfare: New thoughts and controversies Animal Sentience 2016.057

Lachance, Martine (2016) Breaking the silence: The veterinarian?s duty to report Animal Sentience 2016.006

Ng, Yew-Kwang (2016) How welfare biology and commonsense may help to reduce animal suffering Animal Sentience 2016.007

Berlin Stonewalling — or Flip-Flop

1. Richard Poynder‘s take on Berlin 12 is basically valid (even though perhaps a touch too conspiratorially minded).

2. The much-too-long series of Berlin X meetings, huffing on year after year, has long been much-ado-about-next-to-nothing.

3. The solemn 2003 “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities,” with its unending list of signatories, was never anything more than a parroting of the 2003 “Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing [sic],” which was, in turn, a verbose reiteration of half of the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative — skewed toward only BOAI-II (“gold” open access publishing), virtually ignoring BOAI-I (“green” open access self-archiving).

4. For what it’s worth, I attended Berlin 1 in Berlin in 2003 (out of curiosity, and in the hope it would lead to something) and we hosted Berlin 3 in Southampton in 2005 (at which it was officially recommended to require BOAI-I, green OA self-archiving, and to encourage BOAI-II, gold OA publishing — exactly as had been recommended in 2004 by the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology).

5. After Berlin 3 in 2005 the Berlin X series went on and on, year after year (I never attended again), but the progress on implementing the Southampton/Berlin-3 recommendations was transpiring (though still much too slowly) elsewhere (with the ROARMAP mandates being adopted in the UK, Australia, EU, and US, starting from 2003 and continuing today).

6. As far as I can tell, the Berlin X series just continues fussing about gold OA, and although I am less suspicious than Richard, I too suspect that the “secrecy” was because the institutional reps attending Berlin 12 are trying to forge a common front for working out a gold-OA “flip” deal with publishers.

And my prediction, for reasons I’ve repeated, unheeded, many, many times, is that any such flip will be a flop.

Why Scholars Scull

Disagreement is always good ? creative, even. I am not trying to change Richard Poynder‘s mind, just openly airing points and counterpoints, in the spirit of open peer commentary

1. I agree that the home pages of Institutional Repositories that simply tout their generic overall deposit counts are doing numerology.

2. “Dark deposit” is rather ominous-sounding. The reality is that there are:

(i) undeposited articles,
(ii) metadata-only deposits,
(iii) full-text non-OA article immediate-deposits (which are non-OA for varying intervals),
(iv) full-text OA delayed-deposits and
(v) full-text OA immediate-deposits.

And there’s the Button to supplement them. One can always describe cups as X% full or as (1-X)% empty.

3. No, to calculate yearly deposit ratios using WoS or SCOPUS in order to estimate total yearly deposit ratios is definitely not “deceptive”: it is valid for WoS-indexed or SCOPUS-indexed output (which also happens to be the output that the OA movement is mostly about, and for), but it might be an underestimate or overestimate for non-WoS/SCOPUS output, if for some reason their ratio differs. So what?

4. Numerology is meaningless numbers, counted for their own sake, and interpreted according to taste (which can be occult, ornate or obtuse). Calculating correlations between mandate conditions and deposit ratios and drawing predictive conclusions from correlations whose probability of having occurred by chance is less that 5% is conventional predictive statistics (which only turns into numerology if you do a fishing expedition with a very large number of tests and fail to adjust your significance level for the likelihood that 5% of the significant correlations will have occurred by chance). We did only a small number of tests and had predicted a-priori which ones were likely to be significant, and in what direction.

5. Yes, there are far too few mandates, just as there are far too few deposits. Nevertheless, there were enough to detect the statistically significant trends; and if they are put into practice, there will be more effective mandates and more deposits. (The HEFCE/Liege immediate-deposit condition for eligibility for research evaluation turned out to be one of the statistically significant conditions.)

6. I heartily agree that academics are excessively micromanaged and that evaluative metrics can and do become empty numerology as well. But I completely disagree that requiring scholars and scientists to do a few extra keystrokes per published article (5 articles per year? 5 minutes per article?) counts as excessive micro-management, any more than “publish or perish” itself does. Both are in fact close to the very core of a scholar’s mission and mandate (sic) qua scholar: To conduct research and report their findings — now updated to making it OA in the online era. Justifiable animus against excessive and intrusive micromanagement is no excuse for shooting oneself in the foot by resisting something that is simple, takes no time, and is highly beneficial to the entire scholarly community.

7. Cultures don’t change on a wish or a whim (or a “subversive proposal“!); they change when the pay-off contingencies (not necessarily financial!) change. That’s how publish-or-perish worked (publication- and citation-bean-counting for employment, promotion, tenure, funding) and the online era now requires a tiny, natural extension of publish-or-perish to publish-and-deposit for eligibility for bean-counting.

8. And if we remind ourselves, just for a moment, as to why it is that scholars scull in the first place — which is not for the sake of publication- and citation-bean-counting for employment, promotion, tenure, funding), is it not so that their findings can be accessed, used and built upon by all their would-be users?

Stevan Harnad

On Horses, Water, and Life-Span

“I have a feeling that when Posterity looks back at the last decade of the 2nd A.D. millennium of scholarly and scientific research on our planet, it may chuckle at us… I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind as to what the optimal and inevitable outcome of all this will be: The [peer-reviewed journal| literature will be free at last online, in one global, interlinked virtual library… and its [peer review] expenses will be paid for up-front, out of the [subscription-cancelation] savings. The only question is: When? This piece is written in the hope of wiping the potential smirk off Posterity’s face by persuading the academic cavalry, now that they have been led to the waters of self-archiving, that they should just go ahead and drink!”Harnad (1999)

I must admit I’ve lost interest in following the Open Access Derby. All the evidence, all the means and all the stakes are by now on the table, and have been for some time. Nothing new to be learned there. It’s just a matter of time till it gets sorted and acted upon; the only lingering uncertainty is about how long that will take, and that is no longer an interesting enough question to keep chewing on, now that all’s been said, if not done.

Comments on: Richard Poynder (2015) Open Access, Almost-OA, OA Policies, and Institutional Repositories. Open And Shut. December 01, 2015

A few little corrections and suggestions on Richard’s paper:

(1) The right measure of repository and policy success is the percentage of an institution’s total yearly peer-reviewed research article output that is deposited as full text immediately upon acceptance for publication. (Whether the deposit is immediately made OA is much less important, as long as the copy-request Button is (properly!) implemented. Much less important too are late deposits, author Button-request compliance rates, or other kinds of deposited content. Once all refereed articles are being deposited immediately, all the rest will take care of itself, sooner or later.)

(2) CRIS/Cerif research-asset-management tools are complements to Institutional Repositories, not competitors.

(3) The Australian ERA policy was a (needless) flop for OA. The UK’s HEFCE/Ref2020 policy, in contrast, looks like it can become a success. (None of this has anything to do with the pro’s or con’s of either research evaluation, citations, or metrics in general.)

(4) No, “IDOA/PEM” (Deposit mandates requiring immediate deposits for research evaluation or funding, with the Button) will not increase “dark deposit,” they will increase deposit — and mandate adoption, mandate compliance, OA, Button-Use, Almost-OA, access and citations. They will also hasten the day when universal IDOA/PEM will make subscriptions cancellable and unsustainable, inducing conversion to fair-Gold OA (instead of today’s over-priced, double-paid and unnecessary Fool’s-Gold OA. But don’t ask me “how long?” I don’t know, and I no longer care!)

(5) The few anecdotes about unrefereed working papers are completely irrelevant. OA is about peer-reviewed journal articles. Unrefereed papers come and go. And eprints and dspace repositories clearly tag papers as refereed/unrefereed and published/unpublished. (The rest is just about scholarly practice and sloppiness, both from authors and from users.)

(6) At some point in the discussion, Richard, you too fall into the usual canard about impact-factor and brand, which concerns only Gold OA, not OA.

RP: “Is the sleight of hand involved in using the Button to promote the IDOA/PEM mandate justified by the end goal ? which is to see a proliferation of such mandates? Or to put it another way, how successful are IDOA/PEM mandates likely to prove?”

No sleight of hand — just sluggishness of hand, on the part of (some) authors (both for Button compliance and mandate compliance) and on the part of (most) institutions and funders (for the design and adoption of successful IDOA/PEM mandates (with Button). And the evidence is all extremely thin, one way or the other. Of course successful IDOA/PEM mandates (with Button) are (by definition!) better than relying on email links at publisher sites. “Successful” means near 100% compliance rate for immediate full-text deposit. And universal adoption of successful IDOA/PEM mandates (with Button) means universal adoption of successful IDOA/PEM mandates (with Button). (Give me that and worries about author Button-compliance will become a joke.)

The rest just depends on the speed of the horses — and I am not a betting man (when it comes to predicting how long it will take to reach the optimal and inevitable). (Not to mention that I am profoundly against horse-racing and the like — for humanitarian reasons that are infinitely more important than OA ever was or will be.)

Elsevier’s PURE: self-interest and exploitation

Alicia Wise (ELS-OXF) wrote in GOAL:
Hi everyone,
     PURE enables universities and researchers to comply with the HEFCE open access policy. For more information on PURE, please refer to https://www.elsevier.com/solutions/pure.
     Elsevier sharing policies are also consistent with the HEFCE policy. Gold open access articles can of course be shared immediately. Subscription articles are made available via Green open access. In the UK we have lowered embargo periods for authors as part of the balanced package of moves toward OA brokered amongst stakeholders by the Finch Group. This is made perfectly clear on our website, and I invite list readers to read this text for themselves. Go to https://www.elsevier.com/about/open-science/open-access/agreements and select ?United Kingdom? from the pull-down list.

If the British research community, universities, and government heed the siren call of all the disinformation summed up by Elsevier above, what can one say but that we deserve everything that?s coming to us?

Every single talking point above is the exact opposite of the truth, and of what is best for the research community, researchers and the British tax-paying public in the online era.

And it takes only a little critical reflection to see exactly how and why.

I will not repeat here, yet again, all the points to which I?ve tried ? unsuccessfully ? to alert the research community across the years.

It should be enough to just ask ourselves:

?Why on earth is the research journal publishing industry ? the industry that has made a fortune by appropriating our intellectual property during the many years when the costs and constraints of print and its distribution left us no choice ? now to be allowed not only to retain its stranglehold but to strengthen it — and to do so in the online era, the era that would at last have allowed us to free ourselves (and our property, and our actions) from that industry’s gratuitous and greedy grip??

We don?t need Elsevier (or any publisher) and its PURE Trojan Horse to handle the archiving, access-provision, accounting and assessment of our research output! We only need publishers to manage the peer review (which we also provide ourselves, for free, the same way we provide our articles for free).

Why on earth do we want to willingly and knowingly renew and even reinforce this Faustian Bargain?

It is not that I am too exhausted to keep fighting.

It is that the research community?s gormless gullibility (not Elsevier) is starting to look unconquerable, incorrigible.

From: Stevan Harnad
Date: November 11, 2015 at 11:10:47 AM GMT-5
Subject: PURE Nonsense (and Mischief)

PURE is a Trojan Horse from Elsevier that (some) UK institutions have allowed to enter their portals. It is a trick, by Elsevier, to insinuate themselves into and retain control of everything they can: access, timing of access, fulfillment of mandates, research assessment, everything. The ploy was to sneak in via CRIS?s, which are systems for institutions wishing to manage and monitor their metadata on all their functions.

Notice that the following passage from KCL’s OA Policy makes no mention of timing:

In internal evaluation procedures it will be expected that all publications considered as part of appraisal or promotional assessments, will have a metadata record in the Research Information System, PURE, with either the full text article attached and downloadable from the Research Portal, or a link to the Open Access article on the journal?s web site.

What PURE is in reality designed to do is to make sure that the full text is not openly accessible until after the publisher embargo on Open Access has elapsed.

In point of fact, the battle for OA has long shifted to the arena of timing: The 1-year (or longer) embargo is the one to beat. Access after the embargo elapses is a foregone conclusion (publishers have already implicitly conceded on it, without overtly saying so). But access embargoed for 12 months is not OA. Publishers want to make sure (1) that there is no OA before the embargo elapses, (2) that the embargo is as long as possible, and (3) that even after the embargo, access should be via the publisher website, or at least controlled in some way by the publisher.

That?s exactly what PURE + CRIS does.

And (some) UK institutions (under pressure from Finch?s fatal foolishness ? likewise originating from the publisher lobby — have been persuaded that PURE will not only provide all the OA they want, but will take a lot of other asset-management tasks off their shoulders.

It?s a huge scam, masquerading as OA, and its only real function is to strengthen the perverse status quo ? of ceding the control of university research access to publishers ? even more than it had already been ceded before.

It won?t succeed, of course, because HEFCE/REF2020 has nailed down the timing of full-text deposit as having to be made within 3 months of acceptance (not publication) for eligibility for REF2020, which a metadata promissory note from Elsevier will not fullfill. My hope is that universities will be as anxious as they have been for 30 years now not to risk REF ineligibility by failing to comply with this very specific requirement.

(And the institution?s copy-request Button will take care of the rest, as long as all full-texts are deposited within Acceptance + 3.)

(I think it was a mistake on HEFCE/REF?s part to state formally that there is no need to archive the dated acceptance letter that defines the acceptance date, but again I trust in the anxiety of universities to comply with REF2020 eligibility requirements to draw the rational conclusion that it is indeed within 3 months of acceptance that deposit must be done for eligibility, and not 12 months after publication.)

As you will see from the ROARMAP data, KCL?s OA policy alone is not compliant with the requirement for REF2020 eligibility, and the above extract does not change that one bit!

Nor is there any need whatsoever to turn to turn to Elsevier’s PURE for CRIS asset-management functionality: Open source versions of CRIS/CERIF already exist and more are on the way. Elsevier and Thompson/Reuters bought up the first generation (developed, of course, by universities) but the next generation is already being created. Industry is richer in buy-up money but bright doctoral students at universities are an inexhaustible resource of ever more powerful tools — and many of them are not as ready as their university administration is, to sell out to industries that exploit the very hand that feeds them.

Stevan Harnad

Kudos to Oxford for “Act On Acceptance” System for HEFCE/REF2020

Kudos to the University of Oxford! Although the Oxford 2013 “Statement on Open Access” had been rather weak and vague, it has now been reinforced by Open Access Oxford‘s 2015 system (see text at end, below) for implementing HEFCE/REF2020, and this time it’s the optimal system.

Now all that’s needed in order to monitor and ensure compliance is to make the date-of-acceptance (year, month, day) field in the Oxford repository (ORA) a mandatory field (and advise authors to make sure to retain their acceptance letter for possible audit).

The repository software can then calculate the (likewise mandatory) deposit date D and the Acceptance date A and subtract A from D. If D – A < 3 (months) then the article is HEFCE-compliant and eligible for REF2020.

If D – A > 3 then the author is alerted that the article risks not being eligible for REF2020 and that for future articles D – A must be less than 3 months.

Automated D-A monitoring and feedback to authors should be continuous and immediate.

HEFCE/REF2020 will probably be flexible about the start-up 1-2 years, but not longer than that. Oxford is right to get the system in place as early as possible.

Vincent-Lamarre, Philippe, Boivin, Jade, Gargouri, Yassine, Larivière, Vincent and Harnad, Stevan (2015) Estimating Open Access Mandate Effectiveness: I. The MELIBEA Score. Journal of the  Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) (2015, in press) /

Swan, Alma; Gargouri, Yassine; Hunt, Megan; & Harnad, Stevan (2015) Open Access Policy: Numbers, Analysis, Effectiveness. Pasteur4OA Workpackage 3 Report.

Oxford prepares for ?Act on Acceptance?

We are continuing as planned with preparations for a single, simple message for open access: Act on Acceptance. Over the summer, we are putting in place mechanisms to ensure all researchers employed by the collegiate University are able to deposit their article manuscripts in our repository ORA within 3 months of acceptance by the journal – to meet HEFCE?s OA requirements and the general push to improve the accessibility of research.

Research Services, the Libraries and IT Services are in the middle of this work, and will be producing materials and guidance for departments & researchers from Autumn 2015. This is when our campaign around ?act on acceptance? will begin so as to be ready for HEFCE?s policy start date of 1 April 2016. We will provide further information later in the summer.

If you have any questions please contact our email helpline: open-access-enquiries@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

The Affirmability of the Sensible -or- On Leading the Academic Cavalry to Water?

In an entertaining posting, “The Deniability of the Blog,” David Worlock chides me for (amongst other things) failed predictions, hoping that I (and Derk Haank) stick around long enough to keep providing entertainment.

Stay tuned. Dunno about Derk but I?m still around for the long haul.

But I do want to point out that I haven?t the slightest interest in journal publisher revenues (though they will of course plummet sooner or later); never had.

There are two problems for journal article users: articles’ unaffordability and their inaccessibility. And I?m interested solely in the latter. OA is the solution to that; the former problem will then take care of itself.

Yes, eventually peer review will die, journals will die, research will die and the universe will devolve into heat death. But OA will come before all that.

If David wanted to pillory me with having been taken by surprise by events, he could easily have found many genuine examples of my stupidity:

Yes, I had sincerely believed that within a year or two of my 1994 Subversive Proposal, all researchers would be self-archiving. I never dreamt they would keep ? so to speak ? sitting on their fingers for at least another two decades.

Nor did I imagine that if they got free software in 2000 to create interoperable institutional repositories, their posteriors would stay put, their digits still immobile.

Taken by surprise again that once their institutions and funders began in 2003 to mandate their fingers into action where the sun does shine, all of them ? the researchers, their institutions and their funders ? would instead be blinded (and blindsided), beginning about 2006, by gold-dust, tempted to heed instead the siren call of journal publishers to ?leave the keystroking to us ? for a fee.?

What I did anticipate all along, however, was that if authors didn’t hurry up and do the stroking, publishers would and could make their offer look like an un-refusable one, trying to gild the lily by embargoing the green option of authors flexing their own fingers.

But now there?s still the Button to buttress the mandates and save the day for digital self-help, with immediate Almost-OA, immune to publisher blackmail.

Moral: One cannot second-guess human nature; only what is feasible, sensible and optimal. The rest is in the hands of the gods.

But do stay tuned?

Netherlands Boycotting Elsevier To Sustain Bloat

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.

Crowd-Source Compassion: Open Access To Slaughterhouses Online

On June 13 2015, all around the world ? in Paris, Brussels, London, Berlin, Istanbul, Delhi, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal ? people gathered to March for the Closing of the Slaughterhouses.

But the slaughterhouses will not close of their own accord.

To close the slaughterhouses people?s eyes and hearts have to be opened. Opening people?s hearts is the only hope for the countless victims ? innocent, helpless, without voices, without rights ? who are suffering, horribly and needlessly, every moment of every day, everywhere in the world, for our palates.


Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, The Ghost in Our Machine (with permission)

How to open people?s hearts?

With two fundamental facts that most people do not yet know or believe.

I. The first fundamental fact is that eating meat is not necessary for human survival or human health.

The vegans from all over the world who marched on June 13 were the living proof of this first fundamental fact (Nearly 1% of the world population of 7.5 billion is vegan today.)

II. The second fundamental fact is that in order to provide this meat that is not necessary for the survival or health of the 7.5 billion humans on the planet, an unimaginable amount of suffering is necessary for over 150 billion innocent, voiceless, defenceless victims every year.

Slaughter for meat is not euthanasia. It is not the merciful, pain-free, terror-free ending of a long, happy life in order to spare the victim from suffering a terrible incurable disease or unbearable pain.

Video Captures Terror Of Slaughterhouses The Dodo
“Hurt That Bitch”: What Undercover Investigators Saw Inside A Factory FarmMother Jones
Scalding Live Chickens Is Business as Usual on Factory Farms – Mark Bekoff
Cheap Meat Comes at High Cost to Farm Animals, Wildlife – Stephanie Feldstein
Let’s #OpentheBarns to Transparency– Matthew Bershadker

Slaughter is the terrifying and horribly painful ending of a short, anguished life full of disease and fear and pain, for innocent, defenceless victims deliberately bred and reared for that purpose. And it is all carefully concealed from the public eye.

And it is completely unnecessary for our survival or health. We inflict all this pain on the victims only for taste pleasure, and out of habit.

Demonstrations like the June 13 march are very important, but they are not enough to open people?s hearts and close the slaughterhouses.

For that, we first have to open access to the slaughterhouses, with audio-visual surveillance Webcams placed at all the sites of the abominations (breeding, rearing, transport, slaughter) — cameras that will film the horrors and stream them all immediately, continuously and permanently on the Web so that all people on the planet can witness the terrible cost in agony that our taste-preferences are inflicting, every moment of every day, everywhere, on our victims: sentient beings, innocent, defenseless, without rights, without voice, without respite, without hope.


Photo: Wikimedia Commons (public domain image)

Not everyone will look at the videos streamed on the web.

But the number of witnesses who will look and see will grow and grow. And with them will grow the knowledge of the heartbreaking truth, the reality that has till now been hermetically hidden from our eyes and our hearts.

And those of us who come to know the awful truth can provide the eyes and the voice for the victims.

The existing regulations for minimizing suffering in slaughterhouses are shamefully inadequate — how can one needlessly end an innocent life humanely? But even these existing, inadequate regulations are not being enforced or monitored or obeyed today.

As its first consequence, the crowd-sourced monitoring of slaughterhouses, based on the evidence streamed and stored publicly on the web, witnessed and reported by a growing number of informed and concerned citizens, will help to ensure that today?s existing (though inadequate) regulations ? and prosecution for their violation ? are enforced more and more reliably and rigorously.

In Quebec — the province that has until now been the worst in Canada for animal welfare — we have just acquired a legal basis for requiring rigorous monitoring of slaughterhouses: the National Assembly has heeded the many Quebec voices raised on behalf of protecting animals from suffering. The Quebec Civil Code has been amended to give animals the status of sentient beings instead of the status of inert property – or movable goods – as formerly. (Other countries are doing likewise: New Zealand is the latest.)

But this new status, like this public demonstration, are not enough.

Sensitizing Sentients to Sentience

In Quebec, on this new legal basis, and with the help of the new audio-visual evidence, as witnessed by the Quebec public, not only would we be able to prosecute those who do not comply with the existing (inadequate) regulations but we could also press for the passage of stronger and stronger legislation to protect sentient beings.

And the evidence provided by these surveillance Webcams would have a still further effect, apart from the enforcement and strengthening of today?s animal welfare regulations: It would also awaken and sensitize witnesses to the actual horrors made necessary by a non-vegan diet: It would sensitize us all to the sentience of sentient beings.

In place of the shamelessly false advertising images of “happy cows” and “contented chickens” we would all have the inescapable, undeniable, graphic evidence of the unspeakable suffering of these innocent, sentient victims – and the utter needlessness of their suffering.

Might this not at last inspire us all not to remain non-vegan, just for the pleasure of the taste, at this terrible cost in pain to other innocent feeling beings? Might it inspire us to abolish their needless suffering, instead of just diminish it?

Federal Report: Vegan Diet Best For Planet – The Hill
No Lie Can Live Forever: Predicting a Vegan America by 2050 – Kathy Stevens
2015 Predictions From Vegan and Plant-Based Nutrition Experts – Sandy Pukel
Getting from A to Z: Why Animal Activists Should Support Incremental Reforms to Help Animals – Bruce Friedrichs
It’s About Power, Not Food: The True Causes of World Hunger – Joel Berg

Win/Win Outcome for All

Let me close with a little optimistic numerology and the world?s most benign pyramid scheme for every sentient being on the planet, with no losers other than industries that build profit on suffering:

If each vegan today inspires just 6 more non-vegans (1) to become vegan AND (2) to each inspire 6 more non-vegans to become vegan, then in just 9 steps all of the population of Quebec will be vegan, in 10 steps all of Canada, in 11 Canada and the United States, and in 12-13 the whole world.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Public domain image)

It is also entirely fair that it should be ourselves, the most prosperous and well-fed populace in the world, who start. By the time we have closed all of our industrial slaughterhouses and converted the land to producing food to feed people instead of using it to breed, feed and butcher innocent victims, needlessly, the planet will be producing 40% more human food, 60% less pollution and 90% less suffering ? with enough left to sustain natural wildlife and their habitat too.

That will also be enough food to feed the world?s current malnourished as well as to allow the last subsistence hunters on the planet to make the transition to a truly fair, sustainable, scalable and merciful means of sustenance.


William Gunn (Mendeley) wrote:

?[E]verything you could post publicly and immediately before, you can do so now. There’s a NEW category of author manuscript, one which now comes with Elsevier-supplied metadata specifying the license and the embargo expiration date, that is subject to the embargo. The version the author sent to the journal, even post peer-review, can be posted publicly and immediately, which wasn’t always the case before??

Actually in the 2004-2012 Elsevier policy it was the case: Elsevier authors could post their post-peer-review versions publicly and immediately in their institutional repositories. This was then obfuscated by Elsevier from 2012-2014 with double-talk, and now has been formally embargoed in 2015.

Elsevier authors can, however, post their post-peer-review versions publicly and immediately on their institutional home page or blog, as well as on Arxiv or RePeC, with an immediate CC-BY-NC-ND license. That does in fact amount to the same thing as the 2004-2012 policy (in fact better, because of the license), but it is embedded in such a smoke-screen of double-talk and ambiguity that most authors and institutional OA policy-makers and repository-managers will be unable to understand and implement it.

My main objection is to Elsevier?s smokescreen. This could all be stated and implemented so simply if Elsevier were acting in good faith. But to avoid any risk to itself, Elsevier prefers to keep research access at risk with complicated, confusing edicts.