HEFCE/REF Adopts Optimal Complement to RCUK OA Mandate

There are two essential components to an effective ?Green? OA mandate (i.e., one that generates as close to 100% compliance, as soon as possible):

(1) The mandate must uncouple the date of deposit from the date the deposit is made OA, requiring immediate deposit, with no exemptions or exceptions. How long an OA embargo it allows is a separate matter, but on no account must date of deposit be allowed to be contingent on publisher OA embargoes.

This is exactly what the New HEFCE policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework has done.

(2) Eligibility for research assessment (and funding) must be made conditional on immediate-deposit (date-stamped by the journal acceptance letter). Again, this is in order to ensure that deposits are not made months or years after publication: no retrospective deposit

The deposit requirement for eligibility for research assessment and funding is not itself an OA requirement, it is merely a procedural requirement: For eligibility, papers must be deposited in the institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. Late deposits are not eligible for consideration.

This engages each university (always extremely anxious to comply fully with REF, HEFCE and RCUK eligibility rules) in ensuring that deposit is timely, with the help of the date-stamped acceptance letter throughout the entire 6-year REF cycle, 2014-2020.

These two conditions are what have yielded the most effective of all the Green OA mandates to date (well over 80% compliance rate and growing) at University of Liege and FRS-FNRS (the Belgian Francophone research funding council); other mandates are upgrading to this mandate model; Harvard FAS has already adopted immediate-deposit as one of its conditions. And now RCUK ? thanks to HEFCE/REF ? will reap the benefits of the immediate-deposit condition as well (see ROARMAP)

OA embargoes are another matter, and HEFCE/REF is wisely leaving that to others (RCUK, EU Horizon2020, and university mandates) to stipulate maximal allowable embargo length and any allowable exceptions. What HEFCE/REF is providing is the crucial two components for ensuring that the mandate will succeed: (1) immediate deposit as a (2) condition for REF-eligibility.

But let me add something else that will become increasingly important, once the HEFCE/REF immediate-deposit requirement begins to propagate worldwide (as I am now confident it will: UK is at last back in the lead on OA again, instead of odd-man-out, as it has been since Finch):

The immediate-deposit clause and the contingency on eligibility for research assessment and funding also ensures that the primary locus of deposit will be the institutional repository rather than institution-external repositories. (Deposits can be exported automatically to external repositories, once deposited and once the embargo has elapsed; they can also be imported from extrenal repositories, in the case of the physicists and mathematicians who have already been faithfully depositing in Arxiv for two decades,)

But besides all that, many of the eprints and dspace institutional repositories already have ? and, with the HEFCE mandate model propagating almost all of them will soon have the email-eprint-request Button:

This Button makes it possible for users who reach a closed access deposit to click once to request a copy for research purposes; the repository software emails an automatic eprint request to the author, who can click once to comply with the request; the repository software emails the requestor the eprint. (Researchers have been requesting and sending reprints by mail ? and lately by email ? for decades, but with immediate-deposit and the Button, this is greatly accelerated and facilitated. So even during any allowable embargo period, the Button will enhance access and usage dramatically. I also predict that immediate-deposit and the Button will greatly hasten the inevitable and well-deserved demise of publisher OA embargoes.)

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.)

Let me close by noting another important feature of the new HEFCE/REF policy: The allowable exceptions do not apply to the immediate-deposit requirement! They only apply to the allowable open-access embargo. To be eligible for REF2020, a paper must have been deposited immediately upon acceptance for publication (with a 3-month grace period).

(No worries about HEFCE’s optional 2 year start-up grace period either: Institutions will almost certainly want their REF procedures safely and systematically in place as early as possible, so everything can go simply and smoothly and there is no risk of papers being ineligible.)

Postscript. Expect the usual complaints from the usual suspects:

(i) “This is a sell-out of OA! It’s just Green Gratis OA, not Libre OA: What about the re-use rights? And if it?s embargoed, it isn?t even Green OA!

Reply: Relax. Patience. A compromise was needed, to break the log-jam between the Finch/Wellcome Fool?s-Gold profligacy and publisher embargoes on Green OA. The HEFCE immediate-deposit compromise is what will break up that log jam, and it?s not only the fastest and surest (and cheapest) way to get to 100% Green Gratis OA, but also the fastest, surest and cheapest way to get from Green Gratis OA to Libre Fair-Gold OA.

(ii) “This is a sell-out to publishers and their embargoes.”

Reply: Quite the opposite. It will immediately detoxify embargoes (thanks to the Button) and at the same time plant the seeds for their speedy extinction, by depriving publishers of the power to delay access-provision with their embargoes. It is also moots the worries of the most timorous or pedantic IP lawyer.

It thereby provides a mandate model that any funder or institution can adopt, irrespective of how it elects to deal with publisher OA embargoes.

And a mandate that can be simply and effectively implemented and monitored by institutions to ensure compliance.

Digital Formality & Digital Reality

Comment on:
Guest Post: Charles Oppenheim on who owns the rights to scholarly articles
Open and Shut
Feb 4 2014]

1. Sixty percent of journals (including Elsevier) state formally in their copyright agreements that their authors retain the right to make their final, peer-reviewed, revised and accepted version (Green) Open Access (OA) immediately, without embargo, by self-archiving them in their institutional repositories.

2. The Elsevier take-down notices did not pertain to the author?s final version but to the publisher?s version of record (and in the case of 3rd party sites like academia.edu they concerned not only the version but the location).

3. The IDOA (immediate-deposit, optional-access) mandate is formally immune to take-down notices, because it separates deposit from OA:

4. For articles published in the 60% of journals in which authors formally retain their right to provide immediate, unembargoed Green OA, they can be self-archived immediately in the institutional repository and also made OA immediately.

5. For articles published in the 40% of journals that formally embargo OA, if authors wish to comply with the publisher?s embargo, the final, peer-reviewed, revised and accepted version can still be deposited immediately in the institutional repository, with access set as Closed Access (CA) during any embargo: only the title and abstract are accessible to all users; the full text is accessible only to the author.

6. For CA deposits, institutional repositories have an email-eprint-request Button with which individual users can launch an automated email request to the author for an individual copy for research purposes, with one click; the author can then decide, on an individual case by case basis, with one click, whether or not the repository software should email a copy to that requestor.

7. It is the IDOA + Button Strategy that is the update of the ?Harnad-Oppenheim Prepint + Corrigenda? Strategy.

8. But of course even the IDOA + Button Strategy is unnecessary, as is definitively demonstrated by what I would like to dub the ?Computer Science + Physics Strategy?:

9. Computer scientists since the 1980?s and Physicists since the 1990?s have been making both their preprints and their final drafts freely accessibly online immediately, without embargo (the former in institutional FTP archives and then institutional websites, and the latter in Arxiv, a 3rd-party website) without any take-down notices (and, after over a quarter century, even the mention of the prospect of author take-down notices for these papers is rightly considered ludicrous).

10. I accordingly recommend the following: Let realistic authors practice the Computer Science + Physics Strategy and let formalistic authors practice the IDOA + Button Strategy ? but let them all deposit their their final, peer-reviewed, revised and accepted versions immediately.

Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2012) Open Access Mandates and the “Fair Dealing” Button. In: Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.)

Chicken Little Meets British Humanities in the Times Literary Supplement

In a very silly opinion piece in the Times Literary Supplement, Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate — despite noting that until at least 2020 HEFCE has not mandated only for journal articles, not for books — decries shrilly the doom and gloom that the HEFCE mandate portends for book-based humanity scholarship. The gratuitous cavilling is, as usual, cloaked in shrill alarums about academic freedom infringement…

Institutions & Funders: Ignore Elsevier Take-Down Notices (and Mandate Immediate-Deposit)

See Exchange on Elsevier Website regarding Elsevier Take-Down Notices (and please note that this concerns only authors’ final drafts, not Elsevier’s PDF version-of-record):

December 17, 2013 at 9:05 pm
Stevan Harnad: Tom, I wonder if it would be possible to drop the double-talk and answer a simple question: Do or do not Elsevier authors retain the right to make their peer-reviewed final drafts on their own institutional websites immediately, with no embargo? Just a Yes or No, please? Stevan

December 18, 2013 at 2:36 pm
Tom Reller (Elsevier): Hello Dr. Harnad. I don?t agree with your characterization of our explanation here, but nevertheless as requested, there is a simple answer to your question ? yes. Thank you.

December 20, 2013
Stevan Harnad: Tom, thank you. Then I suggest that the institutions [and funders] of Elsevier authors ignore the Elsevier take-down notices (and also adopt an immediate-deposit mandate that is immune to all publisher take-down notices by requiring immediate deposit, whether or not access to the immediate-deposit is made immediately OA)? Stevan 

Do follow Peter Suber’s wise advice to authors to try to retain their right to self-archive with OA un-embargoed — but also deposit your final draft immediately upon acceptance whether or not you make your deposit OA immediately; and make sure your institution and funder both adopt an immediate institutional deposit mandate to ensure that all researchers deposit immediately. (And remember that this all concerns the author’s final draft, not the publisher’s PDF version-of-record.)

Paradoxically, publisher take-down notices for the publisher’s proprietary PDF version-of-record are a good thing for the adoption of sensible, effective OA policies and practices: Sleep-walking authors and their institutions need to be awakened to the pragmatics and implications of the difference between the author’s final, peer-reviewed, revised, accepted version and the publisher’s PDF version-of-record: Green OA is all about the former, not the latter.

Stevan Harnad

The Need to Upgrade All OA Mandates to Add Immediate-Institutional-Deposit Requirement

Rick Anderson [RA] wrote:

“[A] policy that actually makes deposit mandatory is a mandate? But it appears that many of the institutional policies listed on the ROARMAP site… as “mandates”? actually require no deposit at all. A few examples would be those of MIT (“The Provost or Provost’s designate will waive application of the policy for a particular article upon written notification by the author”), the University of Oregon library (“The Dean of the Libraries will waive application of the policy for a particular article upon written notification by the author”), and the University of Glasgow (“Staff are asked to deposit a copy of peer-reviewed, published journal articles and conference proceedings into Enlighten, where copyright allows, as soon as possible after publication.”)? [T]hey are policies that require no deposit? [W]hy the insistence on calling such policies “mandates”? If they make no action mandatory, then why not simply call them policies? 

I agree that some of the “mandates” in ROARMAP are not really mandatory, although Merriam-Webster does give two senses of “mandate”:

1  : an authoritative command…
2 :  an authorization to act…

Academics do need both: an official requirement (similar to publish or perish) (1) and official backing from their institutions and funders (2), to empower them to deal with their publishers.

But many of the first wave of mandates are indeed weak, and some are not even mandates at all. 

They are, however, increasingly being upgraded to ID/OA (immediate-deposit/optional-access):

In the UK, HEFCE/REF’s new policy will effectively make all funded research in the UK ID/OA, and the institutions will have to be the ones to ensure that researchers comply. 

The EC’s new Horizon2020 is likewise an immediate-deposit mandate. 

Many (including me) are working hard to try to ensure that the US OSTP mandate and the Canadian Tri-Agency mandate will be ID/OA too. 

Both Minho and QUT have recently upgraded their institutional mandates to ID/OA. And several institutional mandate adoptions have lately been ID/OA.

The hope had originally been that the Harvard/MIT-style OA mandates, because they were (i) self-imposed faculty consensus policies, would be even more effective than administrative mandates, and that because they (ii) formally pre-assigned certain rights by default to their institutions in advance of submission for publication, they would strengthen authors’ negotiating position with publishers. 

Each Faculty member grants to (university name) permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles? Each Faculty member will provide an electronic copy of the author?s final version of each article no later than the date of its publication [e.g., by depositing it in the institutional repository]?

But in practice the Harvard/MIT-model OA mandates (often just called OA “policies”) seem to have turned out to be less effective than had been hoped: 

First, the Harvard model had (a) had to allow author waivers, which in and of itself rendered the policy non-mandatory; but this in itself is not the problem, because only about 5% of authors formally request a waiver. 

The problem is that (b) most authors neither waive nor deposit

The exact proportion of compliance is not known, because the policy is not binding on all faculty (because at Harvard not all Faculties have adopted it, and because at MIT a lot of collaborative project research is not bound by it) and (c) universities in general currently have no way of knowing what their total published research output is. (Enabling institutions to keep track of their  own research output was in fact one of the secondary purposes of OA mandates and institutional repositories.)

So, as with other OA policies, implementation at Harvard and MIT has been reduced to librarians trying to chase after authors to provide their papers, or trying to retrieve their authors’ published papers from the web (where they have sometimes been made OA on institution-external sites). I believe librarians even try to retrieve their institutional authors’  papers from publishers’ websites, when the library has licensed access — but then they languish while the library or repository staff try to figure out whether or when they have the right to deposit them. (This, despite the fact that there are only 5% waivers of the default rights-retention clause!)

It is quite problematic that because of its distinguished source the Harvard OA policy model is being widely emulated in the US even though it is now 5 years since it was first adopted in 2008 and yet there are no data available on how well it works compared to other mandate models (or no mandate at all).

In principle, if Harvard takes it seriously that 95% of Harvard faculty have not waived a default rights-assignment policy, then they can make 95% of Harvard papers OA in Harvard’s institutional repository immediately. The question is: which version? If authors have not provided their final refereed drafts, it is unclear what can be done with the publisher’s PDF.

The Glasgow policy — I agree it’s not really a mandate, and I have just downgraded it to a non-mandate in ROARMAP — is the weakest kind of OA policy of all: “Deposit if and when your publisher says you can!”

This is why it’s so important that institutional and funder mandates should be (I) upgraded to all require immediate deposit and (II) harmonized to all require institutional deposit, with (III) deposit designated as the sole official mechanism for submitting refereed journal articles for individual performance review, institutional research assessment, research funding applications and fulfillment, and official academic CVs. 

(If institutional rights assignment is waived, the publisher has an OA embargo, and the author wishes to comply with the embargo, access to the deposit can be set as Closed Access instead of OA, and the repository’s automated request-a-copy Button can provide “Almost-OA” during the embargo with one click each from each requestor and the author. But the deposit must be immediate in any case.)

The UK’s HEFCE REF2020 and the EU’s EC Horizon2020 mandates should soon both be harmonizing institutional mandates in this direction. Let’s hope the US, Canada, Latin America, Australia and the rest of the research world will soon follow suit. OA is already fully within reach and absurdly overdue. Let’s this time have the good sense to grasp it.

Stevan Harnad

The Mechanics Behind the Magic

I like Scott Pluchak’s posting. We share a vision…

If you’re interested in some of the objective evidence on the adoption rate (still too slow) and the effectiveness (quite remarkable, though depending on mandate-type) of OA self-archiving mandates, have a look at ROARMAP and the references below.

(You might also have heard of the US OSTP, EU Horizon2020 and UK HEFCE/REF2020 mandates, soon to come.)

Scott is certainly right that my thinking has been magical:

1. In 1994: I thought it would be enough to just just say “self-archive” and next day all researchers on the planet would do it. (Next day came, and nothing happened.)

2. It was magical thinking also to create CogPrints in 1997, in case researchers in my field weren’t self-archiving because they didn’t have a central place to self-archive (no success).

3. Magical thought too, that creating EPrints in 2000 (from which DSpace too emerged) — so that all institutions could create their own OA repositories — would do the trick (no dice).

4. A series of studies inspired by Lawrence 2001 — demonstrating that OA increases citations — made no significant difference either.

5. But then in 2003, things began to pick up, with the adoption of the very first Green OA mandate (Southampton ECS), followed by several more (notably QUT in Australia and U Minho in Portugal). ROARMAP launched, but adoptions were still just a trickle: decidedly unmagical.

6. Then in 2004 the UK Select Committee recommended that all UK institutions and funders mandate Green OA. And the trickle became a trend — but still a very sluggish one. And most of the mandates were weak, ineffective ones. It would have taken magic to make them work.

7. So in 2006, Peter Suber and I independently proposed the immediate-deposit/optional-access mandate (ID/OA) (Peter called it the “dual-deposit-release” mandate), Southampton designed the automated request-a-copy Button for EPrints and Eloy Rodrigues designed its counterpart for DSpace. (Perhaps it was still magical thinking to imagine they would work — or would even be adopted.)

8. But then in 2007, Bernard Rentier, rector of the University of Liège, became the first to adopt the ID/OA mandate and the Button.

9. We then waited a few years to see whether it would work.

10. And by 2010 it became evident that ID/OA + Button was working, and generating over 80% OA compared to about 30% for the weaker mandates and even less without mandates. And no magic was needed.

Meanwhile, Gold OA had been making some headway too, but even more slowly than Green, because it required authors to switch journals and because it cost them extra money; and in 2013 the economist John Houghton (in collaboration with publishing consultant Alma Swan) described exactly why Green needed to come first.

Is it magical to think the adoption of ID/OA + Button will become universal in the next few years? Perhaps. But let’s be empirical, and wait for the evidence.

Meanwhile, I — and many others — will keep “tirelessly trotting out the facts” rather than just waiting passively? And does 110 really sound all that hedgehoggy to you? Seems more foxy to me (and a fox who is more of a pragmatist than just a preacher, polemicist or prestidigitator). — But then I love both of those little creatures (the foxes and the hedgehogs), and would never either wear their hides or eat their flesh, any more than I would those of any other feeling creature (including pragmatists, preachers, polemicists and prestidigitators). And that’s a lot bigger and more important thing than OA…

Gargouri, Y., Larivière, V., & Harnad, S. (2013) Ten-year Analysis of University of Minho Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate (in E Rodrigues, Ed. title to come) http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/358882/

Gargouri, Y, Lariviere, V, Gingras, Y, Brody, T, Carr, L and Harnad, S (2012b) Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Ineffectiveness. In Open Access Week 2012

Hitchcock, S. (2013) The effect of open access and downloads (‘hits’) on citation impact: a bibliography of studies.

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).

Rentier, B., & Thirion, P. (2011). The Liège ORBi model: Mandatory policy without rights retention but linked to assessment processes.

Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. & Harnad, S. (2012) Open Access Mandates and the “Fair Dealing” Button. In: Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.)

Publisher Embargoes, Immediate-Deposit Mandates, and the Request-a-Copy Button

On Thu, Nov 28, 2013 Bo-Christer Björk wrote in GOAL: The idea that publishers would tolerate large scale mandate driven green OA (say 50-60 %) of articles with no embargoes or counteractions is pretty naive. Elsevier has shown the way with rules stipulating that Green OA is OK, unless its mandated, in which case they require special deals with the the institutions in question. And many publishers who previously had no embargo periods are starting to define such.”

Björk’s comment, unfortunately completely misses the point.

Yes, publishers can and will try to impose embargoes on Green OA, especially encouraged by the perverse effects of the UK’s Finch/RCUK preference and subsidy for Gold.

That is not being denied, it was being affirmed: “Joint ‘Re-Engineering’ Plan of UK Government and UK Publisher Lobby for ‘Nudging’ UK Researchers Toward Gold Open Access

But the immediate-deposit (HEFCE/Liege) mandates are immune to these publisher embargoes. They are the compromise mandate that fits all funders and institutions, regardless of how long a maximal publisher embargo they allow.

(Green OA after one a one-year embargo has been pretty much conceded by all publishers, whether or not they admit it, so that’s the worst case scenario; one year of access-denial is now the figure to beat: The HEFCE/Liege mandates get everything deposited in institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication, whether or not it is made OA immediately. And that means that access to everything immediately becomes at most 2 keystrokes away, one from the requestor, one from the author, thanks to the repositories’ automated “Almost-OA” Button: see more below.)

As to Elsevier’s “special deals” for mandating institutions: sensible institutions will politely inform Elsevier that they are, as always, quite prepared to negotiate with publishers about subscription pricing (“Big Deals”) — but definitely not about university internal record-keeping and archiving policy, which is none of publishers’ business.

As to Elsevier authors (who — not their universities! — are the ones negotiating rights agreements with their publishers): They can rest assured that Elsevier is still completely on the Side of the Angels in its explicit, formal recognition of their authors’ right to provide immediate, unembargoed (Green, Gratis) OA to their final drafts, by self-archiving them online, accessible free for all, in their institutional repositories — a right that Elsevier has formally recognized ever since 2004.

Let me repeat that very clearly: All Elsevier authors today retain the right to make their papers OA immediately upon publication — no embargo — by depositing their final refereed drafts in their institutional repositories and setting access to them as OA immediately.

The recently added Elsevier double-talk about “voluntariness” and “systematicity” has absolutely no legal force or meaning. As it stands, it is just vacuous, pseudo-legal FUD and can and should be safely ignored by authors.

And if and when Elsevier (putting at further risk its already rather unhappy public image) ever does decide to bite the bullet and changes its rights agreements from what they state currently to state instead that, as of today, Elsevier authors no longer retain the right to make their papers (Green, Gratis) OA unembargoed, then the institutional repositories’ automated request-a-copy Button will tide over researcher needs during the embargo with one click from the user to request a copy and one click by the author to provide one. This is not OA, but it’s “Almost-OA.”

Once the immediate-deposit mandate, the Button, and X% Immediate-OA + (100-X)% Almost-OA prevail worldwide, it won’t be much longer till embargoes die their inevitable and well-deserved deaths under the overwhelming worldwide pressure for OA, which by then will already all be only one keystroke away.

Meanwhile, X% Immediate-OA + (100-X)% Almost-OA will already be incomparably more access than all non-subscribing would-be users have (or have ever had) till now.

It is rather hard to say on whose side Björk is on, and why! It’s one thing to objectively measure the level and growth rate of Green and Gold OA, Immediate and Delayed, across disciplines and time, as Björk does, valuably. It’s a rather different thing to advocate for Gold OA.

Now, I am myself an unambiguous and unambivalent advocate for Green OA, whether when I am objectively measuring its growth rates or designing tools and policies to facilitate and accelerate mandating it. And my reasons (likewise no secrets) are the many reasons that Green OA can be facilitated and accelerated by mandating it.

Gold OA, in contrast, costs extra money (over and above uncancellable subscriptions) and can only grow on publishers’ terms, and publishers’ timetable.

I know of no reason to believe that OA can or will grow faster via the paid Gold route than the mandated Green route: The reason Björk gives above (publisher embargoes) certainly does not entail that conclusion at all. Immediate-deposit mandates are immune to publisher embargoes and will accelerate the demand and supply of OA unstoppably as they are adopted more and more widely.

That suggests a new parameter whose growth rate Björk and others might now find it interesting to measure: The growth rates of various kinds of mandates, keeping a special eye on the most powerful and effective one: The HEFCE/Liege model. Because that’s where most of the action in the next few years will be taking place…

Stevan Harnad

Critique of RCUK’s Response to BIS Recommendations on UK Open Access Policy

Critique of excerpts from

Research Councils UK Response to BIS Committee

RCUK: compliance targets for the numbers of papers made available Open Access will be increased year-on-year, as will the funding we make available to support Article Processing Charges (APCs).

This is a publishing industry timetable and terms.

The RCUK compliance target should be for OA (Green + Gold), not just for Gold payments; and the annual OA target should be 100%.

Funding-based annual targets slow OA growth whilst making it much more costly to provide OA.

What is needed is a mechanism for monitoring and ensuring timely compliance. That’s what institutions (recruited by HEFCE‘s immediate-deposit mandate for REF2020 eligibility) will provide.

RCUK: During the transition period, we are allowing authors to use journals with embargo periods longer than the headline figure in the policy, but in line with those agreed by the Government, for publicly funded research where no funds are available to cover the payment of APCs.

This is unclear. Relaxing the enforcement of embargo limits on Green is good, because it preserves author freedom of choice of journal. But if it is only for when there’s no money to pay for Gold, it again incentivizes publishers to offer over-priced, double-paid hybrid Gold and to adopt or lengthen Green embargoes so as to collect as much extra UK Gold revenue as available.

RCUK: We are not convinced that institutional repositories are always the best way of providing [OA], and that solutions such as ‘request a copy’ button or emailing the researcher for a copy of the paper are not scalable to a wider constituency of users.

RCUK has misunderstood the repositories’ request-a-copy Button. It only requires a key press by the requestor and a key press by the author; the emailing is then automatic, by the repository software.

It is not clear what RCUK means by “not scalable”: Any requestor with email access can request a copy, for either research or educational purposes.

The purpose of the Button is

(1) to make immediate-deposit mandates adoptable and scaleable to all institutions and funders;

(2) to provide Almost-OA during any embargo period;

(3)to immunize against publisher embargoes on Green OA;

(4) to make sure authors only need to deposit once, institutionally (from there, deposits can be exported or harvested);

(5) to recruit institutions to monitor and ensure compliance with OA mandates;

(6) to make sure all articles are deposited;

(7) to document the demand for OA;

(8) to increase global demand and pressure for immediate OA;

(9) to hasten the transition from Almost-OA to OA.

RCUK: the headline figure quoted in the report that 60% of journals already allow immediate un-embargoed self-archiving of the peer-reviewed version of the article does not reflect the reality for Research Council funded authors. A comparable figure for journals used by Research Council funded authors is between 17% and 20% .

Sixty percent continues to be the worldwide estimate of the proportion of subscription journals that do not embargo Green OA. It is not clear where or how RCUK draws its UK-specific estimates, but it is likely that they are factoring the perverse effects of the Finch/RCUK policy itself, which has induced major publishers like Elsevier — which does not embargo Green OA — to adopt embargoes for UK content (if UK authors seek the re-use rights RCUK prefers) unless hybrid Gold fees are paid, as well as to add pseudo-legal hedges about “voluntariness” and “systematicity” to its formerly unhedged policy on Green OA.

RCUK is confusing cause and effect in its assessment of embargoes: The UK’s explicit funding and preference for CC-BY Gold and downgrading of Green as “embargoed OA” has induced (some) publishers to adopt or lengthen Green embargoes. RCUK now cites this effect as if it were a justification for RCUK’s having adopted what in fact caused it in the first place.

RCUK: RCUK has a preference for immediate, unrestricted, on-line access to peer-reviewed and published research papers, free of any access charge and with maximum opportunities for re-use. This is commonly referred to as the ‘gold’ route to Open Access. RCUK prefers ‘gold’ Open Access

Gold OA means the publisher provides the OA. Green OA means the author provides it.

Gratis OA means free online access. Libre OA means free online access plus “maximum opportunities for re-use” (e.g., CC-BY).

Gold OA does not necessarily entail Gold OA APCs and most Gold OA is not Libre OA.

Both Green and Gold OA can be immediate or embargoed.

RCUK conflates “Gold OA” with immediate OA and Libre OA.

RCUK conflates “Green OA” with embargoed OA.

Hence most of the RCUK’s evidence and reasoning amounts to self-justifying definitions and self-fulfilling prophecy.

RCUK: by going directly to the journal web site a reader can be confident that they are accessing the final peer-reviewed and formally published record of research.

By paying publishers a considerable amount of extra money for Gold OA, over and above what publishers are already being paid for subscriptions, the UK can indeed give readers this tiny increase in confidence — But the reader can be almost as confident in the Green OA version, without this vast extra payment.

Strengthening deposit mandates to increase open access

BISCOM: “RCUK should build on its original world leading policy by reinstating and strengthening the immediate deposit mandate in its original policy (in line with HEFCE‘s proposals) and improving the monitoring and enforcement of mandated deposit (paragraph 31).”

RCUK:The current RCUK policy is much stronger in requiring deposit and access within clearly defined time periods. Reinstating individual council policies would be a backward step.

Former council mandates were Green, but weak. They did not require immediate deposit, but only deposit after an allowable embargo period had elapsed, with no monitoring to ensure timely compliance.

A forward step is to upgrade the former council mandates to require immediate institutional deposit, whether or not access to the deposit is embargoed for an allowable period (as HEFCE has since proposed, for eligibility for REF2020). Institutions monitor and ensure compliance with funding conditions and the institutional repository’s request-a-copy Button tides over usage needs during the embargo.

The backward step is to prefer to double-pay for immediate Libre Gold with the UK’s scarce research funds — and to portray Green OA as meaning embargoed Gratis OA or a version of which one cannot even be confident. (To have bought into this specious argument is the surest sign of how publisher interests have been allowed to penetrate what ought to have been UK research interests.)

Pure Gold and Hybrid Gold

RCUK is completely silent about the fundamental objections BIS raised against funding hybrid Gold (subscriptions + Gold OA APCs):

(1) Hybrid Gold is arbitrarily over-priced.

(2) Hybrid Gold is double-paid (subscriptions + Gold OA APCs)

(3) Hybrid Gold makes double-dipping possible

(4) Double-dipping subscription rebates to all subscribing institutions worldwide only returns 6% of 6% of UK’s Gold OA APC subsidy to the UK.

(5) Subsidizing and encouraging hybrid Gold encourages publisher adoption and lengthening of Green OA embargoes to pressure authors to pick and pay for Gold.

BISCOM: “Given the importance of ensuring that UK open access policy does not result in reduced access in the UK or worldwide, the Government and RCUK must monitor and evaluate the impact of their open access policy on embargo lengths imposed by UK publishers. The impact on different subject areas must also be carefully monitored. That information must inform future meetings of the Finch Group and RCUK’s reviews of open access policy (paragraph 51).”

RCUK: we welcome the recent reduction in embargo periods by Elsevier, such that the majority of its journals now offer a green option with 12/24 month embargo periods in line with those agreed by the Government for publicly funded research where no funds are available to cover the payment of APCs, as well as a hybrid-gold option.

RCUK is astoundingly ill-informed: Since 2004, well before Finch/RCUK, Elsevier has not embargoed Green OA at all. Under the incentive of the Gold OA funding mandated by Finch/RCUK, Elsevier has now adopted explicit embargoes for Libre Green, as well as some (meaningless) double-talk about Gratis Green (it must be “voluntary” and must not be “systematic“).

Nothing for RCUK to welcome, if RCUK’s interests are with research access rather than publisher profits.

Affordability of APCs for authors and UK research organizations

BISCOM: “We are concerned that the expectation appears to be that universities and research organisations will fund the balance of APCs and open access costs from their own reserves. We look to the Government and RCUK to mitigate against the impact on university budgets. The Government must not underestimate the significance of this issue (paragraph 64).”

RCUK: Publication of research results is an integral part of the research process, and is thus a legitimate part of the cost of undertaking research. RCUK is committed to providing the necessary funding to cover the costs of publishing papers arising from the research funded by the Research Councils.

This re-statement of the Wellcome Trust mantra continues to ignore the fact that the UK (but not Wellcome) also has to pay the costs of journal subscriptions. Hence the Gold APC costs are over and above subscription costs (which are likewise “a legitiame part of the cost of undertaking research”).

That means Gold OA APCs today are needless double-payments: “Fool’s Gold.” The only way they can turn into “Fair Gold” is if Green OA first prevails, eventually allowing subscriptions to be cancelled (and driving down publication costs by offloading access-provision and archiving onto Green OA repositories). Then the price of Gold will drop to a fair, affordable, sustainable level, single-paid out of the institutional subscription cancellation savings, instead of double-paid, needlessly, as now, out of scarce research funds. — Needless, because while subscriptions are still being paid, Green OA can provide the OA.

RCUK: The shared ultimate goal of full Gold open access

The proximal goal (still far away) is 100% Gratis OA; this can be reached by mandating Green OA (with the immediate-deposit clause + Button). The ultimate goal is affordable, sustainable OA, at a fair price, with as many re-use rights as users need and researchers want to provide.

BISCOM: “The Government and RCUK should clarify that Gold open access is the ultimate goal of, rather than the primary route to, their open access policies. We recommend that the Government and RCUK reconsider their preference for Gold open access during the five year transition period, and give due regard to the evidence of the vital role that Green open access and repositories have to play as the UK moves towards full open access (paragraph 70).”

RCUK: RCUK’s preference is for immediate, unrestricted on-line access, aka Gold open access, for reasons defined in section 2 of this response.

Gold OA means publisher-provided OA. RCUK is referring to immediate, fee-based Libre Gold OA — but re-naming it “Gold OA” as if to contrast with Green OA.

Green OA means author-provided OA. RCUK is trying to portray Green OA as embargoed Gratis Green OA. This is publishers’ preferred way of spinning the meaning of “Green OA”: the same publishers that are embargoing Green OA in an attempt to make their definition a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And, regrettably, under the influence of the publishing lobby (unwittingly aided and abetted by the Wellcome Trust as well as the minority of researchers who are in a great hurry for Libre OA), Finch/RCUK have fallen for it, hook, line and sinker.

BISCOM: “RCUK’s current guidance provides that the choice of Green or Gold open access lies with the author and the author’s institution, even if the Gold option is available from the publisher. This is incompatible with the Publishers Association’s decision tree, and RCUK should therefore withdraw its endorsement of the decision tree as soon as possible, to avoid further confusion within the academic and publishing communities (paragraph 71).”

RCUK: ?the ‘decision tree’? represents the post-transition ‘end state’ … institutions now understand the flexibility we are offering during the transition period, and that the ‘decision tree’ has to be seen within the context of this flexibility.

Why attach a decision tree to a new policy, now, that authors are trying to understand, now, when the decision tree does not apply now, but will only apply eventually (maybe)?

(Is this not yet another way of digging heels in with: “My mind’s made up: Don’t confuse me with facts!“)

BISCOM: “If RCUK and the Government continue to maintain their preference for Gold, they should amend their policies so that APCs are only paid to publishers of pure Gold rather than hybrid journals. This would eliminate the risk of double dipping by journals, and encourage innovation in the scholarly publishing market (paragraph 77).”

RCUK: RCUK made an explicit decision not to restrict the RCUK block grants only to covering APC costs for pure Gold journals. To have done so would have restricted the choice of authors as to where they could publish their research by limiting them to pure Gold journals if they wanted to ‘go gold’… RCUK commitment to provide APC funding without restriction has already driven change within the publishing industry, with many major subscription journals now offering a hybrid-gold option for the journals that Research Council authors chose to publish in. It is unlikely that publishers would have made these changes if RCUK had restricted its APC funding to pure Gold journals.

My mind’s made up! Don’t confuse me with facts!” — facts about over-pricing, double-payment, double-dipping, “rebates,” and perverse effects:

Gold payments are in any case double-payments (subscriptions + Gold APCs). If paid to the same publisher (hybrid Gold), they also allow publisher double-dipping. But even if not double-dipped, but instead paid back as a rebate to all subscribing institutions, that just means the UK’s 6% double-payment subsidizes all subscribers worldwide with a 6% subscription reduction! The UK itself only gets back 6% of the Gold APC subsidy it has provided for the rest of the world.

And far from following the UK’s profligacy with this needless foray into paying for Fool’s Gold, the rest of the world — which mandates Green, not Gold — is left saddled with the perverse effects of the UK’s incentives to hybrid Gold publishers: offer hybrid gold, pick your price, and adopt or lengthen embargoes on Green!

RCUK: RCUK considers that publishers need to ensure that subscriptions paid by institutions for hybrid journals reflect any additional revenue that the journal has received through the APCs that the institution has paid in order to publish ‘gold’ papers in that journal.

See above: RCUK thinks that a 6% rebate of a needless 6% double-spend (6% of 6%) is sufficient solace. It is not clear that UK tax-payers would or should see it that way. Nor should UK researchers. (Nor should researchers worldwide, in view of the perverse effects of UK policy on Green OA embargoes worldwide.)

RCUK: Whilst RCUK does not restrict its policy to supporting only pure Gold journals, institutions are free to decide how they allocate their RCUK block grants, and this could include declining to make APC payments to specific hybrid Gold journals that institutions may consider guilty of ‘double-dipping’.

How are institutions supposed to figure out whether publishers are double-dipping?

The best thing institutions can do with the scarce research funds RCUK has needlessly re-directed to double-paying publishers for Fool’s Gold is to make sure all their authors immediately deposit their final, refereed drafts in the institutional repository and make them Green OA as soon as possible.

And instead of wasting the RCUK OA funds on Fool’s Gold, they should spend them on implementing a reliable mechanism for monitoring and ensuring timely compliance with the HEFCE immediate-deposit requirement.

Stevan Harnad

ERC Gets It Half Right: Do Deposit Immediately, But Not Institution-Externally

The European Research Council’s new Green Open Access Mandate has got it half right.

Yes, deposit should be immediate, whether or not access to the deposit is embargoed.

But, No, the deposit should not be institution-external but institutional. (External exports can than be done automatically by the institutional repository software.)

The reasons for this are strong, and many. Both the success of the ERC mandate, and its harmonization with other funder and institutional mandates are at stake.

See: BiorXiv: Deposit Institutionally, Export-Centrally

It’s not too late to fix this flaw in the ERC policy: I hope the drafters will have the motivation and sense to fix this.

Stevan Harnad

Academia Bound?

Commentary on “Open Access and Academic Freedom” in Inside Higher Ed 15 November 2013, by Cary Nelson, former national president of the American Association of University Professors

If, in the print-on-paper era, it was not a constraint on academic freedom that universities and research funders required, as a condition of funding or employment, that researchers conduct and publish research — rather than put it in a desk drawer — so it could be read, used, applied and built upon by all users whose institutions could afford to subscribe to the journal in which it was published (“publish or perish“), then it is not a constraint on academic freedom in the online era that universities and research funders require, as a condition of funding or employment, that researchers make their research accessible online to all its potential users rather than just those whose institutions could afford to subscribe to the journal in which it was published (“self-archive to flourish“).

However, two kinds of Open Access (OA) mandates are indeed constraints on academic freedom:

1. any mandate that constrains the researcher’s choice of which journal to publish in — other than to require that it be of the highest quality whose peer-review standards the research can meet

2. any mandate that requires the researcher to pay to publish (if the author does not wish to, or does not have the funds)

The immediate-deposit/optional-access (ID/OA) mandate requires authors to deposit their final refereed draft in their institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, regardless of which journal they choose to publish in, and regardless of whether they choose to comply with an OA embargo (if any) on the part of the journal. (If so, the access to the deposit can be set as Closed Access rather than Open Access during the embargo, and the repository software has a facilitated copy-request Button, allowing would-be users to request a copy for research purposes with one click, and allowing the author the free choice to comply or not comply, likewise with one click.)

Since OA is beneficial to researchers — because it maximizes research downloads and citations, which universities and funders now count, along with publications, in evaluating and rewarding research output — why do researchers need mandates at all? Because they are afraid of publishers — afraid their publisher will not publish their research if they make it OA, or even afraid they will be prosecuted for copyright infringement.

So OA mandates are needed to embolden authors to provide OA, knowing they have the support of their institutions and funders. And the ID/OA mandate is immune to publisher embargoes. Over ten years of experience (of “performing a useful service by giving faculty a vehicle for voluntary self-archiving”) have by now shown definitively that most researchers will not self-archive unless it is mandatory. (The only exceptions are some fields of physics and computer science where researchers provide OA spontaneously, unmandated.) So what is needed is a no-option immediate-self-archiving mandate, but with leeway on when to make the deposit OA. This is indeed in a sense “optional Green OA,” but the crucial component is that the deposit itself is mandatory.

Funding is a red herring. Most universities have already invested in creating and maintaining institutional repositories, for multiple purposes, OA being only one of them, and the OA sectors are vastly under-utilized — except if mandated (at no extra cost).

The ID/OA mandate requires no change in copyright law, licensing or ownership of research output. Another red herring.

There are no relevant discipline differences for ID/OA either. Another red herring. And the need for and benefits of OA do not apply only to rare exceptions, but to all refereed research journal articles.

OA mandates apply only to refereed journal articles, not books. Another red herring (covering half of Cary Nelson’s article!).

As OA mandates are now growing globally, across all disciplines and institutions, it is nonsense to imagine that researchers will decide where to work on the basis of trying to escape an OA mandate — and with ID/OA there isn’t even anything for them to want to escape from.

The ID/OA mandate also moots the difference between journal articles and book chapters. And it applies to all disciplines, and publishers, whether commercial, learned-society, or university.

Refereed journal publishing will adapt, quite naturally to Green OA. For now, some publishers are trying to forestall having to adapt to the OA era, by embargoing OA. Let them try. ID/OA mandates are immune to publisher OA embargoes, but publishers are not immune to the rising demand for OA:

Paying for Gold OA today is paying for Fool’s Gold: Research funds are already scarce. Institutions cannot cancel must-have journal subscriptions. So Gold OA payment is double-payment, over and above subscriptions. And hybrid (subscription + Gold) publishers can even double-dip. If and when global Green OA makes journal subscriptions unsustainable, journals will downsize, jettisoning products and services (print edition, online edition, access-provision, archiving) rendered obsolete by the worldwide network of Green OA repositories) and they will convert to Fair Gold, paid for peer review alone, out of a fraction of the institutions windfall subscription cancellation savings.

It is not for the research community to continue depriving itself of OA while trying to 2nd-guess how publishers will adapt. That — and not OA mandates — would be a real constraint on academic freedom: The publishing tail must not be allowed to continue to wag the research dog.

OSTP: On Not Putting the Fox in Charge of the Henhouse

Exchange in SIGMETRICS with David Wojick, a consultant to OSTI:

DW:the non-NIH US agencies are implementing the OSTP mandate for a 12 month delayed access program, just as NIH already does.”

That the OSTP mandate requires providing OA within a year (at most) is well-known.

But how each agency will formulate and implement its mandate is definitely not well-known, nor even fully decided as yet: it is still being worked on, agency by agency (and I’m sure Peter Suber, Heather Joseph, Alma Swan and others with expertise in OA and OA mandates are being consulted).

The most important practical implementation issues are:

#1 Who must make the paper OA? the fundee or the publisher? Obviously for a uniform, systematically verifiable mandate, it must be the fundee, the one bound by the mandate, and not the publisher, the one that is in conflict of interest with the mandate, and not bound to comply with it (except if paid extra money).

#2 Where must the paper be made OA? Here again, for a uniform, systematically verifiable mandate, it must be in one verifiable locus, and the only locus shared by all fundees, all funders and all institutions (and for both Green and Gold OA) is the fundee’s own institutional repository – from whence it can be exported or harvested to other sites, such as PubMed Central, if and when needed.

#3 When must the paper be made OA? (The mandate already stipulates this: within 12 months of publication at the latest.)

#4 When must the paper be deposited? This is the most important question of all, and carries with it the answer to the other questions: the fundee must deposit the final, refereed, accepted draft, immediately upon acceptance for publication — not 12 months after publication — irrespective of whether it is published in a subscription journal or a Gold OA journal, irrespective of whether the deposit is immediately made OA or embargoed, and irrespective of whether the journal endorses immediate OA or imposes an OA embargo.

It is #4 that holds the key to a successful and effective OA mandate, the Liège model “Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access” model (which Peter Suber calls the “Dual Deposit/Release” model). The model has been tried and tested, and has already proven to be more effective than any other mandate model, and is both compatible with and subsumes all the other mandate models.

The key to the Liège model’s success is that it is convergent and systematic rather than divergent and anarchic, mobilizing the universal source of all research, funded and unfunded, Green, Grey and Gold, across all disciplines — the fundee’s own institution — to monitor and ensure timely compliance as well as to tide over any embargo with the repository’s facilitated copy-request Button.

All of this depends on requiring deposit, by the fundee, in the institutional repository, immediately upon acceptance for publication, which is the only universal, objective, verifiable calendar date of reference for timely compliance. (Publication dates diverge wildly from both the acceptance date and the actual date of appearance of the journal. Whereas a 12 month embargo is the number to beat, publication date can lead to an uncertainty of as much as two years or more.)

Gargouri, Y., Lariviere, V., Gingras, Y., Brody, T., Carr, L., & Harnad, S. (2012a). Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Ineffectiveness. arXiv preprint

Rentier, B., & Thirion, P. (2011). The Liège ORBi model: Mandatory policy without rights retention but linked to assessment processes.

DW:If you know of an agency that is doing something else I would like to hear about it. Note that NIH has half of the Federal basic research budget so this is merely rounding out the existing program.”

No U.S. funding agency has yet adopted the immediate-deposit clause, but it has been adopted by the FNRS in Belgium, and has been proposed by HEFCE in the UK. It is also implicit (though not yet implemented or enforced) in the Harvard mandate model.

DW:The only big issue at this point is whether the non-NIH agencies will collect and post accepted manuscripts, as NIH does, but perhaps via SHARE repositories, or use CHORUS and link to the publisher websites.”

You leave out the most important option of all, which is that all papers are deposited in the fundee’s own institutional repository (and exported if/when desired, to institution-external repositories).

And of course on no account should the depositor or the locus be the publisher (although of course the institutional repository can and will also link to the version on the publisher’s site, whether subscription or Gold, OA or embargoed).

I hope all the US funding agencies are likewise taking advice on implementation from those who represent the interests of the research community rather than the publishing community.

DW:Stevan, I am well aware of your vision. I have read your NRC submission. It just does not happen to be what the US Government is implementing.”

It may not be what is being implemented at OSTI, where you are advising, but have you read what each of the other agencies is doing?

DW:The Brits wanted the US to follow them, but that too is not happening.”

And a good thing too, since the Finch/RCUK Policy U-Turn was a disaster. But HEFCE and BIS now look to be fixing that…

DW:The situation is as I describe it.”

Perhaps at OSTI. The rest remains to be seen.

The OA movement has won some and lost some, across the years, but it’s not over till it’s over…

(1994) A Subversive Proposal

(2001) The Self-Archiving Initiative

(2002) The Budapest Open Access Initiative

Harnad, S. (2004a) Memorandum to UK To UK Government Science and Technology Select Committee Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Harnad, S. (2004b) For Whom the Gate Tolls? Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Harnad, S. (2007). No Need for Canadian PubMed Central: CIHR Should Mandate IR Deposit.

Harnad, S. (2011) What Is To Be Done About Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications Resulting From Federally Funded Research? (Response to US OSTP RFI).

Harnad, S. (2011) Comments on Open Access FAQ of German Alliance of Scientific Organisations (Allianz der deutschen Wissenschaftsorganisationen).

Harnad, S (2012) Digital Research: How and Why the RCUK Open Access Policy Needs to Be Revised. Digital Research 2012.

Harnad, S. (2013). Harnad Response to HEFCE REF OA Policy Consultation. HEFCE.

Harnad, S. (2013). Harnad Comments on HEFCE/REF Open Access Mandate Proposal. Open access and submissions to the REF post-2014

Harnad, S. (2013) Harnad Evidence to House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee on Open Access. House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Open Access, Winter Issue, 119-123.

Harnad, S. (2013) Harnad Evidence to BIS Select Committee Inquiry on Open Access. Written Evidence to BIS Select Committee Inquiry on Open Access, Winter Issue

Harnad, S. (2013). Follow-Up Comments for BIS Select Committee on Open Access. UK Parliament Publications and Records.

Harnad, Stevan (2013) Recommandation au ministre québécois de l’enseignement supérieur.

Multiple Comments on CIHR Open Access Policy

Multiple Comments on SSHRC Open Access Policy

Multiple Comments on OA Progress in Canada

Multiple Comments on NIH Public Access Policy

Multiple Comments on Harvard Open Access Policy

Multiple Comments on France/HAL Open Access Policy

Comments on H. Varmus’s 1999 E-biomed Proposal [1] [2]

Spoiled But Readily Fixed

I very much hope that my own will not be the only voice in favour of Fred Friend’s Sense over Finch/Willetts Folly at the Westminster Forum on Implementing Open Access Policy in London on November 5th. —- S.H.

Bravo to Fred Friend for his trenchant account of the UK/OA saga:
How did the UK government manage to spoil something as good as open access?

(Only one item was missing from Fred’s list of 9 perverse effects of the Willetts/Finch sell-out — that it also runs roughshod over UK authors’ freedom of choice as to which journal to publish in — but Fred has informed me that it was in his original list and had to be cut to meet the word-limit!)

Whether or not BIS and the UK goverrnment have the good sense to follow the wise and timely advice of their own 2013 BIS Select Committee on how to repair the RCUK OA Mandate, nothing prevents HEFCE and RCUK from following that advice (just as they followed the advice of the 2004 Select Committee and mandated OA even though the government rejected the advice).

And irrespective of any of this, nothing prevents UK researchers from publishing in their journal of choice and depositing their final drafts in their institutional repositories immediately upon acceptance for publication, as Fred suggests, releasing the immediately deposited paper either immediately as OA, or after an embargo of 6 or 12 months. RCUK has already stated that it will not be enforcing the Green OA embargoes for at least the first five years.

(And meanwhile the repositories’ facilitated copy-request Button will be making it possible for authors to provide individual copies of embargoed deposits to requestors for research purposes with one extra click per request, if they wish — if, but only if, the paper is deposited immediately upon publication rather than after the embargo.)

Harnad Comments on Canada?s NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy

Harnad Comments on

Canada?s NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy

Executive Summary: The Canadian Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy is excellent in preserving fundees? free choice of journal, and free choice about whether or not to use their research funds to pay to publish in an OA journal. However, deposit in the fundee?s institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication needs to be required, whether or not the fundee chooses to publish in an OA journal and whether or not access to the deposit is embargoed for 12 months. The immediate-deposit requirement makes it possible for the fundee?s institution to monitor and ensure timely compliance with the funder OA policy. It also motivates institutions to adopt complementary OA policies of their own, for all their research output, funded and unfunded. The immediate-deposit requirement also facilitates providing individual eprints by the fundee to individual eprint requestors for research purposes during any embargo. Institutional repository deposits can then be automatically exported to any institutional-external repositories the fundee, funding agency or institution wishes. On no account should compliance with funding agency conditions be left to the publisher rather than the fundee and the fundee?s institution.

?Grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication, either through the publisher’s website (Option #1) or an online repository (Option #2).?

Monitoring and Ensuring Compliance. A funding agency Open Access (AO) Policy is binding on the fundee, not on other parties. Hence it is a mistake to offer fundees the option either to comply or to leave it to another party (the publisher) to comply.

Funder Requirements Bind Fundees, Not Publishers. The fulfillment of funding agency conditions for receiving a grant is the responsibility of the fundee, and the funding agency needs a systematic and reliable means of monitoring and ensuring that the fundee has indeed complied, and complied in time.

Institutional Monitoring of Compliance. To ensure compliance (and timely compliance) with an AO requirement it is imperative that the responsibility rest fully with the fundee. The funding agency?s natural ally in ensuring compliance is the institution of the fundee, which is already very much involved and and shares a strong interest with both the fundee and the funding agency in ensuring the fulfillment of all funding agency conditions.

Immediate Institutional Repository Deposit. Hence whether or not the fundee publishes with a publisher that makes the article OA immediately, or after an embargo, the fundee should be required to deposit the final, peer-reviewed draft in the fundee?s institutional repository immediately upon publication. (Indeed, the most natural, effective and verifiable date is the date of acceptance, since the date of publication varies greatly, is often not predictable or known to the fundee, and often diverges from the published calendar date of the journal ? if it has a calendar date at all.)

The institution of the fundee can then use the date-stamp of the deposit in the institutional repository and the date of acceptance of the article as the means of monitoring and ensuring timely compliance. (This is also the natural point in the author?s workflow to do the deposit.)

Access Delay and Research Impact Loss. The purpose of OA is to make publicly funded research accessible to all potential users and not just to those whose institutions can afford subscription access to the journal in which it was published. This maximizes research uptake, impact and progress. Hence this is why OA is so important and why access-denial is so damaging to the potential usage and applications of research. Studies have also shown that delayed access never attains the full usage and citations of immediate OA. Hence a mechanism for ensuring timely compliance is essential for the success of an OA Policy, and immediate institutional deposit, regardless of locus of publication, is the optimal mechanism for ensuring timely compliance.

Gentil-Beccot, A., Mele, S., & Brooks, T. C. (2010). Citing and reading behaviours in high-energy physics. Scientometrics 84(2), 345-355.

Conflict of Interest. It should also be noted that publisher interests are in conflict with the research community?s interests regarding OA. Except when they are receiving extra money for it, publisher interest is to embargo and delay OA as long as possible. This means that, far from being a reliable ally in ensuring that fundees comply with a funding agency OA requirement, publishers are likely to delay making articles OA as long as they possibly can.

?Option #1: Grant recipients submit their manuscript to a journal that offers immediate open access to published articles, or offers open access to published articles within 12 months.?

Fundee Freedom to Choose Journal. It is very good to leave the fundee?s choice of journal completely free to the fundee. But it is also imperative that no matter what journal the fundee chooses to publish in, the peer-reviewed final draft should always be deposited in the fundee?s institutional repository ? and deposited immediately, not after a 12-month delay.

Fulfilling Eprint Requests During Embargoes. Institutional repositories have a Button with which users can request and authors can provide a single electronic copy for research purposes with one click each. This Button facilitates uptake, access and usage immediately upon deposit, rather than having to wait till the end of a publisher embargo. Hence this ?Almost-OA,? made possible by the Button, is another strong reason why all papers should be required to be deposited in the institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. (A further reason is that engaging the institution in ensuring that the conditions of a funder OA policy are fulfilled motivates the institution to adopt an OA policy of its own, for all of its research output, funded and funded, in all disciplines.)

Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2012) Open Access Mandates and the “Fair Dealing” Button. In: Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.)

?The Agencies consider the cost of publishing in open access journals to be an eligible expense under the Use of Grant Funds.?

Fundee Freedom to Choose Whether to Pay for OA. It is very good to leave it entirely up to fundees to choose whether or not to use their grant funds to pay publishers extra to make their work OA. As long as fundees retain their free choice of which journal to publish in, and all are required to deposit in their institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication (whether or not the deposit is embargoed, and whether or not they publish in an OA journal) there is no harm in allowing grant funds to be used to pay publishers for making their article OA, if fundees wish. (Given the options, and the scarcity of research funds, it is unlikely that many fundees will choose to pay, rather than just deposit.)

?Option #2: Grant recipients archive the final peer-reviewed full-text manuscript in a digital archive where it will be freely accessible within 12 months (e.g., institutional repository or discipline-based repository). It is the responsibility of the grant recipient to determine which publishers allow authors to retain copyright and/or allow authors to archive journal publications in accordance with funding agency policies.?

Institutional Deposit and Institution-External Export.
It is fine to leave it up to authors to sort out whether their final peer-reviewed manuscript is made immediately OA or access to the deposit is embargoed for 12 months ? as long as the deposit is made immediately, and hence deposit is systematically verifiable and the institutional repository?s eprint-request Button is immediately available to allow users to request individual copies for research purposes. For this reason it is again important to require immediate institutional deposit in all cases. The deposit can be automatically exported by the reposository software, at designated dates, to designated institution-external repositories, as the fundee or funder or institution may wish.

Facilitating Verification of Compliance. But it is almost as great a mistake to allow institution-external deposit instead of institutional deposit (making it needlessly diffuse and complicated to systematically monitor and ensure compliance for both the institution and the funder) as it is to allow publisher fulfillment of funding agency requirements instead of fulfillment by the fundee (and the fundee?s institution).

The only change that needs to be made to optimize the NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy is to require immediate deposit in the fundee?s institutional repository, regardless of whether the fundee?s chooses option #1 or option #2.

Gargouri, Y & Harnad, S (2013) Ten-year Analysis of University of Minho Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate. In, Rodrigues, Eloy, Swan, Alma and Baptista, Ana Alice (eds.) Ten-year Anniversary of University of Minho RepositóriUM.

Gargouri, Y, Lariviere, V, Gingras, Y, Carr, L and Harnad, S (2012a) Green and Gold Open Access Percentages and Growth, by Discipline. In: 17th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (STI), 5-8 September, 2012, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Montréal.

Gargouri, Y, Lariviere, V, Gingras, Y, Brody, T, Carr, L and Harnad, S (2012b) Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Ineffectiveness. In Open Access Week 2012

Gargouri, Y., Hajjem, C., Lariviere, V., Gingras, Y., Brody, T., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2010) Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research. PLOS ONE 5 (10) e13636

Gentil-Beccot, A., Mele, S., & Brooks, T. C. (2010). Citing and reading behaviours in high-energy physics. Scientometrics 84(2), 345-355.

Hajjem, C., Harnad, S. and Gingras, Y. (2005) Ten-Year Cross-Disciplinary Comparison of the Growth of Open Access and How it Increases Research Citation Impact. IEEE Data Engineering Bulletin 28(4) 39-47.

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Free Will and Systematicity

Having formally stated since 2004 that Elsevier authors retain the right to self-archive their final, refereed, revised, accepted drafts, unembargoed, in their institutional OA repositories, Elsevier has tried to imply that the author’s institution somehow does not have the right to host that draft, if it mandates self-archiving!.

And Elsevier tries to bring this up, not in its public negotiations with its authors, but in its confidential private negotiations with institutions, in the context of Big-Deal pricing agreements.

(Institutions should of course politely decline to discuss university self-archiving policy in any way, in their journal pricing negotiations with Elsevier or any other publisher.)

Just as it makes no sense (hence carries no legal force) to say to Elsevier authors that they retain the right to self-archive in their institutional repositories “voluntarily” but not “mandatorily,” it makes no sense to say that if authors’ institutions mandate self-archiving, then they may not host the self-archiving that their Elsevier authors formally retain the right to do in their institutional repositories.

And “systematicity” as a grounds for over-riding the Elsevier author’s retained right to self-archive unembargoed is just as nonsensical (hence non-binding) at the host-institution level, particularly since Elsevier has (wisely) conceded the right of all its authors to self-archive in arXiv (as they have been doing since 1991).

Arxiv, a global repository in which close to 100% of the articles in several subdisciplines of physics, mathematics and astrophysics are accessible is indeed a systematic collection of Elsevier journal content.

But no individual institution, hosting its own tiny, arbitrary fragment of global journal output can be faintly construed as a “systematic collection” of Elsevier content, any more than any individual author’s collection of his own self-archived articles can be.

So here too, Elsevier authors can and should safely ignore the FUD and double-talk and self-archive their final drafts in their institutional repositories immediately upon publication, just as they have been doing since 2004.