Harvard’s Open Access Policy: Procedural FAQ excerpt

What do I have to do to comply with the Open Access Policy?

“Here is the two-word answer: always deposit…”

“…Most importantly, whether or not you included the addendum or the publisher accepted it, you should always deposit the author’s final version of your article in the DASH repository. Even if you had the license waived, you should still deposit the article; it can be made available immediately or after a delay or kept “dark”[*] depending on the publication agreement, and the OSC can help with that determination…”

[ *See also: http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/274-guid.html ]

China on the Side of the Angels for Mandating Green OA

My gratitude to Iryna Kuchma for having pointed out my error, and my sincere apologies to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) for having thought otherwise, even for a moment! (I ought to have known, for I had registered the CAS mandate and announced it on 19 August 2009!)

Unlike the Netherlands, U California, U. Goettingen, Max-Planck Institutes, the COPE members, and indeed SCOAP3, the Chinese Academy of Sciences did indeed first mandate Green OA, before committing to pay for Gold OA.

This policy is exemplary and unexceptionable. Let’s hope the rest of the world will follow it. (And shame on me for having imagined otherwise!)

Criticisms of ACM’s OA Policy Are Misguided

The recent criticisms of ACM’s stance on open access (OA) by Naty Hoffman (and others) are misguided. ACM is on the side of the angels regarding OA.

(1) ACM is Green. ACM is among the 51% of publishers (publishing 63% of journals) who are completely green on self-archiving. (ACM endorses immediate, unembargoed OA self-archiving of the author’s refereed final draft in the author’s institutional repository.)

(2) Locus of Deposit Matters for Mandates. For authors — as well as for institutions and funders who are attempting to mandate OA — it makes an enormous difference where deposit is mandated: Divergent central (i.e., institution-external) vs. institution-internal deposit mandates from authors’ funders and institutions (2a) require multiple deposit of the same paper by authors, and thereby (2b) put funder mandates in competition with institutional mandates (needlessly handicapping and discouraging, especially, the all-important institutional mandates), whereas convergent inititutional deposit mandates by both funders and institutions reinforce and facilitate one another.

(3) Locus of Deposit Does Not Matter for Users. For users, it does not matter in the least where an OA paper is deposited (as long as the repository is OAI-compliant), because all deposits can be, and are being, centrally harvested, by multiple central OAI harvesters (like citeseer, base, oaister, scirus, google scholar, and the ever more powerful central harvesters whose creation will be inspired by Green OA deposit mandates) — if only we help OA happen by grasping what is already fully within our reach (by supporting Green OA institutional deposit mandates, and those publishers, like ACM, that facilitate rather than obstruct them) rather than over-reaching and insisting on more than we need now, only to continue to get next to nothing.

Yes, the interests of learned-society publishers like ACM — and indeed those of any refereed journal publisher — are not more important than the interests of research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, and the tax-paying public that funds the funders. But research interests are not well-served if we demonize even those publishers, like ACM, who are already on the side of the angels on OA, nor if we gratuitously over-reach instead of grasping what’s already within reach.

Please send OSTP and President Obama the simple, convergent message that is guaranteed to bring us universal OA in short order, at long last: Mandate depositing the final refereed draft of all funded research into the fundee’s own institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. — No more, no less.

ACM — unlike the other 49% of publishers — is not standing in our way.

(And there is absolutely nothing wrong with ACM continuing to produce their fee-based Digital Library to try to compete with the free central harvesters of OA content, just as there is nothing wrong with ACM continuing to produce their fee-based proprietary ACM print and online editions of the journal articles to try to compete with the OA drafts [and to recover the cost of peer review]. The future will take care of itself, but please let us not keep holding it back by gratuitously insisting on more than necessary today.)

See also: APA Kerfuffle Redux: No, ACM is NOT Anti-OA

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Open access roundup

Case study of a book chapter rights negotiation

Roger Clarke, Dancing with Wolves: How to Negotiate for a Fair Deal for Academic Authors, Roger Clarke’s Web-Site, December 18, 2009. Abstract:

Following the efforts of the open access and repositories movements, many (but not all) refereed journals have reasonable copyright terms. Publishers of academic books have been subject to less direct pressure, and in at least some instances the copyright terms they try to dictate are highly unfair to authors, and should not be accepted. This document summarises the interactions between a chapter-author and one such book-publisher, which culminated in a fair deal for the author.

U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy Forum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research: Implementation

Following is my comment to the first phase of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy Forum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research: Implementation.

First of all, let me extend my congratulations to the U.S. government and people for pioneering in the areas of openness, with the NIH Public Access policy, and more recently, the open government initiative. This should be an inspiration to governments everywhere, including mine (Canada). I speak as a professional librarian, scholarly editor, and scholar in the area of scholarly communication.

Who should enact public access policies?

If public funding is accepted, then any published results of research should be made freely available to the public as soon as possible. Stipulating published results of research eliminates problem areas; classified research, for example, will not be published. ALL publicly funded research that is not classified should be publicly available; otherwise, it should not be publicly funded. The current version of FRPAA which limits public access to agencies with significant funding portfolios is a good practical approach.

How should a public access policy be designed?

1. Timing

The 12-month embargo period set by the early innovator in open access policy, NIH, was a very generous time period. More recently, an international standard is emerging around a maximum 6-month embargo, for example this is the period specified by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. A fairly comprehensive list of policies can be found at ROARMAP. This embargo should be viewed as a temporary measure, to allow scholarly publishers time to adjust to an open access online environment. The remainder of this section explains why.

The international publishing community has had lots of time to adjust to an environment where free online access is optimal. Discussion about open access can be found in Learned Publishing, the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), dating back for about a decade. This vehicle of the scholarly society publishers (Learned Publishing), has been freely available after a one-year embargo at the voluntary discretion of the society, for many years, and is still flourishing. ALPSP has been a good role model for member publishers, with a leading-edge author’s agreement allowing authors to self-archive without restriction. Academic publishing is very different from many other businesses, in that the suppliers and customers are basically the same people (scholars and the librarians who serve the needs of scholars). A recent report by Mark Ware published by the International Association of Scientific, Medical and Technical Publishers (STM), quotes the proportion of revenue received by this group for scholarly journals from academic libraries at 68-75% (this does not account for non-academic libraries and revenue streams such as advertising which could actually benefit from public access. Combining advertising with free online access seems to work well for Google).

The scholarly publishing industry is indeed adjusting to the new environment, albeit in a somewhat uneven fashion. The number of fully open access, peer-reviewed scholarly journals in the world is currently over 4,000 (about 15% of the world’s scholarly journals) according to the vetted Directory of Open Access Journals, which is consistently showing a net growth rate of 2 titles per day (Morrison, 2009).

In addition to these fully open access journals, many journals voluntarily make all their content freely available after a delay period. While I don’t have exact numbers for the latter, the difference between the 4,000 titles in DOAJ and the over 23,000 freely accessible journals listed in the Electronic Journals Library gives a rough indication, i.e. at least 19,000 journals with free back access.

A brief review of the SHERPA RoMEO Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving website can illustrate both how publishers are adapting to the environment, and the environment that they are adapting to. In the search box, pull down the menu for funders, and you’ll quickly see that the publishing community has a very great many open access mandate policies, of research funding agencies, and, increasingly, universities and departments as well, around the world. Search for a few journals or publishers, and have a look both at the self-archiving policies of most journals and publishers (providing for self-archiving is currently the norm), and the many green check marks indicating compliance with a variety of funders.

Libraries are very actively involved in assisting scholars and publishers with the transition to open access. In Canada, the Synergies project (libraries and publishers working together, with government funding) is helping scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences to move online. Open access is not required, but is actively encouraged, as this is best for the dissemination of work of Canadian scholars.

Libraries around the world are working cooperatively with the physics scholars and publishers to transition the whole field of high energy physics to open access publishing through SCOAP3. Many libraries provide funding and/or other forms of support for open access publishing, and libraries are most willing to talk with publishers and journals about means of combining subscriptions and open access. Academic libraries work with and for the scholars, who need these journals both for reading and for career advancement; ensuring that scholars have the support that they need for scholarly communication is the essence of what we do.

2. Version. The author’s final version after peer review should be specified in the policy. This is one area where different agencies might have good reasons for slightly different policies. The NIH, for example, has a mandate to preserve as well as make accessible the scholarly literature, and so has very specific requirements.

There are two advantages to requiring the author’s final version: 1) this allows publishers a bit more leeway to make money through subscriptions to their final version, which is the version that reflects most of the work actually done by the publisher, and 2) an author’s version may overcome some limitations of a publisher’s PDF. For example, if the publisher uses locked-down or image-based PDFs, these works are not accessible to the print disabled, but the author’s version may be both more accessible for the disabled, and more searchable for everyone.

3. Mandatory v. Voluntary. Public access policies should be mandatory. As illustrated by SHERPA RoMEO, when publishers must comply with public access policies to accommodate authors, they adjust.

4. Other. While the NIH provides a great role model with fair use after a delay period, the best service to scholarship is full libre open access (Morrison 2009A). That is, open access with no delay period and minimal or no restrictions on re-use. For example, when as a scholar I freely share my articles and charts with everyone, another author is free to re-use my charts, with appropriate attribution. For me, this is a gain (of a citation, exposure, mention at a conference), not at all a loss. The NIH was and is wise not to REQUIRE full open access, however it is beneficial to mention this as an ideal and encourage voluntary movement in this direction. To illustrate the appreciation the scholarly community has for this approach, consider that the U.S.-based PLoS ONE, a fully open access journal, although a very new journal, is already among the world’s largest scholarly journals and on track to becoming THE largest in 2010. Advising scholarly publishers, whether commercial or not-for-profit organizations, to move to full open access (i.e., meet the needs of the constituency served) is not only good for the public interest, it is just plain good practical business advice too.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Heather Morrison, MLIS

Associate Editor, Scholarly and Research Communication


The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics



Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Policy on Access to Research Outputs http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/34846.html

DOAJ http://www.doaj.org

Electronic Journals Library http://rzblx1.uni-regensburg.de/ezeit/index.phtml?bibid=AAAAA&colors=7&lang=en

Learned Publishing http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/alpsp/lp

Morrison, Heather. (2009) The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: December 11, 2009 edition


Morrison, Heather. 2009A. Open Access Chapter: Scholarly Communication for Librarians: Chandos Publishing. Freely available online at http://eprints.rclis.org/16282/

ROARMAP http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/policysignup/

SCOAP3 http://scoap3.org/

SHERPA RoMEO Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/

Ware, M. (2009).The stm report: an overview of scientific and scholarly journalsclass=”MsoNormal” style=”margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;”> publishing. International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM).Retrieved from http://www.stm-assoc.org, October 14, 2009

More on the climate data controversy

Fred Pearce, Climategate: Anatomy of a Public Relations Disaster, Yale Environment 360, December 10, 2009.

… [T]here is plenty of evidence of a bunker mentality among many of the scientists, grousing and plotting against the handful of climate skeptics who, as they saw it, were trying to grab “their” data and then trash it on web sites and in op-ed articles that had far greater influence than the journals in which the scientists usually reported their work. …

[T]here could be some benefits for science from this whole incident, such as greater transparency and open data access. Whoever was responsible for the original hacking (and the supposed miscreants range from Russians in cahoots with the Kremlin to Norwich interns on a night out), the heat rose because of the context. The Canadian skeptical researcher Steve McIntyre had submitted a blizzard of freedom of information applications to the University of East Anglia, demanding access to global temperature data assembled by Jones. The e-mails appeared just as the university was preparing its case for not releasing the data.

It is worth explaining why that was so. Jones had always refused to release the data, partly, as the e-mails reveal, because he simply didn’t want to and figured those demanding it wanted to trash his life’s work. But it was also partly because he couldn’t — much of the data was obtained with confidentiality agreements attached, including data from his own government’s Met Office.

One early outcome of the fracas is that British researchers will now be moving heaven and earth to get approval to release the data. Britain’s Met Office, a government agency, released a subset of its global temperature data this week, with the rest to follow when it has secured permissions from the government bodies across the world that had supplied the data. And in a nod to a row that has simmered over demands for access to other data sets, the Met Office promised that “the specific computer code that aggregates the individual station temperatures into the global land temperature record… will also be published as soon as possible.” …

Scientists have generally been good at sharing data within their priesthood — a somewhat closed world of publicly-employed scientists using peer-reviewed journals. What they have sometimes been dreadful at is engaging with the outside world — not just telling the world what they are up to, but allowing outsiders close enough to access and analyze their data. These days, scientists need rules of engagement for what to do when outsiders come calling, whether those outsiders are Greenpeace activists or investigative journalists or trouble-making climate skeptics.

In the climate community, and perhaps elsewhere, Climategate may lead to far greater openness about research data. It will hurt. But it is essential. Already the widely read blogsite for climate scientists, Realclimate.org, is promising to promptly post data and relevant computer codes on its site. …

Gary Richmond, Open Science and climategate: The IPCC/CRU needs to take a leaf out of CERN’s Book, Free Software Magazine, December 16, 2009.

… The content of many of these e-mails is deeply disturbing, giving an insight into what the scientists were doing to massage and delete data as well as mounting a very effective campaign to marginalize or silence criticism …

Their first instinct, when faced with a FOI request, was to hunker down and go into denial mode followed by deleting the data which was the subject of the original FOI request. For the benefit of non-British readers, this is a criminal offense under the FOI Act and if the Data Commissioner is doing their job, investigation and possible prosecutions should follow, where appropriate. What was behind this illegal deletion was the opinion of the scientists at CRU that the FOI requester was malicious in intent, that he only wanted to access the data in order to disprove it! …

Even if the request was maliciously intended, if the information was out in the open it would have been possible for anyone else to take it up and test it to destruction too and either confirm or refute it. For God’s sake, that’s how proper science functions. …

George Monbiot, Pretending the climate email leak isn’t a crisis won’t make it go away, The Guardian, November 25, 2009.

… Some people say that I am romanticising science, that it is never as open and honest as the Popperian ideal. Perhaps. But I know that opaqueness and secrecy are the enemies of science. There is a word for the apparent repeated attempts to prevent disclosure revealed in these emails: unscientific. …

George Monbiot, The climate denial industry is out to dupe the public. And it’s working, The Guardian, December 7, 2009.

… Those who have most to lose if the science is wrong have perversely sought to justify the secretive and chummy ethos that some of the emails reveal. If science is not transparent and accountable, it’s not science.

I believe that all supporting data, codes and programmes should be made available as soon as an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal. That anyone should have to lodge a freedom of information request to obtain them is wrong. That the request should be turned down is worse. That a scientist suggests deleting material that might be covered by that request is unjustifiable. Everyone who values the scientific process should demand complete transparency, across all branches of science. …

See also our past post on the controversy.