How Newbie Sailors Earn Their Sea Legs


With America’s Cup sailors training for the upcoming races right across from the PLOS San Francisco office, we can’t resist watching the boats zip by once in a while and thinking about what it’s like to be out on the bay. Those of us who’ve spent time on boats are likely familiar with the transition our bodies experience as we go from land to sea, commonly referred to as “getting your sea legs.”  For some, this transition can happen quickly, but for others, it can take days to feel stable relative to the moving surface of the water.

In a recent scientific study on getting your sea legs, researchers investigated this process by measuring novice sailors’ leg positioning, body sway, and posture, both before embarking on a ship and for several days into the voyage. They also evaluated similar studies with experienced mariners to compare how newbies and professionals adapted to life at sea. Sailing novices, who received no guidance on techniques for gaining stability at sea, naturally adopted a widened stance, maintained the angle of their feet and started to use the horizon line to stabilize themselves on the ship soon after boarding. These are the same techniques employed by experienced sailors in similar studies. The research also suggested that body sway tendencies on land and at sea have the potential to predict individual seasickness and mal de debarquement (land sickness experienced after disembarkment) syndrome susceptibility.

Life at sea is probably second nature to the sailors racing by here in San Francisco, but this study’s results suggest that the rest of us may also find stability on moving surfaces by widening our stances and focusing on the horizon. Keep these techniques in mind the next time you find yourself out on the open ocean!


Citation: Stoffregen TA, Chen F-C, Varlet M, Alcantara C, Bardy BG (2013) Getting Your Sea Legs. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66949. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066949

Image: Sailing From Sardinia to Sicily by Patrick Nouhailler

Malaria, tuberculosis caused death on the ancient Nile



Southwest of Cairo, the Nile branches into a network of canals that feed Fayum, a fertile agricultural basin that was a center of civilization and royal pyramid-building for several centuries. The unusual geology responsible for Fayum’s rich terrain may have also led to the prevalence of malaria and tuberculosis in the region during these ancient times.

Ancient DNA (aDNA) from sixteen mummified heads recovered from the region reveals that at least four of these individuals suffered both these infections simultaneously. Many of the others showed signs of infection with either malaria or tuberculosis, as scientists report in a recent PLOS ONE study.

DNA extracted from muscle tissue samples was tested for the presence of two genes specific to Plasmodium falciparum, the malarial parasite, and another gene specific to Mycobacteria, which cause tuberculosis. Two samples tested positive for DNA specific to Plasmodium, one tested positive for the mycobacterial gene, and four individuals tested positive for DNA from both infectious agents, suggesting they suffered both infections together while alive. A previous study suggests that both malaria and tuberculosis were rampant in the Fayum region in the early 19th century, but the age of these mummified samples extends evidence of these diseases in Lower Egypt as far back as approximately 800 B.C.

The World Health Organization estimates that malaria is almost non-existent in the Fayum basin and the rest of Egypt now, but before its eradication, high levels of infection were seen in certain parts of the country, and were strongly linked to certain geological features. The lakes and canals that made the Fayum region so fertile also served as breeding grounds for the mosquito that carries the malarial parasite.

The heads tested here (all were missing bodies) were recovered from a village cemetery on the west bank of the lower Nile, and date from about 1064 BC to 300 AD, a period marked by an agricultural boom and dense crowding in the region, especially under the rule of the Ptolemies. These conditions may have increased the chances of tuberculosis incidence and spread of the disease. As the aDNA from these mummified heads attests, these living conditions and the unique irrigation of the Fayum basin likely created a harbor for both malaria and tuberculosis in ancient populations of this region.

Citation: Lalremruata A, Ball M, Bianucci R, Welte B, Nerlich AG, et al. (2013) Molecular Identification of Falciparum Malaria and Human Tuberculosis Co-Infections in Mummies from the Fayum Depression (Lower Egypt). PLoS ONE 8(4): e60307. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060307

Image: Sailing on the Nile by David Corcoran

Physiological Reports Publishes Inaugural Issue

Physiological ReportsEverything about Physiological Reports is different. A collaboration between The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society, the journal offers the highest quality peer review and is proudly open access. Now, here’s your chance to see where it’s taken us, who’s submitted, and the incredible research that we’ve been able to publish so far.

Here are some of the high quality papers which we have published so far:
purple_lock_open Elevated pulmonary arterial pressure and altered expression of Ddah1 and Arg1 in mice lacking cavin-1/PTRF
Karl Swärd, Mardjaneh K. Sadegh, Michiko Mori, Jonas S. Erjefält and Catarina Rippe
Summary: Mutations in caveolin-1 give rise to a heritable form of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Novel caveolae proteins have been identified in recent years. Here, we demonstrate that mice lacking cavin-1 develop PAH accompanied by reciprocal changes in Ddah1 and Arg1.

purple_lock_open Enhanced force production in old age is not a far stretch: an investigation of residual force enhancement and muscle architecture
Geoffrey A. Power, Demetri P. Makrakos, Charles L. Rice and Anthony A. Vandervoort
Summary: Ultrasound images from a representative older adult at LONG muscle length showing fascicle length (FL) and angle of pennation (?) measurement at rest, during the isometric reference MVC, and during the isometric steady-state following lengthening.

purple_lock_open Interlimb interactions during bilateral voluntary elbow flexion tasks in chronic hemiparetic stroke
Shuo-Hsiu Chang, Ana Durand-Sanchez, Craig DiTommaso and Sheng Li
Summary: This study found that there existed activation level dependent interactions between the impaired and nonimpaired limbs during bilateral force production tasks with progressive increase of contribution from the impaired side. Motor overflow to the contralateral side was greater on the impaired limb and increased proportionally with the level of activation. These novel findings indicated that, among other compensatory mechanisms, ipsilateral corticospinal projections from the nonlesioned hemisphere play an important role in interlimb interactions in chronic stroke, in addition to unbalanced interhemispheric inhibition.


We would like you to submit your article to Physiological Reports. Authors benefit from:

  • Compliance with open access mandates – articles publish under Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) License
  • Rapid publication
  • Article publication fee waived for first 100 papers
  • High standard, rigorous peer review

If you’re looking for a home for your top quality original research focused on any area of basic, translational, and clinical physiology and allied disciplines:

Submit here

Moms and babies respond to childbirth with different stress hormones


A quick internet search reveals that many women rank giving birth as one of the most painful human experiences. Though pain can be hard to quantify objectively, the physiological stress of childbirth is clinically assessed by measuring blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is currently used to estimate the stress experienced by both mother and child during the process of giving birth, but recently published PLOS ONE research suggests that a different stress hormone, corticosterone, may be a more accurate way to measure the stress experienced by healthy, full-term babies.

For their study, researchers tested fetal levels of cortisol and corticosterone in 265 samples of umbilical cord blood from healthy deliveries. Though the total levels of cortisol detected were higher than corticosterone levels, fetuses produced the latter at a greater rate in response to the stress of labor and delivery. Newborns secreted more corticosterone when a Caesarian section was performed due to complications during labor than they did after a normal C-section. Fetal corticosterone levels were also higher after passage through the birth canal. These differences were not seen in levels of cortisol production. Based on these data, the authors suggest that the full-term fetus is more likely to secrete corticosterone than cortisol in response to stress and hence, corticosterone may be a more accurate clinical biomarker to assess fetal stress.

Corticosterone isn’t unheard of in the adult world, as adults continue to make the hormone throughout our lives, though in a much smaller proportion relative to cortisol. When babies switch to producing more cortisol rather than corticosterone isn’t yet clear, but the developmental changes involved may help track or diagnose adrenal gland functions in newborns.

Citation: Wynne-Edwards KE, Edwards HE, Hancock TM (2013) The Human Fetus Preferentially Secretes Corticosterone, Rather than Cortisol, in Response to Intra-Partum Stressors. PLoS ONE 8(6): e63684. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063684

Image: stress by topgold

The Springer sub-prime scholarly publishing deal?

Reuters recently announced that a group called BC Partners will buy Springer for 3.3 billion euros. Of this, 2.5 billion is debt – backed by Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Nomura and UBS. This debt is described as “covenant lite,” a structure that offers little or no protection for lenders via financial tests”.

This makes no sense at all from a financial perspective. Why buy a company whose traditional high profits are based on an outmoded model that currently enjoys revenues at 4-5 times higher than what is necessary for normal profits  in an emerging open access environment for scholarly publishing that is just beginning to open up to competition – including competition on price? Even if it made sense to buy the company, how could it possibly make sense to load the company with debt? If you’re going to take risks like this, wouldn’t it make sense to look for more rather than less guarantees? 

On the surface this looks a lot like the sub-prime mortgage situation – go ahead and lend money even though this obviously makes no sense at all – and appears to involve some of the same companies. Am I missing something here?

OpenScience comes of age

In 1998, Open Science seemed like a pretty obvious projection of basic scientific principles into the digital age.  I didn’t think the ideas would meet much, if any, resistance from the scientific community.   And in October 1999, Brookhaven National Lab sponsored a meeting called Open Source / Open Science that, in retrospect, was a pretty utopian gathering.  There were a lot of the current OpenScience community members present at the meeting (notably Brian Glanz and Greg Wilson).   It felt like everyone would be convinced to do Open Source & Open Data science in short order.

The past 14 years have been instructive in just how long it can take to make cultural changes in the scientific community.

So, it was an amazing experience to be present when the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the Champions of Change for Open Science.  These are 13 incredible individuals and organizations with great stories about sharing their science.  It feels like we’ve made significant motion on implementing policies that are friendly to Open Science.   I should note that we’re particularly happy to see OSTP use the phrase Open Science, and not the more narrow terms: Open Data or Open Access.  I’m hopeful that Open Source will also be part of science policy going forward.

openscipostersThere was a second group who got the opportunity to present at this event at a poster session later that day.  I haven’t seen the list publicized elsewhere, but these are some sharp folks who deserve recognition for their work.  I’m going to highlight some of these in the coming week.  Here’s the list of posters:

  1. Richard Judson & Ann Richard from the National Center for Computational Toxicology presented on “ACToR & DSSTox: EPA Open Information Tools for Chemicals in the Environment”
  2. Tom Bleier, Clark Dunson & Michael Lencioni from the QuakeFinder project presented on “Electromagnetic Earthquake Forecasting Research”
  3. David C. Van Essen from WUSTL presented on the “Human Connectome Project
  4. Heather Piwowar & Jason Priem presented a poster on “ImpactStory: Open Carrots for Open Science”
  5. Jean-Claude Bradley (Drexel) and Andrew Lang (Oral Roberts University) presented a poster on “Open Notebook Science“.
  6. Dan Gezelter (that’s me) presented on “The OpenScience Project“.
  7. John Wilbanks from Sage Bionetworks presented on “Portable Legal Consent – Let Patients Donate Data to Science
  8. Matt Martin from the National Center for Computational Toxicology presented on “ToxRefDB & ToxCastDB: High-Throughput Toxicology Resources”
  9. Brian Athey and Christoph Brockel presented on “The tranSMART Platform: Accelerating Open Science, Data Analytics and Data Sharing”
  10. Alexander Wait Zaranek, Ward Vandewege & Jonathan Sheffi from Clinical Future, Inc. presented on “Transparent Informatics: A Foundation for Precision Medicine

It was an intense day, and I’m delighted that Open Science has finally come of age.

Pristine Fossil Reveals Unlikely Pair

Fernandez_Fig1 mediumThe small but sharp-toothed Thrinaxodon probably spent much of its time dining on its Triassic cohabitants, but a study published today reports a pristine fossil of the meat-eater apparently peacefully sharing its burrow with a small amphibian – until they were both buried in a flood.

The researchers uncovered the odd couple through non-destructive imaging 0f a burrow cast from South Africa, where the animals appeared to have died together. In the image of the cast itself, along with the ghostly outlinescast of the animal skeletons you can see that layer 1 is the original bed of the burrow, and layers 2 and 3 correspond to subsequent “pulses” of the flooding event.

The two skeletons are remarkably complete and well-preserved (in the image above Thrinaxodon is shown in brown, and the amphibian in grey), and the artifact provides an excellent opportunity to study the interactions between two different species. Given Thrinaxodon‘s carnivorous ways, it may at first seem most likely that the amphibian was about to be eaten for lunch, but its undisturbed skeleton and lack of expected bite marks rule out this possibility, the authors write. They also conclude that the flood responsible for burying the animals couldn’t have randomly washed the amphibian into the burrow once the animals were already dead because the burrow’s opening was too small.

To find the most likely answer, the researchers turned to modern creatures for insight. They note that animals today will live in a burrow built by another species if it is abandoned, if they can chase away the host, or if the host tolerates their presence. The Thrinaxodon was still in the den, so neither of the first two possibilities seem to apply in this case, leaving the last option as the most likely. As strange as it may seem, it appears that for whatever reason the Thrinaxodon graciously tolerated its amphibian partner’s presence.

If you want to see more, this video shows how the authors virtually dissected the burrow using synchrotron scanning to create an exquisitely detailed reconstruction of the burrow’s contents without cracking it open.

Citation: Fernandez V, Abdala F, Carlson KJ, Cook DC, Rubidge BS, et al. (2013) Synchrotron Reveals Early Triassic Odd Couple: Injured Amphibian and Aestivating Therapsid Share Burrow. PLoS ONE 8(6): e64978. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064978 

Fools Gold From Emerald

Rebecca Marsh, Director of External Relations and Services, Emerald Group Publishing Limited & Tony Roche, Publishing Director of Emerald Group Publishing Limited have posted their defence of the Emerald policy changes reported by Richard Poynder: “Open Access: Emerald’s Green Starts to Fade“.

First, a paraphrase of what Marsh & Roche wrote:

(1) All Emerald authors may do immediate, unembargoed Open Access self-archiving if they wish, but (2) not if they must. If they must self-archive, they must wait 24 months or ask individually for permission.

The sensible Emerald author will self-archive immediately, and ignore clause (2) completely. It is empty, unverifiable, unenforceable, pseudo-legal FUD that has been added as a perverse effect of the folly of the UK Finch Committee recommendations.

The Emerald policy tweak is obviously to cash in on the money that the UK has decided to squander on pre-emptive “Fools Gold” OA, as well as to try to fend off universal Green OA as long as is humanly possible.

Below I reproduce the Emerald representatives’ posting’s text, cutting out the empty verbiage, to make the double-talk clearly visible and comprehensible.

“…Emerald has had a Green Open Access [OA] policy for over a decade. [All Emerald] authors who personally wish to self-archive the pre- or post-print version of their article on their own website or in a repository… can do this immediately upon official publication of their paper. This principle continues to underpin our Green OA policy and remains unchanged….

“…[Emerald] has provided an alternative route to OA for researchers who are mandated to make their papers Open Access immediately, or after a specified period. We also set the Article Processing Charge (APC) at a relatively low level to assist authors…

“Emerald has… requested that authors wait 24 months before depositing their post-prints if a mandate is in place. Where a mandate exists for deposit immediately on publication or with a shorter mandate but no APC fund is provided, we invite all authors to contact us…”

Plans by universities and research funders to pay the costs of Gold OA pre-emptively today are premature.

Funds are short; 80% of journals (including virtually all the top journals) are still subscription-based, tying up the potential funds to pay for Gold OA. Hence, for institutions, paying pre-emptively for Gold OA today means double-paying — subscriptions for their incoming articles plus APCs for their outgoing articles– and in the case of “hybrid Gold,” when both sums are paid to the very same journal, it also means double-dipping by publishers.

Even apart from double-paying and double-dipping, the asking APC price per article for Gold OA today (whether “pure” or “hybrid”) is still inflated; and there is concern that paying to publish may also inflate acceptance rates as well as lower quality standards to maximize revenue in the case of “pure Gold” OA.

What is needed now is for all universities and funders worldwide to mandate OA self-archiving (of authors’ final peer-reviewed drafts, immediately upon acceptance for publication) (“Green OA”).

That will provide immediate OA; and if and when universal Green OA goes on to make subscriptions unsustainable (because users are satisfied with just the Green OA versions) that will in turn induce journals to cut costs (phasing out the print edition and online edition, offloading access-provision and archiving onto the worldwide network of Green OA Institutional Repositories), downsize to just providing the service of peer review, and convert to the Gold OA cost-recovery model; meanwhile, the subscription cancellations will have released the funds to pay this residual service cost.

The natural way to charge for the service of peer review then will be on a “no-fault basis,” with the author’s institution or funder paying for each round of refereeing, regardless of outcome (acceptance, revision/re-refereeing, or rejection). This will minimize cost while protecting against inflated acceptance rates and decline in quality standards.

This is the difference between today’s pre-emptive pre-Green double-paid, double-dipped over-priced pre-Green “Fools Gold” and tomorrow’s affordable, sustainable, post-Green Fair Gold.

Harnad, S. (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine 16 (7/8).

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)

INASP Open Access Week competition

Information from INASP website:

In 2013 INASP is encouraging our partner and network countries to use Open Access Week to showcase the activities that universities and research institutions within developing and emerging countries are planning and doing. Your activities might include: 

  • creating greater understanding of Open Access or the Open Access movement
  • increasing wider awareness and use of institutional repositories
  • promoting and providing training in Open Access resources
  • showcasing the open source software being used
  • using the opportunities provided by Open Access policies to create, share and improve access to information and electronic resources
  • having fun with your own competitions or displays

The above may be undertaken through library or faculty displays, training sessions, or producing materials/resources to share information about your activities — or other innovative ways you have found to reach research, faculty and library colleagues (such as social networking sites).

We are aware that finding budget to produce materials to promote Open Access and your own activities can be difficult, so INASP is hosting a competition that will provide winners with $500 to contribute towards these costs. There are 10 prizes to be won and the winners will also have the opportunity to share their Open Access activities with the INASP network through our websites and publications. All applicants may also to share ideas and get feedback.

  • Application Deadline: Friday 2nd August 2013
  • Successful applicants will be notified by: Monday 19th August 2013
  • Online application form
  • Winners’ reports must be submitted to INASP by: 14th November 2013

Eligibility: You must represent an institution or organisation from one of INASP’s partner or network countries to enter.  See our country pages for more information. 

American Geophysical Union and Wiley Partner to Launch New Open Access Journal

Earth's Future coverThe American Geophysical Union (AGU) and John Wiley & Sons, Inc., are partnering to publish the new open access peer-reviewed journal, Earth’s Future, which is now open for submissions.

Earth’s Future will emphasize the Earth as an interactive, evolving system under the influence of the human enterprise and will reflect the risks and opportunities associated with environmental changes and challenges. It will feature primary research across disciplines and connect it to policy through the inclusion of editorials, essays, reviews, and other commentary pieces. Contributors will tackle solutions to such grand challenges as population increase, industrial and agricultural development, urbanization, climate change, energy, food and water resource sustainability and security.

Dr. Guy Brasseur has been appointed to lead the launch of Earth’s Future as its inaugural Editor-in-Chief. Brasseur is the director of Germany’s Climate Service Center. Previously, Dr. Brasseur was associate director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, and head of NCAR’s Earth and Sun Systems Laboratory.

Earth’s Future represents an important and innovative contribution not only to transdiciplinary research, but also to the ability of the public and policy makers to navigate and connect with our science, and to successfully incorporate it into their decision making processes,” said AGU President Carol Finn. “AGU is pleased to be able to partner with a global leader like Wiley to provide this new platform for the exploration of global change and sustainability. Launching Earth’s Future represents a key achievement in our mission to promote discovery in the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity.”

“We are extremely excited to launch Earth’s Future, an open access journal, with our partner AGU that spans the scope of their disciplines,” said Colette Bean, Vice President and Associate Publishing Director in Wiley’s Global Research business. “This is truly a unique publishing opportunity for emerging research within and beyond the geophysical research community. Earth’s Future will play an important role in disseminating this critical research on a global scale.”

The new journal joins AGU’s prestigious portfolio of peer-reviewed research publications, including Geophysical Research Letters and Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres. Both are ranked among the top ten most-highly cited research publications on climate change over the past decade. As with all its journals, AGU is responsible for editorial processes and content which will be published on Wiley’s innovative platform.

Earth’s Future will publish articles under a choice of Creative Commons Licenses, including the Creative Commons Attribution License, enabling authors to be fully compliant with open access requirements of funding organizations where applicable. All articles will be published as fully open access on Wiley Online Library and deposited in PubMed Central immediately upon publication.

A publication fee will be payable by authors on acceptance of their articles. Authors affiliated with, or funded by, an organization that has a Wiley Open Access Account can publish without directly paying any publication charges.

Additional information on Earth’s Future is available at

Sign up to receive email content alerts here >

Submit an article to Earth’s Future via the online submission site >

Open Science Champions of Change

Congratulations to new White House “Champions of Change” for Open Science – all well-deserved!   It is fantastic to see Open Science getting public and welcome recognition from OSTP. A number of other great people from the Open Science movement will be at the ceremony at the White House today.    I’ll be there to give the aforementioned Open Science poster.  I’m looking forward to connecting with some people, including a few who I haven’t seen since the OpenSource/OpenScience conference at Brookhaven National Labs way back in 1999.

It’s for the birds: Citizen science reveals shift in winter bird homes

western grebe 2

Just in time for summer solstice (the longest day of the year!), we bring you the heartwarming tale of a study that analyzed data collected about our feathery friends in the middle of winter. The Audobon Christmas Bird Count, a yearly bird census originating back in 1900, is conducted by bird-loving volunteers all over the Western Hemisphere who spot birds and record their sightings. It is also an example of what some call “citizen” or “crowd-sourced” science, and a newly published PLOS ONE article demonstrates how this scientific data, collected by the general public, can help researchers assess the conservation needs of an at-risk migratory bird, the western grebe.

Canadian researchers wanted to take a closer look at the bird population patterns of the grebe, a marine water bird that had recently been showing a worrying trend of drastic population declines in its winter home, ranging from the Pacific coast to California. In “Citizen Science Reveals an Extensive Shift in the Winter Distribution of Migratory Western Grebes,” researchers modeled a whoppin’ 36 years of collected bird count data from 163 “circles,” or designated diameters of land, mounting to a total of 2.5 million grebe observations.

So, what did they—and we, in this case—find? Thanks to decades of data collected by birdwatchers (1975-2010), researchers were able to show that western grebe populations along the northern Pacific coastal region decreased by about 95% over 36 years, but increased by over 300% in coastal California. Similar trends were observed for related bird species, suggesting that the winter habitat of the grebe has shifted south by ~ 900 km, to California, between 1980 and 2010.

western grebe 3

This is much better news than finding a concerning population decline that might prompt time-consuming and expensive conservation efforts. The researchers state that they aren’t yet sure of the reasons for this shift, but they suspect that the types of fish prey the grebes feed on may have also shifted in abundance between the two locations. All in all, this study demonstrates that wildlife data gathered by the general public (in any season, really) can result in meaningful, published scientific research that is useful to ecologists and conservationists alike.

Citation: Wilson S, Anderson EM, Wilson ASG, Bertram DF, Arcese P (2013) Citizen Science Reveals an Extensive Shift in the Winter Distribution of Migratory Western Grebes. PLoS ONE 8(6): e65408. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065408

Image Credits: Grebe photo by Mike Baird; map photo from article


Double-Clicking Instead of Double-Paying

Jack Stilgoe (“Open Access Inaction,” Guardian 18 June 2013) has the indignation but not the information:

1. UCL has a Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate:

In May 2009, UCL Academic Board agreed two principles to underpin UCL?s publication activity and to support its scholarly mission:

— That, copyright permissions allowing, a copy of all research outputs should be deposited in the UCL repository in Open Access

— That individual UCL academic researchers should be directly responsible for providing and maintaining details of their publications in relevant UCL databases so as to support both Open Access and the requirement for UCL to keep an accurate record of its research outputs

UCL, therefore, has a ?Green? Open Access policy, by which copies of UCL research are deposited in UCL Discovery, UCL?s Open Access repository. This UCL policy informs UCL?s approach to the open access requirements of research funders.

2. Elsevier’s self-archiving policy is “Green,” meaning all Elsevier authors retain the right to make their final, refereed drafts OA immediately (without embargo) by self-archiving them in their institutional repository.

3. The Elsevier self-archiving policy contains double-talk to the effect that “authors may self-archive without embargo if they wish but not if they must”:

“Accepted author manuscripts (AAM): Immediate posting and dissemination of AAM?s is allowed to personal websites, to institutional repositories, or to arXiv. However, if your institution has an open access policy or mandate that requires you to post, Elsevier requires an agreement to be in place which respects the journal-specific embargo periods.”

The “agreement” in question is not with the author, but with the author’s institution. Unless UCL has been foolish enough to sign such an agreement (in order to get a better deal on Elsevier subscription prices), authors can of course completely ignore this absurd clause.

4. Even if UCL has foolishly signed such an agreement with Elsevier, the refereed final draft can nevertheless be deposited immediately, with access set as Closed Access instead of Open Access during the embargo. During that period, the UCL repository’s facilitated eprint request Button can provide Almost-OA almost-instantly with one click from the requester and then one click from the author.

5. Surely even double-clicking is preferable to double-paying Elsevier (subscription plus Gold OA fees), as RCUK/Finch foolishly prefers? Even if “robust knowledge is expensive to curate” (which is false) surely it needn’t be that expensive…

Harnad, S. (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine 16 (7/8).

Houghton, J. & Swan, A. (2013) Planting the Green Seeds for a Golden Harvest: Comments and Clarifications on “Going for Gold”. D-Lib Magazine 19 (1/2).

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