Wikipedia raises the awareness and need for #openaccess

I was alerted today by a Wikipedia initiative ( ) by Daniel Mietchen (the primary editor of this page, but all WP pages belong to the world). I think it could have enormous impact in and for #openaccess.

I shall blog about Open Access shortly but I’ll comment (and probably get attacked for it) that effectively the only people who know about Open Access are:

  • Universities and their staff (current and recent)
  • Scholarly publishing houses
  • Funders (research councils, Trusts)
  • Policy makers (governemnts and civil services
  • People who have left one of these in the last five years

Beyond that I suspect that that Open Access is unknown as a term and unknown as an issue in the wider population whether in the rich West or elsewhere. Does your neighbour know what Open Access is? Or your parents? I’m guessing not. Open Access has (AFAIK) almost zero impact in the wider Internet population (please please prove me wrong!). The average Net user will come across closed access as a paywall, but they won’t know it by that name – they’ll simply be offered the opportunity to pay 40 USD for 1 day’s reading – they’ll compare this with Amazon, eBooks, etc . and move on.

So where do they look for organized information?

Wikipedia. Everyone has heard of Wikipedia, haven’t they? And even if they have only heard of Google, the WP entry is usually in the top 2-3 of non-sponsored links.

I have just finished using WP to identify which we got as a present. And it’s fascinating – Diascia coevolved with its pollinators so there should be some wonderful phylogenetics in the literature. There is! . Quite by chance it’s a CSIRO publication (whom I’ve been in touch with when in Melbourne).

I might want to add this article as a reference in the WP article. I would expect that many amateur gardeners could appreciate this article – there’s no hairy concepts (after all *I* can understand it, and I’m a chemist).

But can I? Is it Open Access? *I don’t know*. It’s on a web page from one of the authors. Were they allowed to post it as “Green”? I have no idea. Is it permanent? Could the publishers force them to take it down? Might it decay? I don’t know.

And nor do the readers.

Daniel writes:

This page is about how Wikipedia pages could signal to readers whether a particular reference is open access or not. The main purpose of such signalling would be to spare them the disappointment of clicking through to the resource only to find out that they do not have access rights to read it. The scheme is also useful for Wikipedia editors who can see at a glance whether a given reference would be licensed in a way that allows for the images, media or even text to be reused in Wikipedia articles.

Exactly. The key words are “disappointment” and “reused”. If I click through to Tank’s paper I find some pictures – these could be very useful for me to re-use. And many phylogenetic trees. These could also be very useful. But can I re-use them?

Daniel’s idea is for WP contributors to label all the references to articles as follows:

  • Behind a paywall
  • Freely available but not free to re-use (as in Tank)
  • Certified as BOAI-compliant (e.g. with a CC-BY licence)

He notes that the padlock icon above was developed by PLoS to denote BOAI-compliant but is being increasingly used to mean simply free-to-read. He suggests as I would

CC-BY icons.


So why am I so enthusiastic?

Because WP readers who try to use a reference will immediately be alerted to the issue. And it will be explained in very clear terms. So we shall rapidly increase the number of people outside the self-interested ivory towers of the #openaccess issue and the injustice of making a business of forbidding access to information and knowledge.



Green OA Embargoes: Just a Publisher Tactic for Delaying the Optimal and Inevitable

Bravo to Danny Kingsley for her invaluable antipodean OA advocacy!

I think Danny is spot-on in all the points she makes, so these are just a few supplementary remarks:

1. The publishing industry is using Green OA embargoes and lobbying to try to hold OA hostage to its current inflated revenue streams as long as possible— by forcing the research community to pay for over-priced, double-paid (and double-dipped, if hybrid) Fools Gold if it wants to have OA at all.

It’s time for the research community to stop stating that it will stop mandating and providing Green OA if there’s ever any evidence that it will cause subscription cancelations. Of course Green OA will cause cancelations, eventually; and so it should.

Green OA will not only provide 100% OA but it will also force publishers to phase out obsolete products and services and their costs, by offloading all access-provision and archiving onto the worldwide nework of Green OA repositories.

Once subscriptions are made unsustainable by mandatory Green OA, journals will downsize and convert to post-Green Fair-Gold, in place of today’s over-priced, double-paid (and double-dipped, if hybrid) Fools-Gold.

Green OA embargoes have one purpose, and one purpose only: to delay this optimal, inevitable, natural and obvious outcome for as long as possible.

Research is not funded, conducted, peer-reviewed and made public in order to provide or guarantee revenues for the publishing industry, but to be used, applied and built upon, to the benefit of the public that funds it.

Globally mandated Green OA will not only provide OA, but it will also force publishers to cut obsolete costs and downsize to just managing peer review. All access-provision and archiving will be done by the worldwide network of Green OA Institutional Repositories.

It’s in order to delay that outcome that publishers are using every means at their disposal — embargoing Green OA and lobbying against Green OA mandates with PRISM, the Research Works Act, the Finch Report and CHORUS — to fend off Green OA as long as possible and force the research community instead toward over-priced, double-paid (and, if hybrid, double-dipped) Fools Gold if they want to have any form of OA at all.

2. There is a powerful tactical triad — tried, tested and proven effective — to moot publisher delay tactics (embargoes and lobbying) — and that triad is for both funders and insitutions to

(i) mandate immediate deposit in institutional repositories, whether or not the deposit is made immediately OA,

(ii) implement the institutional repository’s facilitated eprint request Button to tide over research access needs during any embargo, and

(iii) designate repository deposit as the sole mechanism for submitting publictions for institutional performance review (or national research assessment).

3. The research community should resolutely resist publishers’ attempt to imply that “Green OA” means “Delayed (embargoed) OA.” It does not. OA means immediate, unembargoed access. It is publishers who are trying to impose embargoes, in order to delay OA and preserve their current inflated revenue streams for as long as possible, forcing authors to pay for grotesquely overpriced Fools Gold if they want immediate OA.

The immediate-deposit mandate (with the Button) immunizes against those tactics. “Delaying OA” is publishers’ objective, against the interests of research, researchers, their universities, their funders, the vast R&D industry, students, teachers, the developing world, journalists, and especially the general public who is funding the research. Immediate-deposits mandates are the way for the research community to ensure that the interests of research. Otherwise (I have said many times), it is the publishing tail continuing to wag the research dog.

4. OA Metrics will follow, not precede OA. The reason we do not have 100% OA yet is not because of bias against Gold OA journals. It is because of researcher passivity, publisher activism (embargoes and lobbying) and lack of clear information and understanding about OA and how to make it happen.

It is normal and natural that journals’ quality and importance should be based on their prior track-record for quality and importance (rather than their cost-recovery model). New journals (whether OA or non-OA) first need to establish a track record for quality and importance. Besides the journal’s track record and citation impact, however, we also have citation counts for individual authors and articles, and we are slowly also developing download counts and other metrics of research usage and impact. There will be many more OA metrics too — but for that to happen, the articles themselves need to be made OA! And that is why mandating Green OA is the priority.

Stevan Harnad

On Trying to Hold Green OA and Fair-Gold OA Hostage to Subscriptions and Fools-Gold

The cynical, self-serving spin of Springer’s replies to Richard Poynder is breathtaking: Is it a sign of Springer’s new ownership?

Despite the double-talk, applying a 12-month embargo where the policy has been to endorse unembargoed immediate-Green for 10 years could hardly be described (or justified) as “simplifying” things for the author, or anyone. It would be a pure and simple bid to maintain and maximize revenue streams from both subscriptions and Gold OA. (Note that I say “would” because in fact Springer is still Green and hence still on the Side of the Angels: read on.)

Green OA means free, immediate, permanent online access; hence a 12-month embargo hardly makes Green OA sustainable, as Springer suggests! It’s not OA at all.

As stated previously, the distinction between an author’s institutional repository and an author’s “personal website” (which is of course likewise institutional) is a distinction between different sectors of an institutional disk. The rest is a matter of tagging.

The purpose of research, and of tax-payer funding of research, and of the online medium itself, is certainly not to make the subscription model sustainable for publishers.

The only service from publishers that needs to be sustained is the management of peer review. Researchers already do all the rest for free (write the papers and peer-review the papers); if they can now also archive their peer-reviewed papers and provide online access to them for all users, what justification is there for saying that the subscription model needs to be sustained?

Paying for Gold OA today, at its current arbitrarily inflated price for a bundle of no longer necessary products and services (print, PDF, archiving, access-provision), is paying for Fools-Gold.

And paying for it while subscriptions continue to be sustainable — hence while paying for them continues to be essential for institutions — is double-payment: Subscription fees plus Fools-Gold OA fees.

If, in addition. the payment is to the very same hybrid-Gold publisher, then it’s not just double-paid Fools-Gold: it also allows double-dipping by the publisher.

Nor is double-dipping corrected if (mirabile dictu) a publisher really does faithfully lower annual subscription fees by every penny of its total annual hybrid Gold revenues, because if an institution (as one subscriber out of, say, 2000 subscribing institutions) pays $XXX in Fools-Gold OA fees, over and above its subscription fees, then its own share of the subscription rebate is just 1/2000th of the $XXX that it has double-paid the hybrid Gold publisher. The rest of the rebate goes to the other 1999 beneficieries of that institution’s hybrid-Gold Fools-Gold double-payment.

And this disparity for the hybrid double-payer would perist until (as Springer hopes), all institutions are paying today’s Fools-Gold instead of subscriptions. That would be a perfect way for publishers to sustain today’s revenue streams, come what may — and that’s exactly what Springer hopes to do, by holding Green OA hostage to embargoes, and thereby holding institutions hostage to subscriptions untill they are all coughing up the same amount for Fools Gold instead, its price determined by whatever sustains today’s subscription revenues rather than what institutions and researchers actually need — and what it actually costs.

This is why Green OA is anathema to publishers, even as they purport to be “all for OA.” For Green OA is the only thing that would force publishers to downsize to the true essentials of peer-reviewed research publishing in the online era, instead of continuing to exact vastly inflated prices for mostly obsolete products and services, just in order to sustain their current revenue streams and their current M.O..

(Of course Springer changed its policy in part because of Finch/RCUK: Green OA and Green OA mandates were already anathema, but Green publishers back-pedalling on that alone would have looked very bad: all stick and no carrot. Finch/RCUK provided the perfect carrot: UK government funds to pay for Fools-Gold, including hybrid Fools-Gold — with the UK government not only funding the Fools-Gold option, but explicitly preferring it over cost-free Green. An offer no publisher could refuse, and a perfect cover for taking it, under the pretext of complying with government mandates, simplifying things for authors, and facilitating OA — in the form of lucrative Fools-Gold OA.)

But it’s not that easy to keep holding the entire worldwide research community hostage to an obsolete technology and outrageous, unnecessary prices, simply by embargoing Green OA.

First, as noted, the distinction between an author’s institutional repository and the author’s institutional website won’t wash: The difference is just in what we name them. Springer authors can go ahead and provide immediate, unembargoed Green OA based on Springer’s current policy.

But even if Springer were then to go on to bite the bullet, embargo all OA self-archiving, and admit that it has stopped being a Green publisher (iin order to protect its current revenue streams come what may), authors could still deposit immediately; and if they wished to comply with Springer’s embargo, they could set access to the immediate-deposit as Closed Access. The institutional repository’s facilitated reprint request Button can then allow any would-be user to request — and the author to provide — an eprint with just one click each, almost-immediately.

This “Almost-OA” will not only serve research needs almost as well as OA itself during the embargo, but it will also have the same effect, almost as quickly, as immediate Green OA, in forcing publishers to cut costs, downsize, and convert to Fair-Gold, at an afforable, sustainable price, precisely because it make the subscription model unsustainable.

This is why it is so important that all institutional and funder mandates should be immediate-deposit mandates (regardless of whether the deposit is immediately-OA or embargoed).

Springer: “there is widespread, if not universal, acceptance that systematic and widespread author manuscript deposit (?green? open access) of subscription-based journal articles in repositories requires an embargo period in order to ensure the sustainability of the journals”

The sustainability at issue for Springer is not the sustainability of journals but the sustainability of the subscription model (or an equal-sized revenue stream for publishers).

And the only ones convinced that the subscription model or an equal-sized revenue stream needs to be sustained at all costs are publishers.

Springer: “Springer, which has been committed to open access in deeds, not just words, for almost 10 years, is focused on offering two models which we believe to be stable and sustainable: embargoed green open access, and immediate gold open access.”

That’s two models that are designed to sustain Springer’s current revenue streams: charging for Fools Gold and embargoing cost-free Green, so that Green cannot provide immediate OA and force down the price of pre-Green Fools Gold to post-Green Fair Gold.

Springer: “We modified the [former Springer unembargoed Green] policy to make it simple and consistent for our authors, for funders and for our employees, as all forms of open access continue to grow.”

Translation: We embargoed Green in order to hold OA hostage to our current revenue streams.

Springer: “In order to ensure that green open access deposit remains sustainable on a large scale, we are standardizing the embargo period for all repository archiving to 12 months.”

Translation: We embargoed Green in order to hold OA hostage to our current revenue streams.

Springer: “this means that Springer authors can deposit into a funder repository after a 12-month embargo period even if the funder does not require the author to do so.”

Whereas formerly Springer authors could deposit immediately upon publication. describes institutional repositories, e.g. hosted by Eprint, as “a collection of digital documents [? which] share the same metadata, making their contents interoperable with one another.” Author websites on the other hand serve various purposes and are not specifically created for document collection.”

All websites have metadata. Interoperability allows the metadata to be harvested by service-providers. Interoperability is a matter of degree. All websites are harvestable (e.g., by google). What is Springer’s point? That there is a threshold on degree of interoperability that distinguishes an “institutional website” from an “institutional repository”? There is no such threshold point. And if there were, it would be arbitrary and irrelevant to the justification of a Green OA embargo, which would, as always, rest purely on the publisher’s attempt to hold OA hostage to its current revenue streams.

Springer: “We have eliminated from our policy the distinction between institutional repositories and others, such as subject and funder repositories, and created one simple rule that applies across the board — authors may deposit in any repository they like, and regardless of whether they are required by a mandate or not, as long as the embargo period is observed.”

Translation: Formerly we endorsed immediate, unembargoed Green OA self-archiving, now we are embargoing it in order to hold OA hostage to our current revenue streams.

Springer: “This supports green OA by making it sustainable, and therefore making it possible for Springer as a publisher to actively encourage and facilitate it. It also helps to clarify the respective benefits of the Green and Gold models, each of which is likely to have a place going forward.”

Translation: We embargoed Green in order to hold OA hostage to our current revenue streams.

Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition. In: Anna Gacs (Ed). The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the Electronic Age. L’Harmattan. 99-106.

Harnad, S. (2008) Waking OA?s ?Slumbering Giant?: The University’s Mandate To Mandate Open Access. New Review of Information Networking 14(1): 51 – 68

Harnad, S. (2009) The PostGutenberg Open Access Journal. In: Cope, B. & Phillips, A (Eds.) The Future of the Academic Journal. Chandos.

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).

Harnad, S. (2011) Gold Open Access Publishing Must Not Be Allowed to Retard the Progress of Green Open Access Self-Archiving. Logos: The Journal of the World Book Community. 21(3-4): 86-93

Harnad, S. (2011) Open Access to Research: Changing Researcher Behavior Through University and Funder Mandates. JEDEM Journal of Democracy and Open Government 3 (1): 33-41.

Harnad, S (2012) The Optimal and Inevitable outcome for Research in the Online Age. CILIP Update September 2012

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)

OA 2013: Tilting at the Tipping Point

Summary: The findings of Eric Archambault?s (2013) pilot study ?The Tipping Point – Open Access Comes of Age? on the percentage of OA that is currently available are very timely, welcome and promising. The study finds that the percentage of articles published in 2008 that are OA in 2013 is between 42-48%. It does not estimate, however, when in that 5-year interval the articles were made OA. Hence the study cannot indicate what percentage of articles being published in 2013 is being made OA in 2013. Nor can it indicate what percentage of articles published before 2013 is OA in 2013. The only way to find that out is through a separate analysis of immediate Gold OA, delayed Gold OA, immediate Green OA, and delayed Green OA, by discipline.

?This paper re-assesses OA availability in 2008?

For papers that were published in 2008 — but when were those articles made available OA?

8% of all articles published in 2008 (or 1/5 of the 42% that were OA) were made OA via Gold, which means they were made available OA in 2008.

But 34% (or 4/5 of the 42% that were OA) were either Green or hybrid Gold or delayed Gold [it is not at all clear why these were all conflated in the analysis]:

Of this 4/5 of what was made OA, it is likely that the largest portion was Green. But when each article was made Green OA is unknown. Some was made Green OA immediately in 2008; but some was delayed Green ? potentially up to any point in the interval between 2008 and the date the sampling was done.

For the proportion of the 4/5 OA that was delayed Gold OA (i.e., made OA by the subscription publisher after 6-12 months or longer) that delay has to be calculated. (Bjork and Laakso found that the second largest portion of OA was delayed Gold. The names of the delayed Gold journals are known, and so are their delay periods.)

The portion of the 4/5 OA that was hybrid Gold was made Gold OA immediately in 2008 by the publisher, but hybrid Gold represents the smallest portion of the 4/5 OA. The names of the hybrid Gold journals are known. Whether the articles were hybrid Gold or Green needs to be ascertained and separate calculation need to be made.

Until all this is known, it is not known what proportion of 2008 articles was OA in 2008. The rest of the findings are not about OA at all, but about embargoed access through some indeterminate delay between 2008 and 2013 (5 years!).

?the tipping point for OA has been reached and? one can expect that, from the late 2000s onwards, the majority of published academic peer-reviewed journal articles were available for free to end-users. ?

But when? What publication date was accessible as of what OA date for that publication? Otherwise this is not about OA (which means immediate online access) but about OA embargoes and delays. This is not what is meant by a ?tipping point.?

?The paper presents the results for the pilot phase of a study that aims to estimate the proportion of peer-reviewed journal articles which are freely available, that is, OA for the last ten years (the pilot study is on OA availability in 2008). ?

This study seems to be on OA availability of 2008 articles, not OA availability in 2008. And availability somewhere within 10 years is not OA.

?An effective definition of OA for this study is the following: ?OA, whether Green or Gold, is about giving people free access to peer-reviewed research journal articles. ?

(Free online access. But to be OA, the access must be immediate, not delayed, and permanent, not temporary.)

?OA is rarely free?

This is not quite the point: It is publication that is not free. Its costs must be paid for — either via subscriptions, subsidies or publication charges.

Subscription fees cover publication costs by charging subscribers, for access. Author publication fees cover publication costs by charging authors, for publication.

OA is simply toll-free online access, irrespective of whether publication is paid for via subscriptions, subsidies, or publication fees.

?Thus, the term toll-access, to distinguish the non-OA literature, is avoided here. ?

Toll access is the correct term when access must be paid for. This should not be conflated with how publication costs are paid for.

?The core use of Ulrich in this project was to calibrate the proportion of papers from each of 22 disciplines used to present disaggregated statistics. ?

But were the disciplines weighted also by their proportion of total annual article output?

(Treating disciplines as equal had been one of our mistakes, resulting in some discrepancies with Bjork & Laakso. When disciplines are properly weighted, our figures agree more with Bjork & Laakso?s. — The remaining discrepancy is more challenging, and it is about the uncertainty of when articles were made OA, in the case of Green: the publication date is not enough; nor the sampling date, unless it is in the same year! We are now conducting a study on publication date vs OA date, to estimate the proportion of immediate-Green vs the average latency of delayed Green compared to immediate Gold and delayed Gold.)

?When selecting journals to be included for an article-level database such as Scopus, deciding whether to include a journal has a direct impact on production costs and partly because of this, database publishers tend to have a bias towards larger journals?

True, but WoS and SCOPUS also have quality criteria, whereas Ulrichs does not. Ulrich can and does cover all.

?Despite a 50% increase in journal coverage, Scopus only has about 20% more articles. A sensitivity analysis was performed?

There is still the question of quality: Including more probably journals may mean lowering average quality.

And there is also the question of discipline size: Estimating overall and average %OA cannot treat 22 disciplines as equal if some publish much more articles than others.

?For gold articles, an estimate of the proportion of papers was made from the random sample by matching the journals that were known to be gold in 2008. ?

This solves the problem of the potential discrepancy between publication date and OA date for Gold OA — but not for Green OA, of which there is about 3 times as much as Gold. Nor for delayed Gold OA.

? [Articles] were selected by tossing the 100,000 a few more times using the rand() command in Excel, then proceeding to the selection of the required number of records. ?

This presumably provided the articles in the 22 disciplines, but were they equal or proportionate?

?A test was then conducted with 20,000 records being provided to the Steven Harnad team in Montreal. ?

But what was the test? To search for those 20,000 records on the web with our robot? And what was the date of this OA test (for articles published in 2008)?

?the team led by Harnad measured only 22% of OA in 2008 overall ?out of the 12,500 journals indexed by Thomson Reuters using a robot that trawled the Web for OA full-texts? (Gargouri et al., 2012) ?

Our own study was %OA for articles published in 2008 and indexed by WoS, as sampled in 2011: The Archambault pilot study was conducted two years later, and on articles indexed by SCOPUS. There may have been more 2008 articles made OA two years later; and more indexed by SCOPUS than WoS.

It is also crucial to estimate both the %OA and the latency of the OA, in order to estimate the true annual %OA and also its annual growth rate (for both Green and delayed Gold). And it has to be balanced by discipline size, if it is to be a global average of total articles, rather than unweighted disciplines.

?a technique to measure the proportion of OA literature based on the Web of Science produces fairly low recall and seriously underestimates OA availability. ?

Agreed, if the objective is a measure of %OA based indiscriminately on total quantity of articles.

But the WoS/SCOPUS/Ulirichs differences could also be differences in quality — and definitely differences in the degree to which researchers need access to the journals in question. WoS includes all the “must have” (?core?) journals, and then some; SCOPUS still more; and Ulrichs still more. So these four layers and their %OA should be analyzed and interpreted separately too.

?This extensive analysis therefore suggests that 48% of the literature published in 2008 may be available for free. ?

Yes, but when were those 2008 articles made available free?

?one can infer that OA availability very likely passed the tipping point in 2008 (or earlier) and that the majority of peer-reviewed/scholarly papers published in journals in that year are now available for free in one form or another to end-users. ?

It’s not clear what a “tipping point” is (50%?). And a tipping point for what: OA? Or eventual delayed OA after an N-year embargo?

What the pilot study?s result shows is not that OA reached the 50% point for 2008 in 2008! It reached the 50% point for 2008 somewhere between 2008 and when the sampling was done!

What we need to know now is how fast %OA per year for that year (or the immediately preceding one) reaches 50%.

?These results suggest that using Scopus and an improved harvester ?to trawl the Web for OA full-texts? could yield substantially more accurate results than the methods used by Björk et al. and Harnad et al. ?

But why bundle hybrid and delayed Gold with Green, immediate and delayed? They are not at all the same thing!

Hybrid Gold is immediate Gold.

?Embargo? is ambiguous ? it can be “delayed Gold,” provided by the publisher after an embargo, or it can be embargoed Green, provided by the author after an embargo.

These mean different things for OA and need to be calculated separately.

For hybrid Gold and delayed Gold, the OA dates can be known exactly. For Green they cannot. This is a crucial difference, yet Green is the biggest category.

?Pay-per-article OA, journals with embargo periods and journals allowing partial indexing following granting agencies? OA policies are considered hybrid, and these data are bundled here with green OA (self-archiving). ?

“Journals with embargo periods” is ambiguous, because there are subscription journals that make their own articles free online after an embargo period (?delayed Gold?), and there are subscription journals that embargo how long before their authors can make their own papers Green OA.

And some authors do and some authors don’t make their articles Green OA.

And some authors do and don’t comply with the Green embargoes.

And some authors are mandated to make their articles Green OA by their funders or institutions.

And allowable embargo lengths vary from mandate to mandate.

And mandates are growing with time.

What is needed is separate analysis (by discipline, weighted) for Gold, hybrid Gold, Delayed Gold and Green. And Green in particular needs to be separately analyzed for immediate-Green and delayed Green.

Only such an analysis will give an estimate of the true extent and growth rate for immediate Gold, immediate Green, and delayed Gold and delayed Green (per 6-month increment, say), by discipline.

?It seems that the tipping point has been passed (OA availability over 50%) in Biology, Biomedical Research, Mathematics & Statistics, and General Science & Technology?

Much as I wish it were some I am afraid this is not yet true (or cannot be known on the basis of the results of this pilot study).

50% has only been reached for 2008 articles some time between 2008 and the time the study?s sample was collected. And the fields are of different size. And the dates are much surer for Gold, hybrid Gold than for delayed Gold and Green, both immediate and delayed.

?many previous studies might have included disembargoed papers and pay-per-article OA, which is not the case here?

But both hybrid Gold and Delayed Gold should be analyzed separately from Green because their respective OA dates is knowable. And as such, the results should be added to pure Gold, to estimate overall Gold OA, immediate and delayed.

Green OA, though bigger, has to have estimates of Green OA latency, by the field: i.e., the average delay between publication date and OA date, in order to estimate the percentage of immediate Green and various degrees of delayed Green.

?These data present the relative citation rate of OA publications overall, Gold OA and hybrid OA forms relative to publications in each discipline. ?

First, it has to be repeated that it is a mistake to lump together Green with Hybrid and Delayed Gold, for the reasons mentioned earlier (regarding date of publication and date of OA), but also because the Gold OA vs non-OA citation comparison (for pure Gold as well as Delayed Gold) is a between journal comparison ? making it hard to equate for content and quality — whereas the Green OA vs non-OA citation comparison is a within journal comparison (hence much more equivalent in content and quality).

(Hybrid Gold, in contrast, does allow within-journal comparisons, but the sample is very small and might also be biased in other ways.)

?many Gold journals are younger and smaller?

Yes, but even more important, many Gold OA journals are not of the same quality as non-OA journals. Journals are hard to equate for quality. That is why within-journal comparisons are more informative than between-journal comparisons for the citation advantage.

?Gold journals might provide an avenue for less mainstream, more revolutionary science. ?

Or for junk science (as you note): This speculative sword can cut both ways; but today it’s just speculation.

?the ARC [citation impact] is not scale-invariant, and larger journals have an advantage as this measure is not corrected sufficiently for journal size?

This is another reason the OA citation advantage is better estimated via within-journal comparisons rather than between-journal comparisons.

?the examination of OA availability per country?

Again, country-differences would be much more informative if clearly separated by Gold, Hybrid Gold, Delayed Gold and Green, as well as by levels of journal quality, from WoS core, to rest of WoS, to SCOPUS, to Ulrichs.

?Finding that the tipping point has been reached in open access is certainly an important discovery?

If only it were sure!

By the way, “tipping point” is a pop expression, and it does not particularly mean 50%. It means something like: the point at which growth in a temporal process has become unstoppable in its trajectory toward 100%. This can occur well before 50% or even after. It requires other estimates rather than just one-off total percentages. It needs year to year growth curves. What we have here is the 50% point for 2008 papers (in some fields), reached some time between 2008 and today!

?This means that aggressive publishers such as Springer are likely to gain a lot in the redesigned landscape?

It is not at all clear how this pilot study finding of the 50% point for free access to 2008 articles (via Gold, and even more via Green OA) has now become a message about “aggressive” publishers (presumably regarding some form of Gold OA)? The finding is not primarily about Gold OA publishing!

?green OA only appears to move slowly, whereas Gold OA and hybrid toll before the process as opposed to toll after are in the fast lane?

It is even less clear how these results ? concerning year 2008 articles, made OA some time between 2008 and now, about one third of them Gold OA and about 2/3 of them Green, with no year by year growth curves — show that Green grows slowly and Gold is in the fast lane?

(There has probably indeed been a growth spurt in Gold in the past few years, most of it because of one huge Gold mega-journal, PLOS ONE: But how do the results of the present study support any conclusion on relative growth rates of Gold and Green? And especially given that Green growth depends on mandate growth, and Green mandates are indeed growing, with 20 new US major funding agencies mandating Green just this year [2-13]!)

?The market power will shift tremendously from the tens of thousands of buyers that publishers? sales staff nurtured to the millions of researchers that will now make the atomistic decision of how best to spend their publication budget?

Where do all these market conjectures come from, in a study that has simply shown that 50% of 2008 articles are freely accessible online 5 years later, partly via Gold, but even more via Green?

Archambault, Eric (2013) The Tipping Point – Open Access Comes of AgeISSI 2013 Proceedings of 14th International Society of Scientometrics and Informetrics Conference, Vienna, Austria, 15-19 July 2013

What Early Neolithic People Left Behind: Levantine Arrowheads Found in Saudi Arabia

Palaeodeserts Project Crassard et al PLoS ONE 2013 Thinking about spending the summer in the sun and sand? Early Neolithic humans may have thought so too, although with more survival-oriented goals in mind. A recent study published in PLOS ONE suggests that early humans, who set up camp in the Eastern Mediterranean (about 10,000 BCE), may have traveled as far as Saudi Arabia in search of game and water.

In this study, researchers unearthed several types of Neolithic arrowheads in the northern peninsula of Saudi Arabia at the site of Jebel Qattar, which suggests a link between Neolithic people of the Levant—modern-day Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine, and Cyprus—to areas as far south as Saudi Arabia. Arrowheads and other tools are, by and large, the main type of early human artifact observable today prior to the introduction of pottery (about 7000 BCE), and are integral to our understanding of the people who created and used them. Tools and arrowheads types, like the ones discovered at Jebel Qattar, provide researchers with evidence of early technology used for hunting.

Beyond the Levant Image

Helwan points found at Jebel Qattar

Accurately identifying early Neolithic artifacts is a tough job—these arrowheads are over 10,000 years old, after all—and requires researchers to carefully sift out other objects uncovered during surface collection and trench excavations. In fact, the researchers discovered a total of 887 stone tools at the site of Jebel Qattar, only ten of which have been identified as Levantine types, known more specifically to researchers as El-Khiam and Helwan points. Named for their places of origin in Israel and Egypt respectively, the El-Khiam and Helwan arrowhead types are common to Levantine sites throughout the Neolithic period. This study, however, represents the first time archaeologists have discovered them in the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia.

Levant Map

Current understanding of early people living during the Neolithic period is rooted in excavation sites in the Levant and the larger area of the Fertile Crescent—the area in green on the map above—a geographical region containing parts of Western Asia, including the Levant, as well as parts of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta of northeast Africa. The Fertile Crescent is home to several major innovations, including the domestication of animals and the development of cereal, and is often known as the ‘cradle of civilization’. The discovery of El-Khiam and Helwan arrowheads in Saudi Arabia alludes to this hotspot of innovation and technology and suggests possible interaction between these early Neolithic peoples.

However, because so little evidence from the Neolithic period survives intact today, our understanding of Neolithic peoples is a work-in-progress. Nevertheless, tracing Neolithic people from the Levant as far as Saudi Arabia suggests that we may want to study broader areas when considering their trajectory. Of course, there is further exploration to be done beyond the borders of the Levant.

Citation: Crassard R, Petraglia MD, Parker AG, Parton A, Roberts RG, Jacobs Z, Alsharekh A, Al-Omari A, Breeze P, Drake NA, Groucutt HS, Jennings R, Re´gagnon E, and Shipton C . (2013) Beyond the Levant: First Evidence of a Pre-Pottery Neolithic Incursion into the Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. PLOS ONE 8(7): e68061. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068061

Images: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068061

Read ChemistryOpen‘s Latest Issue – 2.3

ChemOpen 2 3The current ChemistryOpen issue features the group of F. Matthias Bickelhaupt and their computational work on geometries adopted by d10-ML2 transition-metal complexes. The front cover and cover profile nicely complement their Full Paper and give interesting and valuable background information on their work and the incentive behind it. The Full Paper by Marc Steinmetz and Stefan Grimme presents a further computational paper that reports on an extensive benchmark for evaluating modern density functionals in transition-metal-catalyzed bond-activation reactions.

 Two other papers in this issue also revolve around transition metals. Yan-Yan Song, Patrik Schmuki and co-workers use self-organized TiO2-nanotube layers in combination with CdTe quantum dots for immunoassay-type detection and achieve excellent detection limits with this electrochemiluminescent technique. Narayane S. Hosmane and colleagues, on the other hand, synthesize nanocomposites of Fe10BO3/Fe3O4/SiO2 and GdFeO3/Fe3O4/SiO2 using a gel combustion technique for potential applications in diagnostic analysis of cancer through use in neutron capture therapy.

 All articles published in ChemistryOpen are open access and open to all readers. Click here to access the current issue now!

USF Tampa Library Second Year Hosting Open Access Week Events.

University of South Florida (USF) Tampa Library is pleased to announce its second year of participation in Open Access Week.  For this year’s activities we will have three days of events. Each day will have a different audience focus:  Tuesday (10/22)-Librarians, Wednesday (10/23)-Admin, Faculty, and Staff, and Thursday (10/24)-Students.

More Fell Fallout From Finch Folly: The Royal Society Relapse


Remaining a fair player, The Royal Society ensures that published open access articles bearing a publication fee are deducted from subscription prices through its Transparent Pricing Mechanism

The Royal Society thereby pledges that it will not “double-dip” for hybrid Gold OA. The RS continues to collect subscription fees from institutions worldwide, but whatever additional revenue if gets from individual authors for hybrid Gold OA, it pledges to return as a subscription rebate to all subscribing institutions.

But does this mean the RS is a “fair player” insofar as OA is concerned?


Yet this is not because the hybrid Gold OA rebate amounts to individual authors’ full payments for Gold OA subsidizing the subscription costs of institutions worldwide. (The author’s own institution only gets back a tiny fraction of its authors’ Gold OA fee in its tiny portion of the worldwide subscription rebate.)

No. Whether the RS is indeed a fair player depends on whether RS authors have the choice between providing Gold OA by paying the RS that additional cost — over and above what the world’s institutions are already paying the RS in subscriptions — or providing Green OA at no additional cost, by self-archiving their own article free for all online.

For if the RS does not give its authors this choice, then it is certainly not a “fair player”: It is holding RS authors who want to provide OA hostage to the payment of an additional hybrid Gold OA fee.

From 2005-2010, the RS had a chequered history with OA.

In 2010, however, the RS came down squarely on “the side of the angels“, endorsing immediate, unembargoed Green OA self-archiving of the author’s final refereed draft.

But now — perhaps — the RS seems to have adopted a 12-month embargo on Green OA (under the fell influence — perhaps — of the new Finch/RCUK OA policy?):

You are free to post?the ?Author Generated Postprint? – Your personal copy of the revised version of the Article as accepted by Us? on Your personal or institutional web site and load it onto an institutional or not for profit repository no earlier than 12 months from the date of first publication of the Definitive Published Version.”

Or is this just another (silly) attempt to distinguish between authors posting on their “institutional website” (unembargoed) versus posting in their “institutional repository” (embargoed) — in which case RS authors can happily ignore this empty pseudo-distinction, knowing that their institutional repository is indeed their institutional website.

But the RS would do itself a historic favour if it dropped all this double-talk, unworthy of such a venerable institution, and lived up to its decree that:

“In keeping with its role as the UK’s national academy of science, The Royal Society is committed to the widest possible dissemination of research outputs.”

by not trying to hold Green OA self-archiving hostage to sustain the RS’s subscription revenues at all costs.

There will be time for the RS to go Gold at a fair, affordable, sustainable price, single-paid instead of over-charged and double-paid, as now (with or without double-dipping) — after Green has prevailed worldwide and made subscriptions no longer unsustainable.

But that will be post-Green Fair-Gold. What the RS (and other publishers, less venerable) are trying to use OA embargoes for today is to force authors to pay pre-emptively for pre-Green Fools-Gold if they want to provide OA, so as to ensure that their revenue streams do not shrink either way (subscription or Gold).

But shrink they must, because post-Green the only service the RS or any other research journal publisher will need to perform is the management of peer review in the online era.

And that only costs a fraction of what they are being paid now, with or without double dipping.

The RS “Membership Programme” — like all hybrid Fools-Gold, is a Trojan Horse. Caveat Emptor.