Publisher Double Dealing on OA

This is a comment on Richard Poynder’s interview on Emerald’s “fading” Green OA policy.

Both the perverse effects of the UK’s Finch/RCUK policy and their antidote are as simple to describe and understand as they were to predict:

The Perverse Effects of the Finch/RCUK Policy: Besides being eager to cash in on the double-paid (subscription fees + Gold OA fees), double-dipped over-priced hybrid Gold bonanza that Finch/RCUK has foolishly dangled before their eyes, publishers like Emerald are also trying to hedge their bets and clinch the deal by adopting or extending Green OA embargoes to try to force authors to pick and pay for the hybrid Gold option instead of picking cost-free Green.

The Antidote to the Perverse Effects of the Finch/RCUK Policy: To remedy this, both funders and institutions need merely (1) distinguish deposit-date from the date that access to the deposit is made OA, (2) mandate immediate-deposit, and (3) implement the repository’s facilitated eprint request Button to tide over user needs during any OA embargo.

All funders and institutions can and should adopt the immediate-deposit mandate immediately. Together with the Button it moots embargoes (and once widely adopted, will ensure emargoes’ inevitable and deserved demise).

And as an insurance policy (and a fitting one, to counterbalance publishers’ insurance policy of prolonging Green embargoes to try to force authors to pay for hybrid Gold) funders and institutions should (4) designate date-stamped immediate-deposit as the sole mechanism for submitting published papers for annual performance review (e.g., the Li├Ęge policy) or for national research assessment (as HEFCE has proposed for REF).

As to the page that Emerald has borrowed from Elsevier, consisting of pseudo-legal double-talk implying that

you may deposit immediately if you needn’t, but not if you must

That is pure FUD and can and should be completely ignored. (Any author foolish enough to be taken in by such double-talk deserves all the needless usage and impact losses they will get!)