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.)