More Skulduggery from SPP’s Scholarly Scullery

In the Society for Scholarly Publishing’s Scholarly Kitchen, Rick Anderson complains of “errors and misinformation? in the ROARMAP registry of OA mandates and calls for publishers to provide this service instead.

ROARMAP is a registry for institutional and funder OA policies:

X-Other (Non-Mandates) (86)
Proposed Institutional Mandates (6)
Proposed Sub-Institutional Mandate (4)
Proposed Multi-Institutional Mandates (5)
Proposed Funder Mandates (12)
Institutional Mandates (202)
Sub-Institutional Mandates (43)
Multi-Institutional Mandates (9)
Funder Mandates (87)
Thesis Mandates (109)

The distinction between a mandate and a non-mandate is fuzzy, because mandates vary in strength.

For a classification of the ROARMAP policies in terms of WHERE and WHEN to deposit, and whether the deposit is REQUIRED or REQUESTED, see El CSIC?s (la Universitat de Barcelona, la Universitat de València & la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) MELIBEA.

For analyses of mandate strength and effectiveness, see:

Gargouri, Y., Lariviere, V., Gingras, Y., Brody, T., Carr, L., & Harnad, S. (2012). Testing the finch hypothesis on green OA mandate ineffectiveness. arXiv preprint arXiv:1210.8174.

Gargouri, Yassine, Larivière, Vincent & Harnad, Stevan (2013) Ten-year Analysis of University of Minho Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate (in E Rodrigues, A Swan & AA Baptista, Eds. Uma Década de Acesso Aberto e na UMinho no Mundo).

Further analyses are underway. For those interested in analyzing the growth of OA mandate types and how much OA they generate, ROARMAP and MELIBEA, which index OA policies, can be used in conjunction with ROAR and BASE, which index repository contents.

“Leave providing the OA to us…”

If there is any party whose interests it serves to debate the necessary and sufficient conditions for calling an institutional or funder OA policy an OA ?mandate,? it?s not institutions, funders or OA advocates, whose only concern is with making sure that their policies (whatever they are called) are successful in that they generate as close to 100% OA as possible, as soon as possible.

The boundary between a mandate and a non-mandate is most definitely fuzzy. A REQUEST is certainly not a mandate, nor is it effective, as the history of the NIH policy has shown. (The 2004 NIH policy was unsuccessful until REQUEST was upgraded to REQUIRE in 2007.)

But (as our analyses show), even requirements come in degrees of strength. There can be a requirement with or without the monitoring of compliance, with or without consequences for non-compliance, and with consequences of varying degrees. Also, all of these can come with or without the possibility of exceptions, waivers or opt-outs, which can be granted under conditions varying in their exactingness and specificity.

All these combinations actually occur, and, as I said, they are being analyzed in relation to their success in generating OA. It is in the interests of institutions, funders and OA itself to ascertain which mandates are optimal for generating as much OA as possible, as soon as possible.

I am not sure whose interests it serves to ponder the semantics of the word ?mandate? or to portray as sources of ?errors and misinformation? the databases that are indexing in good faith the actual OA policies being adopted by institutions and funders.

(It is charges of “error and misinformation” that sound a bit more like propaganda to me, especially if they come from parties whose interests are decidedly not in generating as much OA as possible, as soon as possible.)

But whatever those other interests may be, I rather doubt that they are the ones to be entrusted with indexing the actual OA policies being adopted by institutions and funders — any more than they are to be entrusted with providing the OA.

§ § § §

I think it is not only appropriate but essential that services like the University of Southampton’s ROAR, ROARMAP, the Universities of Barcelona, Valencia and Catalunya’s MELIBEA and University of Bielefeld’s BASE are hosted and provided by scholarly institutions rather than by publishers. I also think the reasons for this are obvious.