Brexit (from EU) and Myexit (from OA)

Follow-up to:
Harnad, S (2016) Open Access Archivangelist: The Last Interview?
CEON Otwarta Nauka (Open Science)

Richard Poynder: It?s an interesting interview. I have a following-on question for you, Stevan, if you feel like answering it: Much has been made of the likely impact that Brexit will have on science/the UK and European research communities, but what if any impact do you think it could have on the crisis facing liberal democracy?

Hi Richard. This is going to sound apocalyptic (and I certainly hope I?m wrong):
 
I think the British exit from the EU, including all the circumstances and factors that led to it, is one of the most tragic symptoms of the crisis in liberal democracy. As such, it is both cause and effect.
 
The three worst features of the 20th century were war, racism and poverty. The remedy for poverty was meant to be socialism (communism in Russia and China and social democracy in the West). The remedy for racism was meant to be multiculturalism (immigration, integration, tolerance). And the remedy for war was meant to be increasing world federalism (the UN and the EU).
 
But the cold war and the nuclear threat kept nations in a state of tension and consumed vast resources. The eventual economic (and moral) collapse of the Soviet Union seems to have had an effect rather like removing a diseased prostate but thereby disrupting a pro-tem equilibrium and precipitating kidney failure.
 
I think the wrong ?objective? conclusion was drawn from the collapse of the Soviet Union (?the socialist experiment has proved to be a failure?). As a result ?trickle-down? capitalism has been triumphantly lionized while liberalism and striving for social equity have been equally triumphantly stigmatized.
 
Meanwhile, two kinds of technology have developed at a stunning rate: destructive weapons and online media. One could not expect much good to come from the former, but great expectations were pinned on the latter (including open access). Yet one of the effects of both new technologies has been to ?empower? (literally) the worst sides of human nature: the divisive and destructive tendencies toward intolerance, bigotry, fanaticism, paranoia and aggression.
 
And these unleashed human tendencies have quickly found their way to the fatal weakness of democracy itself: The people decide what they want, but their wants are shaped by populism, and unreflective appeals to their basest inclinations. In this it is not surprising that the unreconstructed self-aggrandizing bigotry and xenophobia of petty, primitive countries (like my birthplace, Hungary) have ?flowered? with the introduction of democracy in eastern Europe and the middle east. It had been festering there, lying in wait, all along.
 
But one would have thought that the mature democracies would serve as a civilizing bulwark against that. Yet no, Brexit has shown that the same primitive, sinister, shameful inclinations are alive and well in the United Kingdom (and Trump is rallying them in the US too). 
 
No, freedom-of-information and open access did not serve as an antidote, as hoped. Disinformation profited more from the power of open media than the truth did. And the proliferation of destructive weapons is only beginning to be exploited by the genetic and cultural heirs of our most barbaric roots.
 
Perhaps both democracy and liberalism were always doomed; perhaps it was just a matter of time before the law of large numbers, the regression on the mean, would bring out the meanest in us.
 
All one can do is hope that there is an epidemiological ebb and flow also underlying all this, and that illiberalism will run its course, and kindness, decency, humaneness will again become ?popular.?
 
I (as you know) remain an unreconstructed social democrat. Ironically echoing the NRA motto in the US, I don?t believe that socialism failed; I think we failed ? to implement it properly. No one can hope for justice in an unjust society, where a few have vastly more than they need at the expense of the many who just scrape by. 
 
I don?t know how to fix that, but I suspect that the solution, if there is one, is still an informational one. (It used to be called ?education.?) Alongside the basest tendencies of the human genome there are, I believe, humane ones too, at least in the majority if not all people. The hope had been that liberal democracy would ensure that a decent majority prevails, one that enacts laws that protect everyone from the worse sides of our nature (greed, intolerance, aggression).
 
And (as you also know), I plan to focus my remaining years on what I hesitate to call a ?microcosm? of it all ? because in fact there is nothing ?micro” about it: If the Holocaust was humanity?s greatest crime against humanity, the Eternal Treblinka we inflict on victims unfortunate enough not to be our conspecifics are humanity?s greatest crime tout court.
 
So I am trying to mobilize the second technology ? open media ? to open people?s hearts. We have outlawed slavery, rape, violence and murder against human beings, but we all collaborate in them when practiced against species other than our own. Until the humane majority outlaws it all, our basest inclinations will keep being expressed and exercised against our own kind too.
 
You will of course see this as an obsessive focus on my own ?narrow? issue, far removed from Brexit and the crisis of liberal democracy. If so, I?d rather go down trying to liberate the most savagely exploited and long-suffering of our victims than reserve liberalism for the victors.
 

Immediate OA in EU by 2020?

The means are still somewhat vague but the determination to reach the goal of having all scientific articles freely accessible (OA) immediately by 2020 is welcome. The goal is definitely reachable, and well worth reaching ? in fact it?s long overdue.

It would be helpful, however, if the means of reaching the goal were made much more explicit, and with equal determination:

1. The EU can only ensure that its own scientific article output is OA by 2020. The EU cannot ensure that the scientific article output from the rest of the world (which is also the scientific article output to the EU) is OA by 2020 too. But if the EU adopts the right means for providing its own output, there is a good chance that it will be matched by the rest of the world too.

2. The right means for the EU to make all of its own scientific article output OA by 2020 is to require that it be deposited in the institutional repository of the author(s) of the article. This is called ?Green OA.? The deposit should be made immediately upon acceptance for publication (because if the 2019 scientific article output is deposited in 2021, that is certainly not OA in 2020).

3. The deposit need not be the published version of the article; it need only be the final, peer-reviewed, accepted version.

4. The plan mentions Green OA, Gold OA (paying to publish in an OA journal) and hybrid combinations of the two. The EU is welcome to spend whatever funds it finds worthwhile to spend to pay for Gold OA, as long as immediate Green OA is required for all EU scientific article output. The rest of the world will match the EU?s provision of Green OA, but it is much less likely that the rest of the world will match the EU?s expenditure on Gold OA.

Evolutionarily Stable Strategies

[This comment was written before I read Richard Poynder’s Interview of Tim Gowers. Having posted this, I will now go on to read the interview and make my comments in the next posting.]

I don’t know about Richard, but I have not despaired of green, ot green mandates; I’ve just grown tired of waiting.

I don’t see pre-emptive gold (i.e., pre-green “fool’s gold”) as an alternative but as just another delay factor, the principal delay factor being human sluggishness. 

And I think the notion of a “flip” to fool’s gold is incoherent — an “evolutionary unstable strategy,” bound to undo itself: not only because it requires self-sacrificial double-payment locally as well as unrealistic collaboration among nations, institutions, funders, fields and publishers globally, but because the day after it was miraculously (and hypothetically) attained globally it would immediately invite defection (from nations, institutions, funders, and fields) to save money (invasion by the “cheater strategy”). Subscriptions and gold OA “memberships” are simply incommensurable. 

The only evolutionarily stable strategy is offloading all but one of the things that publishers traditionally do onto green OA repositories, leaving only the service of peer review to be paid for as fair-gold OA. 

But that requires universal green OA first, not flipped pre-emptive fool’s gold. 

It will all eventually sort itself out that way after a huge series of false-starts. My loss of patience is not just with the needless loss of time but with the boringly repetitious nature of the recurrent false starts. I’d say my last five years, at the very least, have been spent just repeating myself in the face of the very same naive bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and non-viable non-starters. Locally in space and time, some people sometimes listened to my objections and my alternative strategy, but globally the very same non-starters kept popping up, independently.

So (with an occasional exception like this) I’ve stopped preaching. Time will either show that I was wrong or, like evolution, it will undo the maladaptive strategies and stumble blindly, but inevitably toward the stable strategy (which also happens to be the optimal one): universal green first, then a rapid downsizing and transition to scalable, affordable, sustainable fair-gold. Amen.

Tribute to Timbl (Tim Berners-Lee)

Introducing Tim Berners-Lee
WWW2016 Keynote Speaker

I.
Jim Hendler,
has strictly allotted me exactly three sentences
to introduce Tim Berners-Lee,
and now I?ve gone and used up one of them telling you that,
but fortunately,
because of the nature of language
Comma
I can still add that each of us is, in a sense, unique,
but the uniqueness of some of us
approaches the cosmic;
Pause
and Tim Berners-Lee has changed the world
for all future generations,
forever
Period.

II.
Nor can we remind ourselves enough
Comma
that although,
because of today?s absurd intellectual property and patent laws,
Tim?s uniqueness might have been that he became the world?s richest man
Pause
he has instead opened his contribution to every one of us, and to all future generations
Comma
opening access to the web, world-wide,
opening the door to open science, open data, open knowledge,
on a scale for which the only analogy in human history
is the advent of language itself
Period.

III.
Thanks to Dame Wendy Hall,
we can call Sir Tim Berners-Lee our colleague
at the University of Southampton, Hants
Open Parenthesis
(although his physical body spends rather more real-time in Cambridge, Mass),
Close Parenthesis
but if Southampton has made some contributions of its own to Open Access
those contributions,
like so much of what is being done by just about everyone on the planet today
would not have been possible
without the gift
and the gifts
of Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Period.

The Fool’s Gold Rush Plods On…


Comment on: Enserink, Martin (2016) E.U. urged to free all scientific papers by 2020. Science 14 April 2016.


Fool?s Gold is pre-Green Gold (pay-to-publish Gold: I?m not, of course, referring to that tiny minority of journals that are Free Gold today because they are either (i) subsidized or (ii) their subscription publisher makes the online version free for all).

The reasons it is Fool?s Gold are four:

(1) its cost is vastly inflated with the cost of obsolete features with which it is co-bundled, such as the print edition and publisher PDF,

(2) as long as most journals are still subscription journals, the author?s institution is paying for both subscriptions and for Fool?s Gold,

(3) in the case of (the growing number of) hybrid subscription/Gold journals (accessible to subscribers only, but individual Fool?s Gold articles are free for all if they have been paid for by the author) the same publisher is being double-paid for Fool?s Gold articles (subscriptions from subscribing institutions plus Fool?s Gold from individual authors)

and, most important:

(4) OA can be provided at no extra cost to anyone via Green OA self-archiving of the author’s peer-reviewed, accepted final draft (with immediate OA or immediate-deposit plus Button-mediated OA if the author chooses to comply with a publisher OA embargo)

Fair Gold is post-green Gold: That is the greatly reduced price of Gold after Green OA has been globally mandated (along the lines of what the HEFCE REF policy is doing):

(a) Immediate deposit in the institutional repository is mandated by all research institutions and funders
(b) Mandatory Green OA is provided universally
(c) Journal subscriptions can then be cancelled by institutions
(d) Journals are then forced to cut all obsolete costs by phasing out the print edition, the PDF edition (the publisher’s “version of record”), archiving and access-provision and down-sizing to the only remaining essential in the Fair Gold OA era: just providing the service of peer review (the peers all review for free and always have_
(e) The green eprint becomes the version of record

The cost of this Fair Gold, which is just for peer review and, if accepted, certification with the journal name, will thus be affordable and sustainable (hence fair) because it can be paid out of just a fraction of the annual institutional windfall savings from having at last been able to cancel all journal subscriptions because of universal accessibility via Green OA.

The institutionally archived Green OA author final-drafts then become the official version of record. No more publisher?s version.

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 (2014) The only way to make inflated journal subscriptions unsustainable: Mandate Green Open Access. LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog 4/28

Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2014) Open Access Mandates and the “Fair Dealing” Button. In: Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.)

Harnad, Stevan (2015) Open Access: What, Where, When, How and Why In: Ethics, Science, Technology, and Engineering: An International Resource eds. J. Britt Holbrook & Carl Mitcham, (2nd edition of Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, Farmington Hills MI: MacMillan Reference)

Harnad, Stevan (2015) Optimizing Open Access Policy. The Serials Librarian, 69(2), 133-141

Orbán?s Depredations

Unlike Professor Éva Balogh, who has been monitoring, analyzing and reporting on Orban?s depredations for nearly 20 years now, I only got my first clue in 2011, with the Philosopher Affair.

But what I find remarkable is how just about every element of what was eventually going to become patently obvious to me ? and to everyone else who pays attention ? was already there, in its full, flagrant, foul odors and colors, in that formative and shocking affair, scarcely believable at the time, or even now.

For me, as an academic, it has since become a life-long wake-up call ? and (academic) call-to-arms.

The escalating and unending revelations since then are hardly surprises any more, though they still take one?s breath away.

Stevan Harnad
External Member, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Suspicions

RP: “I have repeatedly said that I harbour no suspicions about EOS. You repeatedly assert that I do.
     You likewise keep assigning a variety of different motivations to me that are not true (and how would you know what my motivations are anyway?)


I do read your posts, Richard, including the snippets you tweet, to garner traffic for your blog.

But, by way of proof that I read your posts, here are a few snippets of my own, about suspicions, secretiveness and attributing motivations, to remind you:

RP: “I would like to thank Bernard Rentier for his detailed and frank account of EOS… That said, it does seem odd to me that it took Rick Anderson two attempts to get this response from EOS.”

RP: “To reiterate: I did not mention EOS in my post, and I harbour no suspicions about the organisation… That said, the defensive response to Rick?s questions about EOS underlines for me the fact that OA advocates are not by nature inclined to be open in their processes.”

RP: “In fact, one might argue that the overly defensive responses to Rick?s questions themselves flirt with paranoia. Certainly they confirm me in my belief that there is a strand within the OA movement that tends towards non-transparency and non-inclusiveness.”

RP: “Nor are they instinctively democratic. One need only monitor the Global Open Access List for a few weeks to see the hauteur with which OA ?old sweats? pronounce on the topic, and castigate anyone who dares express a contrary view.”

You seem to be (1) confusing derisiveness (about the risible) with defensiveness, Richard, and (for some longstanding reason I really cannot fathom) (2) confusing openly, publicly “castigat[ing] anyone who dares express a contrary view” with “non-transparency and non-inclusiveness… instinctively [un]democratic.”

I think you are quite mistaken. There is nothing undemocratic or non-transparent or non-exclusive about open, public criticism, quite the opposite (and regardless of the “hauteur” with which it might be expressed).

And I continue to hold and air openly the view — which you are democratically free to ignore or refute or deride — that (insofar as EOS or BOAI or your humble servant are concerned) you are sowing suspicions — about closedness and exclusiveness — that have no substance whatsoever.

I have two interpretations as to why you are doing this, one more charitable, the other less so:

The charitable interpretation is that you really believe the suspicions, which are fuelled by (or themselves fuel) your longstanding hypothesis that the reason the open access movement is moving so slowly is that it does not have an umbrella organization that includes all interested parties. (I think the hypothesis is mistaken, and that the slow progress is because of conflicts of interest — as well as apathy — that would not be resolved even if it were possible to draw everyone into the same tent.)

The uncharitable interpretation — but even that one, since I know you, and know you have integrity, is only about what may be an unconscious “instinctive” tendency (dare I call it a journalistic one?), rather than a deliberate, calculating strategy — is that you are airing the suspicions at times when there is no OA news of substance because they draw attention and traffic.

RP: “BOAI was a meeting between a small group of like-minded people, and organised by a philanthropist with a specific political agenda. In the wake of that meeting OSI committed several million dollars to fund a number of OA initiatives (and has continued to play a key role in the OA movement since then). As such, those who attended BOAI took the Soros money but did nothing to make the movement ?official? or inclusive, or seek to engage the research community in their plans…”

I have to leave it to others to reply to this, as I do not think it deserves to be dignified by a response. If I made one it would undoubtedly be derisive…

There is a secondary hypothesis I also think you may hold, Richard (though I’m ready to say I’m mistaken, if you deny it), which is that you feel there is something undemocratic or contrary to academic freedom about OA mandates. I think the instincts that may be fuelling this secondary hypothesis in you are (1) the feeling that academics today are already far too put upon, along with (2) scepticism about metrics and perhaps about research evaluation in general, including peer review.

This is scepticism that I may partly share, but that I regard as having nothing to do with OA itself, which is about access to published, peer-reviewed research, such as it is. Reforms would be welcome, but what’s needed in the meanwhile is access.

(And of course mandating a few dozen extra keystrokes per year for their own good is hardly a credible academic grievance; the real reasons for the resistance are not ergonomic but symbolic, ideological, psychological and wrong-headed. In a word, risible.)

And last, I think you are (instinctively) conflating OA with FOI.

Stevan Harnad

No Sweat

Richard Poynder and I are apparently both OA “Old Sweats“: Richard has been banging on about OA’s needing an open umbrella organization about as long as I’ve been banging on about OA’s needing Green OA mandates.

Now Richard is blaming OA’s slow progress on his recommendation’s not having been heeded; I do much the same.

So what is the difference between us?

I just keep banging on about the need for Green OA mandates, but Richard is now beginning to suspect that some secret conspiracy (because of the failure to create an OA open umbrella organization) is going on.

Richard is no doubt right that publishers are up to something, and it has to do with Gold OA and prospective deals with institutions and funders. The dealing is not open, but the fact that it’s going on is no secret.

But it’s trying to squeeze journalistic fodder out of a stone to seek anything of substance with these breath-takingly silly suspicions about BOAI and EOS.

Lampoon my own efforts all you like, Richard, but the one whose credibility is being retroactively eroded is yourself, if you don’t resist taking the tabloid track in lean years.

And please de-conflate OA (open access to published research) from (FOI) freedom of information. Published research is already “free information” (in the FOI sense). It’s the access to it (in the OA sense) that’s not cost-free. FOI covers a lot more sinister territory, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with OA.

It wouldn’t hurt to de-conflate OA from yet another sexy topic too — “academic freedom”: No, neither mandating nor providing OA is an assault on or threat to academic freedom, quite the opposite.

If you do decide to branch off into FOI and academic freedom, Richard, that will be splendid. There’s much to do and learn there. — But then forget about OA. There’s no interesting connection whatsoever.

Now peer-review reform (if there were anything new and interesting to say about it) would certainly be relevant to peer-reviewed research publication ? hence indirectly relevant to open access to peer-reviewed research publication. But only very indirectly. OA?s goal is already ambitious enough (and still far-away enough) without enlarging it to include peer-review reform (let alone feeding the planet, curing disease or redistributing wealth). But peer-review reform would certainly be a useful journalistic topic ? if only there were something more than the already well-known speculations and failed experiments to report about it…

A caricature of its own making

From the thread “A creature of its own making?” on GOAL (Global Open Access List).

Jean-Claude Guédon: “Alicia Wise always speaks with a forked tongue! I wonder how much she is paid to practise this dubious art?”

Richard Poynder: “I am not aware that Alicia Wise has ever been anything other than polite to members of this list. It does not show open access in a good light that every time she posts to the list her comments generate the kind of response we see below.”

I wonder what is going on here? Why are we getting lessons in etiquette on GOAL rather than discussing OA matters of substance?

Yes, Alicia is paid to keep on talking Elsevier double-talk. Yes, she does it politely. That’s not the point. The point is that it is double-talk:

Alicia Wise: “All our authors… have both gold and green Open Access publishing options.”

What that means is:

You may either (1) pay
(always over and above what you pay for subscriptions overall, always heavily, and sometimes even doubly)
for (gold) OA
or else you may (2) wait

(for twelve or more months*)
for (green) OA.

That is indeed fork-tongued double-talk*: Say what sounds like one thing but mean another, and say it politely. (Why rile the ones you are duping?)

*Actually, it’s double-double-talk, and, as pointed out many times before, if Elsevier authors were sensible they would realize that they can provide immediate, unembargoed green OA if they wish, ignoring Elsevier’s never-ending attempts at updating their pseudo-legal double-talk to sound both permissive and prohibitive at the same time.

So, yes, Richard is right — and others (including myself: google ?harnad pogo?) have already said it time and time again in this self-same Forum — that Elsevier is not the only one to blame. There are the dupers (Elsevier) and the duped (universities and their researchers). We all know that.

But it is not a co-conspiracy — much as conspiratorial thinking comes in handy at lean times when there is nothing new to talk about.

So although the dupees have themselves to blame for allowing themselves to be duped, that does not put them on the same plane of culpability as the dupers. After all, it is the dupers who gain from the duping, and the dupees who lose, whether or not they have themselves to blame for falling for it.

Blaming the victim, as Richard does, below, also has a long pedigree in this Forum, but I will not rebut it again in detail. The short answer is that adopting effective Green OA mandates (rather than vilifying the victims for their foolishness) is the remedy for all the damage the victims have unwittingly allowed to be done them for so long.

And stop fussing about metrics. They too will sort themselves out completely once we have universally mandated (and provided) green OA.

Richard Poynder: “What Jean-Claude?s criticism of large publishers like Elsevier and Wiley omits is the role that the research community has played in their rise to power, a role that it continues to play. In fact, not only has the research community been complicit [emphasis added] in the rise and rise [sic] of the publishing oligarchy that Jean-Claude so deprecates, but one could argue that it created it ? i.e. this oligarchy is a creature of its own making.
    ”After all, it is the research community that funds these publishers, it is the research community that submits papers to these publishers (and signs over copyright in the process), and it is the research community that continues to venerate the brands (essentially a product of the impact factor) that allow these publishers to earn the high profits that Jean-Claude decries.
    ”And by now seeking to flip this oligarchy?s journals to OA the research community appears to be intent on perpetuating its power (and doubtless profits).
    ”One might therefore want to suggest that Jean-Claude?s animus is misdirected. [emphasis added]”

And so are Richard’s reproaches…

Your increasingly bored archivangelist,

Stevan Harnad

“EOS” Exposed!

Rick Anderson: “Stevan, is it really true that any institution can join the EOS? According to the webpage, membership is “available to approved institutions” (emphasis mine). I assume that EOS itself does the approving — is that correct? And if so, that means that it’s not really true that “any institution can join,” is it?”

Ok. You caught me, Rick! I guess I’ll have to ‘fess up now: EOS is a secret organization whose true goals I am not at liberty to divulge. The approval of the approved institutions (just a small subset of the many who have applied for approval across the years) is done by an invisible college whose identities are all classified, along with the identities of the institutions and the true goal of the organization, but if you make a formal FOI request it might be possible to provide you with an edited transcript of the list (with identities coded for confidentiality).

Rick Anderson: “Stevan, Is it really true that the EOS is “public”? I don’t see any list of its members anywhere on the site. (If I’m missing it, please do provide a link.) I would assume that an organization that is “public” (as distinct from a “secret society,” the term at which you took such umbrage) would at the very least make its institutional membership a matter of public record, wouldn’t it?”

You’re right again, Rick. EOS is indeed not public: It is a secret society whose true purposes (which have no relation to what it says on the website) I am not free to reveal.

Rick Anderson: “And does the EOS really make all of its documents public? On the site I see a small list of briefing papers — are those the only documents the organization has produced? No minutes, no agendas, no other documents that would normally characterize the work of an organization committed to transparency and public openness?”

I’m truly embarrassed now, Rick. Fact is, you’ve got me again! The documents on the website have nothing to do with the true objectives and activities of EOS. We do have minutes and agendas, but those are all confidential (especially our true goals) as we are in fact not committed to transparency and public openness — or, for that matter, to openness of any kind.

[Please get out the clippers. Many quotes here suitable for clipping and using in the context of your choice, Rick!]

Rick Anderson: “To be clear, the EOS is under no more obligation to be public and transparent in its work than any other organization is — this isn’t about legal or ethical obligation. It’s just about commitment to principles of openness and transparency.”

You’re quite right Rick, and I’m really grateful to you (and to Richard too) for giving me this opportunity to unburden my conscience, which has been weighed down for years with remorse about all the play-acting we’ve been doing. Indeed Yuletide is almost the optimal moment for at last coming clean about this shabby business. (I can think of only one early spring date that might have been even better.)

Congratulations on your successful sleuthing! You have both (and of course the intrepid PMR too!) performed an invaluable service to the academic community and the public at large for unmasking this sordid affair. Please do keep up the courageous and insightful work in the service of openness, transparency and verity. In the world we live in today, one can’t be too careful.

“Stevan Harnad”


Instalment #2 (2015/12/28)

Yule-Foolery

Despite the season, I am beginning to take a less jolly view of this exchange than Bernard Rentier does (if only because I have been less successful in my planned holiday catch-up than I had hoped, which makes the diminishing returns from this sort of dawdling increasingly diminutive).

In particular, although the suspicions about EOS were silly from the get-go — they didn’t even have the elementary support of a putative motive that even amateur detective novels know they need in order to generate suspicion — they seem now to have sunk into abject absurdity. Levity is clearly unavailing to restore common sense, so let me provide a motive (in fact three) — not for the suspected lack-of-transparency on the part of the suspects, but for the suspiciousness on the part of the sleuths:

(1) For PMR the motive is an inordinate fondness for open data, even if it is at odds with OA — a motive EOS clearly does not share.

(2) For RA the motive is unfondness of OA itself, which EOS again clearly cannot share (I won’t venture an ulterior motive for RA’s unfondness).

(3) For RP the motive is seasonal shortage of substance.

So let me propose three topics of substance, any of which would make a jolly basis for seasonal discussion in “Open and Shut”:

I. Can anyone provide a substantive link between the need for open access to published, peer-reviewed research and the need for peer review reform?

II. Can anyone provide a substantive link between the need for open access to published, peer-reviewed research and the need for academic freedom?

III. Can anyone provide a substantive link between the need for open access to published, peer-reviewed research and the need for freedom of information?

(And can anyone still remember what the words “access to research” meant before they somehow got conflated with re-use rights or with “transparency”?)

I’ve been on this ride a long time now but I can’t help noting that as we get exercised over all these other worthy matters, we are still rather far from having open access to published, peer-reviewed research…