Comparing Physicists’ Central and Institutional Self-Archiving Practices at Southampton

SUMMARY: An Indiana University study (on the Institutional Repository of the University of Southampton) by Xia (2008) has tested the hypothesis that physicists who already habitually self-archive in an Open Access (OA) Central Repository (Arxiv) would be more likely to self-archive in their own institution’s OA Institutional Repository (IR). The outcome of the study was that the hypothesis is incorrect: If anything, veteran Arxiv self-archivers are more resistant to IR deposit than ordinary nonarchivers, because they neither wish to change their longstanding locus of deposit, nor do they wish to double-deposit.
   This outcome is quite natural and to be expected. The solution for this relatively small population of seasoned self-archivers is for their institution-external deposits to be automatically imported back into their IRs using the SWORD protocol (which can also be used to export automatically from IRs to central repositories). There is no need for veteran self-archivers to change their practices or to double-deposit.
   It is not the 15% of authors who already self-archive (whether institution-externally or on their own institutional websites) that are the problem for OA: The problem is the 85% who do not yet self-archive. It is in order to set the keystrokes of those nonarchivers in motion at long last — for their own benefit and that of their employing institutions as well as the tax-paying public that funds their research — that Green OA self-archiving mandates are now being adopted by their institutions and funders.
   When researchers have been polled (by Alma Swan & Sheridan Brown), the vast majority (95%), across all fields, have responded that they would comply with self-archiving mandates by their institutions and/or their funders (over 80% of them reporting that they would comply
willingly). And actual outcome studies (by Arthur Sale) have confirmed that this is indeed what happens, with near-100% self-archiving rates reached within about two years once mandated — but continuing to languish at the baseline 15% self-archiving rate (30% with incentives ad assistance) if left unmandated.


Xia, J. (2008) A Comparison of Subject and Institutional Repositories in Self-archiving Practices. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 34 (6):489-495.

(1) The Xia (2008) study‘s finding is quite correct that many more Southampton physicists self-archive centrally in Arxiv rather than institutionally in Southamtpon University’s Institutional Repository (IR). If the same study had been conducted at any other university, the outcome would almost certainly have been identical. The reason is that physicists have been self-archiving centrally in Arxiv since 1991, and today, quite understandably, they have no desire either to switch to local IR self-archiving or to do double-depositing.

(2) This was already known at Southampton, and other institutions know it about their own physicists.

(3) Consequently, it is not at clear why anyone would have expected the opposite result, namely, that longstanding Arxiv self-archivers would be quite happy to switch to local IR self-archiving, or to do double-depositing!

(4) In reality, the problem — for both OA and for IRs — is not the physicists who are already self-archiving, regardless of where they are self-archiving. If all researchers were doing what the physicists have been doing since 1991 (and computer scientists have been doing since even earlier), 100% OA would be long behind us, and IRs could all be filled, if we wished, trivially, by simply importing back all their own institution-external deposits, automatically, using something like the SWORD protocol.

(5) The real problem is hence not the minority of spontaneous self-archivers of long standing (globally, spontaneous self-archiving overall hovers at about 15% overall); the problem is the vast majority, which consists of nonarchivers: Of OA’s target content — the annual 2.5 million articles published in the planet’s 25,000 peer-reviewed journals, across all disciplines and institutions — 85% is not yet being self-archived. It is for that reason that self-archiving mandates have proved to be necessary.

(6) In choosing to analyze the data on Southampton — which is indeed a hotbed of OA, OA IRs, OA self-archiving, and OA self-archiving mandates — this study has unfortunately chosen to analyze the wrong IR and the wrong mandate! It is Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) that has the planet’s first and longest standing self-archiving mandate (since 2002-2003), and it is the ECS IR that has a full-text deposit rate near 100%. 

(7) The 2008 study analyzed the self-archiving rate for physicists, in the university-wide IR. But the University as a whole only has a university-wide mandate (and a rather vague one) since April 2008, and even that has not yet been publicized or implemented yet. (The university did have a longer standing requirement to enter metadata in the IR for the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), mostly by library proxy deposit, which is why the study found so many abstracts without full texts therein, for there was no requirement to deposit the full text.)

(8) As a consequence, the study’s findings — although quite accurate regarding the general resistance of veteran Arxiv self-archivers to self-archiving alternatively or additionally in their own institution’s IR — do not really have any bearing on mandates and mandated IR behavior in general.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Liege Mandate Definitely Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access (or Dual Deposit/Release: IDOA/DDR)


[The following is a posting to the American Scientist Open Access Forum by Professor Bernard Rentier, Rector of the University of Liège.]

Yesterday, Klaus Graf reacted rather strongly to the announcement of the Liège University repository mandate, stating [in theLiège mandate works, this message tells it all much better.

It may perhaps be useful as well for those who wish to find a way to obtain compliance within their own universities. It demonstrates also that the Liège Mandate is indeed IDOA/DDR (Immediate-Deposit/Optional- Access — Dual Deposit/Release), to use the latest definitions coined in this forum.

Happy New Year to all !

Bernard Rentier


Madame, Monsieur, Cher(e) Collègue,

The increase in international visibility of the ULg [Université de Liège] and its researchers, mainly through their publications, as well as the support for the worldwide development of an open and free access to scientific works (Open Access) are two essential objectives at the heart of my action, as you probably know.

At my request, the Institutional Repository “ORBi” (Open Repository & Bibliography) has been set up at the ULg by the Libraries Network to meet these objectives.

[1] The experimental encoding phase based on volunteerism being now successfully completed, we can step forward and enter the “production phase” this Wednesday November 26th, 2008. I take this opportunity to thank all the professors and researchers who have already filed in ORBi hundreds of their references, 70% of them with the full text. Thanks to their patience, ORBi’s fine tuning could be achieved.

From today onward, it is incumbent upon each ULg member to feed ORBi with his/her own references. In this respect, the Administrative Board of the University has decided to make it mandatory for all ULg members:

– to deposit the bibliographic references of ALL their publications since 2002;

– to deposit the full text of ALL their articles published in periodicals since 2002.

Access to these full texts will only be granted with the author’s consent and according to the rules applicable to author’s rights and copyrights. The University is indeed very keen on respecting the rights of all stakeholders.

[2] For future publications, deposit in ORBi will be mandatory as soon as the article is accepted by the editor.

[3] I wish to remind you that, as announced a year ago in March 2007, starting October 1st, 2009, only those references introduced in ORBi will be taken into consideration as the official list of publications accompanying any curriculum vitæ in all evaluation procedures ‘in house’ (designations, promotions, grant applications, etc.).

Information seminars have been planned during the next months to allow every one of you to make the tool your own thing. Help is also accessible online, such as the simplified user’s guide (also available as a leaflet) and the Depositor’s Guide.

The development of ORBi offers multiple advantages not only to the Institution, but also to the researchers and their teams, such as:

– a considerable speeding up of the dissemination and visibility of the scientific works (as soon as publication approval is granted;

– a considerable increase in visibility for the published works through referencing in the main search engines (Googlescholar, OAI metaengines, etc.);

– centralised and perennial conservation of publications allowing multiple exploitation possibilities (integration in personal web pages, in institutional web pages, export of reference lists towards other applications and to funding organisations such as the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research); – etc.

I hope that, despite the time you are going to devote to this somewhat tedious task, you will soon realise the benefits of this institutional policy.

With many thanks,

Bernard Rentier
Rector
University of Liege
7, place du 20 Aout
4000 Liege, Belgium
Tel: +32-4-366 9700

ORBi, Institutional Repository of the University of Liège

ORBi, répertoire institutionnel de l’Université de Liège Vu sur la liste Biblio.fr

“Six mois après son démarrage, ORBi «Open Repository and Bibliography» dépasse déjà les 1200 références archivées dont près de 1000 avec texte intégral. Ces chiffres encourageants sont les résultats d’une politique ambitieuse mise en place à l’ULg (Université de Liège) en matière de dépôt en Open Access.”

Le Conseil d’Administration de l’Université a en effet décidé de rendre obligatoire :

– l’introduction des références de toutes les publications des membres de l’ULg depuis 2002 ;

– le dépôt de la version électronique intégrale de tous les articles de périodiques publiés par les membres de l’ULg depuis 2002.

“Six months after its launch, ORBi «Open Repository and Bibliography» already has more than 1200 deposits, nearly 1000 of them full-text. These encouraging figures are the result of an ambitious Open Access Self-Archiving policy at ULg (Université of Liège).”

The University Administrative Council has made it mandatory:

– to deposit the references for all publications of all ULg faculty as of 2002

– to deposit the digital full-text of all journal articles published by ULg faculty as of 2002

ORBi
Annonce sur le blog du Recteur
BICTEL/e-ULg – Répertoire des thèses électroniques

Southampton’s Wendy Hall Honoured

An invaluable friend to Open Access, University of Southampton’s Professor Wendy Hall, as Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science from 2002 to 2007, not only presided over the adoption and implementation of the world’s first Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate, but she quietly went on to help get Green (ID/OA) Mandates adopted at the European level, as a founding member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council as well as President of the British Computer Society (BCS) and member of the Prime Minister?s Council for Science and Technology. It is no small thanks to Wendy’s support that the UK in particular and Europe in general are leading the world in its inexorable progress toward the optimal and inevitable outcome for scientific and scholarly research, at long last.

And this is but one part of what Wendy has done for computer science, and science in general. (Dame Wendy was, among other things, the inventor of Microcosm, a harbinger of the Semantic Web, whose inventor — an obscure courtly figure by the name of Sir Tim Berners-Lee — has since likewise become one of Wendy’s Southampton departmental colleagues.)

Let us all celebrate her latest honour.

Open Access: The Devil’s in the Details

(1) Two Kinds of OA: Gratis and Libre: There are two kinds of Open Access (OA) — “gratis” (free online access) and “libre” (free online access plus certain re-use rights) — but Gideon Burton seems to be writing about OA as if there were only one kind (“libre”). (See: “Open Access: ‘Gratis’ and ‘Libre’“)

The gratis/libre distinction matters a lot, because it is critical to the strategy for successfully achieving OA (of either kind) at all. There is still very little OA today, but most of what OA there is is gratis, not libre. The fastest and surest way to achieve 100% OA is for universities and funders to mandate OA, and they are at last beginning to do so. But universities and funders can (and hence should) only mandate gratis OA, not libre OA. All peer-reviewed journal article authors are “give-away authors“: They want their work to be freely accessible online. But most do not want their texts themselves (as opposed to just their findings) to be re-used and re-mixed as if they were data, software, or disney cartoons. Author-sanctioned re-use rights can come after we have reached 100% gratis OA; needlessly insisting on them pre-emptively only hampers progress toward reaching 100% OA itself. (See: “The Giveaway/NonGiveaway Distinction”)“.

(2) Two Ways to Reach 100% OA: The Golden Road and the Green Road: There are two roads to 100% OA, the “golden road” of authors publishing in OA journals and the “green road” of authors publishing in conventional journals but also self-archiving their articles in their own Institutional Repositories (IRs) to make them OA. (See: “OA Publishing is OA, but OA is Not OA Publishing“).

The green/gold distinction matters even more than the gratis/libre distinction, because Green OA can be mandated by universities and funders, whereas gold OA cannot. Moreover, most journals already have a green (63%) or pale-green (32%) policy on author OA self-archiving, whereas only about 15% of journals are gold OA journals, and the rest cannot be mandated by universities and funders to convert. Universal green OA self-archiving mandates may eventually induce publishers to convert to gold, but they cannot do so if we do not first adopt the green mandates. “Gold Fever” — treating OA as if it just meant gold OA — is the single most common error made by commentators on OA (whether proponents or opponents). (See: “Please Don’t Conflate Green and Gold OA“).

(3) Two Ways Not to Try to Mandate OA: Too Strong and Too Weak: Gideon Burton is a proponent of a green OA mandate at his own university (Brigham Young University, BYU), and this is very timely, valuable, and welcome. But in advocating the Harvard mandate model — which is not just a mandate to provide green, gratis OA by depositing articles in the institutional repository, but a requirement for authors to successfully negotiate with their publishers the retention of certain re-use rights — Gideon is advocating a mandate that is both stronger and weaker than necessary. Not only does such a nonoptimal mandate model make it less likely that a consensus will be successfully reached on adopting an OA mandate at all (has BYU adopted this OA mandate?) but it also makes full author compliance uncertain even if a consensus on adoption is successfully achieved. (See: “Which Green OA Mandate Is Optimal?“)

The reason the Harvard mandate model is too strong is that it requires more than just self-archiving in the university’s IR: It requires successful rights renegotiation by each author, with each publisher. But since only Harvard authors are subject to the mandate, and not their publishers, the successful outcome of such a negotiation cannot be guaranteed. So the Harvard mandate allows authors to opt out — which in turn weakens it into something less than a mandate, as authors need not comply. The mandate is too strong, in that it demands more than necessary, which in turn makes it necessary to allow opt-out, weakening it more than necessary. And the mandate is also needlesly weak in that it fails to require immediate deposit, without opt-out, irrespective of the success or failure of rights renegotiations. On the Harvard model, if any author elects to opt out of rights renegotiation, he need not deposit at all.

And yet a mandate to deposit the author’s final, peer-reviewed draft, immediately upon acceptance for publication, regardless of whether rights have or have not been successfully renegotiated, can provide immediate OA to at least 63% of deposits (as noted above, because 63% of journals are already green on author OA self-archiving) and immediate “Almost-OA” for the remaining 37% (thanks to the IR’s semi-automatic “email eprint request” Button, whereby any user webwide who reaches any deposit to which access is closed rather than open — because the publisher has vetoed or embargoed OA to the deposit — can, with just one click, request a single copy for personal research use, and the author can in turn, likewise with just one click, authorize the immediate automatic emailing of that single copy to the requester by the IR software).

“Almost OA” can tide over research usage needs during any publisher embargo period — but only if immediate deposit is mandated, without opt-out. The Harvard model does not mandate immediate deposit, without opt-out. Most Harvard authors may have the clout and the gumption to successfully negotiate rights retention anyway, but it is far from clear that all, most or even many authors at other universities worldwide would have Harvard-authors’ clout or gumption. So not only are many likely to opt out of such an opt-out mandate, but they and their institutions are hence far less likely to opt for adopting such a needlessly strong (and weak) mandate in the first place.

So I suggest that BYU (and all other universities — and funders too) opt for the optimal green gratis OA mandate — Immediate Deposit (without Opt-Out) plus Optional Access-Setting (as OA or Closed Access plus the “Almost-OA” Button). (I call this mandate the IDOA mandate and Peter Suber calls it the DDR (Dual Deposit Release) mandate.) If a stronger mandate can successfully achieve consensus on adoption, then by all means adopt that! But on no account delay or imperil achieving successful consensus on adopting a mandate at all, by insisting on a needlessly stronger mandate — and on no account needlessly weaken the mandate by allowing opt-out from deposit itself. The devil is indeed in these seemingly minor details. (See: “Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates: What? Where? When? Why? How?“)

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Norway’s First Green Open Access Mandate; Planet’s 60th

Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services (NORWAY* institutional-mandate)

Institution’s OA Eprint Archives

Institution’s OA Self-Archiving Mandate

Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services (Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter for helsetjenesten, NoKC) adopted an Institutional Policy for Open Access to Scientific Publications, November 25, 2008.

All scientific publications by NoKC research staff “must” be deposited at the time of acceptance in Helsebiblioteket’s Research Archive (HeRA), the new institutional repository launched by the NoKC health library (Helsebiblioteket). For each deposit, HeRA will release as much as it can as soon as it can. For example, HeRA will respect publisher embargoes, but will release OA metadata during the period when the full-text may be embargoed.

[From Peter Suber’s Open Access News]

The Giveaway/NonGiveaway Distinction at the Free Software Free Society Meeting in Kerala



SUMMARY: Free/Open Software (notably the first Free Software for creating OAI-compliant Open Access Institutional Repositories, EPrints, created in 2000, distributed under the GNU license, and now used worldwide) has been central to the growth of the Open Access Movement. However, there are also crucial distinctions that need to be made and understood, among the movements for (1) Free/Open source software, (2) Open Access (to peer-reviewed research), (3) Open Data, (4) Creative Commons licensing, and (5) Wikipedia-style collective writing. Open Access (OA) is focussed primarily on refereed research articles. The crucial distinctions revolve mostly around (a) the fundamental difference between author giveaway vs. non-giveaway work and (b) the functional differences between the re-use needs for peer-reviewed research article texts on the one hand, and data, software and other kinds of digital content on the other. (PPT)

Richard Stallman (at the Free Sofware Free Society Conference today in Kerala, India) seems to have come to the mistaken conclusion (from my own talk, presumably) that I am somehow against Free Software! 

Open Access, Free/Open Software, Open Data, Creative Commons and Wikipedia: Commonalities and Distinctions
(Powerpoints)

But Richard (whom I admire very much) doesn’t seem to understand that what I am actually trying to do, for concrete, pragmatic, strategic reasons, is to very explicitly distinguish the special case of (“gratisGreen) OA from the other 4 “open” cases (free/open software, open data, creative commons licensing, and wikipedia) that resemble OA in some respects, but only partially. The purpose of pointing out this distinction is so that we can at long last reach universal Green (gratis) OA. Universal Green OA will then in turn help strengthen and accelerate reaching the goals of the other 4 “open” movements. Conflating all 5 goals today will not.

The reason Richard does not seem to grasp or accept this is also related to the reason he is so effective where he is indeed effective: He is on an ethical crusade (an ethical crusade in which he is just as right as if he were crusading for providing free health care for all, the curing of all diseases, the remedying of all injustices). But ethical rectitude in principle is alas insufficient to elicit ethical practice, or at least not on a scale that is anywhere near universal: To achieve that, you sometimes have to appeal to self-interest too, at least initially.

For OA, it is simply hopeless to try to get all or even most creators of digital content to provide OA to their creations today if they do not even want to make it freely available. They all ought to want to, perhaps; but telling them they ought to want to (or that it is more ethical to want to) is not enough. 

That is why it is essential to have a practical strategy that is aimed explicitly at the subset of creators that, without exception, already want to give away their creations (because it already happens to be in their own interest to do so). Those are the authors of the 2.5 million annual articles that are the target of OA and of Green OA mandates: OA’s target content. They publish their research only for the sake of uptake, usage, application and impact, not for revenues or fees. That simply cannot be said of the authors of most software (or other kinds of digital content) today.

What I was trying to explain at FSFS was just that this special case (of calling on authors to provide OA to their refereed research articles) has to be distinguished from the general case of calling on all authors of all kinds of digital content (whether it be books, data, software, music, movies, or “knowledge”) to make their content free or open. 

And the reason is that OA’s target content all consists of exception-free creator give-aways already: No ethical case for openness or give-away needs to be made in the special case of OA’s target content, because its authors already give it all away. Moreover, although most of them won’t go on to do so of their own accord (because they are too busy and/or worried about copyright), most of those authors, when surveyed, state that they would go on to make their give-away articles OA too, willingly, if their institutions or funders were to mandate it: And the evidence is that, when it is indeed mandated, these authors do indeed comply and do it.

So mandates work for author-give-away content. Authors say they will make it OA, willingly, and the actual mandate adoptions confirm that authors do as they said they would do. 

There is no reason, however, to expect mandates to work for non-give-away content, today. Authors certainly have not said they would willingly make their non-give-away products (books, software, music, video, data) OA if it were so mandated; nor are there any mandates that test whether they would comply, willingly or unwillingly. 

It is not even thinkable today to try to mandate providing OA to content for which its creators not only don’t provide OA spontaneously of their own accord, but don’t want to provide OA, because they don’t want to give it away in the first place (hoping instead to make money from it).

OA mandates have already been sluggish enough so far in just reaching consensus on adoption for just give-away content. What they need is to provide much better and clearer information for authors, their institutions and their public funders on what OA and OA mandates really entail — and what benefits they bring for authors, their research, their institutions, and the public that funds them — rather than an unrealistic and confusing raising of the existing hurdles to reaching consensus on mandate adoption by conflating giveaway content with content that its creators do not (yet) even wish to give away, and for which a credible case based on self-interest cannot yet be made.

Having said that, I of course agree completely with Richard Stallman that if software authors are publicly funded for developing their code, the funder can and should mandate that it be made FS/OS! That is a special case in which OA and FS/OS have far more in common than they do in general. But relative to all the software being written today, the portion that is being developed with public funding is, I suspect, quite small (which is not to say that it should not be mandated to make that portion FS/OS!)

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

UK’s 20th Green OA Mandate, Scotland’s 5th, Planet’s 59th


Napier University (UK* institutional-mandate)

Institution’s/Department’s OA Eprint Archives

Institution’s/Department’s OA Self-Archiving Policy

“The mandate will be enforced from Jan2009…

“Repository@Napier is the place where university research output will be held…

“Deposited items may include:
   - submitted versions (as sent to journals for peer-review),
   - accepted versions (author’s final peer-reviewed drafts),
   - published versions (publisher-created files)…”

Which Green OA Mandate Is Optimal?


SUMMARY: Which Green OA Mandate should an institution adopt?     ID/OA The Immediate Deposit, Optional Access-setting (ID/OA) mandate immediately guarantees at least 63% OA plus 37% Almost-OA, moots all objections on copyright grounds, and does not put the author’s choice of journal at risk by requiring individual licensing negotiations by the would-be author with the publisher. The alternative candidate mandates are:
    ID/IA There is the stronger Immediate Deposit/Immediate Access (ID/IA) mandate. But how can such a mandate manage to reach consensus on adoption as long as 37% of journals don’t endorse immediate OA self-archiving? (Invariably this has meant having to allow an author opt-out for such cases, in which case the policy is no longer a mandate at all — hence weaker than ID/OA. Not one of the existing 58 mandates is ID/IA.)
    ID/DA The usual compromise, therefore, is to allow embargoes, with or without a cap on the maximal allowable length. But such an Immediate Deposit/Delayed Access (ID/DA) mandate, with no cap on the allowable delay (embargo) is simplyidentical to ID/OA! Adding a cap on the maximal allowable embargo delay is splendid, but that’s just ID/OA with an embargo cap. (So if an institution can reach successful consenus on this stronger mandate (capped ID/DA), they should by all means adopt it; but if not, they should just go ahead and adopt ID/OA.)
    DD/DA Then there is Delayed Deposit/Delayed Access (DD/DA), in which the deposit itself is delayed until the embargo elapses, instead of being done immediately upon acceptance for publication, as in ID/OA. But with or without an embargo cap, that is in fact weaker than ID/OA, because it loses the 37% Almost-OA accessible via the button, until the date at which each embargo elapses.
    Author Licensing Mandate Last, and almost as strong as the (nonexistent) ID/IA mandate (4a) is a negotiated author licensing mandate. But how can such a mandate reach consensus on adoption with authors who are concerned that it would put their papers at risk of not being accepted by their journal of choice whenever the licensing negotiation fails? As a consequence, there exist no ID/IA mandates either, only ID/IA with an optional author-opt-out (as in Harvard’s mandate) — which again loses the 37% Almost-OA during any embargo or opt-out, and is hence weaker than ID/OA (if a mandate with an opt-out is indeed a mandate at all!).
    It is because of this logic and these pragmatics that ID/OA is the default baseline mandate: Anything weaker than ID/OA is gratuitously weaker than necessary (and generates less OA than ID/OA). Anything stronger (such as ID/IA without opt-out, or mandatory licensing without opt-out) is more than welcome, if an institution can successfully reach consensus and compliance — but no institution (or funder) has yet managed that, hence holding out for an over-strong mandate leads to the adoption of no mandate at all.


The following are replies to some queries I received about Elsevier’s Authors’ Rights Policy on Green OA Self-Archiving:


Q: “The Elsevier Authors’ Rights policy states that authors may…
‘Post a personal manuscript version of the article on the author’s personal or institutional website or server… This means an author can update a personal manuscript version (e.g., in Word or TeX format) of the article to reflect changes made during the peer-review process. Note [that] such posting may not be for commercial purposes… and may not be to any external, third-party website.’

“Does this not exclude posting to a repository? And if so, can Elsevier still qualify for Green status given such a restriction?”

The Green OA author-rights policy of Elsevier (and of many other Green publishers) explicitly excludes posting to a 3rd-party repository (in order to avoid sanctioning free-riding from rival publishers). The author’s own institutional repository, in contrast, is of course simply an institutional website/server.

And that is just fine for OA — in fact, better than fine, for the following reasons:

All Open Access repositories — whether institutional or institution-external — are interoperable, because they comply with the OAI metadata harvesting protocol. So if you deposit your full-text in any one of them, it is functionally as if you had deposited it in any or all of them, because central harvesters (such as OAIster and Elsevier’s own Scirus) can and do harvest the metadata from all those repositories, and then provide a search interface that collects the links to all the distributed repository contents into one searchable global OA repository (or several, by subject, or nation, or funder, or what-have-you) — just as Google and Google Scholar likewise do.

So not only does Elsevier’s Green author-self-archiving policy acknowledge the right of every single Elsevier author to make (the author’s refereed final draft of) every single one of his Elsevier articles OA, but it helps correct an extremely counterproductive and ill-thought-out — though well-intentioned — bug in many of the current OA self-archiving funder-mandates, in which direct central deposit (in PubMed Central) is mandated, needlesly, instead of direct institutional deposit (which can be followed by central metadata-harvesting or automatic SWORD-based export to PubMed Central).

It is quite natural to ask: “If all repositories are interoperable, what difference does it make whether mandates specify central self-archiving or institutional self-archiving?”

To understand the reply, one must first clearly apprehend that:

— not all research is in one field
— not all research is funded by any given funder
— not all research is funded at all
— all research originates from institutions
— yet most institutions have not yet mandated self-archiving

As all research originates from a university or other research institution, institutions are the universal providers of all refereed research output. Hence, to systematically ensure that all refereed research — from all institutions, in all fields, whether funded or unfunded — is self-archived, it is essential that all self-archiving mandates — whether from institutions of funders — be convergent and mutually reinforcing, rather than divergent and competitive. 

In other words, both funders and institutions need to mandate self-archiving in the author’s own institutional repository. That way funder and institutional mandates reinforce one another: For example, NIH’s mandate, which technically applies only to NIH-funded biomedical research, would vastly increase its scope if it stipulated institutional deposit; that would immediately extend the reach of the NIH mandate to all institutions receiving NIH funding, thereby encouraging each of them to adopt institutional mandates of their own to cover all their research output, and not just the NIH-funded subset. And it would of course also encourage universities to create institutional repositories, if they have not done so already. (Institutions — already quite obsessively involved in preparing and vetting their research grant proposals, are also the natural ones to monitor and ensure compliance with the funder’s deposit mandate as part of the grant’s fulfillment conditions, and especially if they have a institutional deposit mandate of their own. And again, one convergent deposit and locus — institutional — is enough for an author; the rest can be handled by automatic harvesting or exportation.)

Nothing whatsoever is lost with convergent mandates: NIH can still harvest all of its funded research into PubMed Central; so can any other harvesters, into their own collections. (And import/export can also be done automatically, via the SWORD protocol.) There is absolutely no need for — and many reasons against — authors depositing directly in PubMed Central or any other central collection: Not only does that fail to encourage and reinforce the adoption of institutional mandates for all the rest of each institution’s (non-NIH) research output, but, apart from creating needless confusion and ambiguity about locus of deposit, it even puts authors at (perceived) risk of having to do multiple deposits in order to fulfill both funder and institutional mandates. (Here too, the risk is perceived rather than real, because the SWORD protocol can of course transfer contents in both directions, whereas the real problem is inducing the adoption of mandates from both funders and institutions, and particularly from the universal providers, the institutions: It is precisely there that collaborative, convergent mandates from funders are a great help whereas divergent, competitive mandates are a gratuitous hindrance.)

So some of the funder mandates to date, welcome though they were and are, have failed to think things through (and failed to fully understand IRs, and OAI-interoperability and OA itself) in needlessly mandating direct central deposit. (That’s rather like requiring providers to deposit directly in google, instead of depositing on their own distributed websites, from which google can then harvest.)

This inadvertent error can and will still be corrected, of course, but the correction needs to happen sooner rather than later, because meanwhile divergent funder mandates are slowing the growth of the potential institutional mandates that represent the real lion’s share of global research output across all disciplines (and research access and impact continues to be needlessly lost).

NIH has so far been unresponsive about reconsidering its unnecessary and counterproductive requirement to deposit directly in PubMed Central (and a number of CopyCat funders elsewhere have been simply aping NIH, equally unreflectively). The work of those who are trying to create a systematic synergy that will result in the rapid global growth of OA mandates by the sleeping giant (the world’s universities and research institutions), is thereby made more difficult than necessary — but here, Green publishers’ restrictions on depositing in 3rd-party central repositories may prove to be a serendipitous aid in converging on convergent deposit mandates and practices.

Q: “Having made the case for Immediate Deposit/Optional Access-setting (ID/OA), it’s not clear how you can be so complacent about the Optional Access-setting part. Surely in order to achieve the goal of genuine open access, articles must not only be deposited immediately, but also made freely available. Now clearly, the weaker the mandate, the more likely is its adoption; this is a matter of tactics. But what if all institutions adopt ID/OA, but then do not Open Access on the deposits? Has anything been gained? (Perhaps you?d reply yes, because one has to win the first battle before being free to fight the second?)”

    (1) I am not at all worried about the (37% of) articles that might, under the ID/OA mandate, be deposited as Closed Access (hence not OA but only “Almost-OA,” thanks to the repositories’ semi-automatic, almost-instantaneous, “email eprint request” button). I have been at this for over a decade and a half now, and for that decade and a half, we have not had the at-least 63% OA plus 37% Almost-OA that we could have had, if we had adopted ID/OA mandates. Instead, all we had is what we have now: the <15% of all articles that are being self-archived spontaneously (unmandated), plus the even smaller percentage of all articles that are being published in Gold OA journals.

    (2) So I am unworried about universal ID/OA mandates, but definitely not unworried about continuing to do without them, just waiting instead in the hope that (a) either spontaneous self-archiving will somehow increase to 100% on its own, without the need of any mandate at all, (b) or that agreement on even stronger OA mandates will somehow be reached, or (c) that all publishers will somehow agree to convert to Gold OA publishing!

    (3) Just continuing to advocate and wait for (a) or (c) is, I hope all will agree, not a sensible strategy after all these years.

    (4) As for stronger mandates, consider the options: In place of the ID/OA (Immediate Deposit, Optional Access-setting) mandate — which immediately guarantees at least 63% OA plus 37% Almost-OA, moots all objections on copyright grounds, and does not put the author’s choice of journal at risk by requiring individual licensing negotiations by the would-be author with the publisher — we have the following alternative candidates:

(4a) There is the stronger Immediate Deposit/Immediate Access (ID/IA) mandate. But how can such a mandate manage to reach consensus on adoption as long as 37% of journals don’t endorse immediate OA self-archiving? (Invariably this has meant having to allow an author opt-out for such cases, in which case the policy is no longer a mandate at all — hence weaker than ID/OA. Not one of the existing 58 mandates is ID/IA.)

(4b) The usual compromise, therefore, is to allow embargoes, with or without a cap on the maximal allowable length. But such an ID/DA (Immediate Deposit/Delayed Access) mandate, with no cap on the allowable delay (embargo) is simply identical to ID/OA! Adding a cap on the maximal allowable embargo delay is splendid, but that’s just ID/OA with an embargo cap. (So if an institution can reach successful consenus on this stronger mandate (capped ID/DA), they should by all means adopt it; but if not, they should just go ahead and adopt ID/OA.)

(4c) Then there is Delayed Deposit/Delayed Access (DD/DA), in which the deposit itself is delayed until the embargo elapses, instead of being done immediately upon acceptance for publication, as in ID/OA. But with or without an embargo cap, that is in fact weaker than ID/OA, because it loses the 37% Almost-OA accessible via the button, until the date at which each embargo elapses.

(4d) Last, and almost as strong as the (nonexistent) ID/IA mandate (4a) is a negotiated author licensing mandate. But how can such a mandate reach consensus on adoption with authors who are concerned that it would put their papers at risk of not being accepted by their journal of choice whenever the licensing negotiation fails? As a consequence, there exist no ID/IA mandates either, only ID/IA with an optional author-opt-out (as in Harvard’s mandate) — which again loses the 37% Almost-OA during any embargo or opt-out, and is hence weaker than ID/OA (if a mandate with an opt-out is indeed a mandate at all!).

It is because of this logic and these pragmatics that ID/OA is the default baseline mandate: Anything weaker than ID/OA is gratuitously weaker than necessary (and generates less OA than ID/OA). Anything stronger (such as ID/IA without opt-out, or mandatory licensing without opt-out) is more than welcome, if an institution can successfully reach consensus and compliance — but no institution (or funder) has yet managed that, hence holding out for an over-strong mandate leads to the adoption of no mandate at all.

The most common mandates are DD/DA, with and without embargo caps, but those are all weaker than ID/OA, and hence should be upgraded to at least ID/DA, whether with or without an embargo cap.

Licensing mandates are rarer, but as they have opt-outs, they too are weaker than ID/OA. Again, however, they can easily be upgraded to add ID/OA (without opt-out) alongside the “mandatory” licensing (with opt-out), and then they are fine.

So the reason we can all be relaxed and satisfied with ID/OA is that it is the default baseline for all OA mandates. Where a stronger one can be agreed, it should of course be adopted. And it makes no sense to arbitrarily adopt a still weaker mandate — DD/DA or author-licensing with opt-out — since upgrading either of those to ID/OA is free of objections, either in institutional copyright worries or in author worries about journal choice. But on no account should no mandate at all be adopted, in favor of an unending quest for a mandate stronger than ID/OA: Adopt ID/OA now, and then try to agree on a stronger upgrade thereafter.

(Note that I did not list a universal conversion to Gold OA publishing on the part of publishers as being among the mandate options, because, on the one hand, institutions and funders can only impose mandates on their own employees and fundees; not on publishers. And, on the other hand, continuing to sit around trying to persuade publishers to convert to Gold OA of their own accord is likely to extend our waiting time even closer to the time of the heat death of the universe than continuing to sit around trying to reach agreement on stronger mandates, instead of just going ahead and adopting ID/OA right now.)

Q: “How do you know that the university servers/websites in which Elsevier allow authors will be OAI compliant?”

Because just about all Institutional Repositories today are OAI-compliant! OAI-interoperability was part of the rationale for the institutional repository movement — a movement that was itself set in motion by the OA movement (in 2000) but has alas since moved off in other directions of its own (often vague and aimless ones, not carefully thought through in advance).

Q: “Why do you think Elsevier has adopted a Green policy on self-archiving?”

I cannot second-guess the motivation. Elsevier is a commercial company. Unlike (some) Learned Society and University publishers, its primary allegiance is not to science but to the bottom line.

My guess is that Elsevier realized that OA is inevitable, and unstoppable. So they have settled on just trying to slow it down, if possible. At first, I think Elsevier’s Green policy on author self-archiving was based on three calculations: (1) that a Green policy on author self-archiving might quiet the growing clamour for OA, perhaps even (2) reducing the widespread hostility against Elsevier for their aggressive pricing policies, while (3) not many individual authors would be likely to actually go ahead and self-archive. If this was indeed Elsevier’s reasoning, then they were right on all three counts.

But what Elsevier did not reckon on was the emergence and growth of the movement for institutional and funder self-archiving mandates. (While it was adopting a Green Policy on author self-archiving, in order to satisfy the author demand for OA, Elsevier was also lobbying — vigorously, but in the end unsuccessfully — against Green OA self-archiving mandates. (Elsevier, along with the American Chemical Society [the non-Green publisher giving Learned Societies such a bad name] had been among the prime supporters of the notorious “prism”/pitbull anti-OA coalition that backfired so badly when exposed in Nature.] So I am quite ready to forgive and forget Elsevier’s failed attempt to lobby against Green OA self-archiving mandates; their Green policy on author self-archiving (though it too was not necessary for Green OA to prevail in the end) has nevertheless been more helpful than the lobbying has been harmful, and historians will make due note of that.

Finally, before anyone asks (again), my own view of the way things will go in the future for publishing (about which I no longer speculate publicly, because speculation and counterspeculation on this question has been for far too long yet another distraction from practical action toward providing immediate Green OA) is described herehere, and here. Speculations aside, all empirical evidence to date has been that conventional subscription-based publishing and Green OA self-archiving can co-exist peacefully, even in fields where Green OA self-archiving has already reached 100% years ago.
button

American Scientist Open Access Forum

Weak and Strong OA Mandates: Don’t Let the Best Be the Enemy of the Good



SUMMARY: The reason the much stronger author licensing mandate has a far higher consensus/compliance hurdle to surmount is that it raises the problem of authors’ free choice of journals and author risk of journal non-acceptance.
    In contrast, the weaker author deposit mandate (ID/OA) faces only author inertia about doing the few extra keystrokes required. Author surveys and outcome studies on actual practice show that the vast majority of authors will comply with a deposit mandate, willingly.
    Hence it makes no sense at all to delay still further the certainty of immediately providing at least 63% OA + 37% almost-OA (by mandating immediate-deposit), to keep on waiting instead for a much stronger mandate (mandatory author licensing) for which achieving consensus on adoption is far more difficult and author willingness is far less certain. There can be (and are) stronger deposit mandates than ID/OA, but ID/OA is the default option, the mandate for which consensus on adoption is most easily achieved because — unlike the stronger mandates — it effectively moots all copyright concerns.
    If success can be achieved on adopting a stronger mandate, then by all means adopt the stronger mandate (such as Immediate-Deposit/Immediate-OA, or Immediate-Deposit plus a 6-month cap on embargoes, or Immediate-Deposit [without Opt-Out]
plus Author Licensing with Opt-Out).
    But on no account delay the adoption of the weaker, certain mandate that is already within immediate reach, in order to hold out for a stronger, uncertain mandate that is not! It is fine to prefer to have a stronger benefit rather than a weaker one if both are within reach and you have a choice; but it is certainly not fine to fail to grasp a weaker benefit that is already fully within reach in order to hold out for a stronger but much less certain benefit that is not yet within reach. They are not mutually exclusive: Weaker will lead to Stronger.


On 2-Dec-08, at 7:08 AM, Leo Waaijers [LW] wrote (in SPARC-OAForum):

LW: “this is about a comparison between a ?mandate to self-archive? and the usage of a ?licence to publish?.”

For comparability, it needs to be a comparison between a ‘mandate to self-archive’ and a ‘mandate to successfully adopt a license to publish’. Neither self-archiving nor licensing is being done spontaneously by authors, hence we are talking about mandates in both cases, and the question is (1) for which mandate is it more likely that consensus on adoption will be achieved at all, and (2) what is the likelihood of compliance, if mandated? 

Moreover, both questions have to be considered separately for (i) funder mandates and for (ii) institutional mandates, as funders and institutions have different prerogatives. 

(Institutional consortia on mandates are yet another category, though at a time when consensus on adopting even individual institutional mandates is still hard to achieve, reaching successful consortial consensus on mandates is all the more difficult; the analogy with consortial consensus on subscription licensing is, I think, highly misleading: Subscription licensing consortia are based on strong shared interests on the part of institutional libraries, and no countervailing interests on the part of institutional authors; author licensing mandates, in contrast, involve the problem of authors’ free choice of journals and author risk of journal nonacceptance.) 

Hence the reason an author licensing mandate has a much higher consensus/compliance hurdle to surmount is that it raises the problem of authors’ free choice of journals and author risk of journal nonacceptance, whereas author deposit mandates face only the inertia about doing the few extra author keystrokes required — and both surveys and outcome studies on actual practice show that most authors will comply with a deposit mandate, willingly.

LW: “Both tools only apply to the domain of toll-gated publishing where they try to improve the accessibility of publications. It is the copyright owner who decides about the conditions of access and reuse and the toll-gated domain is characterized by many access limitations and conditions that only may be lifted after payment. However, there is an important legal exception to that model; the fair use clause states that these access limitations do not apply for a personal copy.”

Digital documents that are made freely accessible on the web can be accessed, read on-screen, downloaded, stored, printed-off, and data-crunched by any individual user. (They can also be harvested by harvesters like google.) That is the use that access-denied researchers urgently need most today, and that is all the use that (“Gratis”) OA need provide today. (Moreover, the best chance of eventually fulfilling the stronger demands of “Libre” OA, and even an eventual transition to universal Gold OA publishing, is first to mandate and provide universal Green Gratis OA.)

LW: “In the self-archiving approach the author assigns the full copyrights to a publisher and subsequently utilises the fair use clause to facilitate access to the publication. The licence to publish leaves the copyrights with the author, gives the publisher the right of first publishing and adopts an embargo period for other publishing modes.”

This is incorrect, I am afraid. In the self-archiving approach, the author makes the article freely accessible online, and the rest comes with the territory. As I said, this is done with the official blessing of the journal for 63% of journals, providing full OA for all those articles. For the remaining 37%, the author has the option of intially depositing them in Closed Access rather than Open Access (but depositing them immediately in nonetheless) and letting users rely on the “email eprint request” button during any publisher embargo. This is “Almost OA” — and once immediate-deposit mandates are universally adopted, the resultant universal deposit itself will — over and above immediately providing 63% OA + 37% almost-OA — soon usher in 100% OA as a matter of natural course. All along, the only real hurdle has been keystrokes; hence all we really need to surmount that hurdle is universal keystroke mandates.

It makes no sense at all to keep delaying still further the certainty of immediately providing 63% OA + 37% almost-OA (by mandating immediate-deposit) — in order to keep trying instead for a much stronger mandate (mandatory author licensing) on which a consensus for adoption is much harder to achieve (because of the problem of authors’ free choice of journals and author risk of journal nonacceptance) and author compliance much more uncertain — just because of the interim possibility of 37% almost-OA owing to publisher embargoes with an immediate-deposit mandate. Indeed, even the successful universal adoption of a “licence to publish [that] leaves the copyrights with the author, gives the publisher the right of first publishing and adopts an embargo period for other publishing modes” would leave users worse off during the embargo than universal ID/OA.

Providing 63% OA + 37% almost-OA immediately is already fully within reach and long overdue. We should not delay grasping it for one minute longer, in quest of something stronger yet not now within rich and far less certain.

The Immediate-Deposit/Optional Access (ID/OA) Mandate: Rationale and Model

Note that there can be — and are — stronger self-archiving mandates than ID/OA, but that ID/OA is the default option, the mandate for which consensus on adoption is most easily achieved and all legal concerns are completely mooted. If success can be achieved on adopting a stronger mandate — such as Immediate-Deposit/Immediate-OA, or Immediate-Deposit plus a 6-month cap on embargoes, or Immediate-Deposit [without Opt-Out] plus Author Licensing with Opt-Out — then by all means adopt the stronger mandate. But on no account delay the adoption of the weaker, certain mandate that is already within immediate reach, in order to hold out for a stronger, uncertain mandate that is not!

LW: “For a fair comparison of the two tools, let?s assume that in both cases an institutional mandate applies.”

I am afraid that that is not at all a realistic comparison, because it simply assumes (a) that the probability of success in achieving consensus on adopting the mandate in the first place is equally probable for both mandates, the weaker and the stronger one, and that (b) compliance is equally probable in both cases, weaker and stronger. Neither of these assumptions is correct because of the problem of authors’ free choice of journals and author risk of journal nonacceptance. Neither handicap is shared by the weakest, easiest and surest ID/OA mandate, which is only about keystrokes, and already fully within all institutions’ immediate rich.

LW: “When it comes to mandating self-archiving, the only party involved is the author. That makes such a mandate relatively easy of course. But it also has a high price. Open Access remains to the publisher?s discretion.”

The weakest mandate is always relatively the “easiest” (to agree on, adopt, and comply with) but it is also infinitely preferable to no mandate at all, with continued delay and debate, instead, about stronger mandates. Let the weaker mandates be adopted universally, now, and then let’s debate about strengthening them!

What the ID/OA guarantees, immediately, is 63% OA + 37% almost-OA. Every day we keep delaying and speculating about stronger mandates, less certain of consensus and compliance, we are simply losing yet another day of 63% OA + 37% almost-OA, needlessly, after already having allowed years and years of needless delay, and needlessly lost research access, progress and impact.

LW: “Currently that?s a complete mess. Publishers? policies vary widely when it comes to permitting access to different versions (pre-print, post-print, pdf) for different uses (author?s web site, institutional window, educational usage, commercial usage) after different embargo periods. In the meantime for personal copies an end user may use the request button in the same way as she uses the SFX button of her library. (Why not combine the two buttons?). Under the circumstances the request button is a smart invention. Kudos for you!”

    (1) The variation in publisher policy is completely described and covered by 63% OA + 37% almost-OA for OA’s target content: the peer-reviewed postprint. (For the preprint, the figure is even higher; and the publisher’s proprietary PDF is completely irrelevant.)

    (2) The SFX button is largely for licensed (i.e., toll-gated) content for institution-internal users. The “email eprint request” (“Almost-OA”) Button, in contrast, is for all IR-deposited content, worldwide, for any user. There is a world of difference there (and again, the institutional-library subscription-licensing perspective is profoundly misleading, just as it is with the analogy of multi-institution subscription-licensing consortia.)

Nevertheless, yes, it would be fine to add to SFX all links to Closed Access IR deposits and their “email eprint request” buttons (if Ex Libris is interested). The objective, after all, is to interlink all citations. But to make the exercise worthwhile, we must first mandate deposit…

LW: “When an institution considers mandating the usage of the licence to publish they should involve the publishers as well. It would be unfair just to issue such a mandate and leave the authors to the mercy of the publishers.”

    (a) Institutions’ employees, and funders’ fundees can be mandated, but publishers cannot: They are not within employers’ and funders remits.

    (b) A big funding agency like NIH might be in a position to summon publishers to the table, and to apply their clout for the research they fund, but individual universities certainly cannot.

    (c) Institutional library consortia have clout on subscription licensing agreements, but author licensing is another matter, and involves another party: authors.

    (d) Meanwhile, authors would indeed be left “to the mercy of their publishers”  (because of the problem of authors’ free choice of journals and author risk of journal nonacceptance) if individual institutions adopted the stronger author licensing mandates without prior successful consortial negotiations.

    (e) So let’s go ahead and adopt the weaker ID/OA mandate that is already within universal reach, at no risk to the author; and let’s pursue stronger mandates thereafter, rather than needlessly continuing to delay OA still longer, this late in the day, in order to keep holding out for a possible future stronger-mandate.

LW: “It?s my guess that negotiations with publishers may not be prospectless. A common interest, not only for authors and their institutions but also for (some) publishers is to raise their social and academic profile and clear the operational situation. In order to have a stronger position institutions should combine their efforts in (national) consortiums. By the way, I allready know of several occasions where a publisher (including Elsevier and even Wiley) has published articles without the copyrights being transferred to them.” 

    (i) It is not at all evident that the interests in and benefits from OA to authors, institutions and funders are matched by corresponding interests and benefits to publishers!

    (ii) Yes, by all means, if such consortial negotiations are “not prospectless,” pursue them: But not at the price of failing to grasp what is already immediately within reach, which is individual institutional (and funder) Green OA self-archiving mandates.

    (iii) (The occasional individual exception to copyright transfer that has been accommodated for decades by publishers is not the same as a blanket acceptance of universal copyright retention.)

LW: “To conclude. Indeed, in the toll gated domain I prefer mandating the usage of the licence to publish over mandating of self-archiving. The first option involves a higher commitment of the institutions which makes it tougher of course. But the operational result is much clearer and better sustainable.”

It is fine to prefer to have a stronger benefit rather than a weaker one if both are within reach and you have a choice; but it is certainly not fine to fail to grasp a weaker benefit that is already fully within reach in order to keep holding out for a stronger but much less certain benefit that is not yet within reach — especially when they are not mutually exclusive: Weaker will lead to Stronger.

Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum