Latest Article Alert from Reproductive Health

The latest articles from Reproductive Health, published between 04-May-2012 and 26-Jul-2012

For articles which have only just been published, you will see a ‘provisional PDF’ corresponding to the accepted manuscript.
A fully formatted PDF and full text (HTML) version will be made available soon.

Determinants for refusal of HIV testing among women attending for antenatal care in

Hybrid Gold OA and the Cheshire Cat’s Grin

Suppose you’re a subscription journal. Hybrid Gold Open Access (OA) means you just keep selling subscriptions and — on top of that — you can charge (whatever you like) as an extra fee for selling single-article hybrid gold.

How much do you charge? Well, if you publish 100 articles per year and your total annual revenue is £XXX, you charge 1% of £XXX for hybrid Gold OA per article.

Once you’ve got that (plus your unaltered subscription revenue of £XXX) you’ve earned £XXX + 1% for that year.

Good business.

And if the UK publishes 6% of the world’s articles yearly, then on average 6% of the articles in any journal will be fee-based hybrid Gold OA, thanks to Finch and RCUK. That means worldwide publisher revenue — let’s say it’s £XXX per year — will increase from £XXX per year to:

£XXX + 6% per year
Not bad.

Publishers are not too dense to do the above arithmetic. They’ve already done it. That is what hybrid Gold is predicated upon. And that is why publishers are so pleased with Finch/RCUK: “The world purports to want OA. Fine. We’re ready to sell it to them — on top of what we’re selling them already.”

In the UK, Finch and RCUK have obligingly eliminated hybrid Gold OA’s only real competition (Green OA) — Finch by ignoring it completely, and RCUK by forcing fundees to pay for Gold rather than provide Green whenever the publisher has the sense to offer Gold.

Of course publishers will say (and sometimes even mean it) that they are not really trying to inflate their income even further. As the uptake of hybrid Gold increases, they will proportionately lower the cost of subscriptions — until subscriptions are gone and all that’s left, like the Cheshire Cat’s grin, is Gold OA revenue (now no longer hybrid but “pure”) — and at the same bloated levels as today’s subscriptions.

So what? The goal was always OA, not Green OA or Gold OA. Who cares if all that money is being wasted?

I don’t.

I care about all the time (and with it all that OA usage and impact and research progress) that has been wasted, and that will continue to be wasted, as the joint thrall of Gold Fever and Rights Rapture keep the research community from mandating the cost-free Green OA that would bring them 100% OA globally in next to no time, and leave them instead chasing along the CC-BYways after gold dust year upon year, at unaffordable, unnecessary and unscaleable extra cost.

§ § § §

Let’s hope that RCUK will have the sense and integrity to recognize its mistake, once the unintended negative consequences are pointed out, and will promptly correct it. The policy can still be corrected completely with two simple patches.

RCUK should:

(1) Drop the implication that if a journal offers Green and Gold, RCUK fundees must pick Gold


(2) Downgrade to a request the requirement that the Green option must be within the allowable embargo interval.

(The deposit of the refereed final draft would still have to be done immediately upon publication, but the repository?s ?email-eprint-request? Button could be used to tide over user needs by providing ?Almost-OA? during the embargo.)

There is no way to resurrect the current RCUK policy in such a way as to rule out hybrid Gold: to do that, the policy would have to be re-conceived and re-written completely. If that were done, all of the fatal bugs of the present draft would be gone:

?You must provide at least gratis OA within the allowable embargo. This can be done either by paying for pure Gold OA (not hybrid) ? but then the OA must be libre and unembargoed (and the paper should be deposited in the fundee’s repository anyway). Or you can provide Gratis Green OA to the refereed final draft within the allowable embargo (but the deposit itself must be done immediately upon acceptance for publication).?

That would be a fine policy, especially if beefed up with a link to submission to HEFCE [Higher Education Funding Council for England] for RE.

Stevan Harnad

Come to the Food and Energy Security Launch Event!

T shirtWe would like to invite you to attend the Food and Energy Security launch event. This will take place at the Plant Biology Congress 2012 in Freiburg. Come to the Wiley stand No.14 from 4pm on 2nd August and meet the Editors. Editor-in-Chief Martin Parry will be there, accompanied by Associate Editors Bill Davies and Ricardo Azevedo to meet authors and reviewers and discuss this new journal. We would love to see you there and answer your questions. Free refreshments  and T-shirts!

Food and Energy Security is the new Wiley Open Access journal published in Association with the AAB (Association of Applied Biologists). It is an international high quality and high impact journal publishing original research on agricultural crop and forest productivity to improve food and energy security.

You can read our first issue here >
And submit your paper to the journal here >

Latest Article Alert from Breast Cancer Research

The latest articles from Breast Cancer Research, published between 11-Jul-2012 and 25-Jul-2012

For research articles that have only just been published you will see a ‘provisional PDF’ corresponding to the accepted manuscript. Fully formatted PDF and full-text (HTML) versions will be made available soon.

Do not jump too quickly to conclusions
Kopans DB
Breast Cancer Research 2012, 14:

What is a species?

Drosophila syntheticaHow do we determine whether two animals are of the same species?  It is not enough to judge based on similar appearance: Chihuahuas and Dalmatians look vastly different but we consider these to be the same species (in case you’re wondering the crossbreed is a “Chimatian”).  So where does the boundary fall?  In his book, Systematics and the Origin of Species (1942), famed evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr proposed the definitive criteria that are still used today: “groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations, which are reproductively isolated from other such groups”.

An article published today with PLOS ONE describes the first reported creation of a synthetic species, a fruit fly that has been christened Drosophila synthetica. Author Eduardo Moreno of the University of Bern describes a combination of commonly used lab variants that result in a fly that is capable of producing fertile offspring with others that are genetically the same, but not with its wild-type predecessor, Drosophila melanogasterD. synthetica has smaller, paler eyes compared to D. melanogaster,  and its wings also differ. But is synthetica a different species from melanogaster?

The key may be in the phrase: “a group of … interbreeding natural populations”.  Lions can famously interbreed with tigers, to produce ligers.  There is at least one documented case of a liger that was coaxed into breeding with a lion to produce a rather unhealthy off-spring that grew to adulthood.  The reproductive barrier is not complete, but lions and tigers are still considered separate species.  The issue?  Ligers do not exist in the wild because their habitats do not overlap.  The potential for lions and tigers to interbreed has only been demonstrated in captivity.  Moreno acknowledges that D. synthetica may not meet the Mayr definition, and specifically refers to it as a synthetic species, to distinguish it from a natural species.  He cites two reasons for this: “not only because it has been created in the lab but also because it may never be able to survive outside that laboratory environment.”  Regardless, it seems he will challenge our notions of what it means to be your own species.

Citation: Moreno E (2012) Design and Construction of “Synthetic Species”. PLoS ONE 7(7): e39054. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039054

Read Food and Energy Security’s First Issue!

Food and Energy Security CoverFood and Energy Security has published its first issue. From a retrospective of two decades in plant biotechnology to the identification of a serine carboxypeptidase in Arabidopsis, this brings together some of the top papers on important issues of global food security. We are actively seeking submissions from countries with expanding agricultural research communities and encourage you to put your science into practice by submitting your next paper. Below are some highlights from this issue:

purple_lock_open Economists are not dismal, the world is not a Petri dish and other reasons for optimism by Richard Tiffin
Abstract: One of the recurrent themes in the debate around how to ensure global food security concerns the capacity of the planet to support its growing population. Neo-Malthusian thinking suggests that we are in a situation in which further expansion of the population cannot be supported and that the population checks, with their dismal consequences envisaged by Malthus, will lead to a new era of stagnant incomes and population. More sophisticated attempts at exploring the link between population and income are less gloomy however. They see population growth as an integral component of the economic growth which is necessary to ensure that the poorest achieve food security. An undue focus on the difficulties of meeting the demands of the increasing population risks damaging this growth. Instead, attention should be focused on ensuring that the conditions to ensure that economic growth accompanies population growth are in place.

purple_lock_open Water use indicators at farm scale: methodology and case study by Annette Prochnow, Katrin Drastig, Hilde Klauss and Werner Berg
Abstract: Three indicators to assess water use at the farm scale are introduced: farm water productivity, degree of water utilization and specific inflow of technical water. They can assist farmers in understanding the water flows on their farms and in optimizing water use by adapting agronomic measures and farm management. Factors that mainly effect these indicators and general approaches to optimize water use in farms are discussed as well as the further research required.

Food and Energy Security is published in association with the Association of Applied Biologists (AAB). It combines Wiley’s publishing expertise with the AAB’s long established reputation for world class research.

To find out when new articles and issues are published sign up for e-toc alerts >

A Serious Potential Bug in the RCUK Open Access Mandate

       David A. Arnold wrote: “Stevan – you are wrong about RCUK madating green OA. It does not. The new RCUK policy only requires green OA if the journal does not offer gold OA. Since the vast majority of journals now offer a gold route, the green option is essentially redundant. Here is the wording:
       The Research Councils will continue to support a mixed approach to Open Access. The Research Councils will recognise a journal as being compliant with their policy on Open Access if:

       1. The journal provides via its own website immediate and unrestricted access to the publisher?s final version of the paper (the Version of Record), and allows immediate deposit of the Version of Record in other repositories without restriction on re-use. This may involve payment of an ?Article Processing Charge? (APC) to the publisher. The CC-BY license should be used in this case.


       2. Where a publisher does not offer option 1 above, the journal must allow deposit of Accepted Manuscripts that include all changes resulting from peer review (but not necessarily incorporating the publisher?s formatting) in other repositories, without restrictions on non-commercial re-use and within a defined period.

Here is my response to David. But as you will see, although I am doing my level best to disagree with him, in the end, it turns out he was basically right:

David, I think you are wrong that “the vast majority of journals offer a gold route”.

I also think that you are misconstruing the RCUK “mixed” approach (and the semantics of “inclusive disjunction,” i.e., “either A or B or both”).

I think RCUK fundees can comply with the RCUK mandate by depositing a peer-reviewed draft in their OA institutional repository — either the publishers version, by paying for Gold OA, or the author’s final draft (possibly after an allowable embargo interval), i.e., Green OA.

My understanding is that the constraint on journal policy is intended to be on the journal (i.e., that the journal must either offer Gold OA or endorse Green OA within the allowable embargo interval) not on the author.

The idea is that journals should know in advance that an RCUK-funded author is under a prior contractual obligation, as a condition of funding, to publish only in a journal that either offers Gold OA or (allowably embargoed) Green OA.

I don’t think the mandate is that if a journal offers both Gold and Green, then the author is obliged to pay for Gold instead of providing Green cost-free. (If it were, that would be extremely foolish and wasteful.)

However, I do think that there is a bug in the RCUK mandate that should on no account be imitated by other funders (and that should be corrected by RCUK):

(1) It is a big mistake to insist that an RCUK author must pay for Gold if his journal of choice is a hybrid Gold journal that offers Gold but does not endorse Green within the allowable embargo interval:

PATCH: Better to allow embargoed deposit and reliance on the repository’s automated “email-eprint-request” Button to provide “Almost OA” during the embargo via one click from the user to request an individual copy for research purposes, and one click form the author to comply.

(2) Much more important than (1) is the distinct possibility that RCUK’s mixed either/or policy provides an incentive to publishers — even the publishers of the 60% of journals that already endorse immediate, un-embargoed Green OA today — to change their policy so as to offer a high-priced hybrid Gold OA option, coupled with an infinitely long Green OA embargo, in order to ensure that the RCUK author must pay for hybrid Gold OA. This would be a terrible, unintended consequence of the RCUK policy, and a huge blow to OA and Green OA worldwide.

I cannot say whether the RCUK policy will have this terrible unintended consequence. All I can do is urge RCUK to patch it up — and the rest of the world to ignore it.

The best solution would be the PATCH. If the RCUK is not patched, then I predict a tremendous (and justified) researcher revolt against the policy, with the result that the policy will not be complied with, and will have to be revised after a few lost fallow years of failure.

Other funders and institutions should learn a lesson from this: There is a trade-off between embargo-tolerance and OA-cost: If you don’t want to induce journals to charge — and oblige authors to pay — needless and bloated hybrid Gold OA fees, don’t try to constrain journal choice too radically: mandate immediate deposit (whether Gold or Green), specify an allowable Green OA embargo length (preferably no more than 6 months), but don’t forbid authors to publish in journals whose embargo exceeds the specified length. Rely on the Button (and human nature) rather than forcing authors into gratuitous expenses, constrained journal choices, or non-compliance with the mandate.

Embargoes will die their well-deserved death as a natural matter of course, under the growing pressure of Green OA mandates, but not if a nonviable, unscalable mandate model is adopted.

Stevan Harnad

New Account Deal for Imperial College London

Imperial College LondonImperial College London is the latest organization to sign up for a Wiley Open Access Account and pay for its researchers to publish an open access article with Wiley.  Authors affiliated with Imperial College London can publish research articles in Wiley Open Access journals and/or OnlineOpen, without directly paying any publication charges.  When Authors submit to a Wiley Open Access journal or opt for OnlineOpen they need to state their affiliation to Imperial and their authorisation code.

Imperial joins a number of funders who have opened a Wiley Open Access Account since this was launched earlier this year. Browse our listing to see the institutions / funders who have an account or partnership with Wiley Open Access.

Imperial authors can go here for more information and to check eligibility and apply for funding>

Latest Article Alert from Harm Reduction Journal

The latest articles from Harm Reduction Journal, published between 10-Jul-2012 and 24-Jul-2012

For articles which have only just been published, you will see a ‘provisional PDF’ corresponding to the accepted manuscript.
A fully formatted PDF and full text (HTML) version will be made available soon.

Canada’s highest court unchains injection drug users; Implications for harm reduction

Latest Article Alert from BMC Public Health

The latest articles from BMC Public Health, published between 17-Jul-2012 and 24-Jul-2012

For articles which have only just been published, you will see a ‘provisional PDF’ corresponding to the accepted manuscript.
A fully formatted PDF and full text (HTML) version will be made available soon.

Country ownership and capacity building: the next buzzwords in health systems strengthening or