Richard Poynder Interviews Ian Gibson About 2004 UK Select Committee Green OA Mandate Recommendation

Another brilliant (and timely) OA whodunnit by Richard Poynder!

Yet the plot thickens, with the mystery of the outcome of the 2004 UK Select Committee deliberations still not altogether dispelled.

Ian Gibson is clearly brilliant, and his heart is clearly in the right place. But although his 2004 Gibson Committee Report clearly had (and continues to have) enormous (positive) ramifications for OA worldwide, Ian himself just as clearly does not fully grasp those ramifications!

Journal and Author Selectivity. Ian still thinks that OA is about somehow weaning authors from their preferred highly selective journals (such as Nature), even though the cost-free Green OA that his own Report recommended mandating does not require authors to give up their preferred journals, thereby mooting this issue (and even though the ominous new prospect of double-paying publishers for hybrid Gold OA out of shrinking research funds favoured by the Finch Committee Report does not require authors to give up their preferred journals either).

Research access, assessment and affordability are being conflated here. Green OA does not solve the affordability problem directly, but it sure makes it much less of a life/death matter (since everyone has Green access, whether or not they can afford subscription access). And of course that in turn makes subscription cancelations, publisher cost-cutting, downsizing and conversion to Gold much more likely — while also releasing the institutional subscription cancelation windfall savings to pay the much lower post-Green Gold OA cost many times over. This leaves journals’ peer-review standards and selectivity up to the peers — and journal choice up to the authors — where both belong.

Giving up authors’ preferred journals in favour of pure Gold OA journals was what (I think) BMC’s Vitek Tracz and Jan Velterop had been lobbying for at the time (and that is not what the Gibson Report ended up recommending)!

Emily Commander. So I think if you really want to get to the heart of the mystery of how the Gibson Report crystallized into the epochal recommendation for all UK universities and funders to mandate Green OA you will have to dig deeper, Richard, and interview its author, Emily Commander, who — as Ian indicates — was the one who crafted the text out of the cacophony of conflicting testimonials.

Don’t ask Emily about the bulk of the report, which is largely just ballast, but about how she arrived at its revolutionary core recommendation (highlighted in boldface below). That’s what this is all about…



Select Committee on Science and Technology
Tenth Report
(2004)

Summary
[boldface added]

Academic libraries are struggling to purchase subscriptions to all the journal titles needed by their users. This is due both to the high and increasing journal prices imposed by commercial publishers and the inadequacy of library budgets to meet the demands placed upon them by a system supporting an ever increasing volume of research. Whilst there are a number of measures that can be taken by publishers, libraries and academics to improve the provision of scientific publications, a Government strategy is urgently needed.

This Report recommends that all UK higher education institutions establish institutional repositories on which their published output can be stored and from which it can be read, free of charge, online. It also recommends that Research Councils and other Government funders mandate their funded researchers to deposit a copy of all of their articles in this way. The Government will need to appoint a central body to oversee the implementation of the repositories; to help with networking; and to ensure compliance with the technical standards needed to provide maximum functionality. Set-up and running costs are relatively low, making institutional repositories a cost-effective way of improving access to scientific publications.

Institutional repositories will help to improve access to journals but a more radical solution may be required in the long term. Early indications suggest that the author-pays publishing model could be viable. We remain unconvinced by many of the arguments mounted against it. Nonetheless, this Report concludes that further experimentation is necessary, particularly to establish the impact that a change of publishing models would have on learned societies and in respect of the “free rider” problem. In order to encourage such experimentation the Report recommends that the Research Councils each establish a fund to which their funded researchers can apply should they wish to pay to publish. The UK Government has failed to respond to issues surrounding scientific publications in a coherent manner and we are not convinced that it would be ready to deal with any changes to the publishing process. The Report recommends that Government formulate a strategy for future action as a matter of urgency.

The preservation of digital material is an expensive process that poses a significant technical challenge. This Report recommends that the British Library receives sufficient funding to enable it to carry out this work. It also recommends that work on new regulations for the legal deposit of non-print publications begins immediately. Failure to take these steps would result in a substantial breach in the intellectual record of the UK.

The market for scientific publications is international. The UK cannot act alone. For this reason we recommended that the UK Government act as a proponent for change on the international stage and lead by example. This will ultimately benefit researchers across the globe.

Latest Article Alert from Reproductive Health

The latest articles from Reproductive Health, published between 27-Sep-2012 and 27-Oct-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.

Research
Changing trends on the place of delivery: why do Nepali women give birth at home?
Shrestha 


OPUSeJ Project

OPUSeJ (Open-access Peer-reviewed Universal Scholarly electronic Journal) at www.opusej.org. is a new site, still in an incubation state, which is our answer to “Set the default to OPEN ACCESS”. OPUSeJ is an academic article sharing site designed to handle all scholarly articles. Any article, by any author, on any subject, in any language, in any format could be submitted for peer-review to be published for free online access by all. Any article (or a pre-reviewed version of the article) that has already been published after peer-review, in any journal, could be registered at OPUSeJ as a Forum article. This is a site in which the author acts as a moderator for open comments and can post addendum, erratum and citations forward.

OPUSeJ is strictly electronic, run by volunteers and is peer-produced, so costs are low. Author registration fees would be nominal and are currently not being charged. All are welcome to view the site and consider contributing a new manuscript or registering an already published article. For more info read the editorial, Scholars without Borders at http://www.opusej.org/2012/07/12/editorial-scholars-without-boarders/.

Sincerely,

Donato Pezzutto

Editor OPUSeJ 

Why CC-BY will sometimes be a violation of research ethics: weight loss ad on bus example

This example is meant to illustrate one of the reasons why I recommend AGAINST CC-BY as a default for open access. CC-BY is the Creative Commons – Attribution Only license, giving blanket permission, in advance, for anyone to re-use a work, including making derivatives, as long as the work is attributed. From the user’s perspective, this is great! However, it is important to note that CC-BY opens up possibilities that are both positive and negative. I am focusing on the negative, because so many of my colleagues in the open access movement appear to focus exclusively on the positive. Here is one illustration of why CC-BY is not always a good idea.

Picture a research subject in an obesity study, who agrees to allow the researcher to use their picture in a published research article. The researcher, following traditional protocols for working with research subjects, will probably have said something about the publication. However, it is at present very unlikely that the researcher has told the subject that they plan to publish with a CC-BY license, which means that their picture will be available for anyone, anywhere, to use for commercial purposes, including making derivatives. A weight loss company could take this picture and use it in an advertisement on the side of a bus, a use of a CC-BY licensed work that is arguably quite appropriate. If this kind of consequence of publishing with CC-BY (very different from traditional academic publishing) is not explained to the subject in the process of requesting permission to publish the picture, then the researcher does not have informed consent, and will be in violation of research ethics protocol if the picture is published CC-BY.

In a case like this, there are legal as well as moral issues to consider. A research subject in this position might well want to sue someone – that someone could be the researcher, the university, the journal, and/or a research funder if the policy of the latter was the reason for publishing CC-BY.

This could happen without CC-BY. However, CC-BY makes this more likely – a commercial entity might well gather CC-BY licenses to create a database of images to sell (Springer Images already does this). A CC-BY-NC and/or ND license (NC = noncommercial, ND = no derivatives) would signal to a potential user of the image that a usage like this would be appropriate, and would protect the researcher, university, etc. from legal risk by making a lawsuit less likely (with CC-BY-NC and/or ND, the fault is clearly that of the weight loss company, so they are more likely to be sued), and gives a strong argument in the case that a lawsuit does proceed.

The BOAI 10 recommendation of CC-BY is one of the reasons that I cannot support BOAI 10 as a whole. This is not a small disagreement about priorities or preferences, but rather one element of BOAI 10 that I regard as a serious error to be avoided.

Updated October 27 correcting typos and some minor proofreading.

This post is part of the Creative Commons and Open Access critique series.

Worth a Thousand Words

How many arrows are depicted in the photo above? How many can you find? One? Five?

The answer is 118.

In research published last week, researchers digitally compiled 118 different lithic points from the Patagonia region of South America. All samples date back to the Late Holocene period and — the researchers posit — were made using other arrows, spears, and points. The study examined the design of these points and aimed to determine whether they can be seen as working in a modular system comprised of the blade (e.g., the arrow) and the stem (e.g., the arrow shaft).

The image above is Figure 1 in the manuscript. And as you can see, the researchers labeled twenty-four parts, or “landmarks”, of the composite image. These points or landmarks helped in measuring the image’s shape, angles, and proportions.

To learn more about this image and read the full text of the study, click here.

Citation: González-José R, Charlin J (2012) Relative Importance of Modularity and Other Morphological Attributes on Different Types of Lithic Point Weapons: Assessing Functional Variations. PLoS ONE 7(10): e48009. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048009

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modular_design

ALWAYS MORE Splendid Stuff: postcards, football, Muppets frm Digital Repository at U Maryland

To celebrate Open Access Week 2012 Oct. 21-28 DuraSpace will post a new “For Your Repository Viewing Pleasure” each day (and beyond) to highlight the “splendid stuff in YOUR repository”.

The University of Maryland Libraries, a DuraSpace Silver Sponsor and long-time user of Fedora and DSpace, are continuing to add to digitize and add valuable collection material to their repository daily.

DRUM (Digital Repository at the University of Maryland) <http://drum.lib.umd.edu>, currently holds close to 13,000 digital objects, including all of the theses and dissertations produced by students at the University of Maryland since 2003.

Digital Collections <http://digital.lib.umd.edu> is home to the University’s digitized special collections, and includes a rich array of content, appealing to students, alumni, and scholars. 

Even when it’s not football season, take some time to view one of the over 700 University of Maryland football films dating from 1946-1989, recently digitized and made freely available via the University AlbUM digital collection <http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1773>.  Or, if planning a road trip this summer, pick a state and browse the National Trust Library Historic Postcard Collection’s over-4,000 historic postcards for attraction ideas <http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/3711>. In the past year, we have digitized several hundred manuscripts to assist in research relating to the history of the Civil War and slavery in Maryland  <http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1716>. Into espionage? Digital Collections is also an excellent place to read other people’s diaries, whether you’re interested in heartfelt confessions from a young Maryland widow in 1859 <http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/2613> or  a war diary detailing aspects of the attack on Pearl Harbor <http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/5910>.

If tempted to visit campus, the University of Maryland Libraries’ Digital Collections contain a number of resources that are restricted to campus use due to licensing restrictions.  The collections include over 70 digital videos documenting the work of Jim Henson <http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/419>, over 800 digital educational films <http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/420>;, and a growing collection of digitized Japanese children’s books from the post-WWII years, 1946-1949 <http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/3301>.

The University of Maryland Libraries have been actively adding content to their Fedora repository since 2007, and will continue to do so.  The treasures located there are used for fun, for research, and for educational purposes, and we hope, for reasons that we have not even imagined.

Thanks to Jennie Levine Knies, Manager, Digital Stewardship, McKeldin Library, University of Maryland, for submitting this information.

Please continue to send descriptions of the “Splendid Stuff” that can be found in YOUR Open Access repository. DuraSpace will highlight availability throughout year. Please contact Carol Minton Morris cmmorris@duraspace.org for more information.

Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Effectiveness

We have now tested the Finch Committee‘s Hypothesis that Green Open Access Mandates are ineffective in generating deposits in institutional repositories. With data from ROARMAP on institutional Green OA mandates and data from ROAR on institutional repositories, we show that deposit number and rate is significantly correlated with mandate strength (classified as 1-12): The stronger the mandate, the more the deposits. The strongest mandates generate deposit rates of 70%+ within 2 years of adoption, compared to the un-mandated deposit rate of 20%. The effect is already detectable at the national level, where the UK, which has the largest proportion of Green OA mandates, has a national OA rate of 35%, compared to the global baseline of 25%. The conclusion is that, contrary to the Finch Hypothesis, Green Open Access Mandates do have a major effect, and the stronger the mandate, the stronger the effect (the Liege ID/OA mandate, linked to research performance evaluation, being the strongest mandate model). RCUK (as well as all universities, research institutions and research funders worldwide) would be well advised to adopt the strongest Green OA mandates and to integrate institutional and funder mandates.

Gargouri, Yassine, Lariviere, Vincent, Gingras, Yves, Brody, Tim, Carr, Les and Harnad, Stevan (2012) Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Effectiveness Open Access Week 2012

Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Ineffectiveness

We have now tested the Finch Committee‘s Hypothesis that Green Open Access Mandates are ineffective in generating deposits in institutional repositories. With data from ROARMAP on institutional Green OA mandates and data from ROAR on institutional repositories, we show that deposit number and rate is significantly correlated with mandate strength (classified as 1-12): The stronger the mandate, the more the deposits. The strongest mandates generate deposit rates of 70%+ within 2 years of adoption, compared to the un-mandated deposit rate of 20%. The effect is already detectable at the national level, where the UK, which has the largest proportion of Green OA mandates, has a national OA rate of 35%, compared to the global baseline of 25%. The conclusion is that, contrary to the Finch Hypothesis, Green Open Access Mandates do have a major effect, and the stronger the mandate, the stronger the effect (the Liege ID/OA mandate, linked to research performance evaluation, being the strongest mandate model). RCUK (as well as all universities, research institutions and research funders worldwide) would be well advised to adopt the strongest Green OA mandates and to integrate institutional and funder mandates.

Gargouri Y, Lariviere V, Gingras Y, Brody T, Carr L & Harnad S (2012) Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Ineffectiveness Open Access Week 2012