Deposit Mandates vs. Permission Mandates

In “Open Access – if you build it (for them) they will come?,” Jan R. writes:

Robert Darnton[‘s]… “The Case for Open Access” makes the useful point that Universities will probably be much more effective in building their IRs if they mandate permission (i.e. require faculty to secure and then give the university non-exclusive permission to host their works on the institutional repository) as opposed to mandating deposit (i.e. requiring faculty to do the work of stocking the repository.)

But what Professor Darnton actually wrote (in Feb 2008) was this:

Many repositories already exist in other universities, but they have failed to get a large proportion of faculty members to submit their articles. The deposit rate at the University of California is 14 percent, and it is much lower in most other places. By mandating copyright retention and by placing those rights in the hands of the institution running the repository, the motion will create the conditions for a high deposit rate.

In other words, Darnton was not comparing deposit mandates to permission mandates: he was comparing (actual) repositories without deposit mandates to (hypothetical) repositories with permission mandates (not yet in existence at the time, the world’s first being Harvard FAS‘s, adopted in that month).

There was then (and there still is now, two years later), no evidence at all that mandating permission would be more effective in generating Open Access than mandating deposit. Quite the opposite. Deposit mandates (of which there are more, and of longer standing than permission mandates) have been extremely effective, and that evidence was already there in 2008. In contrast, the effectiveness of permission mandates, which are more recent (beginning in 2008) and less numerous, is not yet known.

Moreover, permission mandates, because they in fact ask for more than just deposit, all have to allow an opt-out clause (for those authors who cannot or do not wish to negotiate permission with their publishers). Hence not only is the effectiveness of permission mandates not yet known: it is not even clear whether permission mandates are indeed mandates at all.

[MIT, the university with the planet’s first university-wide permission mandate, had 850 deposits in March 2010, one year after adoption. This needs to be considered as a percentage of MIT’s annual journal article output: the figure to beat is the current worldwide baseline 20% rate for spontaneous, unmandated deposit. Most deposit mandates are at about 60% within 2 years and well on the road toward 100%. — But I’ve also heard recently that Harvard’s longer-standing FAS policy has more promising compliance rates, which I hope will be reported publicly, by way of feedback and guidance on the effectiveness of the Harvard model.]

The bottom line is that deposit mandates are necessary for OA, whereas permission mandates are (desirable but) not necessary. The optimal solution is hence to mandate deposit, without opt-out, plus permission, with opt-out:

? “Upgrading Harvard’s Opt-Out Copyright Retention Mandate: Add a No-Opt-Out Deposit Clause

? “Which Green OA Mandate Is Optimal?

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

? “Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates: What? Where? When? Why? How?

? “How To Integrate University and Funder Open Access Mandates

? “On Not Putting The Gold OA-Payment Cart Before The Green OA-Provision Horse

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Informa (Taylor & Francis etc.): profits up, majority renewing at previous high rates

According to the Informa 2009 Annual Report, the Adjusted Operating Margin (profit) is up to 25.3% in 2009 from 2008’s 23.9%. From Highlights, Summaries, and Outlook: “the majority of subscriptions are renewing in line with previous high rates”. As Executive Director Peter Rigby puts it, “”During a period of sustained economic decline across the world, our Publishing assets have performed exceptionally well”. Publishing is now responsible for 72% of that 25.3% operating profit.

When the majority of customers worldwide are reeling from severe cutbacks from the global economic crisis, this is an excellent example of an inelastic market, not at all responsive to customers.

Canada’s 1st Institution-Wide Green OA Mandate; Planet’s 90th: Concordia University

[This is Canada’s 11th OA Mandate: 8 funder mandates and 2 departmental mandates, but it’s Canada’s first institution-wide one. Sweden’s Blekinge Institute of Technology has also just adopted an institution-wide OA mandate, its second, alongside a funder mandate: See ROARMAP.]


Concordia University Opens its Research Findings to the World; Senate Supports Free Internet Access to Faculty and Student Research

MONTREAL, April 22 (AScribe Newswire) — Concordia University’s academic community has passed a landmark Senate Resolution on Open Access that [requires] all of its faculty and students to make their peer-reviewed research and creative output freely accessible via the internet. Concordia is the first major university in Canada where faculty have given their overwhelming support to a concerted effort to make the full results of their research universally available.
      ”Concordians have, once again, found a way to share their innovative findings and creativity with communities the world over”, says Judith Woodsworth, President and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia. “As befits its role as host of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences next month, our university is now leading the way on this year’s Congress theme: Connected Understanding/le savoir branche.”
      Gerald Beasley, Concordia’s University Librarian, was instrumental in the campus-wide dialogue on open access that began more than a year ago. “I am delighted that Senate voted to support the recommendations of all four Faculty Councils and the Council of the School of Graduate Studies. There are only a handful of precedents in North America for the kind of leadership that Concordia faculty have demonstrated by their determination to make publicly-funded research available to all rather than just the minority able to afford the rapidly rising subscription costs of scholarly databases, books and journals.”
      This past year, Concordia launched Spectrum, an open access digital repository that continues to grow beyond its initial 6,000 dissertations submitted at Concordia, and at its predecessors Sir George Williams University and Loyola College. [In addition to requiring deposit of peer-reviewed journal articles, the] Senate Resolution encourages all of Concordia’s researchers to deposit their research and creative work in Spectrum.

Concordia University’s open access mandate

Congratulations to Concordia!!

Concordia University recently passed an open access mandate. As pointed out in the press released, this is great timing, as next month Concordia will host the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

[I will be at Congress this year – co-presenting with Brian Owen at the Canadian Association of Learned Journals AGM on the Open Access Journals Support in Canada research project, and at the Canadian Communication Association meeting, launching my book Scholarly Communication for Librarians and presenting on the Open Content Alliance and the Google Books Settlement].

This post is part of the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access movement series.