Re: Pogo: We have seen the enemy, and he is us...

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 18:05:50 EDT

On Tue, 27 Jul 2004 wrote:

> Is it so clear that some couple thousand colleges and universities in the
> U.S. are all going to mandate self-archiving

Not all of them tonight, but, yes, most of them, and better sooner than

> *and* that most faculty will actually self-archive even if "required"
> to do so,

Not all faculty publish either, even if required to do so (publish or
perish)... Those who do publish, though, tend also to care about the
impact of their publications. So do their hiring/promotion/tenure

> despite the best of initial intentions as revealed in one or another
> survey?

The Swan & Brown (2004) survey found that the vast majority of authors
would self-archive *willingly* if required by their employers or research
funders to do so. Pessimists are of course free to doubt the survey's

    Swan, A. & Brown, S.N. (2004) JISC/OSI Journal Authors Survey

    Swan, A. & Brown, S.N. (2004) Authors and open access
    publishing. Learned Publishing 2004:17(3) 219-224.

> How are faculty going to be policed who do not self-archive, or don't
> want to?

The same way they are policed for publish-or-perish, and for impact.

> Faculties pride themselves on a degree autonomy from administrations.

And so they should; but there is less basis for pride about autonomy
from the impact of their research, and less still about autonomy
from the decisions of their hiring/promotion/tenure committees and

> Is it so clear too that the same measure of interest in self-archiving
> will be displayed across disciplines?

All disciplines publish articles in peer-reviewed journals. (All
other publications are moot for now, insofar as OA is concerned.) All
disciplines care about whether their research is read, used, and cited. In
all disciplines access is a necessary (though not a sufficient) condition
for impact. All disciplines have hiring/promotion/tenure committees
as well as research-funders, both of which care about research uptake,
usage, and impact.

> Or is it so clear that all the authors at institutions are going to
> self- archive voluntarily and consistently, if their universities do not
> enforce or require it?

On the contrary, it is clear that many will not, until self-archiving is
mandated, just as many would not publish if publishing were not mandated.

> Or that the U.S. government could, should or would make it mandatory for
> universities or colleges to self-archive research that is not government
> funded?

The US government can only mandate self-archiving for research that
is US government funded. But the effect of that mandate (and the felt
benefits of OA) can and will propagate beyond US-funded research. And
universities, too, can and will mandate self-archiving in order to
maximise their research impact and its benefits (research income,
overheads, prestige, prizes -- and even contributions to knowledge!).

> I do not dispute the desirability of self-archiving, but the solution
> will emerge when universities gradually divert their serials funds to
> very efficiently run journal operations that link to institutional
> repositories, not in imagining what modal logicians call "possible
> worlds" in which everyone acts reasonably.

The self-archiving of published journal articles has absolutely nothing
to do with serials funds or journal operations or fund diversions --
in this actual world or in any possible one worth imagining.

(This is a conflation of OA self-archiving -- the green road to OA --
with OA journal publishing -- the golden road to OA. They are completely

A little more reflection may help get the logic and causality involved
here straight for this commentatror.

That self-archiving is do-able, done, and, when done, successful, is
not a modal matter but an empirical and historical fact about that 10-20%
of the annual total of 2,500,000 articles that is already being

> That is a reason for developing repositories, not a faith in publisher
> largesse with respect to conferring a "right" to self-archive
> postprints, nor an assumption that the day will dawn when some very
> large number of authors and institutions self-archive.

I can't follow this. It sounds like the curious suggestion not to cross
the road even though the light is green.

> I have no illusions about the difficulties involved. But a gradualist
> approach in which universities develop or take over some lead journals
> and make this work may be worth a try.

This commentator is clearly fixated exclusively on OA journal publishing
(the golden road). Why he is recommending that blinkered view to others
(and what it has to do with the green road of OA self-archiving) I will
have to leave it to other readers to try to explain.

> These considerations in my mind reflect not prophesies of doom but an
> assessment of the practical realities involved.

The practical realities are reflected in the 10-20% self-archiving that is
already taking place. This does sound like a prophecy of doom, in the face
of data that directly contradict it.

> It is, incidentally, those realities that working librarians have to
> work with. We are left picking up the pieces when models don't prove
> sustainable, as recent history starkly confirms.

Self-archiving has next to nothing to do with librarians. The "self" in
question is the researcher, and librarians' past history and expertise is
not with giving away their own institutional researchers' output, but with
buying in the research output of other institutions.

I have no idea what unsustainable model this commentator thinks is
pertinent here.

> If we're going to create institutional repositories, it has to be for
> the right reason.

Right. And that reason is research impact:

    Harnad, S. & Brody, T. (2004) Comparing the Impact of Open Access
    (OA) vs. Non-OA Articles in the Same Journals, D-Lib Magazine 10
    (6) June

Stevan Harnad
Received on Thu Jul 29 2004 - 23:05:50 BST

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