Re: ALPSP Response to RCUK Policy Proposal

From: Sally Morris \(ALPSP\) <"Sally>
Date: Mon, 4 Jul 2005 14:53:11 EDT

There's a major misunderstanding here about the 'value-added version'.
Publishers don't just add value by editing, formatting, linking etc - they
also play a key role in supporting and funding the peer review process
(even though they don't either carry out the PR or - usually - pay the
referees). They also add huge value - to both authors and readers - by
associating an article with the 'brand' of a particular journal
(especially if it is a prestigious one). If all this is to be given away
via repositories, who'd subscribe?

Few publishers, I would guess, are any longer confident that the added
value on their own site would be enough to keep journals (and the peer
review, editing and related processes that they support) viable in the
face of free competition from even 'good enough' versions, let alone final
postprints, elsewhere; the 'evidence' to the contrary does not persuade
many publishers! It beats me how people can argue on the one hand that
repositories are necessary to solve libraries' financial problems, and on
the other that they will not lead to increased subscription/licence
cancellations and thus, ultimately, to the collapse of journals. As
comparable usage statistics become increasingly available, publishers must
all be worrying about whether availability from alternative sources will
so depress usage our own sites as to lead librarians to conclude that
subscriptions are no longer necessary - I'd be fascinated to hear from any
publishers who are already seeing this effect (the evidence I've been
given so far was in confidence)

Incidentally, the NIH embargoes are slightly more complex than Stevan
suggests - authors are encouraged to deposit papers immediately on
acceptance; the embargo relates to the date when they are made publicly
available; I chose my words with care! Wellcome on the other hand is, as
I understand it, talking about the date of deposit.


Sally Morris, Chief Executive
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1903 871 686
Fax: +44 (0)1903 871 457

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stevan Harnad" <>
To: "SPARC Open Access Forum" <>
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2005 6:48 PM
Subject: ALPSP Response to RCUK Policy Proposal

> > ALPSP encourages the widest possible dissemination of research
> > outputs; indeed, this furthers the mission of most learned societies
> > to advance and disseminate their subject and to advance public
> > education. We understand the benefits to research of maximum access
> > to prior work...
> An excellent beginning!
> > ALPSP recognises that maximising access must be done in ways which
> > do not undermine the viability either of the peer-reviewed journals
> > in which the research is published
> No one would disagree with this either.
> > Understandably, therefore, [publishers] may not wish their
> > "value-added" version to be made freely available in repositories
> > immediately on publication.
> Quite understandable, and self-archiving is accordingly *not* about
> the publisher's value-added version -- not the copy-editing, not the
> XML markup, not the publisher's PDF -- but only about the own author's
> preprint (unrefereed draft) and postprint (corrected final draft). That
> is what is to be made freely available in repositories.
> > Even if the freely available version lacks some or all of the value
> > added by the publisher, it may be treated as an adequate substitute
> > by uninformed readers
> The freely avialable version is intended for the use of those potential
> researcher/users worldwide whose institutions cannot afford access
> to the publisher's value-added version. It is accordingly a more than
> adequate substitute for informed users who do not have acccess to any
> other version!
> > (and, indeed, by cash-strapped libraries). And any new model
> > which has the potential to "siphon off" a significant percentage
> > of otherwise paying customers will, understandably, undermine the
> > financial viability of all these value-adding activities.
> Surely the financial viability of the values-added is determined by their
> market value. As long as the added values have a market value, they remain
> viable. All evidence to date is that the self-archived free versions
> co-exist peacefully with the publishers' value-added versions, serving as
> supplements for those who cannot afford access to the value-added version
> rather than substitutes for those who can:
> "[W]e asked the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute of
> Physics Publishing Ltd (IOPP) what their experiences have been over
> the 14 years that arXiv has been in existence. How many subscriptions
> have been lost as a result of arXiv? Both societies said they could
> not identify any losses of subscriptions for this reason and that
> they do not view arXiv as a threat to their business (rather the
> opposite -- in fact the APS helped establish an arXiv mirror
> site at the Brookhaven National Laboratory)."
> Swan, A. and Brown, S. (2005) Open access self-archiving: An author
> study.
> JISC Technical Report, Key Perspectives Inc
> > The National Institutes of Health in the USA has attempted to address
> > this concern by delaying, for up to 12 months after publication,
> > the point at which deposited material becomes freely accessible. The
> > 12-month period was arrived at after considerable discussion with
> > society and other publishers; it goes some way to addressing their
> > fears about the impact on subscription and licence sales. Even
> > the Wellcome Foundation, which has not consulted with publishers,
> > recognises the need for a 6-month embargo.
> NIH and Wellcome embargoes concern the date of deposit in a central
> NIH/Wellcome Archive, PubMed Central (PMC), in which the metadata and
> perhaps
> also the full-text will appear in an enhanced ("value-added') form added
> by PMC.
> The RCUK mandate concerns the self-archiving of the author's own preprints
> and postprints by the author in the author's one institutional repository,
> for the sake of maximising *immediate* research progress and impact.
> Research impact and progress are certainly not maximised by imposing 6-
> or 12-month embargoes! The value-added publisher's version can wait,
> but research itself certainly cannot, and should not.
> > Although in some areas of physics, journals have so far coexisted
> > with the ArXiv subject repository, some of our members in other
> > disciplines already have first-hand evidence that immediate free
> > access can cause significant damage to sales.
> It would be helpful to see precisely what this "other" evidence is, and
> precisely what it is evidence *of*. As physics and computer science are
> the fields that have self-archived the most and the longest, and all of
> their evidence is for peaceful co-existence between the author's drafts
> and the publisher's value-added version, it would be very interesting
> to see what evidence, if any, exists to the contrary. But please do make
> sure that the putative evidence does address the issue:
> How much (if at all) does author self-archiving reduce subscriptions?
> The evidence has to be specific to author self-archiving, anarchically,
> article by article. It cannot be based on experiments in which journals
> systematically make all of their own value-added contents free for all
> online, for that is not the proposition that is being tested, nor the
> policy being recommended by RCUK!
> > We therefore recommend that the Research Councils should respect
> > the wish of some publishers to impose an embargo of up to a year
> > (or, in exceptional cases, even longer) before self-archived papers
> > should be made publicly accessible.
> RCUK should require *immediate* self-archiving of the author's own
> postprint drafts (and strongly encourage preprint self-archiving too)
> for the sake of immediate research usage, progress and impact. Access
> to the publisher's value-added version can be embargoed for as long as
> the publisher judges necessary.
> > It should be stressed that any restrictions are intended simply to
> > ensure the continuing viability of the journals. which allow authors
> > (under either copyright model) all the rights which our research
> > indicates they require, including self-archiving;
> The message is clear: Authors can and should self-archive their own
> drafts ("inadequate" though these may be), immediately, for the sake
> of research progress. The publisher's value-added version can be subject
> to whatever restrictions publishers see fit to impose.
> > It seems to us both inappropriate and unnecessarily wasteful of
> > resources to create permanent archives of versions other than the
> > definitive published versions of articles.
> It is not at all clear why publishers should be concerned with what
> authors elect do with their own "inadequate" versions, in the interests
> of research. Publishers' concern should surely be with their own
> definitive, value-added versions, not whatever else the research community
> elects to do to maximize research progress and impact.
> > [A] significant proportion (41%) of existing Open Access journals do
> > not, in fact, cover their costs
> It is not clear why the topic has been changed here to Open Access
> Journals: What the RCUK is requiring is self-archiving; it is not
> requiring publication in Open Access Journals.
> > while ALPSP supports the principles which underlie the RCUK policy,
> > we believe that existing publishing arrangements go a long way towards
> > meeting the first three principles, and that publishers' concerns
> > about the potential negative impact of self-archiving must be
> > addressed.
> Existing publishing arrangements go a long way, but the RCUK policy goes
> the rest of the way, for the sake of all the potential researcher/users
> worldwide whose institutions cannot afford the publisher's value-added
> version, despite the existing publishing arrangements.
> It is in order to put an end to the needless and costly loss of that
> potential positive impact on research that the RCUK self-archiving
> mandate has been formulated.
> Stevan Harnad
Received on Mon Jul 04 2005 - 19:53:11 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:47:56 GMT