Re: Green Party Green on Gold but not on Green

From: (wrong string) édon <>
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 20:45:38 +0100

    [The following posting from Jean-Claude Guedon was not received,
    so I am fowarding it to the list. I shall not be responding to any
    more of Jean-Claude's messages as they have become too ad hominem
    and intemperate. -- Stevan Harnad]

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 13:55:15 -0400
From: Jean-Claude Guédon <>
To: Stevan Harnad <>
Subject: [Fwd: Re: Green Party Green on Gold but not on Green]


Why has this message not yet been acknowledged in any way by your list
while my other message from about noon is already distributed?


-------- Message transféré --------
De: Jean-Claude Guédon <>
Répondre à:
Objet: Re: Green Party Green on Gold but not on Green
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 08:02:01 -0400

Response below:
> On Sun, 11 Sep 2005, Jean-Claude Guédon wrote:
> > J-CG: the OA movement has not paid enough attention to the social sciences
> > and the humanities and... [P]ublishing in those fields is not exactly
> > the same as in science.... the social science citation index in SSH has
> > never acquired the importance that it has in STM. Monographs remain the
> > prestige unit of publication. By and large, journal prices in SSH are
> > much cheaper than in STM
> (1) Our data show that social sciences gain as much of a citation impact advantage
> as other disciplines. (For the humanities, stay tuned. There are some signs that
> the category "Literature" may be anomalous.)

And history, and philosophy, and vast sections of sociology,
communications, etc. etc. Not anomalous; simply different. SH does not
understand SSH publishing very well.

> (2) I don't know if citation impact is less important in SSH, but with OA it will
> no doubt become more important (everywhere).

How does SH know that? Another bit of speculation?
> (3) Where monographs prevail, nolo contendere.

It just happens to be the most prestigious form of publishing in many
SSH disciplines. But SH does not understand SSH publishing. Neither does
he understand the effect of various nation science policies on STM
> (4) If SSH journals are cheaper, it still does not follow that all
> would-be users can afford access. The OA citation advantage in sociology
> seems to confirm this.

True, but that is not what I was driving at. I mentioned SSH journal
prices only to say that if they had not risen as fast as ATM, it was
because publishers had not found ways to make them as necessary as some
STM journals: publishing fields in SSH are far more fragmented (into
> > > SH: Jean-Claude is... completely misunderstanding the purpose of the
> > > self-archiving mandate...
> >
> > J-CG: Where do I misunderstand?
> Here:
> > > J-CG: "mandating" [would be] essential [if]... IR's were filling
> > > pretty fast on the simple basis that the impact advantages
> > > are convincing... scientists... to self-archive
> > > spontaneously. We all know this is not happening..."
> It is exactly the opposite: Mandating is essential precisely because
> the impact advantages are not convincing enough scientists to self-archive.

You misquote me, which is dishonest. The exact quotation my text is:

> > This would be true if:
> >
> > 1. The IR's were filling pretty fast on the simple basis
> > that the impact advantages are convincing a strong
> > minority of scientists or even a majority to
> > self-archive spontaneously. We all know this is not
> > happening: we have only a minority of somesignificance
> > which seems to be located at about the 15% level if we
> > simply use the figures Stevan generally quotes.
Now, of course, if you took the time to read carefully...

> > JC-G: How do you know [that subsidised] journals are few? Where is
> > your evidence?
> I think the evidential shoe is on the other foot.

I propose X based on some intriguing anecdotal evidence and I point the
need for further research. SH dismisses it out of hand, without any
evidence to the contrary, as irrelevant or marginal. I say: how do you
know? SH says "I" know it is irrelevant and it is you who must prove it
is not...

This is silly.
> > JC-G: I also believe that a large volume of marginal science falls in
> > this category and I suspect Stevan thinks that this latter category fills
> > the whole section of subsidized journals. If that were the case, then
> > governments would have a problem: despite selection or competitive
> > processes, they would subsidise only the inferior and the marginal
> > publications? This seems hardly credible.
> I am afraid I cannot follow any of this reasoning.

Let me try differently. I bring up the possibility of a whole set of
journals that appear to have been largely neglected. SH, without any
foundation for this assertion, says: it must be inferior science. I
respond that some is undoubtedly second rate or peripheral; but some is
not. Many governments subsidize journals through a competitive procedure
(e.g. Canada) that stresses quality (but on a national basis).

SH claims not to understand.
> > J-CG: On the other hand, governments are not going to subsidise journals
> > on the unique criterion of excellence anywhere in the world. I cannot see
> > Canada subsidising an Elsevier journal merely because it stands at the top
> > of its specialty. Governments mix the quest for excellence with national
> > limits. They also add other considerations such as the need to distribute,
> > equilibrate, etc. The result is a system of subsidies that aims at
> > national excellence while paying attention to other local parameters.
> Nor can I follow any of this. The only relevant questions seem to be (1) what
> proportion of journals are subsidised by a funder in a position to mandate that
> they become OA journals? and secondarily, (2) where do these subsidised journals
> rank in the quality hierarchy? Unanswered questions.

I did not initially raise the issue of the quality of these journals. SH
did to dismiss it. He also wants quantitative proportions. I agree and
this refers to the need for further research.

In Canada,more than half of all scholarly journals published in the
country are subsidized. I am receiving figures from Chile that tend to
indicate even higher proportions (stay tuned).

> (2) Publishers are worried that self-archiving may pose a risk
> to their revenues and are trying to delay or deter self-archiving
> mandates on the grounds of this perceived risk.
> There is no evidence supporting this publisher perception and this needs to
> be made clear. This too is a very minor problem (compared to the problem of
> inducing authors to self-archive).

The point is not whether the publishers' perception is supported by
evidence or not; the point is that publishers harbour this perception.
And based on it, they push back through lobbying and other means. I
suspect further that presenting "evidence" - the best we have is
physics, carefully summarized in a recent posting by Alma Swan - would
not allay their fears to any great extent. So they will continue
fighting back. Hence, they are not a minor part of the equation.
> The major problem is inducing authors to self-archive, in their own
> interests, and the interests of their funders and institutions. And the
> solution to that major problem is obvious: Their funders and institutions
> need to require their researchers to self-archive.

And I agree with that.
> > And I wonder why you argue so much with the likes of me. How about the
> > publishers' lobby once again?
> Because you write papers like this:
> Guédon, Jean-Claude (2005) The "Green" and "Gold" Roads to Open
> Access: The Case for Mixing and Matching Serials Review 30(4) 2004

That papers essentially said: SH's position is basically correct but
insufficient and incomplete. That is all.
> And I have done my share of critiquing of publishers' attempts to delay
> or deter the RCUK mandate (and have even, to my regret, defended the
> NIH policy).

???? I am afraid I cannot follow this line of reasoning.
> > For starters, the 10% that is not green is directly in conflict with OA.
> Vide supra.

???????. We all know how unrealistic your preprint + corrigenda solution
is. The best proof is that IR's did not fill up after SH suggested it.
> > J-CG: (I am thinking about Springer's Open Choice in this regard).
> Springer is green.

Springer may be Green, but Springer also knows that, for the the moment,
accepting to be Green is an empty, symbolic gesture (15% at best).
Meanwhile, they are refining an alternative solution: open choice. Open
Choice plus vigorous push back against any attempt to mandate, and
things will be even nicer than before: no need to deal with those pesky
librarians any more...
> > J-CG: The recent row between The Lancet and Elsevier, although it deals with
> > issues that have nothing to do with this particular discussion,
> > nonetheless serves to demonstrate how divergent the values of commercial
> > publishers and scientific editors can be.
> >
> > So, does it make sense to choose to behave as if publishers were not
> > part of the problem?
> Yes.

Ah! You admit it is "as if..." And do you think this hypothesis is
tactically sound?

I don't.

> Stevan Harnad
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> Posting on other topic thread; to save space, not posted separately:
> To: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> From: Subbiah Arunachalam <>
> Subject: Re: Leading academics back UK Research Councils on self-archiving
> Alma's reply to Sally Morris (on the impact of arXiv on physics
> publishers) is very clear. No polemics. Just facts and reasoned
> arguments. I like such postings.
> Arun
Dr. Jean-Claude Guédon
Dept. of Comparative Literature
University of Montreal
PO Box 6128, Downtown Branch
Montreal, QC H3C 3J7
Received on Tue Sep 13 2005 - 21:15:24 BST

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