Re: CIBER 2005: The foxes survey the chicken-coop

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2005 15:13:20 +0100

On Tue, 18 Oct 2005 Jan Velterop wrote:

> Thanks for analysing the survey. I hadn't read it yet and just seen
> a few slides in which it was mentioned. I only recommend looking at
> it. Not necessarily agreeing with its conclusion. You think that I should?

I haven't looked at the CIBER survey in great detail, but I would say
that the parts of its outcome that are relatively unbiassed by the way
the questions were put provide a diluted and somewhat dated confirmation
of the outcome of the far more neutral, focused and reliable JISC surveys.

    Swan, Alma and Brown, Sheridan (2004) Report of the JISC/OSI journal
    authors survey. pp 1-76.

    Swan, Alma and Brown, Sheridan (2005) Open Access Self-Archiving:
    An Author Study (Sponsored by JISC)

The parts of the CIBER survey outcome that diverge from the findings of
the JISC surveys are largely owing to the obvious bias. (And when certain
outcomes are still found to be uncongenial, they are hedged, for some
reason, in the interpretation sections, by cross-references to irrelevant
external documents that contradict the outcome of the CIBER survey!)

As an afterthought, I rather wish I had added to my own posting, after:

    "Nolo contendere. I prefer surveys that do not plant words or thoughts
    into the surveyee's mouths/minds..."

the following:

    "Better still, I prefer empirical evidence of actual effects to
    surveys of opinions about hypothetical effects."

I have added that to the Hypermail archived version.

Studies on what researchers actually do -- i.e., the objective data
on the number of papers published in OA journals or self-archived,
as well as studies on their actual effects, such as increased download
and citation counts -- rather than surveys of researchers' opinions,
are what is needed now.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Oct 18 2005 - 15:21:15 BST

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