Re: Publishing Reform, University Self-Publishing and Open Access

From: guedon <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 10:24:59 -0500

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For some time now, Stevan harnad has been harping on the notion of
"publishing reform" vs. OA as if the two were absolutely distinct,
perhaps to the point of being mutually exclusive.

This approach leads to strange readings of texts. For example, when
Catherine Candee writes: "We found it so, so, so difficult to get
faculty even to test the EPrints software that we abandoned the idea of
providing a platform for faculty to individually publish [sic, emphasis
added] their own works.", Stevan Harnad pounces on the word "publish"
and adds emphasis; he then comments as follows: " The reason is implicit
in the words CC uses to describe it: The self-archiving of already
published postprints is not publishing at all, but merely OA-provision
-- except if the underlying goal is not OA, but self-publishing!"

The problem with Stevan Harnad's phraseology is that he uses the word
"publish" in a very constrained and artificial manner. Publishing means
"making public". My Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary does give the
meaning of "preparing and issuing for public sale" as a first meaning,
but we can all agree that Harnad's notion of publishing does not require
sales: so far as I know, he still considers peer-reviewed OA journals
(gold) as publishing in his sense. Moreover, even this meaning of
"publish" does not prevent further phases in publishing (for example
re-issuing for free). We can, therefore, move further down the list of
definitions. The rest of them address issues such as "making generally
known", "announcing formally", "communicating to a third party". All of
them, like the first one, make no reference to a step that has to be
unique, non-repeatable.

What Stevan harnad denies is that when one "publishes" an article in a
peer-reviewed journal, the "publishing" function is not thereby
completely exhausted. More publishing can add to the first, such as
self-archiving (or re-issuing in a different context, or with a
different medium, etc...). Declaring self-archiving "OA-provision" while
refusing the word "publish" begs the question, is idiosyncratic, and is
ultimately inaccurate. Providing OA beside the traditional means of
publishing is not of such an order as to be incommensurate with
publishing; it is simply another form of publishing added to a more
familiar form. OA-provision is publishing!

Why does Stevan Harnad insist so much on this artificial distinction?
IMHO, it is mainly for polemical reasons. From the very beginning, he
has staunchly defended the self-archiving route; in so doing, he has
been invaluable to the OA movement. However, in giving so much emphasis
to self-archiving, he has not always been so useful to the OA movement.
>From the beginning (i.e. BOAI), the OA movement has also incorporated
transforming traditional publications into OA publications. Calling this
publishing reform is correct. But then, it is just as unavoidable to
call self-archiving a publication reform as well. Obviously, adding a
new publication channel to existing channels cannot be neutral in terms
of publishing and one does not even have to look at possible
consequences: two channels of communication differ from one channel of
communication. Period.

By claiming that OA-provision (via self-archiving) is not a reform in
publishing, has nothing to do with publishing, it is a little difficult
to see what Stevan Harnad tries to achieve. If he hopes to reassure
publishers in this fashion, he will strike most of us as hopelessly
naive. If he believes that by mere, obstinate, reiteration, he can
create new realities, he is a victim of idealistic delusions: as a
cognitive scientist, he should know that it is easier for the brain to
adapt to reality than the reverse.

Jean-Claude Guédon

Le jeudi 19 janvier 2006 à 14:19 +0000, Stevan Harnad a écrit :
> SH: Here is a quick summary of points of agreement and disagreement with
> the University of California (UC) view of Open Access (OA) and
> Institutional Repositories (IRs) as described by Catherine Candee (CC in
> her interview by Richard Poynder (RP) in "Changing the paradigm":
> A version of this text with hyperlinks to the items cited is
> accessible in my Open Access Archivangelism Blog:
> (1) UC considers publication reform to be the goal, OA merely a means: I
> would consider OA to be the goal and publication reform merely a
> hypothetical possibility that might or might not follow from OA.
> (2) UC considers providing OA to postprints (i.e., final drafts of
> published journal articles) a lesser priority for IRs, I think they are
> the first priority.
> (3) UC moved away from Eprints and postprint self-archiving because of
> the extremely low level of spontaneous uptake by UC faculty, assuming it
> was because it was "too difficult." It is far more likely that the low
> uptake was because UC did not adopt an institutional self-archiving
> mandate. Those institutions that have done so have dramatically higher
> self-archiving rates.
> (4) UC instead outsourced self-archiving to an expensive service that,
> being a secondary publisher, needs to expend a lot of resources on
> following up rights problems for each published paper; the result so far
> is that UC's eScholarship IR is still not self-archiving more than the
> c. 15% worldwide self-archiving baseline for postprints.
> (5) The other reason UC moved away from Eprints and postprint archiving
> is because of its publishing reform goals, including university
> self-publishing (of journals and monographs). I think monographs are
> (for the time being) a separate matter, and should be handled separately
> from journal article OA, and that peer review needs to be implemented by
> a neutral 3rd party, not the author or the author's institution. The
> immediate priority is postprint OA.
> In summary, UC seems to be giving its own hypothetical conjectures on
> the future of scholarly publishing -- and its own aspirations for the
> hypothetical new publishing system -- priority over an immediate,
> pressing, and remediable practical problem: the needless, daily loss of
> 25% - 250% or more of the usage and impact of 85% of UC research output.
> Because researchers are relatively uninformed and uninvolved in all
> this, they do not have a clear sense of the implicit trade-off between
> (a) the actual daily, cumulative usage/impact loss for their own
> research output, with its tested and demonstrated remedy, and (b) the
> untested hypothetical possibilities with which the library community
> seems to be preoccupied.
> [Note: all hyperlinks have been added: they were not in the original RP
> interview]
> RP: Initially you built the eScholarship Repository with the EPrints
> software, which was developed at Southampton University in the UK?
> CC: Right. We started with Eprints, and the aim was to create what
> people now call an institutional repository -- a repository where faculty
> could put materials (text and images) that they wanted to disseminate,
> or actually publish.
> RP: You later switched to the bepress software. Why?
> CC: We found it so, so, so difficult to get faculty even to test the
> EPrints software that we abandoned the idea of providing a platform for
> faculty to individually publish [sic, emphasis added] their own works.
> SH: I think here is where the strategic error occurred. Not in switching
> softwares (since the software makes absolutely no difference) but in
> abandoning the goal of 100% OA for UC postprint output. The reason is
> implicit in the words CC uses to describe it: The self-archiving of
> already published postprints is not publishing at all, but merely
> OA-provision -- except if the underlying goal is not OA, but
> self-publishing!
> CC: Around the same time we serendipitously encountered the bepress
> software, and right away we could see that it would allow us to do
> something much more important. We could see that if we used the bepress
> software the repository could also support peer-reviewed publications.
> Consequently, by the time we launched we had switched to a different
> model, and we had adopted the bepress software.
> SH: Again, it is hypotheses about publishing reform and aspirations for
> UC self-publishing that motivated the change of "model." (Model for
> what, one wonders? OA is not a model. It just a means of making journal
> articles free for all online. It is publishing reform that involves
> models. Better if UC had done the tested, demonstrated part first, by
> adopting an institutional self-archiving policy, as at least four other
> universities have since done, successfully, and once the doable part was
> successfully done, moved on to the hypothetical part...)
> RP: How was the model different?
> CC: The bepress software allowed different units within the
> University of California to become the gatekeepers, with all the
> editorial and administrative ability resting with an academic
> department, an institute, or a research unit, rather than with
> individual faculty, or with the library.
> SH: There are two issue here: (1) Did the Eprints software allow
> departments or research units to be their own gate-keepers for
> self-archiving? Of course it did, either within one Eprints
> installation, or, optionally, across many, thanks to OAI
> interoperability. But much more important: (2) Is local gate-keeping the
> goal of UC researchers? Has the gate-keeping not already been done by
> the peer-reviewers for the journal in which it was published? It looks
> here as if, once again, the hypotheses about publishing reform and UC
> self-publishing are driving the agenda, not researchers' immediate needs
> (which are for maximizing research access, usage and impact, via OA).
> RP: So where EPrints software assumed that researchers would do the
> inputting of papers themselves, bepress software was more suited to
> third-parties depositing them?
> CC: That is one difference ? although, because the software is
> difficult to use, Eprints submissions are often managed centrally.
> SH: As this is not about defending the Eprints software in particular, I
> only note in passing that the difficulty was not the software but the
> fact that UC researchers were not required to self-archive, and hence
> didn't. In institutions where self-archiving is required, it is done,
> easily, by researchers themselves, not centrally. The central proxy
> self-archiving is a start-up strategy, used successfully by some
> institutions to set the practice firmly into motion; it is not a feature
> of the software:
> Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2005) Keystroke Economy: A Study of the Time
> and Effort Involved in Self-Archiving.
> CC: Additionally, the bepress software lent itself to the size of
> UC; and it allowed the University to decide exactly what it wanted to
> put in, and to brand everything in the way it wished.
> SH: All the free softwares are likewise configurable in exactly the same
> way.
> RP: You were also able to outsource the hosting of the eScholarship
> Repository to bepress?
> CC: Yes. It is hosted by bepress, but preserved here at CDL. What we
> are doing is harvesting citations. We then send them to faculty members
> saying that the listed works may be eligible for inclusion in the
> eScholarship repository. It is a way to alert them to the repository,
> and to the fact that they have content that could be placed in it.The
> message sent to faculty is clickable, and when they click on the link it
> brings them directly into the repository, where the citation data for
> the paper automatically fills out the repository metadata fields for
> them. This, by the way, is the one case where we allow authors to put
> their content in directly themselves. However, we also allow them to use
> a proxy -- so they can legally assign someone else to put their papers in
> for them. The aim is to make the process as easy as possible, because
> time is the biggest constraint when it comes to getting faculty to
> participate.
> SH: So far, this is all excellent practice, and an ingenious start-up
> strategy (though only if coupled with an institutional self-archiving
> requirement). But it is the next step that defeats it:
> RP: And you have contracted bepress to do rights clearance on the
> papers?
> CC: Right. After the papers are submitted we pay bepress to check
> the rights on them. That was a concession to the fact that bepress'
> business would be threatened if they got sued for allowing something
> illegal to be put into the repository. This part of the process is both
> onerous and expensive, and we hope we will not need to do it at some
> point in the future.
> SH: So because UC have gotten into a 3rd-party publisher situation, they
> face rights problems they would not face if it were all in-house UC
> self-archiving. They are also incurring great additional expense (at a
> time when institutions are being deterred from IRs and OA under the
> false impression that it is expensive). Worst of all, so far the result
> is still not more UC postprints becoming OA than the global 15% average:
> RP: I'm told you have acquired about 1,000 papers in this way...
> 1,000 postprints is a small drop in the ocean I guess. How many
> researchers are there within the UC system?
> CC: UC is the largest public research university I know of. It has
> ten campuses and around 16,000 faculty and researchers.
> RP: When you ask faculty for a postprint is it a request or a
> demand?
> CC: It is not a demand. Clearly, incentive is the single biggest
> issue for getting content in. Awareness is another issue, so we are just
> starting some market research to discover what percentage of UC faculty
> even know about the repository. I suspect it is less than half.
> SH: Perhaps a UC self-archiving requirement would be worth considering
> after all, since several international surveys have now reported that 70%
> - 95% of faculty say they would comply with a self-archiving
> requirement, and the 4 institutions that have adopted such a policy so
> far confirm that it works.
> Swan, A. and Brown, S. (2005) Open access self-archiving: An author
> study. Technical Report, External Collaborators, Key Perspectives Inc.
> RP: So you still have work to do in publicising the repository?
> CC: We do. While we are very excited that we have more than 200
> departments participating in the repository we have no idea what
> percentage of the faculty know about it; and we have no idea what
> percentage would participate if they did know -- because there is no
> overriding incentive for them to do so today. We need to understand the
> situation.
> SH: The missing element is the institutional requirement to deposit the
> final accepted, peer-reviewed draft (not the publisher's PDF) as an
> institutional record-keeping matter: a fulfilment condition for annual
> review, for research assessment, and for standard CV
> creation/submission.
> RP: As your experience shows, creating a repository is only half the
> task. You then have to fill it. For that reason there are growing calls
> for funders to mandate researchers to self-archive their papers. Do you
> think that that is the best way of filling institutional repositories?
> CC: Well, I wouldn't say that our purpose is simply to fill
> institutional repositories. We built an institutional repository as one
> way of providing an alternative to the current publishing system, and to
> give faculty something to do with that copyrighted material that we keep
> saying shouldn't be given away to publishers.
> SH: Filling an OA IR with the institution's annual research article
> output may not be the only possible goal for an IR, but it is surely the
> most important priority at this moment for researchers, who need not an
> alternative to the current publishing system but OA. Copyright retention
> is not an end in itself for researchers either: OA is. And with OA,
> copyright retention becomes moot.
> CC: It may turn out that institutional repositories aren't the way
> to go however. For that reason we are also interested in encouraging
> faculty to manage their copyrights differently, and to consider who they
> give their manuscripts to, and where they commit their editing and
> reviewing time. So our main focus is in accomplishing that, rather than
> filling repositories.
> SH: Why all this, when, in and of itself, that is not what faculty want
> and need? It would be fine if copyright retention were an essential
> means to an end that faculty do want and need, but it is not. OA is an
> end in itself, and it does not require copyright retention when 93% of
> journals have already given OA author self-archiving their green light:
> RP: Do you nevertheless anticipate that funders will eventually
> introduce mandates?
> CC: Actually we expect that universities will make some sort of a
> mandate before funding agencies do. In this regard there are a number of
> white papers floating around the University of California right now. We
> are waiting to see what happens to those.
> SH: But the UC proposal is for copyright retention, whereas what is
> needed is a self-archiving requirement. Copyright retention requires
> needless re-negotiation with the 93% of journals that have already
> endorsed OA self-archiving, and it puts 100% of authors at risk of an
> unsuccessful re-negotiation, instead of just requiring that 100% of them
> deposit, leaving the 7% to set access as restricted, pending
> negotiations, if they wish?
> RP: ...Given what you say about rights, I 'd be interested to hear
> more about the Scholarly Work Copyright Rights Policy white paper. This
> proposes that UC faculty "routinely grant to The Regents of the
> University of California a limited, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide,
> non-exclusive licence to place the faculty member's scholarly work in a
> non-commercial open-access online repository." Would this apply only to
> journal articles or all the works of faculty, including books?
> CC: Ultimately it is intended to apply to all works, but starting
> with journal articles.
> SH: Does it make sense to hold back (and weigh down) the sure research
> benefits of the self-archiving of published journal articles
> (postprints) for the much vaguer and more controversial case of books?
> RP: If it does go ahead would you envisage a postprint mandate
> following behind it?
> CC: Yes.
> SH: A postprint mandate should not come behind a copyright blanket
> retention mandate! That is like making a local emission-reduction plan's
> adoption contingent on getting all nations to agree to sign the Kyoto
> Accord!
> RP: And you would welcome that?
> CC: I would. While I don't find the postprint issue as interesting
> or exciting as trying to encourage new forms of communication, it is
> strategically important -- because it would allow us to put in place a
> production-level service capable of managing UC copyrighted material,
> which would better prepare us for the future.
> SH: Then why not adopt a postprint self-archiving mandate immediately,
> instead of waiting for agreement on the much more demanding and
> controversial copyright-retention policy?
> CC: ... eScholarship Editions are scholarly monographs encoded in
> XML. ...As you know, the corollary to the serials crisis is that
> libraries have less money to buy monographs, and so fewer monographs are
> being published. The fact is, however, that an awful lot of monographs
> could be published if the UC Press had more editorial bandwidth. So we
> have been experimenting with empowering UC Press editorials boards, or
> faculty editorial boards, to become, essentially, publishers. In this
> way we can extend the work of UC Press.
> SH: This is the UC self-publishing agenda, and it is fine, but why is it
> being coupled with the OA IR issue, and worse, why is it being allowed
> to hold it back? The (1) UC authors who publish their articles in
> established peer-reviewed journals may often be the same as the (2) UC
> authors of monographs, but their situations are very different. The
> article authors already have publishers (not UC!) and need only OA. The
> monograph authors may or may not have a publisher, which may or may not
> be UC, and they may or may not want OA. Why should the straightforward
> solution for (1) be constrained by the much less straightforward
> solution for (2)?
> RP: It's clear you have a very broad view of the role of an
> institutional repository. Advocates of self-archiving, by contrast,
> insist that an institutional repository should only ever be viewed as a
> postprint archive. What's your response to that view?
> CC: I think it is unfortunate that the term institutional repository
> has come to mean something narrower. As I say, the postprint component
> is the least interesting and ultimately the least important part of
> this. So while right now it is tactically extremely important to deposit
> postprints, ultimately I envision a very different arrangement between
> universities and publishers than we have now.
> SH: The reasoning here is unclear: Postprint OA is clearly the heart of
> the OA movement, and an end in itself (even if there are further ends
> thereafter). CC agrees that "right now it is tactically extremely
> important to deposit postprints." Yet UC is not doing what needs to be
> done to achieve that "narrower" immediate goal. It is instead aiming at
> the "wider" hypothetical one, and the result is that only 1000 of the
> "extremely important" postprints have been deposited in the UC IR to
> date, while white papers are being written about retention, publishing
> reform, and UC self-publishing plans. If the narrower postprint target is
> indeed an important prerequisite for the rest, then Ii>why not make a
> concerted effort to reach it first, and leave the more hypothetical
> phase for afterword? Or at least do it in parallel.
> RP: You believe universities should be in control of the publishing
> process, rather than managing papers that have been published by someone
> else?
> CC: That's right. Eventually I hope all the content will be hosted
> and managed by universities themselves, and the publishing services
> would be in the form of added value. So, for instance, a published
> article would refer back to the raw article in the repository.
> SH: This is all fine, but completely speculative. The course that will
> be taken by journal publishing and monograph publishing, published by
> universities or published by others, is right now a matter of pure
> speculation, whereas the course that is taken in access-provision to a
> university's own postprint output is a practical matter entirely in the
> hands of the university and its researchers. Why is immediate OA to
> postprints being held hostage to hypotheses about eventual publishing
> reform?
> RP: What worries self-archiving advocates about this is that if
> universities try to make institutional repositories too broad in
> functionality they could delay the transition to an open access
> environment; that we need to stay focused on the narrower view until OA
> is achieved. You are arguing that we need to plan for the longer-term
> future from day one are you?
> CC: I think so. Moreover, I don't see why a broader view would slow
> OA down. It is a matter of getting the right platform and getting things
> moving so that faculty can see that there are other things that can be
> done.
> SH: But we have a clear example of "why a broader view would slow OA
> down"! In 2001 UC adopted Eprints and waited to see whether its IR would
> fill spontaneously. It did not. So instead of adopting a self-archiving
> policy (as Southampton, QUT, Minho, and CERN have since done,
> successfully filling their archives -- Eprints, Eprints, Dspace, and
> CDSware, respectively), UC adopted another software -- and another
> agenda instead of OA: publishing reform, copyright retention, and
> university self-publishing.
> RP: I wonder if we might see increasing tension between researchers
> and librarians over the issue of institutional repositories? I ask
> because the primary aim of researchers is to achieve maximum impact for
> their research; librarians, by contrast, are looking to create large
> digital libraries or even, as in the case of UC, complete publishing
> systems. Could this threaten the historic relationship between
> librarians and researchers?
> CC: I can see such a tension theoretically: where resources were
> limited, for instance, the aim of building a digital library could seem
> to stand in the way of getting publishing out quickly. But ultimately I
> think you are presenting a false dichotomy.
> SH: The only tension is about lost time. UC, the world's biggest
> university system, 5 years down the line after establishing one of the
> first IRs, has 1000 postprints of UC published journal articles therein.
> Meanwhile, tiny Minho has 3297 items, QUT has 2194, Southampton 7745
> plus 9795 for its ECS department alone, and CERN, larger but nowhere
> near UC in size, has 75,000 items. Assuming (as at Southampton and CERN)
> that about 70% of these at least are postprints, it looks very much as
> if an institutional postprint self-archiving policy has served these
> other institutions well. Particularly instructive is CERN: Now that it
> is firmly on the road to 100% postprint OA for its own vast output, and
> only now, CERN is turning to the question of publishing reform. If all
> other universities and research institutions (including the biggest, UC)
> were to do likewise (in that order!), we would already be there (at 100%
> OA) and in a far better position to contemplate the hypothetical
> horizons of ensuing publication reform.
> Stevan Harnad
Received on Thu Jan 19 2006 - 15:42:19 GMT

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