Re: Question for publishers - Research Assessment Exercise 2008

From: C.Oppenheim <C.Oppenheim_at_LBORO.AC.UK>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 08:46:57 -0000

With respect, Stevan has got the legal situation wrong. It is not the
academics who are asked to provide copies of their articles to the RAE
panels - it is their employing Universities. So, saying it is just like
being asked by a colleague for a copy of one of your articles is incorrect.
It is the employer making multiple copies of multiple articles. It's also
not lending of the materials, because the RAE panels retain them, and don't
return them to the HEI at the end of the RAE. Claiming the academics are
lending the stuff to RAE panels does not stand up to serious scrutiny - a
check of the RAE documentation makes it clear this is not what it is

I'm sorry to be a pedantic old bore, but what the HEIs are doing for the RAE
panels is copyright infringement unless a licence has been agreed.

Re the pdf versus author version, the RAE panel are auditors. Just as a
financial auditor would require printed invoices, bank statements, etc., the
panel has to use the legally most robust version of the documentation it is
validating. HEFCE will be bending over backwards to ensure everything it
does is legally watertight. I'm afraid Word documents are much less likely
to be regarded as a legal document than a pdf. The fact that HEIs would be
foolish to use a doctored Word document is irrelevant to that point.


Professor Charles Oppenheim
Department of Information Science
Loughborough University
Leics LE11 3TU

Tel 01509-223065
Fax 01509-223053
e mail
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stevan Harnad" <>
To: <>
Cc: "American Scientist Open Access Forum"
Sent: Saturday, February 18, 2006 9:10 PM
Subject: Re: Question for publishers - Research Assessment Exercise 2008

> On Sat, 18 Feb 2006 wrote:
>> I regret to say that Stevan is incorrect in some of his comments. For
>> previous RAEs, there WERE licensing arrangements put in place to permit
>> p/copies of articles to be passed to RAE panels. he is probably unaware
>> of
>> this because no great publicity was associated with the arrangements that
>> were set up.
> There is no end to what people will do, if left to their own devices,
> safely out of reach of critical reflection. The only substantive question,
> though, is: What actually makes sense?
> (If more publicity had attended the low-profile RAE licensing
> arrangements last time, perhaps some voices of reason would have
> been raised earlier. As it stands, it seems to me that people in the
> self-regulating interstices of permissions departments are making ad
> hoc decisions about what does and does not need permission without any
> particular answerability to reason one way or the other!)
> Unless I am mistaken, the RAE consists of the following: Researchers all
> over the UK submit N (4? 8? 12?) copies of their four most important
> articles, to be counted (and sometimes confirmed, and sometimes even
> read and pondered) by a panel of RAE assessors.
> I (and many others the world over) receive, every year, several times,
> copies of the articles of candidates at other institutions who are
> being evaluated for employment, promotion, tenure, chairs, prizes,
> or funding. Does anyone imagine that a license has been or needs to be
> sought in order to send someone's own work out to be evaluated?
> Reductio ad absurdum: Suppose the photocopies, which the author makes for
> his
> own private use, are temporarily *lent* to another individual, with the
> request that they then be returned to their owner: Does that too call
> for "licensing arrangements"?
> Well then let the evaluation copies be considered a loan, and let that
> be the end of it. (If still in doubt, run the same thought experiment
> through with a lent book, instead of an article, or one's own photocopy
> of one's own book, lent.)
> Still not absurd enough? Well then return to what would have been the
> most sensible thing to do in the first place: Not to use originals or
> photocopies of the publisher's version at all, but simply the author's
> own final peer-reviewed final draft. Still think a license is needed
> for me to send my own work to be evaluated?
>> Licences are likewise needed this time around because the Universities do
>> not (in general) own the copyright in these items, so they are "dealing"
>> with someone else's (usually a publisher's) copyright material. Such
>> copying by Universities cannot be considered "fair dealing" as it is not
>> for one of the permitted purposes, and indeed is not permitted under any
>> other exception to copyright. So I am glad that PLS is arranging a
>> licence
>> so that institutions can pass copies of items to RAE panels without risk
>> of
>> copyright infringement.
> The solution to this rather absurd pseudo-problem ("How can I send
> my own writing to be evaluated by someone I would rather did not have
> to go out and buy a copy for himself?") is super-simple: Let it not be
> (nominally) the "universities" that do the submitting to the RAE; let it
> instead be (nominally) the authors themselves. "Here is my work: Please
> evaluate me." Let the authors either "lend" their own photocopies of
> their own published articles to the RAE assessors (with a postage stamp
> and request to return it once assessed), or, better still, let them lend
> their own final, corrected drafts, out of their own word-processors. (I
> had already pointed out that the fatal foolishness -- probably out of
> pointless pedantry if not paranoia -- was in RAE's insisting on the
> publisher's version rather than the author's final draft in the first
> place.)
> I am, of course, not proposing that these idiotic protective measures be
> taken; I am just trying to use them as an intuition pump, to wash off the
> nonsensical notion that "institutions" (whether the author's university
> or HEFCE) are here making "unfair use" of the publisher's property:
> It is the authors who are doing the using, of their own work,
> in their own interests. Anyone who insists on construing it in another
> way is simply giving HEFCE and the universities bad advice. (But,
> without publicity, bad advice risks being followed.)
>> In summary, I'm afraid the law does require licensing this time around,
>> as
>> it did for the previous RAEs.
> The Law requires licensing if we put this question to the Law in the
> form: "Can institutions make multiple photocopies of a published work
> to submit them to the RAE?" The Law comes up with another version
> if we ask": "Can individuals lend/send personal copies of their own
> work to be evaluated?"
> QED (or so it ought to be, but I expect there are more hermeneutic
> epicycles to be spun on this yet...)
>> My understanding is that the RAE panels want pdfs rather than author
>> postprints because they need the reassurance that the thing they are
>> reading is identical to that which was published. Since the RAE is an
>> auditing exercise in which the onus is on the integrity of what is being
>> submitted, HEFCE no doubt feel that the pdf offers the necessary
>> security.
> That is indeed the heart of the matter, and just a little common sense and
> reflection will reveal -- as I have pointed out many times before -- that
> the onus is *not* on HEFCE but on the *institutions*, to make sure that
> what they are submitting is kosher. If it is discovered that someone has
> submitted a plagiarised or altered work -- something that the electronic
> medium makes even easier to detect and expose than was possible in the
> paper medium, though there too, the risk and consequences of exposure
> were mighty -- then the ones that are named, shamed, blamed and punished
> are of course the institutions, and ultimately the researchers, not HEFCE!
> To show that this is pure pedantry and nothing more (except possibly
> paranoia), ask yourself whether it is really "safe" to trust the journal
> version? After all, peer review being the frail human exercise it is,
> the only ones who may (or may not) have ensured that the paper met
> all dietetic laws were the referees: Is the onus of the integrity of
> the RAE exercise to be entrusted to one or two fallible, corruptible
> referees? Surely RAE should re-do the peer review, and with more robust
> numbers, on whatever document the author submits!
> (If this seems to call into question the value of having the RAE
> assessor's re-do in any measure the assessment that has already been done
> by the peer reviewers, then I have succeeded in making myself understood!
> There is no need for most of the elaborate trappings of this auditing
> exercise: Insofar as published journal articles are concerned, it *is*
> just an auditing exercise. The RAE should not be asking for copies of
> the papers to read at all -- god knows how many of them they actually
> read anyway -- it should simply be counting: journal articles, citations,
> downloads, and other objective indicators. (Charles himself has published
> a good deal to show that a goodly proportion of the variance in the RAE
> rankings is already predictable from that objective audit trail.)
> Instead, we find ourselves in the absurd position of twisting
> ourselves into knots in order to have the "legal right" to submit for
> *re-assessment* (inexpert, and only on a spot-check basis), by an RAE
> panel, the publisher's proprietary page-images of a peer-reviewed
> article that has already been assessed (by purpose-picked, qualified
> experts -- within the vagaries of journals' quality standards, competence,
> and conscientiousness), when the outcome is already highly correlated
> with an objective audit we could have done without even needing to have
> the full-texts in hand, and, inasmuch as we may have felt impelled to
> give the full-texts a look, we might just as well have had the author's
> peer-reviewed, corrected final draft, without the further ceremony,
> suitably certified by the already frantic and compulsive RAE preparation
> committee in each department of each university, eager to maximise their
> ranks, minimise their risks, and be compliant in every conceivable and
> inconceivable way.
> As I said, this will all be seen to be hilarious in hindsight: Once we
> are all making our refereed final drafts routinely accessible online
> free for all in our institutional repositories, the thought that we were
> agitating ourselves over "licensing arrangements" for RAE assessment
> way back in 2006 will be seen to have just been one of those quaint
> paleolithic quirks, like the conviction that everyone needed a walking
> stick or a top hat in order to stay upright and avoid their death of a
> cold or sunstroke...
>> Having said all that, things would have been so much simpler if, as
>> Stevan
>> has argued, mandated self-archived articles with copyright owned by the
>> academic/HEI had been around years ago!
> I hate to be so contrary again but, no, it is not copyright-retention that
> has been and is the problem. It is finger-retention: If/when researchers
> at last make their fingers do the walking, to do the keystrokes required
> to deposit their refereed final drafts (and optionally also their
> pre-refereeing preprints) in their own IRs -- a practice to which 93%
> of journals have already given their blessing, though it was not really
> needed, yet only 15% of authors are actually doing it -- then all of this
> substance- and sense-free shadow-boxing will be at an end and... After
> 12 long years I no longer say "the optimal and inevitable" will be upon
> us: I don't doubt that we will simply graduate to some new, higher level
> of tom-foolery.
> Harumph!
> You faithful archivangelist, with patience alas a-frayed...
> Stevan Harnad
> Harnad, S., Carr, L., Brody, T. & Oppenheim, C. (2003)
> Mandated online RAE CVs Linked to University Eprint Archives:
> Improving the UK Research Assessment Exercise whilst
> making it cheaper and easier. Ariadne 35 (April 2003).
>> Quoting Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>:
>> > Thanks to Peter Suber for drawing this to my attention. (I was not on
>> > LIS-E-Journals but have now joined to be able to reply.)
>> >
>> > Below, Kate Price of U. Surrey asks whether publishers would allow
>> > authors
>> > to make electronic versions of their articles available to the RAE
>> > assessors (in place of the usual paper submissions). Alicia Wise of the
>> > Publishers Licensing Society replies that licensing arrangements are
>> > being made with HEFCE.
>> >
>> > First, I would like to point out such a colossal absurdity in this that
>> > it takes one's breath away. Then, more constructively, I will point out
>> > what is likely to be the actual outcome, mooting the entire question.
>> >
>> > (1) The Absurdity: If for RAE 1996 and 2001 there was no need felt to
>> > make a
>> > "licensing arrangement" in order for authors to submit paper copies of
>> > their published articles for RAE assessment, why on earth would anyone
>> > imagine that a licensing arrangement is required for the electronic
>> > versions? I am not in the habit of asking my publisher for permission
>> > to
>> > send copies of my own article for evaluation, whether for RAE, salary
>> > review, or research grant funding. (What on earth were HEFCE
>> > thinking?).
>> >
>> > (On top of this, it is almost certain that it is HEFCE's completely
>> > arbitrary, unnecessary and dysfunctional insistence, to date, on the
>> > publisher's PDF for RAE assessment that is the source of all the fuss.)
>> >
>> > (2) The Constructive Alternative: RCUK is, one hopes, on the verge of
>> > mandating that the final, peer-reviewed, accepted draft ("postprint")
>> > of
>> > all articles resulting from RCUK funding must be deposited in the
>> > fundee's
>> > institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication.
>> >
>> > UK Universities are also poised to follow suit, with mandatory
>> > depositing
>> > of all their research output.
>> >
>> >
>> > The solution is hence crystal clear. Forget about licensing! The
>> > postprints should be used for RAE assessment. The PDFs are infinitely
>> > more trouble than they are worth: their marginal value over the
>> > postprint is next to nothing. HEFCE should join the chorus (of
>> > research funding councils and research institutions themselves) in
>> > mandating that all postprints be deposited in the university's IR.
>> >
>> > Deposit mandates are wonderful things, for they cater for all tastes.
>> > Ninety-three percent of journals have already agreed that access to
>> > them
>> > can be set to Open Access (OA). (Note, again, that *no* permission is
>> > needed from anyone in order to deposit the postprints themselves!) The
>> > journal's endorsement of the author's making the deposit OA is welcome,
>> > but not necessary either. But if an author for some reason prefers not
>> > to make the deposited article OA, they can make it RA (restricted
>> > access) instead. The RAE assessors can then be given access to the RA
>> > deposit.
>> >
>> > Now, before everyone starts squawking about all sorts of legalistic and
>> > pedantic niceties, sit and think about it for a few moments, and try to
>> > sort out what really has substance in all this, and what is just
>> > officious fluff: No, the difference between PDF and postscript is *not*
>> > a problem. No, providing access to RAE assessors for a restricted
>> > access
>> > deposit is not a problem. No, mandating deposit is not a problem. In
>> > fact all of these are natural developments, optimal for research,
>> > researchers, their institutions, their funders and their assessors --
>> > and they are also inevitable.
>> >
>> > So we can either keep talking ourselves through more epicycles, or we
>> > can just go ahead and do the optimal and inevitable (and obvious)
>> > at last.
>> >
>> > Harnad, S. (2001) "Research access, impact and assessment." Times
>> > Higher Education Supplement 1487: p. 16.
>> >
>> >
>> > "UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) review" (Oct, 2002)
>> >
>> >
>> > Harnad, S., Carr, L., Brody, T. & Oppenheim, C. (2003)
>> > Mandated online RAE CVs Linked to University Eprint Archives:
>> > Improving the UK Research Assessment Exercise whilst
>> > making it cheaper and easier. Ariadne 35 (April 2003).
>> >
>> >
>> > "Bronze release of RAE software for OA repositories" (2006)
>> >
>> >
>> > Stevan Harnad
>> > American Scientist Open Access Forum
>> >
>> >
>> > >> Sent: 15 February 2006 17:46
>> > >> Subject: Question for publishers - Research Assessment Exercise 2008
>> > >>
>> > >> This is really a question for any publishers scanning this list, but
>> > UK
>> > >> HE librarians will be interested in the answers.
>> > >>
>> > >> The UK Research Assessment Exercise will occur again in 2008...
>> > >>
>> > >> I'm concerned about... published journal articles,
>> > >> published conference proceedings and published books (and individual
>> > >> book chapters).
>> > >>
>> > >> Paragraph 96 states that institutions will be expected to make
>> > published
>> > >> journal articles, conference proceedings and book chapters available
>> > "in
>> > >> electronic format" to the assessors... "the method of submission may
>> > >> involve HEIs depositing items onto a protected website or giving
>> > access to
>> > >> institutional repositories of publications"...
>> > >>
>> > >> 1) Has the Higher Education Funding Council for England made any
>> > >> approaches to publishers regarding allowing electronic access to
>> > >> published materials specifically for the RAE?
>> > >>
>> > >> 2) What are publishers' opinions on the copyright implications of
>> > >> this
>> > >> (given that this access would be for a limited period, to a very
>> > limited
>> > >> audience, and crucial for the main business of a UK university). Are
>> > >> publishers likely to object strongly?
>> > >>
>> > >> Kate Price
>> > >> E-Strategy & Resources Manager
>> > >> University Library
>> > >> E-mail:
>> >
>> > > Dear Kate,
>> > >
>> > > My name is Alicia Wise, and I work for an organisation called the
>> > > Publishers Licensing Society. Graham Taylor at the Publishers
>> > Association
>> > > kindly forwarded your email to me.
>> > >
>> > > HEFCE and PLS are actively working on a licence so that RAE panels
>> > > can
>> > > access published works for their review purposes. The licence would
>> > cover
>> > > printed and digital copies. I'd be happy to update you on progress,
>> > > or
>> > you
>> > > could speak with Ed Hughes who is the RAE Manager at HEFCE.
>> > >
>> > > With very best wishes,
>> > >
>> > > Alicia
>> > >
>> > > Dr Alicia Wise
>> > > Chief Executive
>> > > Publishers Licensing Society
>> > > London, WC1E 6HH
>> >
Received on Mon Feb 20 2006 - 12:44:49 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:48:13 GMT