Re: CERN's historic role in OA

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2006 21:23:26 +0100

On Fri, 7 Apr 2006, Joanne Yeomans wrote:

>> SH: (If anyone can't see what more they can do to promote repository
>> deposit, please have them contact me: I will be glad to make some
>> suggestions!)
> JY: we're not left with much more we can do within CERN
> to increase our own content... [but]
> We'll also try to do more outside CERN if you think it will help. Your
> suggestions and advice are welcome.

There is a natural, obvious, and invaluable thing you could and should
be doing for worldwide OA, Joanne, because you (and Jens) are among
the very few people on the planet who can do it, and that is to travel
to institutions, meetings, and funder policy sessions to describe and
explain the outstandingly successful system you have implemented at CERN,
in order to help other institutions to implement it and emulate CERN's

Describe it from the bottom up: exactly how it works, how it reached
its present level of success,
what can be done to improve it even further, and how it can be adapted
to universities, researcher institutions that are not quite like CERN,
research funding councils, and national research policy makers.

CERN's historic contribution to worldwide OA would immediately leap up
by an order of magnitude if CERN showcased and propagated its stunning
successes around the world. I am sure that some matching funds could be
found from OA-friendly funders (such as OSI, perhaps also US and European
sources -- e.g., the EC the ESF and eurosci -- to cover the expenses of
having you (and perhaps Jens too) travel around to promote institutional
self-archiving worldwide armed with a set of "how-to" powerpoints that
illustrate the components in CERN's success and how to extend it across
institutions and disciplines. (IR managers the world over are waiting
to learn what to do to make a success of their IRs)

I would be more than happy to write to your superiors at CERN to strongly
recommend and support this, and so will many others, if you agree and
allow us! It is what green OA has most needed for some time now: For
it's most successful implementation to lead the way for others who
wish to emulate their success.

Stevan Harnad

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: SPARC Open Access Forum []
> > On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
> > Sent: Friday, April 07, 2006 7:04 PM
> > To: SPARC Open Access Forum
> > Subject: [SOAF] CERN's historic role in OA
> >
> >
> > CERN is the biggest of the five institutions that have so far
> > adopted a mandatory OA self-archiving policy:
> >
> >
> > On Thu, 6 Apr 2006, Joanne Yeomans [CERN] wrote:
> >
> > > the vast majority [of papers at CERN] are submitted > by
> > secretaries on behalf of a group or are harvested from arxiv.
> >
> > That's fine! There is nothing sacred about authors doing
> > their own keystrokes! Secretary mediation is just as good, as
> > long as the doing of the keystrokes is mandated.
> >
> > > an official CERN report number is
> > > very important to many of our authors and they will only
> > get one of > these by submitting it through the official
> > internal channels and it is > through this process that the
> > secretaries upload the details and text to > CDS.
> >
> > That sounds splendid! The counterpart at an ordinary
> > university or research institution would be the researcher's
> > standardised CV or (in the UK) their RAE submission, so as to
> > be considered for performance evaluation. Nothing wrong with
> > secretaries doing the keystrokes, as long as the keys get stroked!
> >
> > > There are a few keen self-archivers but they are really a
> > minority....
> > > [Regarding] arXiv harvesting, this accounts mainly for
> > theory > papers and is usually the individual authors
> > submitting their work. As > the theory department knows that
> > we harvest nightly from arxiv we have > an understanding
> > that it is enough for them to continue submitting there >
> > instead of to the institutional repository.
> >
> > Translation: The keen self-archivers (the ones who do the
> > keystrokes for themselves instead of leaving it to
> > secretaries) are the long-standing Arxiv preprint self-archivers.
> >
> > That's fine too. The keystrokes per paper are really so few
> > that it is not even clear why we are talking about who
> > actually does them, as long as they get done!
> > And the CERN mandate see to it that they must be.
> >
> > > I do think a mandate has helped in filling the repository
> > - > without it I am guessing it would not have been so easy
> > to set up the > secretarial effort, nor would we have the
> > staff resources to put into > the harvesting and managing of
> > the repository. So a mandate might not > change the
> > behaviour of many authors, but it does still help to get the
> > > content in a more indirect way.
> >
> > Although I keep saying that the only thing standing between
> > us now (at 15% OA) and 100% OA is a few keystrokes per paper,
> > it is really a trivial matter who actually does those
> > keystrokes -- compared to making sure an institution mandates
> > that they must be done! (As to harvesting back from a central
> > archive: I think that is a local historic aberration,
> > peculiar to physics: Those in other fields who are "keen" to
> > do the keystrokes themselves will far more sensibly deposit
> > in their own Institutional Repository in the first place!)
> >
> > > We are taken with Minho's idea of offering financial
> > incentives...we > might test the political waters for this.
> >
> > Are you sure it will cost less to make it worth a researcher's
> > while to do the keystrokes than to just pay a secretary to do it?
> >
> > > And as part of our OA
> > > publishing project we'll be making new efforts to
> > encourage individual > submission for the missing documents.
> > OA publishing has grabbed the > interest of the HEP
> > community far more than talking about preprint > deposit did
> > so we hope to piggy-back a bit on this enthusiasm to improve
> > > the repository content too.
> >
> > I couldn't quite follow that: Is it not the HEP community
> > that is doing its own keystroking already, by depositing in
> > Arxiv? And are the missing papers not the ones that they have
> > not keyed in? How is talk about OA publishing solving that problem?
> >
> > (I'm afraid I cannot agree with CERN's strategic emphasis on
> > OA [gold] publishing at this time (15% OA), as I have said
> > before. I think CERN could do far, far, far more for
> > worldwide OA today if it focussed on spreading its own
> > historic OA [green] self-archiving policy and practice to
> > other institutions worldwide and across disciplines. OA gold
> > can come after we reach 100% OA green. By focussing instead
> > on OA gold at this early and incomplete stage of OA itself,
> > CERN is missing its full potential historic role. CERN's role
> > and contribution to OA will nevertheless have been immense --
> > just far short of what it might have been, because of this
> > premature changing of local gears toward gold when the green
> > task worldwide is so far from done.)
> >
> > Stevan Harnad
> [...]
Received on Wed Apr 12 2006 - 11:47:50 BST

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