Re: Ian Gibson on open access

From: Arthur Sale <>
Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 09:35:21 +1000



Yes it will help, as do all supply-side interventions. For example, see
our ego-soothing (and useful) statistics generated on papers in our
w (also used in New Zealand, South Africa and the USA).


However, all such interventions have but a minor effect, unless
accompanied by a mandate. They simply don&#8217;t work on
non-participants. I have evidence of this in Australia &#8211; for
example the University of Queensland has pulled out every voluntary stop
and are still at 15% or less of their research output.


However, if you have a mandate, the increasing number of depositors
suddenly like to find lots of reasons to like what they are doing. This
is our experience in Australia, in the Queensland University of
Technology. See


So, the message remains as it has for several years: Each university
should have a mandatory deposit policy (aka requirement to deposit) as
the top priority. Every effort should be made to put this into place
first. Whether the deposit is open access or restricted access can be
left to the researcher or the library to decide. Secondly, once you have
such a requirement and not before, put effort into making the researchers
like doing it. It pays off in making the transition to 100% deposit
faster. I am doing work on this transition now (as yet unpublished).


Arthur Sale

Professor of Computing (Research)

University of Tasmania



From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Lesley Perkins
Sent: Monday, 1 May 2006 4:31 AM
Subject: Re: Ian Gibson on open access


I agree completely! (I think!)

Please don't misunderstand me; I'm not the least bit interested in
quibbling about primary vs. secondary reasons, or ideological crusading.
I'm a practical librarian. It seems to me the focus should be on what
works. If you say that demonstrating the impact factor will help, I will
certainly emphasize that in my future presentations. 

But it also seems to me that John Willinsky may be on to something when
he says we should be appealing to researchers' egos, by showcasing their
articles (deposited in IRs) in special sections on university, and
university library, homepages (and, as Peter Suber has pointed out, on
sites like Cream of Science.) If that strategy works, then maybe a policy
that mandate self-archiving will be a much easier pill for researchers to


Stevan Harnad wrote:

 On Sun, 30 Apr 2006, Lesley Perkins wrote:



 Forgive me for interrupting, but does it really matter if the reasons

for self-archiving are primary or secondary? Doing the right thing for

the "wrong" reasons is still the right thing. Wouldn't you say that

applies in this case?



It would perhaps not matter if people actually *were* self-archiving --

and mandating self-archiving -- for secondary or wrong reasons.


But the fact is that only 15% of papers are as yet being spontaneously

self-archived *at all*. And among the reasons why self-archiving is not

yet being done or mandated nearly enough is that secondary and wrong

reasons for self-archiving, or for mandating self-archiving, are simply

not compelling enough to make it happen.


Researchers will not self-archive -- and their universities will not

require them to self-archive their -- in order to make their papers freely

accessible to the general public. That is just too absurd. Both

universities and their researchers know perfectly well that most of

their specialized research papers are of no absolutely no direct interest

to the general public. Hence public access to them would be a ludicrous

(and readily defeasible) reason for requiring researchers to take the trouble

to self-archive them (little trouble though that is).


In contrast, both universities and their researchers know that

researchers' income and funding depends to a large on their research

impact. So demonstrating the strong and dramatic causal connection

between self-archiving and research impact *is* a compelling reason --

indeed *the* compelling reason -- for mandating it.


It is this strong and compelling causal connection between self-archiving

and research impact  -- well known to this Forum, but still too little known

to researchers and their employers and funders -- that needs to be

conveyed far more widely than this Forum, if we are to reach the 100%

OA that is already so long overdue.


Trading instead in secondary or wrong reasons is a good way to continue

ideological crusading if one feels one has a lot of time on one's hands

and has an appetite for that sort of thing, but it does not get much done.


I might add that -- however much it may preoccupy and exercise the

library community -- appeals to remedy the journal pricing/affordability

crisis will also fail to induce researchers to self-archive. Indeed,

any user-end rationale will fail. The appeal has to be to the *author*

as author -- not to the author as user (for authors already have the use of

their own papers). That means the primary (and secondary, and tertiary)

reason for self-archiving has to be based on the self-interest of the

author and his institution. And that means the impact of their (joint)

research output.


Stevan Harnad



Received on Mon May 01 2006 - 03:29:09 BST

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