Re: Ian Gibson on open access

From: Lesley Perkins <lesleyperkins_at_TELUS.NET>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 21:17:36 -0700

Hello Arthur,

Point well taken. You make a strong argument, and the results of your
research are, as you say in your article, "striking." A mandatory deposit
policy is the holy grail.

As you know, there are still universities with IRs but no such policy.
When I'm speaking with academic librarians who are enthusiastic about OA
and are working at universities with IRs but no mandatory deposit policy
(at least, not yet), I need to give them a little something else to go
on, a glimmer of hope. They need concrete examples of how to, as you say,
"put effort into making researchers like doing it." So, I guess some of
us are, unfortunately, stuck for the time being with going at it a bit
backwards -- give researchers reasons to like depositing, and then force
them to do it!

In your firstmonday article you use the phrase "effective author support
policies." I'm curious to know what these are, specifically. If you think
everyone else on this listserv already knows, maybe you would be so kind
as to reply to me off-list (if you have time, of course).


Arthur Sale wrote:



      Yes it will help, as do all supply-side interventions. For
      example, see our ego-soothing (and useful) statistics
      generated on papers in our repository;range=
      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
      On Behalf Of Lesley Perkins
      Sent: Monday, 1 May 2006 4:31 AM
      Gibson on open access (fwd)


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

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 swallow.


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 - 12:00:14 BST

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