Re: Canada's SSHRC lacks leader, hence leadership, on OA

From: Arthur Sale <>
Date: Sun, 7 May 2006 08:26:36 +1000

In my terminology, Jean-Claude's 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e and 2f are not incentives
but all just forms of a mandate differing slightly from each other. They
are all about the same or generally higher level of difficulty in
achievement as a simple institutional 'mandate': "authors must deposit
all research papers".


In fact I prefer not to use the word 'mandate' but rather talk about a
'requirement policy'. I can throw in 2h "arm-twisting by a senior member
of a modest-sized department" which is also achievable but of limited
impact. Choose your kind of mandate, but realize that that is what you
are doing.


2g and all author-support or incentive type actions are useless with
non-participants. They simply ignore them. The evidence is clear and
global - nothing works on non-participants until there is a requirement
to deposit; then and only then do all the incentives cut in. BTW, my so
far unpublished research is suggesting that the transition from voluntary
deposit to a pattern typical of a requirement (once the policy is in
place) takes of the order of 2-3 years and may be affected by incentives.


So to repeat my message for repository managers - simple, condensed and
straightforward - shorn of all unnecessary detail:

1.      Try to get a requirement policy before you establish a

2.      If you have a repository already, or elect to start anyway, make
it crystal clear to everyone that a requirement policy is in your sights
and that it is inevitable.

3.      Don't waste your institution's time and money on incentives until
you have a requirement policy. They don't work. Leave the field to the
self-motivated early adopters who see the benefits to themselves.

4.      Once you have a requirement policy, apply any or all incentives
that you can afford.


Arthur Sale


> -----Original Message-----

> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum


> Sent: Saturday, 6 May 2006 7:20 PM



> leader, hence leadership, on OA


> What Stevan Harnad says about the vacillations and fuzziness of SSHRC
is correct.

> What he omits to say is that he has been in touch with at least one
insider of SSHRC

> for quite some time ans has tried to coach him on these issues. What it
points to is

> the question I keep on coming back to: mandating is the right way to go
... and so are

> other ways. Mandating, if achieved, will provide success; the
difficulty is in achieving

> it precisely because the stakes are high and the resistances of all
kinds, however

> irrational; speculative, unfounded, etc., are strong.


> It is for this reason that I have unceasingly advocated the following:


> 1. Pushing for the mandating as strongly as possible;


> 2. In parallel, organize various forms of incentives at all levels.

>    These include measures such as (the order has no meaning as to

> importance):


>      a. Create an institutional repository;


>      b. Conflate faculty annual report requirement with the depositing
of the metada of

> their publications in the institutional repository (this allows
locating the mandating

> element in a zone that administrators will support for obvious


>      c. Give the libraries the mandate (and means) to collect the

> corresponding to the deposited metadata in any form, including paper
and let them

> store or digitize these publications (in other words, just take the
depositing task out of

> the hands of the faculty);


>      d. Work on tenure and promotion committees to make them review

> publications deposited in the institutional repository;


>      e. Work on the granting agencies (e.g. SSHRC) to have them apply
the same

> principle. Granting agencies would have to ask for OA URL's exclusively
as acceptable

> proof of prior work (instead of a bibliography). This would also
simplify the reviewers'

> work as they could simply downlad the needed documentation.


>      f. Work on university administrations to have them declare that
the good name of

> their institution stands behind the repository and that, therefore, the

> stored in the suitable OA IR is citable as is (even though the version
may not coincide

> exactly with the kournal version);


>      g. Re-evaluate publications in a suitable way - I have published
and lectured on

> that point - to rank them in a credible way on a global scale so as to
create new

> incentives for academics, and thus help them accept the whole archiving

> further. At the same time, create valuable filtering devices to help
readers identify the

> best literature available.


> These basic ideas offer a strategic roadmap that, undoubtedly; can and
ought to be

> refined; In any case, this roadmap certainly makes the whole OA issue
appear far

> more reachable than merely clamoring for mandating, and weeping and
crying when it

> is not achieved (see Harnad's text below). It transforms the mandating
hurdle into a

> series of attainable steps and could help favourable groups to push
this or that way

> according to local conditions and possibilities. In short, it strives
to be realistic.


> Best,


> jcg

Received on Sun May 07 2006 - 00:32:11 BST

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