Re: Forthcoming OA Developments in France

From: Richard Feinman <RFeinman_at_DOWNSTATE.EDU>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 21:43:21 -0400

I don't understand self-archiving.  Isn't that another bizarre practice
of having the author assume a task which should be done by the publisher.
 Does it not highlight the intent of publishers to reduce access to the
author's article.  Are they not saying: sure we'll publish it but if you
want everybody to be able to read it youhave to take care of that.
 Traditional publishing continues to be a Bob Newhart Routine.
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Richard D. Feinman, Professor of Biochemistry

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FAX: (718) 270-3316
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Articles published within a day or two of acceptance.
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Stevan Harnad <>
Sent by:

06/28/06 07:19 PM
                               Please respond to

American Scientist Open Access Forum
Re: Forthcoming OA Developments in France

On Wed, 28 Jun 2006, Peter Banks wrote:

> On 6/27/06 9:48 PM, "Stevan Harnad" <> wrote:
>> Multiple author surveys --
>> international and multisciplinary -- as well as repeated
>> experience with actual mandates have shown that there will be
>> very high rates of compliance.
> Really?
> The NIH had about 4% compliance with its request for voluntary deposit
> PMC.

Yes, really. The point you seem to have missed, Peter, is that the NIH
Access policy was not a mandate. The above quote was very specifically
compliance with *mandates*, as against mere inivitations to deposit

The NIH policy is rumoured soon to be strengthened. The FRPAA
self-archiving policy is already being proposed as a mandate (the RCUK
the EC self-archiving policy proposals too) -- and the reason is
because deposit mandates work, and voluntary deposit does not. That's
not only the author surveys but the actual implementations of deposit
mandates (CERN's, Wellcome Trust's, and the emerging university-level
mandates) have demonstrated: Very high compliance rates. Growing author
and user satisfaction with the results will soon clinch it.

> The 2005 CIBER author survey concludes, "At the moment, relatively few
> researchers are familiar with the concept of institutional
> repositories...such evidence as we have suggests that--at the
> level--there is no great interest or drive from the author community
> this model." (page 43)

Awareness of OA and its benefits is growing, but I agree that information
about it
still needs to be disseminated far and wide -- and it is being

I am afraid I must disagree that the CIBER survey (or any other
of the numerous author OA surveys that have now been conducted)
indicates no great interest from the research author community. I
am afraid that that interpretation represents wishful thinking on
the part of the publishing community!

But I do agree on the matter of author drive: The surveys have
shown very clearly that spontaneous OA self-archiving levels by
authors are low (about 15%) and that most authors themselves say
that they will not self-archive until/unless their funders and/or
institutions mandate it. But if/when they do mandate it, 95%
report that they will self-archive (81% of them willingly). And
the actual mandates that have been implemented confirm this
fully, with very high and growing rates of deposit.

> Even the Swan paper you cite doesn't suggest high levels of awareness
> interest in OA. A slight majority had not placed a paper in an IR, and
> three quarters of these didn't even know about repositories.

All true (and all 2005 and earlier history). But awareness has
since been growing and growing, largely out of the advocacy
efforts of the OA community, and including also the proposed and
adopted mandates in the UK, US, France, Germany, Australia, and
the EC that have been announced and discussed in this Forum and

> What all the evidence does suggest is that most authors would comply,
> sometimes grudgingly, with IR deposit if forced to, much as they would
> comply with the need to pay taxes or get a wisdom tooth extracted.

And much as most authors comply (sometimes grudgingly) with the
mandate to publish at all ("publish or perish") -- something for
which publishers have good reason to be grateful, I should

Tax-paying might be a good analogy, but I think
wisdom-tooth-extraction may be a bit over the top (or a projected
pain from some publishers)...

I suggest that some realism might be more useful to the
peer-reviewed journal publishing industry, rather than this sort
of wishful thinking and selective interpretation.

Note that the OA movement does not apply to the magazine industry
(in which you wield your considerable influence) as a whole, but
only to the peer-reviewed research sector -- about 24,000
journals, none of which pay a penny of royalties or author
fees/salaries, because the researcher/authors publish in them
only for the sake of research impact: so that as many users as
possible read, use, apply, build-upon and cite their findings.
And that is the rationale for OA.

Best wishes, Stevan
Received on Thu Jun 29 2006 - 03:21:16 BST

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