Re: More thoughts on Impact Factors & Open Access journal publishing

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 01:36:37 +0100

On Wed, 25 Oct 2006, Dana Roth wrote:

> One very serious but apparently overlooked concern, regarding
> Cornyn-Lieberman, is the scale of payment for Open Access.

Cornyn-Lieberman (FRPAA) is not proposing to pay for Open Access
(Publishing). It is proposing to mandate Open Access Self-Archiving
(of articles published in either non-OA or OA journals).

Dana is conflating OA self-archiving (which is to be mandated) with
OA publishing (which is not).

> involving politicians in this process will result in funding
> agencies being required to pay publication charges based on publisher
> demands, rather than economic reality.

FRPAA is proposing to mandate Open Access Self-Archiving (of articles
published in either non-OA or OA journals). (It is the (private UK)
Wellcome Trust that is also offering to cover OA publishing charges.)

> The specter of Cornyn-Lieberman
> becoming a bail-out for commercial publishers, as suggested by the
> recent announcement of the Wellcome Trust-Elsevier agreement, is truly
> disheartening.

Wellcome Trust is a UK private charity. The FRPAA concerns US public
funds and has mentioned nothing of the sort.

> Thus, the suggestion that a return to reasonable subscription pricing
> and modest author contributions is an obviously sensible approach for
> the interim, if not the long term.

The interim and long term what? This is a Forum on Open Access, not on
journal pricing. (Perhaps the suggestion should have been posted to
serialst or liblicense?)

The suggestion has nothing whatsoever to do with OA, in either the interim
or the long term. Let us hope that the proposed US self-archiving mandates
are adopted, as they have already been adopted by 5 public funders and one
private one in the UK, and that we will as a result have 100% OA at last.

The availability of supplementary self-archived versions of all articles
will not solve research libraries' journal budget problems, but it will
certainly lower the stakes (without lowering the prices) in the library's
annual agony over what journals to get, keep and cut with its finite
journal funds.

> In regards self-archiving, perhaps the fact that "Caltech has some of
> the earliest and most numerous IRs", is due to the fact 1) that it is
> not mandated and 2) that it is dependent largely on library staff and
> publishers who allow their papers to be posted after a reasonable =
> delay.

I was not referring to having IRs, but to filling them. CalTech is
unrivalled in its historic role as being among the very first adopters
of IRs, but does the percentage of Cal Tech's annual research output in
those IRs exceed the worldwide average of about 15% for spontaneous (i.e.,
unmandated) self-archiving (and if so, by how much?).

(There seems to have been an input of 4500 items between 9/2005 and 9/2006:
Can it be determined what percentage of those items were current publications
[i.e. roughly 2005-2006] and full-texts [rather than metadata] and what
percentage that represents of CalTech's 2005-2006 research output?)

Librarians, of course, cannot mandate, but they can lobby their
provosts to mandate (if, that is, they can set aside their journal
budget agony long enough to do so!) Self-archiving cannot be promoted to
provosts as a way of saving money on the journals budget, but it can
be promoted as (1) a way of enhancing Cal Tech research impact, (2) a
way of encouraging other institutions to reciprocate, thereby enhancing
Cal Tech researchers' access to the articles in those journals Cal Tech
cannot afford, (3) thereby (as noted) making Cal Tech's journal budget
pressures less consequential; and perhaps (just perhaps), (4) they might
even eventually (in the long term) lead to a transition to OA publishing,
thereby putting paid to the annual agonies altogether.


Received on Thu Oct 26 2006 - 10:08:51 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:48:33 GMT