Not posted

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 00:56:42 +0000 (GMT)

Dear Jan,

I've decided not to post my reply to your posting, in order to keep the
AmSci Forum focussed on practical OA policy matters. If you should wish to
respond substantively, please feel to quote and post.

Best wishes,

Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 19:02:37 +0000 (GMT)
From: Stevan Harnad <>
Subject: Re: Means and ends

I invite Jan (again) to address the substantive points I have raised,
rather than just making substance-free rhetorical retorts.

The main substantive points (to remind you) are:

(1) Paying for optional OA Gold today is double-paying, while subscriptions
are still paying all publication costs; Green OA self-archiving is
the rational option for making making one's article OA, right now.

(2) For a Gold (or hybrid Gold) OA publisher to oppose Green OA mandates is,
at best, to oppose OA, at worst, to try to necessitate double-paying.

(3) In the OAI-interoperable OA era, Central Repositories (CRs) are
*functionally obsolete*; they are merely selective, harvestable "views"
on a globally distributed primary OA database (e.g., citeseer, citebase;
google scholar, OAIster are all such harvested CRs)

(4) IRs systematically cover all of research output space and research
institutions have a direct stake in recording, storing, showcasing,
and maximizing the visibility, accessibility, uptake, usage and impact
of their own research output.

(5) To needlessly mandate direct deposit in a CR instead of the
researcher's own IR is:

    (5a) to weaken and retard the systematic institution-based coverage of
    OA output space and/or

    (5b) to necessitate double-deposit or back-harvesting and/or

    (5c) to encourage publishers to levy a gratuitous fee for 3rd-party
    CR depositing (e.g., the fee the HHMI is now forced to pay for
    having mandated CR deposit instead of IR deposit).

Now let us see what Jan has to say of substance on these questions:

On Mon, 19 Mar 2007, Jan Velterop wrote:

> It is becoming a pattern, this confusing of means with ends.
> On this discussion list the means have evolved into a nested
> set of orthodoxies: open access is the means to improving efficiency
> of research

Is OA then *not* a (sic) means of improving efficiency of research?

(What is Jan's point here?)

> -- OA by self-archiving is the means to achieving OA

Is Jan disputing this? or just restating it in an ironic tone of voice?

(For "the means" please substitute "the surest and fastest means," as
is indeed the case.)

> -- institutional repositories are the means to get self-archiving

Is Jan disputing this? or just restating it in an ironic tone of voice?

(For "the means" please substitute "the surest and fastest means," as is
indeed the case.)

> -- mandates are the means to get these repositories filled

Is Jan disputing this? or just restating it in an ironic tone of voice?

(For "the means" please substitute "the surest and fastest means," as is
indeed the case.)

> -- political lobbying is the means to get the mandates,

No, actually, political lobbying is the best means to *block* the mandates, as
Jan's co-signatories of the "Brussels Declaration" (not to mention the
pit-bull lobby) have demonstrated.

> and, as of Sunday 18 March, we have a message on the
> list about the way this lobby should take place.

Should the amateurish lobbying efforts of the OA movement take a lesson
instead from the professional pit-bull lobby?

(Notice how Jan merely invites exchanges of rhetoric: Not a single
substantive point is addressed.)

> Every time when a means becomes an end in itself, there are
> potentially a number of means to reach that particular end, and the
> end result of the whole cascade should be a diversity of approaches
> all pointing in the same direction, that of the original goal. In
> principle, there is strength in diversity, as mother nature itself
> shows.

If anyone can glean any substance in the foregoing, passage, I would
be grateful for an exegesis.

> Maybe it's inevitable and part of the human condition that out of
> each set of means just one should develop as the focus of orthodoxy
> and the rest written off, but it is certainly a shame if in that
> process the original objective is lost out of sight.

On the face of it, with OA the objective, a Gold "OA" publisher opposing
Green OA mandates sounds a lot like having lost sight of the objective...

> Especially if it leads to denouncing the HHMI deal,

For the objections to the "HHMI deal," please see (1) and (5c) above
-- and try to respond with substance rather than more rhetoric.

> to denounce the EC for encouraging OA but not by choosing to
> mandate self-archiving,

As is now quite well known to all:

(i) The EC proposed to mandate Green OA self-archiving in January 2006
(Recommendation A1)

(ii) The publishing industry lobby successfully persuaded the EC not to
mandate Green OA self-archiving

(iii) This outcome was announced as a fait accompli at the beginning
of the Brussels EC meeting

(iv) The petition in support of the EC A1 Green OA mandate was presented
at the same meeting

To criticize a step backward from EC A1 under publishing industry lobbying
pressure, despite dramatic research community and R&D industry support
for EC A1 seems to me to be just calling a spade a spade.

What the EC did announce was a continuing interest in OA (fine, but we
already had that last year) and some vague intentions having to do with
*funding* Gold OA -- which again brings up points (1) - (5) above: Would Jan
care to address those substantive points?

(And in applauding the "encouragement" rather than the mandating of OA, Jan
may wish to review the sad history of the NIH's unsuccessful "encouragement"
policy of the past two years.)

> to denounce any genuine efforts to open access after an embargo
> period,

Who denounced efforts to open access after an embargo period? I don't like
embargoes, but I can live with them -- just as I can live with pre-emptively
double-paid Gold OA -- as long as the proponents of embargoes or pre-emptive
Gold OA support rather than oppose Green OA mandates.

The Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access Mandate is specifically designed to be
compatible with embargoes:

> and even to denounce subject repositories for being central
> and not institutional archives, et cetera.

Rather than just denouncing the denunciation, why not address the
substance of (3) - (5) above?

> However, these are all
> positive steps and should get be recognised as such.

I have recognised no positive steps in what Jan adduces above; just vague
generalities and a big step backward by the EC.

> Even if one believes in the orthodoxy promulgated as the best
> possible means to the nested ends, the effect of denigrating any
> other steps in the direction of improving the efficiency of research
> is only resulting in slowing the process down. Research deserves
> better. The end goal unites; the means evidently don't.

I would again be grateful for an exegesis that will extract the substance
from a passage that otherwise sounds more worthy of political sloganeering
than concrete policy discussion.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Mar 20 2007 - 10:36:28 GMT

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