Re: Elsevier Still Solidly on the Side of the Angels on Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 18:13:38 +0100 (BST)

On Tue, 17 Jul 2007, David Goodman wrote:

> Stevan should think why Elsevier permits postings
> on institutional but not national archives.
> I suggest they do it because the want to limit
> the availability and use of self-archiving.

No need to speculate about why they do it: It does not matter why they
do it, because it makes absolutely no difference. The right place for
authors to self-archive is in their own Institutional Repositories (IRS),
not in central repositories, including national repositories. (If central
or national repositories are deemed desirable or useful, they can be
created willy-nilly by simply harvesting the metadata from the IRs.)

> In the long run, they want to discourage the
> growth of archives that might become a major
> alternative source of journal content, and they
> see this as being the national and
> disciplinary archives.

Same reply as above.

> After all, many readers
> use and cite arXiv as more convenient even
> when the published papers are available, and the
> growth of a similar facility in other
> subjects would produce similar results.

(1) Authors certainly do not *cite* Arxiv after the published version
appears. They cite the published version, not the unpublished preprint.

(2) They use the version their institution can afford to access. And
if they can afford the journal version, they preferentially use the
journal version:

        Henneken et al. (2007) E-prints and journal articles in astronomy:
        a productive co-existence. Learned Publishing 20: 16
     ABSTRACT: Are the e-prints (electronic preprints) from the arXiv
     repository being used instead of journal articles? We show that
     the e-prints have not undermined the usage of journal papers from
     the four core journals in astrophysics. As soon as the journal
     article is published, the astronomical community prefers to read it
     and the use of e-prints through the NASA Astrophysics Data System
     drops to zero. This suggests that most astronomers have access to
     institutional subscriptions and that they choose to read the journal
     article. In other words, the e-prints have not undermined journal
     use in this community and thus currently do not pose a financial
     threat to publishers. Furthermore, we show that the half-life (the
     point at which the use of an article drops to half the use of a newly
     published article) for an e-print is shorter than for a journal paper.

> For institutional archiving, they aren't worried.
> There is still no effective way of finding these
> materials except for the subjects covered by
> CiteSeer, there is no consistency in their use,
> and readers do not know where to go as a matter
> of course. They are almost the last
> desperate chance--just one step up from author
> web sites, or writing to the author for a
> copy. They will never provide access to all the
> material in a subject--it will depend on the
> author and the institution. Unless you know
> whether the author is at one of the few
> institutions that require it, you are not assured of finding a copy.

Everything above is incorrect -- except that most research
is not yet being self-archived (in IRs or anywhere), but
Green self-archiving mandates will remedy that. And that's
the reason (and the *only* reason) why "there is no effective
way of finding these materials." They are not there! (David is
conflating findability with absence: end the absence, and
you will find there is no findability problem whatsoever
for IR contents.)

> In other words, they want low quality archiving
> only. From their commercial perspective,
> that makes sense. But Steven regards the
> institutional archives as preferable. Perhaps he
> does so because green self-archiving requires the
> perpetuation of the present commercial
> publishers--if nobody pays to use their material,
> there will be no organized peer-reviewing.
> Does he realize he is actually encouraging the
> continuation of high-cost journal publishing
> from the most expensive commercial publishers?

Institutional self-archiving is preferable because institutions have
a joint stake (with their researchers) in the usage and impact of their
research output. They are hence in a position to mandate (and monitor,
and measure, and reward) the self-archiving of their researcher's research
output in their own institution's IRs. Research funder self-archiving
mandates can reinforce institutional self-archiving mandates. Institutions
are the primary research providers and cover all of research output space
(because not all research output is funded).

     Swan, et al. (2005) Developing a model for e-prints and open access
     journal content in UK further and higher education. Learned Publishing
     18(1) pp. 25-40.
     ABSTRACT: A study carried out for the UK Joint Information Systems
     Committee examined models for the provision of access to material in
     institutional and subject-based archives and in open access journals.
     Their relative merits were considered, addressing not only technical
     concerns but also how e-print provision (by authors) can be achieved -
     an essential factor for an effective e-print delivery service (for
     users). A "harvesting" model is recommended, where the metadata of
     articles deposited in distributed archives are harvested, stored and
     enhanced by a national service. This model has major advantages over
     the alternatives of a national centralized service or a completely
     decentralized one. Options for the implementation of a service based
     on the harvesting model are presented.

And OA is about access, not about journal affordability or publishing
reform. It may eventually lead to publishing reform, but it is precisely
the short-sighted and premature preoccupation with journal reform that is
one of the factors slowing the progress both of OA and of journal reform
(this time by deploring the opposition of some publishers to central
self-archiving, instead of welcoming their endorsement of the IR
self-archiving which is all that is needed for 100% OA).

> Think of it this way: if institutional archiving
> provided a high quality system, would Elsevier
> support it?

Think of it this way: The name of the game is not to keep speculating
about what publishers might or might not be wishing or intending, but
to do what the research community is already 100% empowered to do, but
still isn't quite doing, just yet: to self-archive, and to mandate

Stevan Harnad

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Stevan Harnad <>
> Date: Saturday, July 14, 2007 7:35 pm
> Subject: [SOAF] Elsevier Still Solidly on the
Side of the Angels on Open Access
> To: SPARC Open Access Forum <>
> > The following re-posting from Peter Suber's OA News
> >
> 2007_07_08_fosblogarchive.html#66675142481419092
> > reconfirms that Elsevier is squarely on the side of the angels insofar
> > as OA is concerned: Elsevier is and remains solidly Green on author
> > self-archiving. So if there is any finger of blame to be pointed,
> > it is to be pointed straight at the research community itself, not at
> > Elsevier. If researchers desire Open Access, and fail to provide it
> > by self-archiving their own articles, it is entirely their own fault,
> > certainly not Elsevier's.
> >
> > And if researchers' institutions and funders are aggrieved that their
> > researchers are not providing OA, yet they have failed to mandate that
> > they do so, there is again no one else to fault but themselves.
> >
> > Read on. And then if you are a researcher and minded to complain about
> > the absence of OA, please don't waste keystrokes demonizing publishers
> > like Elsevier, or signing pious declarations, statements, manifestos,
> > or boycott-threats: Direct your keystrokes instead toward the
> > self-archiving of your own articles in your own Institutional
> > Repository!
> > -------------------------------------------
> > Elsevier restates its self-archiving policy
> >
> > Ways to Use Journal Articles Published by Elsevier: A Practical Guide,
> > Elsevier, Version 1.0, June 2007. (Thanks to Rea Devakos.)
> >
> >
> > Elsevier compiled this guide for its journal editors, but it may also
> > be useful for authors and readers.
> >
> > Excerpt:
> >
> > Elsevier believes it is important to communicate clearly about our
> > policies regarding the use of articles we publish....However, this
> > guide does not amend, replace or cancel any part of an existing
> > license with
> > Elsevier....
> >
> > Authors publishing in Elsevier journals retain wide rights to continue
> > to use their works to support scientific advancement, teaching and
> > scholarly communication.
> > An author can, without asking permission, do the following after
> > publication of the author's article in an Elsevier-published
> > journal:
> >
> > Make copies (print or electronic) of the authorÔ^└^┘s article for
> > personal use or the author's own classroom teaching.
> > Make copies of the article and distribute them (including via
> > email) to
> > known research colleagues for their personal use but not for
> > commercial purposes as described below [PS: omitted here].
> > Present the article at a meeting or conference and distribute
> > copies of
> > the article to attendees.
> > Allow the author's employer to use the article in full or in part
> > for other intracompany use (e.g., training).
> > Retain patent and trademark rights and rights to any process or
> > procedure described in the article.
> > Include the article in full or in part in a thesis or dissertation.
> > Use the article in full or in part in a printed compilation of the
> > author's, such as collected writings and lecture notes.
> > Use the article in full or in part to prepare other derivative works,
> > including expanding the article to book-length form, with each such
> > work to include full acknowledgment of the article's original
> > publication in the Elsevier journal.
> > Post, as described below, the article to certain websites or
> > servers....Web posting of articles
> >
> > Elsevier understands researchers want widespread distribution of their
> > work and supports authors by enabling such distribution within the
> > context of orderly peer review and publication.
> >
> > Most journals published by Elsevier will consider (for peer review and
> > publication) papers already posted in pre-publication versions to the
> > Web. Pre-publication posting is common practice in, for example,
> > physic sand mathematics. However, some Elsevier clinical and biomedical
> > journals, including The Lancet and Cell Press journals, follow the
> > guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal
> > Editors and
> > do not consider for publication papers that have already been posted
> > publicly. Anyone with a question regarding pre-publication posting and
> > subsequent submission of a paper to an Elsevier journal should consult
> > that journal's instructions to authors or contact the editor.
> >
> > An author can, without asking permission, do the following with the
> > author's article that has been or will be published in an Elsevier
> > journal:
> >
> > Post a pre-print version of the article on Internet websites including
> > electronic pre-print servers, and retain indefinitely this version on
> > such servers or sites (unless prohibited in a specific Elsevier
> > journal's instructions to authors).
> > Post a personal manuscript version of the article on the author's
> > personal or institutional website or server, provided each such
> > posting includes a link to the article's Digital Object Identifier
> > (DOI) and
> > includes a complete citation for the article. This means an author can
> > update a personal manuscript version (e.g., in Word or TeX format) of
> > the article to reflect changes made during the peer-review and editing
> > process. Note such posting may not be for commercial purposes and may
> > not be to any external, third-party website.
> > Elsevier-published authors employed by corporations may post their
> > revised personal manuscript versions of their final articles to their
> > corporate intranets if they are secure and do not allow public access.
> >
> > This policy permitting open posting of revised personal manuscript
> > versions applies to authors publishing articles in any Elsevier
> > journals, including The Lancet and Cell Press journals.
> >
> > If an article has multiple authors, each author has the same posting
> > rights.
> >
> > To preserve the integrity of the official record of publication, the
> > final published version of an article as it appears (in PDF or
> > HTML) in
> > an Elsevier journal will continue to be available only on an Elsevier
> > site....
> >
> > Peter Suber, OA News
> >
> 2007_07_08_fosblogarchive.html#66675142481419092
> > ---------------
> >
> > Pertinent Prior AmSci Topic Thread:
> > "Elsevier Gives Authors Green Light for Open Access Self-
> > Archiving"
> >
> > Cf: "Poisoned Apple"
> >
> >
> > "A Keystroke Koan For Our Open Access Times"
> >
> >
> >
> > Stevan Harnad
> >
> > Access-Forum.html
> >
> >
> > If you have adopted or plan to adopt a policy of providing Open
> > Access to your own research article output, please describe your
> > policy at:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > BOAI-1 ("Green"): Publish your article in a suitable toll-
> > access journal
> >
> > OR
> > BOAI-2 ("Gold"): Publish your article in an open-access
> > journal if/when
> > a suitable one exists.
> >
> > AND
> > in BOTH cases self-archive a supplementary version of your
> > article in your own institutional repository.
> >
> >
> >
Received on Thu Jul 19 2007 - 21:21:39 BST

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