Re: 32nd Green Open Access Mandate: Kudos and Caveat

From: Arthur Sale <>
Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2007 08:36:49 +1000

Congratulations to AHRC. This is an excellent step adding to the prior
leadership by the other UK Research Councils.

Let me just add to Stevan's remarks that mandates should require immediate
deposit, and an embargo only on open access. There are two other pragmatic
reasons for taking this step.
1. If you know anything about academics, you know that in general their
record-keeping is sloppy and their attention span is short (the two are
linked). The time to capture a born-digital postprint document into a
repository is at the time of final submission, otherwise as time goes on
the risk of the file being irretrievably lost increases rapidly, as does the
interest of the academic in self-archiving decline. Capture the document
immediately; make the open access switch at an appropriate time. (Mandators
may not be used to thinking of software that will make the switch
semi-automatically at a scheduled time, which is the obvious thing to do -
and EPrints does it.)
2. Secondly, the immediate deposit makes the metadata available on the
Internet immediately. The existence of the article is thus searchable and
findable. This may seem trivial to some people who publish exclusively in
journals that are harvested by Google Scholar. However, very few conferences
make their paper metadata available quickly if at all; there are also many
important specialty journals in the same situation. These are vital to
disciplines which are dependent on these research outlets, such as computer
science. Exposure of the article leads to interest by others who will seek
to get a copy even before the end of an embargo, and thence to possible

Arthur Sale
University of Tasmania

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> Sent: Friday, 7 September 2007 2:23 AM
> Subject: [AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM] 32nd Green Open Access
> Mandate: Kudos and Caveat
> Now the mandate's completely unnecessary and ever-so-easily-corrected
> flaw:
> In their anxiety to ensure that their policy is both legal and not
> needlessly worrisome for publishers, AHRC (and many of the other funder
> mandates, including yesterday's CIHR mandate from Canada) have allowed
> an embargo period before the article is made OA, if the publisher
> wishes.
> That is fine. But it is a huge mistake to allow the time at which the
> article must be deposited to be dictated by the publisher's embargo.
> The deposit should be required immediately upon acceptance for
> publication, without exception. If there is no publisher embargo, that
> deposit is also immediately made Open Access at that same time.
> Otherwise it is made Closed Access for the duration of the embargo
> period. (Only the bibliographic metadata are visible and accessible via
> the web, not the article itself.)
> It may seem pointless to require an article to be deposited immediately
> if it cannot be made OA immediately. But the point of requiring
> immediate deposit either way is to close a profound loophole that could
> otherwise delay both deposit and OA indefinitely, turning the mandate
> into a mockery from which any researcher can opt out at the behest of
> his publisher.
Received on Fri Sep 07 2007 - 23:53:27 BST

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