Re: Institutional Mandates and Institutional OA Repository Growth

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 14:58:14 +0100

On Wed, 19 Sep 2007, Sandy Thatcher wrote:

> Ah, yes, and if you'll remember our prior discussion about open access,
> Stevan, I warned that just this "success" might be the "tipping point" to
> drive a host of commercial and society publishers out of the business of
> journal publishing. One "tipping point" causes another? Witness, as
> partial
> proof, the reaction of STM publishers represented by the PRISM initiative.
> I
> read that as a warning that, if the government forces a change in their
> business model, they may just walk away from the business. I assume you
> wouldn't consider that a bad thing at all, but my question would be what
> kind
> of structure will take its place and what expectations will universities
> have
> of their presses to pick up the slack?

What is remarkable, Sandy, is how actual empirical facts (very few) are
being freely admixed, willy-nilly, with fact-free speculations for which
there is, and continues to be zero empirical evidence, and, in many cases,
decisive and familiar counterevidence, both empirical and logical.

Nothing has changed since our prior discussions except that there have
(happily) been some more Green OA mandates (total adopted: 32, plus 8
more further proposed mandates).

There has been no "tipping point." Just *talk* about tipping points, and
that talk about tipping points has been going on for years.

There has been no one driven out of business, nor any empirical evidence
of a trend toward being driven out of business. Just *talk* of being
driven out of business, and that talk about being driven out of business
has been going on for years.

And as to the "partial proof" in the form of the STM/PRISM "reaction"
-- that very same reaction (with the very same false, alarmist arguments)
has been voiced, verbatim, by the very same publisher groups (STM,
AAP, ALPSP), over and over, for over a decade now. And they have
been debunked just as often (see long list of links below). But that
certainly hasn't been enough to make the publishers' anti-OA lobby cease
and desist. Do you consider the relentless repetition, at louder and
louder volume, of exactly the same specious and evidence-free claims,
to be "proof" of anything, partial or otherwise?

And the phrase "the government forces a change in their business model"
is just as false a description of what is actually going on when it is
spoken in your own well-meaning words as when it is voiced by PRISM and
Eric Dezenhall: The government is *not* forcing a change in a business
model. The funders of tax-payer-funded research -- and, increasingly,
universities, who are not "the government" at all! -- are insisting that
the researchers they fund and employ make their peer-reviewed research
freely available to all would-be users online, in line with the purpose
of conducting and funding and publishing research in the first place.

This quite natural (and overdue) adaptation to the online age on the
part of the research community -- Green OA -- may or may not lead to
a transition to Gold OA publishing: no one knows whether, or when it
will. But what is already known is that OA itself, whether Green or Gold,
is enormously beneficial to research, researchers, their institutions
and funders, the vast R&D industry, and the tax-paying public that funds
research and for whose benefit it is funded, conducted and published.
(OA is also a secondary benefit to education and the developing world.)

So the "tipping point" for Green OA itself is an unalloyed benefit for
everyone but the peer-reviewed journal publishing industry, whether or
not it leads to a second tipping point and a transition to Gold OA.

Reality today, to repeat, is a growth in Green OA mandates, not a tipping
point (let alone two), not a subscription decline, not publishers going
out of business, not government pressure toward another publishing

You ask "what kind of structure will take its place and what expectations
will universities have of their presses to pick up the slack?" I presume
you are referring to the multiple hypothetical conditional: *if* Green OA
mandates reach the tipping point that generates 100% Green OA, and *if*
that in turn generates journal cancellations that reach the tipping
point that generates a transition to Gold OA? The answer (which I have
provided many times before) is simple: The "structure" will be Gold OA,
funded out of (a part of) the institutional cancellation savings.

And this is not about publishing in general, commercial, society,
university, or otherwise. It is only about peer-reviewed journal
publishing, and their hypothetical transition to Gold OA under
cancellation pressure from mandated Green OA.

Stevan Harnad

    Harnad, S. (2005) Critique of ALPSP'S 1st Response to RCUK's Open
Access Self-Archiving Proposal.

    ________ (2005) Rebuttal of STM Response to RCUK Self-Archiving
Policy Proposal.

    ________ (2005) Applying Optimality Findings: A Critique of Graham
Taylor's Critique of RCUK Policy Proposal.

    ________ (2006) Critique of EPS/RIN/RCUK/DTI "Evidence-Based
Analysis of Data Concerning Scholarly Journal Publishing".

    ________ (2006) How to Counter All Opposition to the FRPAA
Self-Archiving Mandate

    ________ (2006) Critique of AAP/PSP Critique of FRPAA Proposal

    Berners-Lee, T., De Roure, D., Harnad, S. and Shadbolt, N. (2005)
Open Letter to Research Councils UK: Rebuttal of ALPSP Critique.

    ________ (2005) Journal publishing and author self-archiving:
Peaceful Co-Existence and Fruitful Collaboration.

    A Simple Way to Optimize the NIH Public Access Policy

    Guide for the Perplexed: Re: UK Select Committee Inquiry

    Critique of PSP/AAP Critique of NIH Proposal

    Critique of STM Critique of NIH Proposal

    Critique of Stanford/HighWire Press Critique of NIH Proposal

    Critique of PSP/AAP Critique of NIH Proposal

    Critique of APS Critique of NIH Proposal

    Please Don't Copy-Cat Clone NIH-12 Non-OA Policy!

    Journal Publishing and Author Self-Archiving:
    Peaceful Co-Existence and Fruitful Collaboration

    Critique of Research Fortnight article on RCUK policy proposal

    Not a Proud Day in the Annals of the Royal Society

    Feedback on the Brussels EC Meeting on Open Access

    The Immediate-Deposit/Optional Access (ID/OA) Mandate:
    Rationale and Model

    Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates:
    What? Where? When? Why? How?

> Sandy Thatcher
> Penn State Press
> > Thomas, Chuck & McDonald, Robert H. (2007)
> > Measuring and Comparing Participation Patterns in Digital
> > Repositories: Repositories by the Numbers, Part 1.
> > D-lib Magazine 13 (9/10)
> >
> > doi:10.1045/september2007-mcdonald
> >
> > EXCERPT: "As for mandatory-deposit repositories, the limited
> > available data indicate authors represented in such repositories
> > tend to contribute more of their intellectual output. Sale (2006)
> > predicted institutions establishing deposit mandates were likely
> > to see such results within three years of implementing these
> > policies... This study's findings only reinforce such predictions
> > and arguments favoring institutional mandates. As the data in this
> > article show, a mandate is arguably the "tipping point" described
> > by
> > Gladwell (2000) that can make depositing behavior among scholars
> > not
> > just widespread, but also more of an ingrained and complete
> > behavior."
Received on Thu Sep 20 2007 - 15:05:11 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:49:03 GMT