Re: Institutional Mandates and Institutional OA Repository Growth

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 15:56:13 +0100

On Thu, 27 Sep 2007, Sandy Thatcher wrote:

> I wish I could share your optimism, Stevan, but we just published a book
> about Rutgers (by an English professor there) that shows that the Rutgers
> administration, pressured by the sports boosters on its board of trustees,
> are quite happy to spend lots of money on upgrading the football stadium
> and
> ensuring that the team will rank in the top ten while the academic
> infrastructure of the school, including classrooms, literally crumbles
> into
> disrepair. Is this "rational"? Not to my mind, but it is happening in many
> places these days. "A lot of e-mails and phone calls" from not only their
> faculty but students and alumni as well have had no effect on the
> university's determination to sacrifice its academic reputation at the
> altar
> of big-time sports-so much for faculty power and the "dead-obvious
> solution"
> to the university's $34 million budget deficit.

(1) Sandy is of course right about these occasional (or frequent)
egregious failures in judgment on the part of some universities.

(2) But if there were a general rule here, then Rutgers should *already*
have diverted its library journal budget toward alleviating its budget

(3) Research, like football, is a source of revenue for universities,
generating research funding, attracting students and faculty, and
inspiring alumni giving.

(4) So if universities with big budget deficits do not deem it desirable
to cancel journals and divert those savings toward lessening their deficits
today, when journals cost money and research is published for free,
it is not at all obvious that they would deem it desirable to divert the
(hypothetical) savings from the (hypothetical) cancellations generated
(hypothetically) by 100% Green OA self-archiving, at a (hypothetical)
time when publication charges would replace subscriptions.

(5) On the other hand, universities with or without budget deficits
might be able to appreciate the (hypothetical) contingency that they
would have to pay a lot less for publishing their own peer-reviewed
research output than they are now paying for buying in one another's
peer-reviewed research output, once it was all being self-archived
in each university's own institutional repository, free for all, with
journals only needing to charge for managing the service of peer review.

(6) If the actual evidence of enhanced research usage and impact generated
by self-archiving their own research is not enough to inspire researchers
today to self-archive, and to inspire their institutions (and funders)
to mandate that they self-archive, perhaps this added hypothetical
prospect -- of overall net savings from the hypothetical transition from
subscription fees to Gold OA fees -- will.

But now lets put an end to speculation and second-guessing about what
universities *would* do with the money, *if* -- and return to what they
can and should do (and are already beginning to do, with success),
at no expense, now: mandate Green OA self-archiving, and reap the
benefits in terms of enhanced research impact.

Stevan Harnad

> Sandy Thatcher
> Penn State University Press
> > It seems a safe bet that since the logical brainwork in question is
> > just a one-step deduction (which I think university administrators,
> > even with their atrophied neurons, should still be capable of making,
> > if they are still capable of getting up in the morning at all), the
> > dance-step will be mastered: Faced with the question "Do we use the
> > newfound windfall cancellation savings from our former publication
> > buy-in to pay for the newfound publication costs of our research
> > publication output, or for something else, letting our research
> > output fend for itself?"they will -- under the pressure of logic,
> > necessity,practicality, self-interest, and a lot of emails and phone
> > calls from their research-publishing faculty -- find their way to
> > the dead-obvious solution...
> >
> > Best wishes,
> >
> > Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Sep 28 2007 - 16:14:06 BST

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