Re: OA in Europe suffers a setback

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 14:08:30 +0000

> > > N. MIRADON [regarding the tepid European Parliament statement on OA]
> > >
> > > Thus are battles lost [owing to lack of sufficient OA lobbying]
> >
> >
> > How come? Academics have to make their work openly
> > accessible to make open access work. Waiting for
> Absolutely right. Mandates are all very well, whether within
> universities or nationally, but they are worthless unless they are
> complied with. Penalties for non-compliance are effectively impossible.
> I heard someone at UKCoRR compare the situation to speeding fines
> lately. Do these stop people from driving at 40mph in a 30mph zone? No.

So much for the usefulness and effectiveness of laws, then!

> In fact, the fact that the law is unenforceable, penalties not
> withstanding, tends to bring any law or mandate into disrepute.

The law in question here is simply whether the EU (or US)
government requires the EU (or US) governmental funding agencies to
require (Green) OA self-archiving as a condition for receiving funding.

The government *can* require that. And compliance (by the funding
agencies) is enforceable. Compliance by fundees depends on whether they
wish to be funded. Six of the seven UK funding agencies, the Wellcome
Trust, and other funders already require OA self-archiving.

In addition, a growing number of universities is requiring it too.
Alma Swan's author surveys predicted that 95% researchers would comply
with such mandates, over 80% of them willingly, and Arthur Sale's actual
data on university OA self-archiving mandate compliance bear out those

        Swan, A. and Brown, S. (2005) Open access self-archiving:
        An author study. JISC Technical Report, Key Perspectives Inc.

         Sale, Arthur (2006) Researchers and institutional
         repositories, in Jacobs, Neil, Eds. Open Access: Key
         Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects, chapter 9,
         pages 87-100. Chandos Publishing (Oxford) Limited.

         Sale, A. The Impact of Mandatory Policies on
         ETD Acquisition. D-Lib Magazine April 2006,

         Sale, A. Comparison of content policies for institutional
         repositories in Australia. First Monday, 11(4), April 2006.

         Sale, A. The acquisition of open access research
         articles. First Monday, 11(9), October 2006.

         Sale, A. (2007) The Patchwork Mandate
         D-Lib Magazine 13 1/2 January/February

> Two things will make OA work: (1) active and continuous advocacy;

Underway, but not insufficient.

> (2) mandates from funding bodies, with future funding conditional on
> compliance.

On the way, but insufficient. (Not all research is funded.)

University mandates are needed too -- and they are on the way too
(see Prof. Rentier's activities in Europe, and keep your eye out for
what UUK may shortly be doing in the UK).

> However, we have already encountered academics under such
> financially dependent mandates who did not realise this, and without
> advocacy on our part would apparently have been penalised in future.
> All this simply shows that the carrot is always more effective than the
> stick. This should be obvious to anyone who has been involved in
> education. You can, as the saying goes, take a horse to water, but you
> can't make it drink.

The carrot is already in place, and it is called research impact metrics.
Studies are repeatedly showing that OA dramatically enhances research
impacts, and research impact is what research funders such as HECFE --
as well as university research performance reviews -- are measuring
and rewarding.

    Harnad, S. (2007) Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research
    Assessment Exercise. Scientometrics (in press) and Proceedings of
    11th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Scientometrics
    and Informetrics 11(1), 27-33, Madrid, Spain. Torres-Salinas,
    D. and Moed, H. F., Eds.

    Harnad, S. (2005) Making the case for web-based self-archiving.
    Research Money 19(16).

    Harnad, S. (2006) Self-archiving should be mandatory. Research

> Brussels will have to deal with OA when the time is ripe. Cheers,

The time is ripe, and it is being dealt with all over the planet. The
only question about Brussels is whether it will be one of the leaders
or one of the followers.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Chaire de recherche du Canada Professor of Cognitive Science
Institut des sciences cognitives Electronics & Computer Science
Universite du Quebec a Montreal University of Southampton
Montrel, Quebec Highfield,
Canada H3C 3P8 SO17 1BJ United
Received on Tue Nov 27 2007 - 14:25:29 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:49:07 GMT