Re: OA in Europe suffers a setback

From: Arthur Sale <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 11:32:33 +1100

The evidence is quite clear that advocacy does not work by itself, and never
has worked anywhere. To repeat the bleeding obvious once again: depositing
in repositories is avoidable work under a voluntary regime, and like all
avoidable work it will be avoided by most academics, even if perceived to be
in their best interests, and even if the work is minor. The work needs to be
(a) required and (b) integrated into the work pattern of researchers, so it
becomes the norm. This is the purpose of mandates - to make it clear to
researchers that they are expected to do this work.

My research and published papers show that mandates do work, and they take a
couple of years for the message to sink in. Enforcement need only be a light
touch - reporting to heads of departments for example. See and

At the risk of boring some, may I point to a similar case in Australia. All
universities are required to produce an annual return to the Australian
Government of publications in the previous year in the categories of
refereed journal articles, refereed conference papers, books, and book
chapters. The universities make this known to their staff (a mandate), and
they all fill out forms and provide photocopies of the works. The workload
is considerably more than depositing a paper in a repository. The scheme has
been going for many years and is regarded as part of the academic routine.
The data is used by Government to determine part of the university block
grant. The result is near 100% compliance.

What I am doing in Australia is pressing for this already existing mandate
to be extended to the repositories. If the researcher deposits in the
repository, and the annual return is automatically derived from the
repository, then (a) the researcher wins because it takes him/her less time,
(b) it takes the administrators less time as the process is automated and
only needs to be audited, and (c) the repository delivers its usual benefits
for those with eyes to see. All we need is for the research office to
promulgate such a policy in each university. It is in their own interests as
well as the university's.

Received on Wed Nov 28 2007 - 03:37:42 GMT

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