Re: OA in Europe suffers a setback

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 13:24:38 +0000

On Wed, 28 Nov 2007, N. Miradon wrote:

> I suggest that someone who knows about these things (S. Harnad, are you
> listening?) should write a screed, not more than half a page of A4, on
> Green
> OA self-archiving. Call it "Harvesting the Fruit of EU Research". Take
> the
> point of view of a Brussels bureaucrat. Explain to her _how_ Green OA
> self-archiving of EU-supported projects could be done, and _why_. Post the
> script here for comments. Revise as necessary. Then put a copy in the
> pocket
> of every researcher on this list who has an EU research contract (DRIVER,
> are you listening?), and ask them to discuss face to face when next they
> meet their EU project officer.

OK: Here's a first draft. Comments and suggestions welcome:

Harvesting the Fruit of EU Research

Europe invests NN million euros of European tax-payers' money in funding
research. The purpose is to generate maximal returns to the European
tax-payer from the uptake, usage and application of that research to
further research progress and to R&D industrial applications.

This is called "research impact." One of the strongest metrics of
research impact is citations: The more research is used and built upon
by further research, the more it is cited. Hence the more citations
research generates, the greater its impact.

In order to be used and applied, research has to be accessible. Research
is published in peer-reviewed journals, but journal subscriptions do
not maximize research access, because not all researchers' institutions
can afford subscription access to all research journals. Hence research
impact is needlessly lost. How much research impact is being lost?

Studies across all fields of research have now demonstrated that if
subscription access is supplemented with free online access (Open Access,
OA) -- by researchers self-archiving their final drafts in their own
Institutional Repositories (IRs), research impact is doubled. That means
twice as much research impact for the same level of research funding.

Nearly 70% of journals already endorse immediate OA self-archiving by
their authors. Only about 15% of authors are self-archiving
spontaneously, but 95% report they would self-archive if it were
mandated by their institutions and/or funders.

A growing number of research institutions and funders are
accordingly mandating that the research output they fund must be
be self-archived.

For the 30% published in journals that do not yet endorse immediate OA
self-archiving, it is sufficient to mandate that the final draft should
be deposited in the author's IR immediately upon acceptance. Access can
be set as Closed Access rather than OA during any embargo period. The
IRs have "email eprint request" buttons that allow users to request and
authors to provide single copies for individual research almost instantly.

Mandating OA self-archiving for funded research is a natural extension
of mandating that the research should be published at all ("publish or
perish"). It is also the optimal way to monitor and showcase research
output, for institutions and funders, to maintain a record of research
assets, and to credit and reward research impact, by harvesting research
impact metrics (citations, downloads, etc.) as part of a system of
continuous research productivity monitoring and assessment.

And, most important, mandating OA self-archiving will also maximise
European research impact, thereby maximising the return on European
tax-payers' investment in research.

> On the basis of feedback received, revise the script again. Put a copy in
> the pocket of every one of your colleagues who has an EU research
> contract,
> from Avionics to Zoonoses. Ask each of them to discuss face to face, next
> time they meet their project officer, or (even better) her Head of Unit /
> Director / Director General.

Ready to receive feedback.

Stevan Harnad

> The aim is to get Green OA self-archiving into the front of the minds of
> the
> people who will be penning the details of the European Union's Eighth
> Framework Programme.
> "Get in early. EU policies are like supertankers ~V a small nudge early on
> can make an enormous difference to the end position, but the later you
> leave
> it the harder you have to push to make any difference at all. Produce the
> first bit of paper, and then you will have set the agenda" [3].
> N. Miradon
> [1]
> [2]
> ement-7eme-pcrd/article-120312
> [3]
Received on Wed Nov 28 2007 - 13:33:37 GMT

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