Re: Don't Just Advocate Keystrokes: Advocate Keystroke Mandates

From: Talat Chaudhri [tac] <tac_at_ABER.AC.UK>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 14:55:55 -0000

Thanks, Stevan,

My point earlier was that advocacy begins at home, which Arthur's post
appeared to pour cold water on as a method, somewhat unfairly. As I say,
even in a short while I have already seen this to be effective. It is
great that efforts such as yours have worked at least in the UK, if not
yet in Brussels and Washington to the same extent. Clearly the message,
whether addressed to academics in one's own university or to
governmental institutions, sinks in faster in some quarters than in
others - but the work is still worth it. May I suggest that you lobby
the remaining UK research council directly, citing the decisions of the
others? Or perhaps you are already doing this? Hopefully other countries
will shortly see that OA has worked in countries that have such funding
regimes in place.

My aim here is not to rely on voluntarism, but to build from it by
trying to develop de facto mandates through conversations with
departmental organisers and university management until proper mandates
are in place. If I can convince them that OA is the way the wind is
blowing, especially in terms of future funding, we will get results. We
have conversations ongoing with two pro-VCs as well, so we are not
inactive on that front either.

You clearly have more information on mandates than I do - nevertheless,
the results will take time to become clear. The benefits of OA that you
describe are clear, but we need local advocacy for them to be effective
in changing practices.

> All HEFCE need do is to declare that it will be harvesting both
> publications and metrics from the Institutional Repositories. (And all
> universities need do is mandate deposit in them.)

Yes, but as I say we can only hope that this is in fact done, since the
new system is untested and somewhat unclear as yet in its details. I
know you have great hopes for metrics, but the RAE is not yet dead and

> Repository managers can't mandate deposit. Only VCs and department
heads can.

Obviously true, but I must say that library/IT staff here seem to be
making a big impact on these individuals, which I hope will continue. It
sounds anecdotally to me as though UKCoRR colleagues and others
elsewhere are making progress too.

> I am sure RCUK councils will be spelling out the deposit requirement
> their criteria -- they are so good at spelling out all their other
> conditions!

As I said, academics need to bother to read what is spelled out to them!
Though research councils already do this, it is still widely ignored! It
is up to repository managers to provide information pro-actively, for OA
to succeed.

> I agree that university advocacy is now more important than funder
> advocacy in the UK: But what's needed is university mandates! EU
> funder mandates might have helped hasten university mandates (but it
> could also work vice versa). The only thing that has already been
> demonstrated to be insufficient is voluntarism, no matter how
> encouraged and promoted.

Voluntarism was a useful seed, at least, and can remain so. It worked in
fields such as physics.

> Bravo Talat -- but don't stop at advocating keystrokes: Advocate
> keystroke mandates too!

I've already noticed that there are some significant differences of
opinion and approach in the repository community, but it remains rather
heartening that everybody agrees on the principle. I for one would be
happy to write to MEPs and MPs for my own part: in practice it helps in
such campaigns if somebody provides central co-ordination.

I'm actually rather hopeful that OA is reaching a turning point, and
that all this will pay off soon.


Received on Wed Nov 28 2007 - 22:38:26 GMT

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