Are Green OA Self-Archiving Mandates Maoist Monstrosities?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 12:05:42 +0000

Apparently those who lived in or near the Soviet Fortress for many years
have been (understandably) so traumatized by the experience that they can
now no longer distinguish between the abuses and absurdities of Bolshevik
control and genuinely beneficial rules. It might help Jan Szczepanski
(below) to contemplate whether academe's longstanding publish-or-perish
mandate (which ensures that researchers bother to publish at all) is
likewise a Maoist aberration... (or, for that matter, anti-smoking and
pro-seatbelt rules -- the latter designed to prevent rather than induce a
"great leap forward"...).

Stevan Harnad

On Tue, 15 Jan 2008, Jan Szczepanski wrote:

> In his latest talk with with prominent open access advocates
> Richard Poynder is talking to Dr Alma Swan. It's a fascinating
> and scary picture that is presented.
> In the late fifties Mao Zedong introduced that Great Leap and now
> fifty years later we are going to take a giant leap according to
> Dr Swan.
> In China backyard steel furnaces would do the job; in Dr Swans
> world it's the mandate and local institutional repository that is
> going to change the world away from big industry and the
> capitalist society.
> Open Access is inevitable according to Dr Swan, as once Socialism
> was. Mandate is the key to the Open Access World.
> Instead of Five Year Plans we will have Metrics to see to it that
> the way forward is the Green Way.
> The commissars overlooking that the Giant Leap will happen is
> "Pro-Vice- Chancellors" at the universities, the real
> representatives of the research communities.
> A citatation from Wikipedia:
> These reforms (sometimes now referred to as /The Little Leap
> Forward/) were generally unpopular with the peasants and usually
> implemented by summoning them to meetings and making them stay
> there for days and sometimes weeks until they "voluntarily"
> agreed to join the collective.
> A citation by Dr Swan:
> AS: Mandates are essential for lots of reasons. One reason is
> that they make researchers aware of Open Access where they
> weren't before. The level of ignorance is still very high. And if
> their university suddenly requires them to do something it will
> focus researchers' minds. More importantly, of course, a mandate
> will actually make them do it, because regardless of the Open
> Access Advantage, they won't put their research into a repository
> if they don't have to. It's another bureaucratic thing to do. And
> they still have worries about the legality of it. Being told by
> their institution to do it gives them the feeling that it is safe
> and sensible to do it. So to make them do it you need to tell
> them that they have to!
> Richard Poynder's comment:
> Dr Swan has a clear eye for what is needed
> How will the future be?
> AS: Once the content and the infrastructure are in place we are
> going to see knowledge take a giant leap. The way to view it is
> that the last 7-8,000 years or so of human civilisation's
> struggle for knowledge has taken place on one plane, determined
> and constrained by what our own brains can absorb, put together
> and make sense of: now we are about to move to another plane
> altogether, with the help of machine brains.
> > From profit makers to machine brains, what a future!
> Jan
> Jan Szczepanski
> Forste bibliotekarie
> Goteborgs universitetsbibliotek
> E-mail:
Received on Wed Jan 16 2008 - 12:35:38 GMT

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