Publisher Proxy Deposit Is A Potential Trojan Horse

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2008 14:51:47 +0000

                  ** Apologies for Cross-Posting **

    Hyperlinked version of this posting:

I suggest not colluding with publishers offering to "let us do the
[mandated] deposit for you".

The reason is simple, if we take the moment to think it through:

(1) The OA movement's goal is to provide Open Access (OA) to 100%
of the world's peer-reviewed research article output.

(2) The goal of [some] publishers is to preserve the status quo -- or
the closest approximation to it -- for as long as possible, at all

(3) The providers of both the research and the peer review, in all
disciplines, are the employees of the universities (and research
institutions) worldwide (and the fundees of the funded research).

(4) The only way to cover all of OA's target space is for all research
output, from all universities worldwide, funded and unfunded, across
all disciplines, to be made OA.

(5) OA self-archiving mandates from universities and funders (39 so far,
worldwide) can ensure that all research is made OA.

(6) Some funders (e.g. NIH) -- but *no universities* (e.g. Harvard)
-- have mandated direct university-external self-archiving (in PubMed
Central) instead of direct university self-archiving (and central
harvesting). This was an unnecessary strategic mistake.

(7) University-external, subject-based self-archiving does not scale
up to cover all of OA output space: it is divergent, divisive, arbitrary,
incoherent and unnecessary.

(8) The way to scale up systematically to capture all of OA output is for
both funders and universities to mandate that all research output, in
all disciplines, from all universities worldwide, funded and unfunded,
should be self-archived in each university's own Institutional Repository
(IR). (The deposits, or their metadata, can then be externally harvested
into whatever subject-based, disciplinary, or multidisciplinary central
collections we may desire.)

(9) The universities are the research providers; the universities are
the co-beneficiaries of showcasing, archiving, auditing, assessing and
maximizing the visibility, usage and impact of (all) their own research
output, funded and unfunded, across all disciplines.

(10) The universities are also in the natural and optimal position to
monitor and reward their own employees' compliance with both university
and funder self-archiving mandates.

(11) It would hence systematically undermine the scaling and convergence
of OA self-archiving mandates onto university IRs to transfer
responsibility for compliance to an external party -- the publisher
as their employees' proxy self-archiver -- depositing in arbitrary and
divergent external repositories.

(12) Universities and funders should universally mandate self-archiving
directly in each author's own university's IR; they should say "no, thank
you" to offers of proxy self-archiving on behalf of their employees from
publishers. External collections can then be harvested, as desired, from
the IRs that will then cover 100% of OA output.

[Similar considerations, but on a much lesser scale, militate against
the strategy of universities out-sourcing the creation and management of
their IRs and self-archiving policies to external contractors: accounting,
archiving, record-keeping and asset management should surely be kept under
direct local control by universities. There's nothing so complicated
or daunting about self-archiving and IRs as to require resorting to an
external service. (More tentatively, I am also sceptical that library
proxy self-archiving rather than direct author self-archiving is a wise
choice in the long run -- though it is definitely a useful option as a
start-up supplement, if coupled with a mandate, and has been
successfully implemented in several cases, including QUT and CERN.)]

Stevan Harnad

On Mon, 17 Mar 2008, T Scott Plutchak wrote:

> Thank you, Ann, for suggesting this! I've been puzzling over the
> same thing. Might I suggest that it would also be useful if you
> could get samples of the messages that the publisher will send to
> the investigator to alert them that they need to go in to approve
> the submission? It'll be very helpful as we're preparing
> information pages for our folks if we can provide them with
> concrete examples of what to expect.
> Scott
> T. Scott Plutchak
> Director, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences
> University of Alabama at Birmingham
> ________________________________
> From: on behalf of Ann Okerson
> Sent: Fri 3/14/2008 11:37 AM
> To:
> Subject: Deposit Mandates as part of Publisher Services
> This message is aimed (primarily but not necessarily exclusively)
> at the STM publishers who are members of liblicense-l:
> If your publishing organization is providing for your authors the
> service of deposit of their articles according to various
> mandates, particularly NIH (beginning on 4/7) could you kindly
> describe the nature or extent of these services by sending *to
> me* ( a descriptive note of what and how
> you do this? If you are in the planning stages, can you write to
> that effect? It will be helpful, from the institutional end, to
> understand where such services are being or will be provided,
> outside of universities, as we continue to develop our own
> protocols. If there is overlap or redundancy, it might be useful
> to sort that out. If your response should be confidential at
> this time, please so note.
> If there is an interesting set of responses, I'll summarize here.
> Thank you, Ann Okerson/Yale Library
Received on Tue Mar 18 2008 - 15:18:28 GMT

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