Re: Certification and Dissemination

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 04:53:26 +0100

On Tue, 29 Apr 2008, Ian.Russell [Chief Executive, ALPSP] wrote:

> As I said, if both repository dissemination and peer review are
> being paid for by subscriptions, gold OA or some other method
> then I personally have no problem. I don't know how I could have
> been clearer on this.

A bit of mix-up there. Journals and their expenses (including
the cost of administering peer review) are being paid for by
institutional subscriptions today.

Institutional repositories pay their own IR and deposit expenses.

I certainly hope that Ian is not suggesting that the institutions and
their authors should pay journals *extra* today in order to self-archive
their own published output in their own IRs while all those journals'
expenses are being paid by institutional subscriptions, for that would
sound very much like double-dipping.

    The "Double-Pay"/"Buy-Back" Argument for Open Access is Invalid

    Think Twice Instead of Double-Paying for Open Access

    OA or mOre-pAy?

    Gold Fever and Trojan Folly

    Double-Paying for Optional Gold OA Instead of Mandating Green OA
    While Subscriptions Are Still Paying for Publication: Trojan Folly

    Trojan Horse from American Chemical Society: Caveat Emptor

> However, the Southampton University mandate (and by extension
> other similar mandates) is unfunded because the University has
> made no clear commitment to support the scholarly communication
> system by continuing to subscribe to journals; or to make a clear
> and unambiguous commitment to meet gold OA fees; or to come up
> with some other method of funding the system.

(We were talking about subscription journals, so let's leave Gold OA
journals out of it for now; we'll get back to them in moment.)

Institutions are continuing to subscribe to journals, but this has
nothing to do with institutions self-archiving: They self-archive their
own refereed research output. Their subscriptions buy in the refereed
research output of other institutions.

If and when Green OA self-archiving should ever make subscriptions
unsustainable (as I have already pointed out several times), *then*
journals can downsize to become peer-review service-providers alone (and
institutions will have plenty of windfall subscription savings out of
which to pay the much-reduced Gold OA fees for their own article output).

But right now, while subscriptions are still sustaining journals, there
is no question of extracting additional fees from author-institutions

> I think that you made the point about subscription revenue
> providing compensation for peer review because you misread or
> misunderstood my first paragraph. If it is paid for by
> subscriptions as it has been for 350 years then, of course, no
> problem. If you have an unfunded mandate like Southampton
> University's where: 1) authors have to deposit a version of the
> article after publishers have added value, but 2) the University
> has not made a commitment to cover gold OA fees, and 3) the
> University expects to make 'subscription savings' through
> cancellations then Southampton becomes a free rider on the rest
> of the system and with enough free riders the system will break
> down.

I wonder where the connection between Southampton University's
self-archiving mandate and Southampton University 'subscription savings'
came from? How can an author-institution cancel journals just because it
is making its own *article* output OA? The subscriptions don't buy in the
institution's own article output: The institution already has that! Its
subscriptions buy in the article output of other institutions.

But perhaps you are referring to what might eventually happened if
all universities follow the cue from Southampton (and the 41 other
universities [including Harvard] and research funders [including RCUK,
ERC and NIH] that have mandated OA self-archiving, as the EUA has
recommended for its 791 universities)?

But I have already answered that: If and when universal Green OA
should ever make subscriptions unsustainable, then journals can downsize
and convert to the Gold OA cost-recovery model to cover the costs of
administering and certifying the outcome of peer-review with their
titles and track-records.

That's the natural remedy for free riding (not double-dipping).

> This argument is really a side show though as we simply don't
> know how the subscription journal / repository relationship will
> work although we have both agreed in the past that it will most
> likely result in journals going out of business.

I don't recall agreeing about that! I am certain journal titles will
continue to exist, along with their editorial boards, referees, authors,
and track-records. Some titles may migrate to Gold OA publishers if
their subscription-based publishers don't want to stay in business,
but that's not *journals* (or peer review) going out of business.

> As regards the output of publicly funded research: No, I am
> sorry you are quite wrong. If the output from the university was
> 'peer-reviewed journal articles' then the system would never have
> needed publishers to organize the peer review. I believe I
> answered in my original post why this is not 'free'.

And I believe I answered how peer review is being paid for today.

> Incidentally, 'certification' is one of a number of areas where
> publishers add value and it really must be noted that
> certification is much more that simply running a peer review
> *process*.

Much more? It seems to me that once the peer review is done and the
article is accepted, certification simply amounts to affixing the
journal title (and with it its track record for quality).

> Anyway, it seems to me that the issue would easily be solved if
> Southampton University makes a campus-wide commitment to meet
> gold OA fees. Why hasn't it?

Why should it? Most Southampton articles (like most articles everywhere)
are being published in subscription journals today, not in Gold OA
journals, and those subscriptions are being paid by the subscribing
institutions today (and Southampton is subscribing to whatever journals
it feels it needs and can afford today).

Stevan Harnad

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: [mailto:owner-liblicense-
> >] On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
> > Sent: 28 April 2008 23:43
> > To:
> > Subject: RE: Certification and Dissemination
> >
> > On Sun, 27 Apr 2008, Ian.Russell wrote:
> >
> > > But in order to have BOTH, you have to pay for BOTH and that
> > > means paying both for repository dissemination and for peer
> > > review either using the established subscription model, author
> > > side payment (gold) open access or some other method...
> >
> > And both *are* being paid for: About $3000 per paper published
> > (through institutional journal subscriptions) plus about $10
> > per paper archived.
> >
> > I don't quite understand what you are alluding to here.
> >
> > > You don't get both by imposing unfunded mandates like that
> > > announced by Southampton University.
> >
> > Subscribing institutions pay for journals by subscribing to
> > them.
> >
> > Institutions pay (the little they cost) for their Institutional
> > Repositories for the benefits they confer on the institution:
> > Inventorying, showcasing, archiving, monitoring and assessing
> > its own research output, as well as maximizing its visibility,
> > accessibility, usage and impact.
> >
> > The authors' 6 minutes of extra keystrokes per paper deposited
> > cost nothing. They are an investment in their research, just as
> > all the preceding keystrokes were.
> >
> > And here is what Southampton University has to say about its
> > "unfunded" mandate:
> >
> > "The University of Southampton is to make all its
> > academic and scientific research output freely available.
> > A decision by the University to provide core funding for
> > its Institutional Repository establishes it as a central
> > part of its research infrastructure..."
> >
> > ity%20of%20Southampton%20
> >
> > > And this is my point: Whilst I agree with the argument that
> > > the output of publicly funded research (or from a research
> > > institution) - which is the author's original article - should
> > > be freely available to the public, I do not believe that the
> > > 'refereed postprint' (to use your terminology, I prefer
> > > 'accepted manuscript') should necessarily be freely given
> > > away. That decision should be up to the organization that
> > > added the value by peer reviewing it and associating it with
> > > its brand.
> >
> > The output of publicly funded research is peer-reviewed journal
> > articles -- which the peers review for free for publishers, and
> > the authors give their publishers for free to sell for
> > subscription, in exchange for having administered the peer
> > review.
> >
> > If and when subscriptions become unsustainable, institutions
> > can publishers pay for the peer review of their own article
> > output out of a small portion of their annual windfall savings
> > from the cancelled journal subscriptions.
> >
> > Maximizing the usage and impact of their own peer-reviewed
> > research output is certainly not a decision institutions and
> > funders need to leave up to publishers, and that is what the
> > growing wave of Green OA self-archiving mandates is about.
> >
> >
> > > What right, exactly, do those imposing unfunded mandates have
> > > to stipulate that the value added in this way be given up for
> > > no compensation?
> >
> > Would you say that subscription revenue was no compensation?
> >
> > > Of course, the authors have the right to choose where to
> > > publish and long may that continue.
> > >
> > > In anticipation of arguments that peer review is done 'for
> > > free' I hasten to add that (i) this isn't the only value added
> > > (ii) operating peer review processes are very expensive and
> > > that (iii) referees have the choice whether or not to give
> > > their time and expertise to peer review articles (those
> > > investing in peer review are given no choice regarding whether
> > > or not to give away the fruits of their labours by unfunded
> > > mandates).
> >
> > The operating costs of administering peer review (and much
> > more) are paid for today by institutional subscription revenue.
> > If and when Green OA should ever make subscriptions
> > unsustainable, publishing will convert to Gold OA and
> > institutions will pay for the costs or administering peer
> > review (and no more) out of a portion of their subscription
> > savings.
> >
> > Publishers today have a choice: They can wait to see whether
> > universal Green OA eventually makes subscriptions
> > unsustainable, or they can convert to Gold OA right now, or
> > they can let their titles migrate to publishers that are happy
> > to wait, or convert, right now. Only one choice is not open to
> > publishers: To prevent authors and institutions from making the
> > choice to maximize the impact of their refereed research output
> > by self-archiving it.
> >
> > Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Apr 30 2008 - 05:20:09 BST

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