Re: Certification and Dissemination

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 16:38:03 +0100

On Fri, 2 May 2008, Ian Russell [Chief Executive, ALPSP] wrote:

> No, I am not talking about "double dipping" (the only way that
> could possibly be relevant is in the context of hybrid journals
> which have not previously been mentioned in this exchange).

Fine. We are agreed on this. You are not talking about double-dipping. But
read on:

> I am talking about clearly and unambiguously making a commitment to
> fund the certification function in the scholarly journal
> publishing system rather than acting as a parasite on the current
> funding mechanism.

But then, Ian, can you please specify exactly what you mind by a "clear
commitment to fund rather than act as a parasite"?

Are the current institutional subscribers to subscription journals not
making a clear (annual) commitment (as always)?

Or do you mean a commitment to subscribe in perpetuo, come what may?
(That would be something rather new!)

And what does an institution's subscription annual commitment, for its
*incoming* subscribed content -- consisting of the refereed research
output of *other* institutions -- have to do with its own *outgoing*
refereed research output? (They may not even be in the same journals!)

Or are you, again, thinking of some sort of advance commitment to the
effect that -- if and when self-archiving makes 100% of all institutions'
refereed research output freely available to all other institutions --
those institutions will all continue subscribing to journals, in

For that is a rather tall order, in order to escape being called a
"parasite"! For if and when 100% self-archiving generates 100% OA,
and if and when that in turn generates cancellations sufficient to
make subscription-based cost-recovery unsustainable, the natural (and
entirely unparasitic) outcome that I keep pointing out (and you keep
ignoring) is this:

Publishers cut obsolete costs (e.g. print), downsize to providing peer
review only, and convert to Gold OA publishing, with text production,
dissemination and archiving offloaded onto the institutional repositories,
and the sole remaining publication costs (peer review) paid for
on the Gold OA cost-recovery model, by the author-institution, per
outgoing article, out of the institutional windfall savings from by
the institution's own subscription cancellations on (what used to be)
its own former incoming subscription content.

> As I said, though, to some extent this is a side show.

Perhaps, but it might save us repeating ourselves and bypassing one
another if you did not keep systematically ignoring the natural transition
scenario I have just described (yet again), which answers your point about
"commitment" and "parasitism."

> IR: Regarding our previous agreement on self archiving causing
> subscription cancellations, I refer to the quote attributed to
> you at:
> > SH: "it is possible, indeed probable, that self-archiving will cause
> > some cancellations".

I have indeed said that, and I reaffirm it here. But does that sound
like an affirmation of what you cited me as having said:

> > > IR: we've both agreed in the past that it will most
> > > likely result in journals going out of business.

What I said was that if/when 100% Green OA should eventually make
subscriptions unsustainable, journals will simply downsize and convert
to Gold OA and institutions will pay for peer review on the Gold OA
model out of their cancellation savings. No parasitism, then or now.

I also pointed out that journals will not go out of business (though some
titles might migrate to other publishers, if some publishers decide they
do not wish to continue publishing them on the Gold OA model).

Still no parasitism.

It sounds like what you are asking for is an advance commitment that
this transition will never take place. The only way to make a commitment
to that is for institutions to commit themselves *not* to self-archive
their own refereed research output, in order to sustain publishers'
current subscription model, at the cost of their own lost research usage,
impact, applications and progress.

If so, Ian, I am afraid you are asking for too much. Research is not
funded, conducted and published in order to sustain the publishing
industry's current subscription model. It is funded, conducted and
published in order to maximise research usage, impact, applications
and progress.

> IR: The real issue is unfunded mandates - like the one imposed by
> Southampton University on its researchers. Going back to my
> original post:
> > IR: 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."

I have also fully answered that several times, but let me try to
paraphrase the logic above, cutting to the quick:

You agree that unrefereed research should be free online, but you think
refereed research should not be (even though the referees, too, referee
for free).

Your reason is that administering the refereeing costs money (to

I reply that that (and more) is all being paid for today by institutional

You think institutions mandating that their refereed research be made
free online is parasitic.

I repeat that the institutional subscriptions are still paying the bill.

You say you want a "commitment" -- but that you do *not* mean
"double-dipping" (yet you do not state exactly what that commitment is
meant to be:

I suspect you are asking institutions to cease and desist from mandating
the self-archiving of refereed research altogether, lest it eventually
generate a transition to the Gold OA cost-recovery model).

But let me save you the trouble:

I much prefer robust OA self-archiving mandates of the form: Immediate
Deposit (of the refereed postprint, immediately upon acceptance for
publication) AND setting of access privileges to that deposit as Open
Access, likewise immediately upon deposit.

However, I (and many others) are in fact advocating a compromise
as the default OA self-archiving mandate (called the "IDOA
Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access" mandate -- and the "DDR Dual Deposit
Release" Mandate by Peter Suber).

IDOA/DDR merely requires immediate deposit (of the refereed postprint)
but it leaves OA-setting optional (sometimes capping the permitted delay
or embargo at 6 months or 1 year): Access during the embargo can be
provisionally set as Closed Access, which means only the bibliographic
metadata are accessible webwide, not the postprint itself.

To tide over the world's usage needs for embargoed deposits, the IRs have
a Button, in which anyone who has retrieved the metadata for a Closed
Access deposit can cut/paste their email address and click, in order
to send an instant automatic email to the author, requesting a single
copy for research purposes. With one click on a URL in the email message
received, the author can automatically email the postprint instantly to
the requester.

This is merely the online-age automatization of a practice that all
researchers have used for decades. It is not OA, but (as you see) it is
almost-OA, it is a natural development of the online medium, and all it
needs to make it universal is IDOA mandates - *Deposit* mandates.

The handwriting is on the wall, Ian, and it is very simple: Free online
access to refereed research is optimal and inevitable for research,
researchers, their institutions, their funders, the vast R&D industry,
and the tax-paying public for whose benefit the research is being

The refereed research journal publishing industry is a *service*
industry. Research is not being conducted as a service to the publishing
industry. What will prevail is not what is best for the publishing
industry, but what is best for research, and the publishing industry
will have to adapt to it. The online medium has made OA optimal
for research, and hence inevitable. Get used to it. It is for the best,
and journals will survive, and thrive.

> and that is why I believe it is unacceptable for Southampton
> University to announce its mandate without also making a
> commitment to fund OA fees.

I wonder why you are particularly exercised by Southampton's mandate,
since there are now 43 mandates worldwide, from 21 universities
(including Harvard) and 22 funders (including NIH, ERC, and all but one
of RCUK)?

But, for the record, exactly what "commitment" are you asking for, from
Southampton, given that you say you are not talking about
double-dipping, and given that Southampton (like all other universities)
subscribes to whatever journals it feels it can afford -- and the fact
that Southampton is making its own research output OA has absolutely no
bearing on their choice of which journals to subscribe to?

Stevan Harnad

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: [mailto:owner-liblicense-
> >] On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
> > Sent: 30 April 2008 23:10
> > To:
> > Subject: RE: Certification and Dissemination
> >
> > 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.
> [SNIP]
Received on Fri May 02 2008 - 17:02:15 BST

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