RE: Certification and Dissemination

From: Ian.Russell <>
Date: Fri, 9 May 2008 17:29:11 EDT

Hi Stevan,

I have used Southampton University's mandate as an example since
I am a Southampton alumnus and as such I am particularly
disappointed by the detail of their unfunded mandate.

I'm not so sure that "the handwriting" really is on the wall -
otherwise mandates and lobbying wouldn't be needed, but as ever
we'll see as things play out.

Just so that my position is clear, I'll go through your summary
points and respond again but that will be it for me on this
exchange - I suspect that the general readers of this list have
had enough and we should continue, if necessary, off-list.

> SH: 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).

IR: Correct, but I have already stated why refereeing is not free
and that peer review is much more than a process. It also
relates to the authority bestowed by a journal brand etc. In my
opinion it is a grave mistake to try to reduce down the value
added in this way to a mere 'process'.

> SH: Your reason is that administering the refereeing costs
> money (to publishers).

IR: That is certainly part, but by no means all, of it. There is
more to it than that as I have touched on above.

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

IR: Today? But we are not talking about a "steady state". If we
can agree that wide-spread archiving will mean that established
subscription income will decline, then surely funds have to be
unambiguously made available for the only other show in town:
author-side payment. I commend the Wellcome Trust for the
clarity of their statements on this in the past. Why has
Southampton University not done the same?

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

IR: Correct. It relies on journals to certify, bestow authority,
for provenance etc. I am sorry if the term causes offence, but I
do believe it describes the relationship well. If there is a
less pejorative term with the same meaning then I'd be happy to
use that instead.

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

IR: I repeat that we are not talking about a "steady state". I
can understand why you are trying to make this an argument about
subscription journals but it is not. We can't have it both ways
and say that subscriptions will still pay the bills AND that
cancellations (and hence cost savings) are inevitable.

> 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:

IR: With respect I have stated exactly that already - in
Southampton University's case a clear, campus wide commitment to
meet author side payment fees. As regards "double-dipping", it
is important not to conflate the issues for an individual journal
or research institution with those of the system as a whole. I
don't believe that the PLoS journals could be accused of
double-dipping, nor journals that reduce their subscription
prices in line with the number of articles published under an
author-side payment system. Why should PLoS lose out because
Southampton University (for example) refuses to cover author-side
payment fees?

> 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).

IR: I am asking institutions not to mandate deposit of research
that has been peer-reviewed by a journal, yes, because it is
parasitic on the journals system (irrespective of business model)
and I do not see how they can claim the right to do so. I would
also oppose someone that stated that liquid oxygen is just free
air and advocating that it should therefore be made freely
available. I am most definitely NOT asking this lest it
facilitate a move to Gold OA. Please do not put words into my
mouth here. I have no problem with Gold OA - it is certainly
preferable to unfunded mandates. As I have said repeatedly in
this exchange so long as the system is paying for the
certification elements of scholarly exchange I have no problem.

Best wishes,

Ian Russell
Chief Executive, ALPSP
Received on Sat May 10 2008 - 00:36:35 BST

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