In Defense of the American Psychological Association's Green OA Policy

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2008 18:38:00 -0400

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                               ** Cross-Posted **

    In Defense of the American Psychological Association's Green OA

      SUMMARY: So the American Psychological Association
      (APA) is trying to charge $2500 per article to
      fulfill NIH's Green OA
      mandate by proxy-depositing in PubMed Central on the
      author's behalf? So maybe if NIH had sensibly mandated
      depositing in the author's own Institutional Repository
      (IR), this awkward problem wouldn't have come up? Like
      the majority of journals, APA journals are Green on
      authors self-archiving in their own IRs. There's still
      time to fix the NIH mandate so good sense can prevail...


Although it looks bad on the face of it -- the American Psychological
Association (APA) charging the author's institution and/or research
grant $2500, not for Gold OA publishing, but for depositing the
author's refereed final draft in PubMed Central (PMC) on the author's
behalf ("proxy self-archiving"), in order to fulfill the NIH
mandate -- things are not always as they seem.

There is no culprit in this nonsense, but if I had to pinpoint its
provenance, it would be the foolish form in which the NIH --
despite relentlessly repeated advice and reasons to the contrary --
insisted on drafting its policy: 

To cut to the quick, there is no earthly reason NIH should insist on
direct deposit in PMC. The mandate should be (and should all along
have been) to deposit in the author's own Institutional Repository
(IR). PMC can then harvest the metadata and link to the IR-deposited
full-text itself from there.

APA (and the majority of other journals) -- for reasons they would
have found it very hard to justify flouting -- have long given
their green lights to immediate deposit (no delay, no embargo, and of
course no fee) in the author's own IR:

      APA Policy on Posting Articles on the Internet

      Update effective June 1, 2002

      Authors of articles published in APA journals may post a
      copy of the final manuscript, as a word processing, PDF,
      or other type file, on their Web site or their employer's
      server after it is accepted for publication. The
      following conditions would prevail:
            ? The posted article must carry an APA
            copyright notice and include a link to the
            APA journal home page.
            ? Further, the posted article must include
            the following statement: "This article may
            not exactly replicate the final version
            published in the APA journal. It is not the
            copy of record."
            ? APA does not permit archiving with any
            other non-APA repositories.
            ? APA does not provide electronic copies of
            the APA published version for this purpose,
            and authors are not permitted to scan in the
            APA published version.


To repeat, a publisher that is Green on immediate OA self-archiving
in the author's own IR is squarely on the side of the angels. (If
that publisher seeks to profit from NIH's gratuitous insistence on
institution-external deposit, by treating PMC as a 3rd-party
free-loader or rival publisher, hence legally requiring permission to
re-publish, I would say that NIH drew that upon itself. As noted many
times, that technicality does not work with an author's own

And it is remediable: Simply revise the NIH mandate to require
institutional IR deposit of the accepted final draft, immediately
upon acceptance, with a cap on the permissible embargo length, if
any. That is the sensible policy -- and nature will take care of the
rest, with universal OA just around the corner.

      A Simple Way to Optimize the NIH Public Access
      Policy (Oct 2004)

      THE FEEDER AND THE DRIVER: Deposit Institutionally,
      Harvest Centrally (Jan 2008)

      Optimize the NIH Mandate Now: Deposit Institutionally,
      Harvest Centrally (Jan 2008)

      How To Integrate University and Funder Open Access
      Mandates (Mar 2008)

      NIH Invites Recommendations on How to Implement and
      Monitor Compliance with Its OA Self-Archiving
      Mandate (Apr 2008)

      Institutional Repositories vs Subject/Central
      Repositories (Jun 2008)

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Received on Tue Jul 15 2008 - 23:46:44 BST

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