Re: Publishers with Paid Options for Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 14:35:19 -0400

On 3-Sep-08, at 12:42 PM, McGrath, Andria wrote:

AM: "It may be foolishness on the part of the funders, but I'm
afriad it is the case that ALL the UK medical funders do insist
that articles reporting research funded by them are posted on
UK PubMedCentral within 6 months."

I have a simple solution, both for individual authors and for
institutions who are trying to comply with a funder mandate to
self-archive centrally articles that are published by journals that
only endorse institutional OA self-archiving:

      (1) Deposit the (refereed) postprint institutionally,
      immediately upon acceptance for publication.

      (2) If the journal is Green on immediate OA, make the
      deposit immediately OA (otherwise rely on the "email
      eprint request" Button).

      (3) If setting access to the deposit to OA is embargoed,
      set the access to OA when the embargo is over.

      (4) If a funder requires deposit in UK PubMedCentral, set
      up SWORD for your IR so it will export the deposit to
      UKPMC at the requisite time -- and then let UKPMC worry
      about access-setting for the UKPMC version.

The author has complied with the funder mandate by depositing in his
IR immediately upon acceptance for publication, and by setting access
to the IR deposit as OA at the end of the publisher embargo. 

That's all there is to it. Funders cannot mandate any more of an
author. And if the funder wants to pay publishers for the right to
make the central UKPMC version OA, let them pay the publisher

The funder mandates are deposit mandates, not payment mandates.
Comply by depositing institutionally, providing OA institutionally,
and exporting the deposit to UKPMC. That's all there is to it.

AM: "I have just been going through Romeo trying to determine
which of the major publishers allow this without the payment of
article processing charges and there are very few. So far I
have come up with BMJ Publishing, CUP, Company of Bioloigsts
and Nat. Acad. Sci. that do allow this."

Fine. When those IR deposits are exported via SWORD to UKPMC, there
will be no charge to be paid. For publishers other than those four,
 there may be; that is not the problem of the author or his
institution. And anyone construing the funder mandates as implying
that it is the problem of the author or his institution, and that the
mandate entails any further expense to the author or his institution,
is profoundly misconstruing the mandate, the rationale for the
mandate, and the rationale for OA.

Andria, you will have to get used to the fact that steps have been
taken without carefully thinking them through. The funder OA mandates
were very timely and welcome, and extremely important historically.
But some (by no means all!) of them were also vague, careless, and,
to a great extent "monkey see, monkey do" (many taking their cue from
NIH and the Wellcome Trust, who themselves had not thought it through
carefully enough). 

MRC simply adopted the wrong (because inchoate) mandate model. Other
RCUK councils (such as, ARC, BBSRC , STFC) picked a better one. So
did Europe's ERC, and now the EC, based on the EURAB model, which is
the IDOA mandate model, the optimal one, and leads to none of these
nonsensical consequences.

Good sense will eventually prevail, but until then, those who are
trying to implement the existing mandates should not try to put
themselves through impossible hoops -- and on no account should they
lead their authors and institutions into grotesque and gratuitous
expenses or constraints that were never the intention of either OA or
OA mandates.

Just follow the sensible steps (1) - (4) above, and the rest will
take care of itself as a matter of natural course.

AM: "As far as I can tell, Elsevier, Humana, Int Med Press,
Wiley, Karger, Kluwer, Royal Soc and Springer do not allow self
archiving in UK PMC by authors within 6 months, so that all
authors funded by the medical charities are going to be forced
into paying article processing charges to comply with their
funders requirements if they publish in these publishers
journals or in fully open access journals that make charges,
like BMC".

Not only is it pure absurdity to imagine that the funder mandates
were actually mandates for authors and their institutions to pay
publishers for paid OA, but it is equally absurd to imagine that they
were mandates for authors to publish only with publishers who endorse
central self-archiving! 

Every single one of the eight publishers you list is on the side of
the angels as regards OA: They are all Green on immediate deposit in
the author's institutional repository, and the immediate setting of
access to that deposit as OA.

Did anyone really imagine that OA was about more than that? That it
further required publishers to consent to deposit in central
repositories, for someone's capricious reasons? (The saga is made
even sillier by the fact that if the blinkered centralists had
sensibly targeted universal IR deposit first, then the dominos would
-- and will -- fall for central repositories soon enough anyway! But
instead they are creating gratuitous obstacles for OA itself, by
putting centrality itself before OA -- and for absolutely no good
reason, since all OA IRs are fully interoperable and harvestable

And don't even get me started on the fatuousness of having decided to
copycat PMC with a UKPMC! As if there were another category of
biomedical research, consisting of UK biomedical research, requiring
a central repository of its own: "Let me see now, what is it that
British researchers -- and British researchers alone -- have found
discovered about AIDS." (I hope no one replies that "one can search
across PMC and UKPMC jointly," because that is the whole point!
Search is done across distributed contents, not by going to -- or
requiring -- one particular locus-of-deposit. Think OAIster, Citeseer
or Google Scholar, not UKPMC! At most, UKPMC could simply be a
harvester of UK biomedical output, for actuarial purposes, wherever
its physical locus might happen to be.)

 AM: "In view of this I do find it useful to have the extra
information that Romeo is adding, and I would welcome even more
specific info about publisher's policies re PMC. If I have any
of this wrong I would be very grateful if people would let me

I think you have a good deal of it very, very wrong -- but it's not
your fault, and you are not alone. I just wonder whether we will
persist in bumbling in this misdirection for a few more years, yet
again, until we discover we have goofed, or we will manage --
mirabile dictu -- to rally the good sense to fix it in advance...

Your weary and fast-wizening archivangelist.

Stevan Harnad

      Andria McGrath BSc MSc MCILIP
      Senior Information Specialist: Research support
      Research & Learning Liaison Team
      Information Services and Systems

      King's College London
      Guy's Campus
      ISC Room 2.5 New Hunt's House
      London SE1 1UL
      (44) 020 7848 6766

Received on Wed Sep 03 2008 - 19:38:44 BST

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