Re: Does Zurich's Mandate Work? Was: Zurich's Mandate doesn't work

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2008 16:09:05 -0500

On Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 6:50 AM, Leslie Carr <>

      A good way to do large samples of the repository is via a

      Search for (e.g.) all refereed items, and you will get
      back over 3000
      eprints in pages of 20. Each of the 20 items will have a
      PDF icon next
      to it if it has a PDF full text with it. You can then
      count up very
      quickly the ratio of full-text-deposits to

      I would avoid taking very recent samples (from the last 6
      months) as
      they may represent items that have been submitted but not
      accepted for
      publication. In some repositories, and under some policy
      regimes, the
      author may choose to deposit their metadata but wait for
      until they deposit the full text.

      Each batch of 20 eprints (ie each page from the search
      results) that I
      have tested briefly comes up with around 14/20 full

Many thanks to Les Carr for this helpful information.

I would add (regarding the subsample for U. Zurich's Institute of
History , which on 9 December consisted of 19 deposits, none of them
full-text) that history is a book-intensive field, that OA's mandates
apply to journal articles rather than book chapters, and that 17 out
of the 19 no-full-text deposits for the Historical Institute were
book-chapters rather than journal articles. 

One may of course sample any field at all, but if the issue is
whether U Zurich's Green OA mandate does or does not work, the
question is what percentage of UZ's annual journal article output is
being deposited as full-text rather than how many history book
chapters are being deposited without full text.

OA's primary target -- and OA mandates' sole mandatory target -- is
peer-reviewed journal articles, and that is the basis on which we
must assess whether and how well UZ's mandate is working. 

(The underlying rationale is that journal articles are an
exception-free author-give-away corpus; so OA mandates should ensure
the practice of making them all OA. After that, the palpable benefits
of universal OA for journal articles will in turn make it
increasingly likely that the practice will generalize to other kinds
of content as it grows. But if we instead insist on over-reaching ,
by trying right now to get all contents to be made OA, even those
that are not exception-free author-giveaways, and hence not OA's
primary target, we only raise the bar needlessly for getting authors
to self-archive, and for getting OA self-archiving mandates
successfully adopted at all: One step at a time!)

The other thing that may well help get more book-chapters deposited
as full-text is the email-eprint-request ("Almost-OA") Button : I
note that one of the 17 UZ History Institute's book chapters was in
fact deposited as full-text, but as Closed Access, alongside the
email-eprint-request Button. It will require more instruction,
experience, and probably many more OA mandates before authors
everywhere understand the use of the Button; but as their
understanding and experience increases, the Button itself will
embolden and entice them to deposit more contents as Closed Access
full-texts at the very least, even when it is not mandatory to do so.
(And as we approach 100% full-text deposit globally, thanks to the
mandates, there will be more and more pressure and temptation and
inclination to make more and more of those deposits OA immediately.)

The only real metric of the success of UZ's mandate, however, is the
percentage of UZ's current annual research article output that is
being deposited as full-text. It is not clear whether Les Carr's
estimate of about 70% full-text in ZORA applies to that content in
particular, but perhaps ZORA's Open Access Coordinator , Prof. Dr.
Christian Fuhrer, could be invited to post a direct estimate of that,
if it is available?

The special case of book-intensive fields is of interest, but the
only thing we can do about it today is to mandate deposit for their
journal articles, and let them experience the enhanced usage and
citations this brings. Depositing the metadata-only -- *
including the reference lists -- for their books and book chapters
should also be encouraged, as this will allow book citation metrics
to be harvested, calculated and linked by impact-engines such as
Citebase, Citeseer, Scopus, Google Scholar (maybe eventually Thompson
ISI too!). Both the success of their OA journal articles and the
metrics for their books and book chapters may then help encourage
authors in book-intensive fields to extend their self-archiving
practice to depositing the full-texts of their books and
book-chapters too, at least as Closed Access (plus the Button,
thereby providing "Almost-OA").

Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Dec 12 2008 - 21:10:50 GMT

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