Re: [SOAF] Another Winning Article From OA's Chronicler and Conscience: Richard Poynder

From: Sally Morris <>
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 09:33:46 -0000

Author apathy (or actual unease) about self-archiving is certainly
what Sue Thorn and I found in our recent study (to be published in
Learned Publishing in July).   Extract from abstract follows:


"... less than half knew what self-archiving was;  36% thought it was
a good idea and 50% were unsure.  Just under half said they used
repositories of self-archived articles, but 13% of references were
not in fact to self-archiving repositories.   29% said they
self-archived their own articles, but 10% of references were not to
publicly accessible sites of any kind.  The access and convenience of
self-archiving repositories were seen as positive, but there were
concerns about quality control, workload for authors and
institutions, chaotic proliferation of versions, and potential damage
to existing journals, publishers and societies."


I don't believe that saying you would do something if you were
obliged to do so is the same as actually wanting it (or even
necessarily understanding it)





Sally Morris


South House, The Street

Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK


Tel: +44(0)1903 871286

Fax: +44(0)8701 202806



From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
Sent: 12 March 2009 17:51
Subject: Re: [SOAF] Another Winning Article From OA's Chronicler and
Conscience: Richard Poynder


On Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 8:32 AM, Ivy Anderson (UCoP) (IA) wrote
(about University of California's (UC's) arrangement with Springer to
renew Springer journals on condition that all UC authors' articles
published in Springer journals are made Gold OA and deposited in UC's
Institutional Repository (eScholarship) by Springer):


IA: "Researchers' apathy toward voluntary self-deposit (except in
narrow disciplines) has begun to be viewed by some as an indicator of
indifference - if scholars truly cared (the argument goes), the game
should be changing much more rapidly, since they themselves are the
true owners of the system." 


It is not quite accurate to say that researchers are apathetic about
self-deposits. Rather, most universities and funders (with the
exception of the 67 that have already done so) seem to be apathetic
about mandating self-deposit (Green OA).


The researchers themselves have expressed their view in several
international, interdisciplinary surveys, and the view is consistent:


"[Our] international, cross-disciplinary author study on open access
had 1296 respondents... The vast majority of authors (81%) would
willingly comply with a mandate from their employer or research
funder to deposit copies of their articles in an institutional or
subject-based repository." (Swan 2005)


 [See attachment if you cannot view figure; figure is also here .]




These author opinion-survey outcomes have since been confirmed in
actual author behavior by Arthur Sale, whose studies have shown that,
if (and only if) deposit is actually mandated, authors do
self-deposit, and deposit rates rise from the global spontaneous
(i.e., unmandated) rate of 15% to approach 100% within 2 years of
adoption of the Green OA mandate. The 67 university and funder
mandates to date are further confirming this (including NIH's delayed
upgrade to a mandate, with deposits up from 4% before to 60% within
the first year of adoption).


The three main reasons researchers are not self-archiving
spontaneously are (1) worries that it might be illegal, (2) worries
that it might put acceptance by their preferred journal at risk, and
(3) worries that it might take a lot of time. They need Green OA
mandates from their institutions and funders not in order to coerce
them to self-archive but in order to embolden them to self-archive,
making it official policy that it is not only okay for them to
self-archive, but that it is expected of them, and well worth the few
minutes worth of extra keystrokes per paper.

UC renewing Springer's fleet of 2000 journals may have merits of its
own, but apart from that it seems a pricey way to spare UC authors' a
few minutes' worth of  (Green OA) keystrokes.


IA: "The same can be said of author-sponsored gold OA (it is not that
hard for an editorial board to resign and take its journal elsewhere
- at least it should not be, if there were an obvious somewhere else
to go)." 


But a rather crucial difference is that universities and funders can
mandate that their employees and fundees self-deposit, but they
cannot mandate that they resign from editiorial boards, nor can they
mandate that their publishers provide Gold OA.


They can pay publishers to do it, evidently, but it is the wisdom as
well as the scalability of that strategy that is at issue here! What
looks as if it will work locally for one university, dealing with one
publisher, does not scale to 10,000 universities doing it with the
publishers of 25,000 journals, not even for the subset of journals
that each university currently subscribes to: Annual university
subscriptions to incoming journals or journal-fleets are
fundamentally different from annual university "memberships" in
exchange for the publication of outgoing articles: Articles are not
published on the basis of an annual journal/publisher quota but on
the basis of the individual peer-review outcome, per article, per


IA: "Gold OA journals that require a one-to-one correspondence
between `membership' fees and author uptake are beginning to lose
library support"


Exactly. And to understand the real reason why, see the scaling
scenario above.


IA: "My own conversations and observations lead me to believe that
for most authors, the difficulties and uncertainties, rather than the
desirability of the outcome, are the main obstacle.  But if academic
administrators believe that researchers don't care, then support for
institutional repositories, which entail their own costs, will wither
in difficult times.  Large acts are needed, ones which place a
significant amount of research output on an open access footing in
ways that capture people's interest and imagination.  Harvard's
mandate is certainly one such act."


You seem to have answered your own question: Mandate Green OA, as
Harvard did.


IA: "UC's largescale arrangement with a major publisher is


Not unless you can explain how it is to scale from just an ad hoc
local arrangement between one university (even one as big as UC) and
one (big) fleet-publisher to something that can work for all
universities and all journals without dissolving into Escher-drawing


IA: "In UC's arrangement with Springer, UC-authored articles will be
deposited in our eScholarship repository.  If enough other
institutions followed suit (and 3 other European organizations have
already preceded us), a large number of papers in those journals will
be available in institutional repositories.  Some of my librarian
colleagues (the ones most skeptical of this experiment) have told me
that if that happens, their institutions will cancel, and the system
will convulse."


Please explain to me how paying for Gold OA for a university's own
article output, in a particular journal or journal-fleet, via a
university subscription to that journal or journal fleet, will induce
cancellations of that journal or journal-fleet: Who will cancel? The
nonsubscribing institutions? (They have nothing to cancel.) The
subscribing institutions? But then what happens to their own authors'
Gold OA output to that journal or journal-fleet? And what happens to
their own users' need for access to that journal or journal-fleet, if
the Gold OA is no longer being paid for? And how do you cancel
journals when they are still part Gold OA and part not?


My guess is that not even a small fraction of these awkward
contingencies has even been considered by UC, let alone
thought-through, in this somnambulistic plunge into institutional
Gilded OA deals. Nor is it in any publisher's interest, in making a
Big Deal like this, to awaken their client to any of these t
+Blogsroublesome complications, since they concern how the client is
to deal with their competitors, further down the road, when one's own
"Big Deal" is no longer the only deal in town...


 Stevan Harnad



Received on Fri Mar 13 2009 - 17:49:14 GMT

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