Re: The Accelerating Worldwide Adoption Rate for Green Open Access Self-Archiving Mandates

From: Arthur Sale <ahjs_at_OZEMAIL.COM.AU>
Date: Wed, 27 May 2009 14:02:13 +1000



I think there is an interesting subtext here.


Institutions with mandates, since they are more aware of the issues,
often specify the ID/OA mandate and have a better knowledge of
copyright. Therefore one would suspect that at the present time they
would honour publisher embargoes and not show as OA documents that
they hold in the repository as restricted. They may or may not
implement the Request-a-copy button. One therefore has to be careful
in deciding what 60% compliance means. It may mean 100% compliance.
Does it mean that the remaining 40% were not deposited, or that most
were deposited but not made OA?


I note that some institutions in Australia have started using their
repositories to fulfil their obligations to the Australian Government
to report all research meeting refereeing criteria. This means that
all research articles will have their metadata in the repository
(otherwise the university loses funding big time), but not all will
have a document to back them up, whether restricted or OA.


As Stevan says, it is difficult to know how researcher-imposed
mandates will fare. Perhaps Heads of Faculties or Schools or
Departments or their administrators will encourage/follow-up. We will
see. I wish them well and hope someone monitors them.




From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
Sent: Wednesday, 27 May 2009 12:06 PM
Worldwide Adoption Rate for Green Open Access Self-Archiving Mandates



On 26-May-09, at 5:35 AM, Richard Poynder wrote:

Stevan's comments raise more questions I think:


1. Stevan says, "Full compliance is of course 100% compliance, and
the longer-standing mandates are climbing toward that". 


On my blog Bill Hooker asks, "Where could I find data to show this?"(


I too would be interested to know if and where these data can be


Here's some data for the four oldest mandates, Minho, CERN, QUT and
Southampton ECS, up to 2006 (data from Yassine Gargouri at UQAM; if
you can't see the figure in this message, it's also Figure 1 here.).
Presumably these rates are even better now, in 2009. (These are known
to be underestimates for at least CERN and Southampton. Perhaps Eloy
Rodrigues and Tom Cochrane have recent updates for Minho and QUT.)



2. Responding to my question about mandate opt-outs Stevan cites the
results of Alma Swan's international surveys in which, "most authors
report they would comply willingly with a self-archiving mandate."


Can we be confident that voluntary departmental commitments to
self-archive will attract the same compliance rates as a mandate
requiring researchers, as a condition of their employment, to
self-archive? (And thus can we be confident that Alma Swan's surveys
answer my question?)


We can't assume it, but my guess is they'll grow at least as fast.


Stevan says, "Researchers need to be reassured that their departments
or institutions or funders are indeed fully behind self-archiving,
and indeed expect it of them."


Is that what's happening with some of the new voluntary mandates?


Too early to tell, but obviously they've managed to self-adopt them
without the need of higher-level reassurance!


For instance, the Gustavus Adolphus College Library Faculty recently
published an OA pledge
( Amongst
other things, the Library Faculty promise, "to make our own research
freely available whenever possible by seeking publishers that have
either adopted open access policies, publish contents online without
restriction, and/or allow authors to self-archive their publications
on the web."


It adds, "Librarians may submit their work to a publication that does
not follow open access principles and will not allow self archiving
only if it is clearly the best or only option for publication;
however, librarians will actively seek out publishers that allow them
to make their research available freely online and, when necessary,
will negotiate with publishers to improve publication agreements."


On ACRLog, the Chair of the Gustavus Adolphus Library Department
Barbara Fister says, "we haven't had the time or money to start up an
institutional repository. We also, quite frankly, don't have a
terribly sophisticated grasp of all the OA arguments, the copyright
issues, and the color choices. (Green? Gold? What about mauve?) We've
also very, very busy trying to wrap up a big project, working with
departments to make enough cuts that we can balance our budget next
year - without scuttling our commitment to undergraduate research."


Well, you may be right that the GA "mandate" by librarians was more
wishful thinking than an informed decision, based on the above
passage (so maybe it was just wishful thinking to include it in
ROARMAP).  Let's see how it goes in the next few months. Even as
gestures, the library "patchwork mandates" may help as inducements
for more emulations by other patchworkers and institutions...

 How relevant are Alma Swan's findings when predicting the likely
outcome of such a pledge, or indeed many of the other recent
departmental commitments to OA, many of which include opt-outs?


You are right to be uncertain about "mandates" with opt-outs. But
lots of the earlier mandates included hedges (sometimes, I suspect,
just to please their legal advisors, who mostly don't know mandates
from maniocs!). And Harvard (hence soon also its many emulators) has
been responsive to feedback, and in its FAQ has
effectively upgraded its mandate to include an immediate-deposit
clause with no opt-out.


But Richard, let's not forget that none of the 83 mandates adopted to
date is perfect, in that none says that all refereed final drafts
must be immediately made OA upon acceptance for publication: They
either allow opt-outs, or they allow embargoes, or they hedge with
"where possible" or "where consistent with copyright" or (in what I
think is the optimal compromise) immediate-deposit but allowing the
option of setting access to the deposit as Closed Access during any
alllowable embargo.


I have lost a lot of sleep over the overall slowness to adopt
mandates at all; but I am serenely confident that once mandates do
prevail widely (as it was always inevitable that they would), nature
will take its course, and they will all turn into immediate OA
mandates. Far rather a flawed mandate now, than no mandate at all!

 Nine years ago the founders of Public Library of Science organised
an open letter to publishers. As a result 34,000 researchers from 180
countries made a pledge not to submit papers to any journal that
refused to make the articles it published "available through online
public libraries of science such as PubMed Central" 6 months after


Only a handful of publishers complied, but researchers ignored their
own pledge and carried on publishing in those journals.


Now that is completely different, I think. Those 34,000 researchers
were threatening to boycott publishers if the publishers did not
provide (Gold) OA. It was obvious (not only to me but to the
publishers) that the boycott threat was just bluff, as the
researchers would have no choice but to keep publishing with their
publishers if the publishers did not comply (and they didn't, so they
did). It was not in the hands of those researchers to provide Gold OA
publishing. But that was also their silliness and short-sightedness
at the time, for it was within those researchers' hands to provide
Green OA -- but it never even occurred to them! This was probably one
of the earliest manifestations of Gold Fever clouding the vision and
judgment of those who were seeking OA. (See the "keystroke koan.")


But there is no counterpart to any of this with self-imposed Green OA
mandates: Now it really is in the researchers' own hands to provide
the OA they seek: no second party to have to bully or bluff. And no
sacrifice called for (as there definitely would have been, if the
34,000 had followed through on their bluff, and not published their
findings at all as of the appointed deadline!).


So I'd rest easy about that. And also about the imperfections in
today's first wave of mandates. There's no need to over-reach
(neither for perfect mandates, nor for "libre" OA, nor for CC
licenses, nor for Gold OA): all of the rest and more will come
naturally with the territory, as Green OA mandates become universal.


Stevan Harnad


      From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
      Behalf OfStevan Harnad
      Sent: 23 May 2009 20:25
      Subject: The Accelerating Worldwide Adoption Rate for
      Green Open Access Self-Archiving Mandates


In response to Alma Swan's graphic demonstration (posted
yesterday and partly reproduced below) of the accelerating
growth rate of Green Open Access Self-Archiving Mandates (now
including NIH, Harvard, Stanfordand MIT), Richard Poynder has
posted some some very useful comments and questions. Below are
some comments by way of reply:


FIGURE: Accelerating Growth Rate in Worldwide Adoptions
of Green Open Access Self-Archiving Mandates (2002-2009, in
half-year increments) by Research Funders, Institutions, and
Departments/Faculties/Schools (Swan 2009)


(1) The latest and fastest-growing kinds of Green Open Access
Self-Archiving Mandates are not only self-chosen by the
researchers themselves, but they are department/faculty/school
mandates, rather than full university-wide mandates. These are
the "patchwork mandates" that Arthur Sale already began
recommending presciently back in 2007, in preference to waiting
passively for university-wide consensus to be reached.

(The option of opting out is only useful if it applies, not to
the the deposit itself [of the refereed final draft, which
should be deposited, without opt-out, immediately upon
acceptance for publication], but to whether access to the
deposit is immediately set as Open Access.)

(2) Another recent progress report for Institutional
Repositories, following Stirling's, is Aberystwyth's, which
reached 2000 deposits in May.

(3) Richard asks: "Will the fact that many of the new mandates
include opt-outs affect compliance rates? (Will that make them
appear more voluntary than mandatory?)"

[comply1.jpg] According to Alma Swan's international surveys,
most authors report they would comply willingly with a
self-archiving mandate. The problem is less with achieving
compliance on adopted mandates than with achieving consensus on
the adoption of the mandate in the first place. (Hence, again,
Arthur Sale's sage advice to adopt "patchwork"
department/faculty/school mandates, rather than waiting
passively for consensus on the adoption of full university-wide
mandates, is the right advice.) 

And the principal purpose of mandates themselves is
to reinforceresearchers' already-existing inclination to
maximise access and usage for their give-away articles, not
to force researchers to do something they don't already want to

(Researchers need to be reassured that their departments or
institutions or funders are indeed fully behind self-archiving,
and indeed expect it of them; otherwise researchers remain in a
state of "Zeno's Paralysis" about self-archiving year upon
year, because of countless groundless worries, such
as copyright, journal choice, and even how
much time self-archiving takes.)

(4) Richard also asks: "What is full compliance so far as a
self-archiving mandate is concerned?" 

Full compliance is of course 100% compliance, and the
longer-standing mandates are climbing toward that, but their
biggest boost will come not only from time, nor even from the
increasingly palpable local benefits of OA self-archiving (in
terms of enhanced research impact), but from the global growth
of Green OA Self-Archiving Mandates that Alma has
just graphically demonstrated.

(5) "What other questions should we be asking?" 

We should be asking what university students and staff can do
to accelerate and facilitate the adoption of mandates at their
institution. (See "Waking OA's "Slumbering Giant": The
University's Mandate To Mandate Open Access.")

And the right way to judge the success of a mandate is not just
by reporting the growth in an institution's yearly deposit
rates, but by plotting the growth in deposit rate as a
percentage of the institution's yearly output of research
articles, for the articles actually published in that same

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum


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Received on Wed May 27 2009 - 11:11:06 BST

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