Re: On Proportion and Strategy: OA, non-OA, Gold-OA, Paid-OA

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 2009 17:02:33 -0400

On Sat, Jun 13, 2009 at 2:16 PM, David
Prosser<> wrote:

>> SH: The implication is that it is far more productive (of OA) for universities
> and funders to mandate Green OA than to fund Gold OA.
> DP: And if it was a case of either/or then you may well be right.  But it's not
> and I still see no strategic benefit in pretending that it is.

See: The Argument Against (Premature) Gold OA Support:

>> "Although Green and Gold OA are definitely not independent of each other,
>> their interdependence is subtle and not at all the simple, parallel complementarity
>> that many imagine it to be...
>> "Any needless cost at all associated with adopting and implementing a Green OA
>> mandate is a deterrent to arriving at consensus on adoption, not an incentive...
>> "Once Green OA mandates are safely universalizing, then any institution or funder
>> that has cash to spare can spend as much of it as it likes on Gold OA. But not now,
>> when talk of Gold OA just distracts -- and talk of spending extra money on it
>> deters -- from mandating Green OA..."

If there were any evidence (or any reason to believe) that a both/and
policy -- a Green OA deposit requirement plus finding and providing
funds to pay for for Gold OA -- was more rather than less likely to
achieve worldwide consensus on adoption than just a Green OA deposit
mandate alone, with no extra cost, then you would be right. Otherwise
I still see no strategic benefit in pretending that it is.

For the baseline difficulty of achieving consensus on mandate adoption
at all, I have in mind the fact that, although it is thankfully
beginning to accelerate now, there have been only 85 adoptions since
the first mandate in 2002 (with only a handful of them offering any
Gold OA subsidy).

For the deterrence, I have in mind the vast majority of the Have-Not
Universities of the world, compared to the Harvards, along with the
commonsense fact that it is easier to achieve agreement on doing
something that costs less rather than more (and especially if it costs
unnecessarily more).

For the distraction, I have in mind the mind-boggling fact that there
have been proposals and even adoption of policies to fund Gold OA
without even mandating Green OA:

Having said that, on what institutions and funders elect to do with
any spare cash *after* they have mandated Green OA *nolo contendere*.

Stevan Harnad

PS Testimony from institutional policy-makers would be welcome: Do you
have any evidence that achieving consensus on adopting both/and
policies (Green OA mandates coupled with Gold OA subsidies) is more
likely than achieving consensus on adopting Green OA mandates alone?
This is worthy of open discussion in this Forum, which is devoted to
OA strategy: Stuart Shieber, for example, has reported that at Harvard
he found Gold OA subsidies helpful in assuaging worries about the
future of journal publishing, should it turn out that universal Green
OA makes subscriptions unsustainable: -- But that
was at Harvard (and I responded to that by suggesting that it might be
even more effective to spell out for worriers that institutional
subscription collapse by the same token releases the institutional
windfall subscription cancellation savings to pay for Gold OA, with no
need for any extra subsidy ). -- What is the
experience of the Have-Nots on this strategic question?
Received on Sat Jun 13 2009 - 22:03:50 BST

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