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

From: David Prosser <david.prosser_at_BODLEY.OX.AC.UK>
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2009 15:01:07 +0100

So, there is little hard evidence as to whether discussion of Gold helps or
hinders in an institution's attempt to implement a Green OA mandate. One of
the few pieces of evidence that we have, from Harvard, suggests that it can
help. However, this fails to fit in with Stevan's narrative and so we are
encouraged to ignore it.

I think that we can all agree that the Harvard mandate(s) is vitally
important in triggering discussions at other universities - everybody want
to ape Harvard. However, rather than saying 'here are the arguments that
led Harvard to adopt these polices' we appear to be putting forward reasons
why these arguments will not work elsewhere: 'these arguments were a great
success - don't under any circumstances use them!'. I find this positioning
rather bizarre.

If I were offering advice it would be for each institution to focus on the
arguments that will work best locally. The 85 existing mandates have used a
variety of arguments and strategies - adopt those that will work best
locally. And if that includes talking about Gold then talk about Gold.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
Sent: 13 June 2009 22:03
Subject: Re: On Proportion and Strategy: OA, non-OA, Gold-OA, Paid-OA

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
> 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
>> 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
>> "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 Sun Jun 14 2009 - 15:35:25 BST

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