Re: OA mandate from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2009 19:39:34 -0400

On Sat, Oct 17, 2009 at 5:58 PM, Klaus Graf wrote:

> "The Depot is intended for use by UK universities, colleges and
> research institutes."
> 94,000 active UK researchers in the business sector and 9,500 in
> government are NOT allowed to deposit in DEPOT unless affiliated to a
> thing which is called "research institute" by DEPOT.

A. In my prior response I said (1) institutional deposit should be the
the first, default option, for a funder mandate, (2) interim
repositories like DEPOT should be the second option, and (3) direct
deposit in a specified central repository can be the third option --
allowed, but not *required*, as the sole option, as it is now, by a
number of important funder mandates.

B. DEPOT is currently considering making itself available as a generic
interim repository internationally, with no restriction on country;
with caution, this could also be extended to unaffiliated authors, but
the criterion will need to be that the deposit is a postprint,
accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, otherwise there
would be some risk of crackpot and junk deposits or worse.

C. There are other interim repositories, one of them being CogPrints,
which I manage. And EPrints stands ready to create more interim
repositories, open for deposits internationally and cross-disciplinary
*if ever the need actually arises.*

But here you really need some context and some reality-testing, Klaus,
because *both DEPOT and CogPrints are near-empty too*! This highlights
the fact that what is missing, and what is holding back OA, is not
places where would-be depositors can deposit, but can't, because they
lack an institution, or an institution with a repository. What is
missing is deposit mandates from funders and institutions.

You are fighting a battle to solve a non-problem on behalf of a
nonexistent constituency: would-be depositors, eager to deposit, or
eager to comply with deposit mandates, but with no place to deposit.
That is not reality, and it is not the problem of OA today. It is
merely an imaginary problem and shadow-boxing.

In reality, such nonproblems merely add to the long list of
distractions, misunderstanding, and non sequiturs that are still
holding back the research community from the simple tried, tested and
demonstrated solution that will generate OA virtually overnight:
deposit mandates by research-producing institutions, reinforced by
funder mandates.

That's all there is to it. But I am fully prepared for yet another
non-sequitur: Institutionally unaffiliated and unfunded researchers
can't be mandated, perhaps? Or free online access is not enough --
re-use rights are needed too? Journals are still over-priced? Gold OA?
Books? Copyright reform? Peer review reform? PDF? The eprint-request

Those problems -- if they are indeed problems -- will take care of
themselves, *after* we have all the OA from universal institutional
and funder deposit mandates. But right now, the only effect of
endlessly foregrounding them is to keep draw attention and effort away
from the real OA problem instead of supporting its practical solution.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sun Oct 18 2009 - 00:40:36 BST

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