Re: Deposit Mandates vs. Permission Mandates

From: Andrew A. Adams <aaa_at_MEIJI.AC.JP>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2010 18:46:26 +0900

> Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2010 08:52:52 -0400
> From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
> In "Open Access - if you build it (for them) they will come=85"
> ess/
> Jan R. writes:
> "Robert Darnton['s]... "The Case for Open Access"
> makes the useful point that Universities will probably be much more
> effective in building their IRs if they mandate permission (i.e.
> require faculty to secure and then give the university non-exclusive
> permission to host their works on the institutional repository) as
> opposed to mandating deposit (i.e. requiring faculty to do the work of
> stocking the repository.)"
> But what Professor Darnton actually wrote (in Feb 2008) was this:
> "Many repositories already exist in other universities, but they have
> failed to get a large proportion of faculty members to submit their
> articles. The deposit rate at the University of California is 14
> percent, and it is much lower in most other places. By mandating
> copyright retention and by placing those rights in the hands of the
> institution running the repository, the motion will create the
> conditions for a high deposit rate."
> In other words, Darnton was not comparing deposit mandates to
> permission mandates: he was comparing (actual) repositories without
> deposit mandates to (hypothetical) repositories with permission
> mandates (not yet in existence at the time, the world's first being
> Harvard FAS's, adopted in that month).
> There was then (and there still is now, two years later), no evidence
> at all that mandating permission would be more effective in generating
> Open Access than mandating deposit. Quite the opposite. Deposit
> mandates (of which there are more, and of longer standing than
> permission mandates) have been extremely effective, and that evidence
> was already there in 2008. In contrast, the effectiveness of
> permission mandates, which are more recent (beginning in 2008) and
> less numerous, is not yet known.
> Moreover, permission mandates, because they in fact ask for more than
> just deposit, all have to allow an opt-out clause (for those authors
> who cannot or do not wish to negotiate permission with their
> publishers). Hence not only is the effectiveness of permission
> mandates not yet known: it is not even clear whether permission
> mandates are indeed mandates at all.

In support of Stevan's point, but adding a parallel purely practical
consideration to the mix, there is the question of how a "permission mandate"
can significantly reduce the workload on academics while still providing
deposit. If an "optimal" (* - see below for MY definition of optimal in this
context) deposit mandate is adopted, the workload on academics should be very
small: author(s) names, paper title, journal title and basic publication data
(year and/or volume number). How does a "permission mandate" improve on this?
I don't believe it can, because somewhere along the way the author will have
to provide this same information to a "depositor" in some form. The "optimal"
deposit mandate is thus the least work one can require academics to perform
in order to attain the vast bulk of what Open Access seeks to achieve
(reasonably findability of a free as in beer electronic copy of the full text
of an article which a reader already knows they wish to view but to which
they do not have paid access to).

The "permission mandate" is a kludge driven by wanting more than this minimal
required set of data (name, title, journal title, year, full text) and
academics being quite reasonably jealous of their time to do unnecessary
work, hence creating jobs for low level library staff to perform "permitted
deposit" of these richer meta-data having been provided with the minimal
information by the academic. The delay to do this is unnecessary, the method
by which this happens introduces uncertainty and the obvious answer (direct
deposit, requiring minimal, but allowing more, meta-data) is staring us in
the face.

(*) The "optimal" mandate is, by my lights, the requirement for academics to
deposit the full text of their final accepted version in some appropriate
format (pdf is generally preferable to avoid format difficulties, but ODT,
Word, RTF, DVI can all be read by most systems provided they are properly set
up and the document is not deliberately obfuscatory in formatting). Offering
the capacity to add more data (abstract, key words, page numbers, journal
volume and issue number, etc. etc.) is useful but should not be required.
After all, the journal provides the accurate meta-data almost always without
toll (I haven't come across a journal with an online TA site that didn't make
the table of contents even if not the abstract available free as in beer).
Librarians' fetish about meta-data entry can either be satisfied by IR staff
checking entries and adding such information, but it really is not necessary:
once I have the author(s) names, title and year, that's sufficient to
disambiguate the article from other articles and the search engines should be
able to take care of the rest.

(Please note new contact details.)
Profesor Andrew A Adams
Professor at Graduate School of Business Administration, and
Deputy Director of the Centre for Business Information Ethics
Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan
Received on Wed Apr 28 2010 - 19:35:18 BST

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