Re: The Mandate of Open Access Institutional Repository Managers

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 16:49:52 +0100 (BST)

On Fri, 30 Jul 2010, Delasalle, Jenny wrote:

> And surely the gold OA does not preclude green OA as well?

Not at all. Nor does green preclude gold.


Green can be mandated; gold cannot.

And (paid) gold costs extra money; green does not.

That, in a nutshell, is why only green can scale up (via mandates) to
universal OA, and gold (while subscriptions still need to be paid) is
premature (and irrelevant to the mandate of an institutional repository

> Just because a publisher has already made an article available on OA
> does not mean that the repository can't (or shouldn't) also do so.

A repository manager's mandate should be to fill the institutional
repository with the institution's journal article output, regardless of
whether it is published in a gold or non-gold journal.

> Unless the publisher has the copyright and has forbidden it, of course.

The author's final refereed draft can be *deposited* regardless of
publisher policy or copyright.

Over 60% of journals have already endorsed setting access to the the
deposit as OA immediately upon acceptance for publication. (A further 30%
endorse immediate OA for the pre-refereeing draft).

For the remainder of deposits, if the author wishes to honor the
publisher's access embargo, access can be set as Closed Access instead
of OA, and the repository's semi-automatic "email eprint request" button
can provide "Almost OA" during any embargo period.

The repository manager's mandate is to make sure it is all deposited
immediately. The institution's mandate is to mandate that it all be
deposited. And it should be part of the repository manager's mandate to
advocate relentlessly that the institution should adopt a deposit
mandate if it has not done so already.

> I'd advise an author to put their article in as many places as possible
> on OA, on the Web if their aim is to increase accessibility and discovery,
> whilst always pointing at the canonical published version as well.

If your author deposits it in your repository, all the other deposits are
redundant (welcome, harmless, but redundant).

The repository manager's mandate is more than fulfilled if all
the institution's annual journal article output is being deposited in the
institution's repository.

If only a fraction of the institution's annual journal article output
is being deposited, but deposited in many places, that does not advance
OA by one millimeter (and advising multiple deposit to authors most of
whom don't even do one deposit is not -- with all due respect -- good
advice ). By needlessly calling for
even more keystrokes from the authors' already paretic fingers, multiple
deposit gratuitously raises the goal-posts while masking the repository
manager's real mandate, which is to ensure that all the institution's
journal article output is deposited in the institution's repository,

(And the way to ensure that is for the institution to mandate it.)

> In my experience, researchers like it if the canonical published version,
> or the "version of record" is OA, and that is the gold OA model.

Researchers "like" lots of things (including downloads, citations and
impact, hence OA).

But the fact (for over a decade now) is that only about 20% of them are
*doing* anything about their "likes." (Zeno's Paralysis.)

So whereas an author may imagine that in principle it would be nicer
if the canonical "version of record" of his articles were OA, rather
than just the accepted final draft, in practice 80% of authors are not
depositing either version, let alone making it OA. (And the fact is also
that far more journals endorse immediate green OA for the final draft
than for the version of record.

That's the reality. Moreover, (paid) gold OA publishing costs money.

So the only solution (if 100% OA is the objective) is to mandate

By the way, although authors are often asked the fatuous hypothetical
question "Would you rather the publisher's version of record or just
the accepted final draft of your article were OA?" they of course
answer (as I would too): the version of record.

But the right question to ask them in view of publishers' policies
today is rather: "Would you rather *at least* the accepted final draft
of your article were OA (or "Almost-OA) or *no version at all* (with
access restricted to only those users whose institutions can afford
to subscribe)?

Researchers' answer to this far more relevant and realistic
question is obvious (just as their "likes," above, are).

But you still need a deposit mandate in order to make it happen -- to
get researchers to do what it takes to make what they'd "like" to happen
actually happen.

> The repository game is certainly different to the publication one in so
> far as the aims of the repository are different than those of the
> publisher (especially all the aims of an IR - there are lots of
> institutional drivers beyond OA), and in that the readers' discovery
> route is different, which is partly because of those different aims.

(1) Publication is about successfully meeting the peer-review standards
of a suitable journal.

(2) OA is about maximizing access to the publication (by not restricting
it only to those users whose institutions can afford access to the
journal in which it was published).

(3) I don't know what the general "repository game" is, but OA to
refereed journal articles loomed large in the motivation and design of
repository software and the repository movement.

(4) There are other things that can be put into a repository too, of
course, but that has nothing to do with the green/gold issue under
discussion here, one way or the other.

> OA is a big driver for repositories. It is a big feature of
> repositories, but, as Charles says, a professional repository manager
> takes a holistic approach and that means being aware of researchers'
> broader perspectives and diverse institutional needs that Graham Stone
> has demonstrated.

It is not clear what "broader perspectives and diverse institutional
needs" you are referring to.

I addressed the gist of Graham's UKSG article, which was an argument
for the "gold only route" -- which, I take it, means that Graham has now
become a repository manager who thinks the only way to make articles OA
is to publish them in a gold OA journal -- which leaves the repositories
now dedicated to to the deposit of the "grey" literature rather than
the green literature.

I find this a real head-shaker insofar as the mandate of a repository
manager is concerned. I should have thought that (1) not only is a
repository manager's mandate to fill the institution's repository
rather than to theorise about the future of publishing, and (2) not
only should green OA practice take priority over gold OA theory, but
that (3) a repository manager's priority should be OA's target content
(journal artucles) rather than the other kinds of content one might
also wish to deposit in an institutional repository. (The discussion,
however, was about (1) and (2), not about (3).)

Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Jul 30 2010 - 16:49:57 BST

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