Re: The Mandate of Open Access Institutional Repository Managers

From: leo waaijers <>
Date: Sun, 01 Aug 2010 13:48:16 +0200

Dear Stevan,

Your reply is demonstrating my point.

I am not so sure that the jisc-repositories list is indifferent to this
discussion as your rigidity is more than a 'futility'. It has far reaching
strategical consequences. Currently, we see a three party game between the
Green, the Gold and the Gatekeeper. My plea is a co-operation between the Green
and the Gold. Your rigidity is an obstacle to that. You may not be powerful, but
you are highly influential. It is the Green-Gold dichotomy that enables the
Gatekeeper to simply do nothing and maintain the status quo.

From here I will leave this subject to the list. If my contributions have been
annoying, I apologize for that.
Message-ID: <>

Best wishes,

Stevan Harnad wrote:
      On 2010-07-31, at 11:56 AM, leo waaijers wrote:

            Yes, I think that a public discussion of your rigidity
            may advance things. Not your rigidity as a personal
            psychological feature, but as an operational or tactical
            factor. My point is, your rigidity is not
            a success factor. 

            Sometimes I am dreaming of an agreement between Green
            and Gold in the form of a mutually accepted simple
            overview of pro's and con's of both options. We then
            could stop the relentless internal debates in the
            OA movement and use the released energy to approach
            funders together and tell them that if they take OA
            seriously, and I am convinced most of them do, they can
            make a contingency based choice. 

            I always have the feeling that your rigidity prevents
            such a development. Am I right?

      Dear Leo, I think you are wrong. 
The "agreement between Green and Gold in the form of a mutually accepted
simple overview of pro's and con's of both options" of which you are
dreaming is in fact precisely what prevails today; it is indeed the result
of "contingency based choice" -- and it is not advancing things, nor
generating much success, anywhere near quickly enough. Universal OA is
still far away: almost as far as it was a decade ago (though the
repositories and the few green OA mandates and gold OA journals have
brought us a little closer). 

It is this simplistic, unreflective status quo that I am trying
(unsuccessfully) to challenge and disrupt. It is so far too rigid for
reasoning or evidence to penetrate it. But although it may be "an
operational or tactical" futility, I have not yet given up. (in that sense
you are right that I have been "relentless.")
My main point is so simple that it can be summarised in a single sentence:
"Institutions and funders should mandate green OA and they should on no
account promote or fund gold OA until and unless they have first mandated
green OA." (That's it; all the rest is in the reasons and the evidence on
which that stern-sounding injunction is based.)

But I am interested in knowing (preferably offline, because I doubt the
jisc-repositories list shares my curiosity) the basis on which you imagine
that my "rigidity prevents... contingency based choice": 

Do you imagine that I have any power or authority whatsoever to prevent
people from making their own choices? (For I assure you that if I did,
they would not be making the unfortunate choices they are making today --
and I bet you that progress toward universal OA would be incomparably

But I continue to think that an on-list discussion of my rigidity is a
waste of list-member's time, whereas a (multilateral) discussion of my
reasoning would be a refreshing tactical and operational change.

(The usual pattern is that I post detailed, substantive critiques, and no
one responds -- or responds just to tell me that I am being rigid and
should "stop the relentless internal debates in the OA movement"...)

Best wishes, Stevan

                  LW: But shouldn't you accept then
                  that different repository managers may
                  have various 'mandates'? You seem
                  so rigid in this. 

            SH: Yes, I am rigid as rigid can be on what makes
            sense and what does not. But why does this trouble
            you? I have absolutely no power. It is not I who
            set repository managers' or repository managers'
            mandates: All I do is try (mostly in vain!) to
            help them make more sense out of what they are
            trying to do.

            But for this sort of nonsubstantive discussion, I
            really don't think this list is quite the place. 

            My prior postings were trying to point out the
            profound problems with the Chair of the UK Council
            of Research Repositories arguments for taking a
            "gold only route." I have no idea
            whatsoever whether anyone has taken any notice of
            the substantive points I raised. Not one of them
            has been taken up in the subsequent postings
            (except by Steve Hitchcock, but we already see eye
            to eye). 

            I really don't think, however, that a public
            discussion of my rigidity is going to advance
            things, do you?


LW: Is this a self-imposed mandate Stevan?
If so, are we all entitled to define our own

                        SH: Yes, self-imposed,
And, yes, we're all entitled to impose mandates on
(Some, unfond of extended metaphors, might prefer
to call it their "mission." Mine's been open
access archivangelism 'lo these nigh on 20
Received on Sun Aug 01 2010 - 12:48:51 BST

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