Re: Incentives for encouraging staff to self-archive

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2010 09:02:33 -0400

On Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 9:12 AM, JQ Johnson <> wrote:

> Harnad expresses his position on green OA quite effectively.  I'm hopeful, though, that others in our community might have data that would inform our OA strategies.  As I've noted, I would like to agree with Harnad on tactics, but the fact which he admits -- that "most authors still aren't self-archiving" leads me to wonder whether his approach may be windmill-tilting.  It might, for example, be better for the OA community to accept long embargoes in exchange for eventual OA to the publisher versions.

I am afraid you are missing the point, JQ:

(1) Authors are willing to self-archive, *but only if it is mandated*,
not if it is not. (See Alma Swan's international, cross-disciplinary
survey data: )

(2) Hence it is not a choice between either windmill-tilting or
"long-embargoed" versions-of-record .
(OA means free access today, not "eventually")

(3) It is a choice between mandating OA today or doing without OA.

> JQJ:
> Harnad writes: SH: "Which academics are you asking, J.Q.?"
> Faculty senate members who would have to vote in favor of an institutional mandate.  Researchers who have NSF grants and who are talking to our federal relations person to determine what the university's position is on FRPAA.  The T&P committee.  Etc.  In other words, the people who will ultimately decide whether to mandate archiving and whether to enforce such a mandate.  But my data is indeed a small sample of convenience.  As a (barefoot?) empiricist, I'd very much like better data.

Yes, a much bigger and more representative sample is needed. Alma Swan
conducted and published two big JISC surveys a few years ago and found
that over 80% of authors would self-archive *willingly* if -- but only
if -- their institutions or funders mandated it.

Otherwise, the figures are about 15% spontaneous self-archiving, up to
30% with assistance and incentives (34% with Colin Smith's heroic
activism at the Open University).

To get the Faculty senates to mandate Green OA self-archiving, at
least one advocate most understand clearly how and why mandates are
needed and implemented, and must make the case, with conviction and
determination, to the senate, as over 90 universities and over 20
departments (among them two from UO!) have already done. Some recent
successes worth emulating include Concordia University and soon, I hope, University of North Texas )

Faculty are not against either self-archiving or self-archiving
mandates: They are simply uninformed, under-informed or misinformed.
Nothing that concerted advocacy cannot remedy.

> JQJ:
> I sympathize with Harnad's point that one needs to ask the right questions, and don't want to ignore his formulation of the questions and what data he has collected.  But I don't think that in any way reduces the desirability of assessing author attitudes along the lines I suggested.  The point here is that if many or most faculty authors do worry about version differences, then simply turning a blind eye to that concern will reduce our effectiveness in persuading them to self-archive or support archiving mandates.  On the other hand, if we find that most academics *don't* really care about any distinction between author's final version and version of record, then that would be a powerful fact that we could use in negotiation with publishers.

The only way you will find out whether and why authors care about
version differences is if you ask the right questions (as outlined in
the earlier posting). If you keep asking the wrong questions, you will
keep getting the wrong answers, and putting a megaphone on those wrong
answers. You will simply not know what faculty really want and need.

Questionnaires (especially on such important and pressing questions)
should not simply be surveys of current states of ignorance: The
questions should be framed so as to get *informed* answers. The
"versions" canard keeps being repeated over and over, year after year,
without giving a second thought to exactly how and why it does not
make sense and misses the point at issue. Resolve the persistent
ambiguity and misunderstanding about the alternatives for your
questionees, as outlined, and *then* ask them which alternative they
really prefer.

You will be surprised by the answer. It may even inspire you to do
what really needs to be done, which is to negotiate with U Oregon's
Senate, to mandate Green OA self-archiving -- not to "negotiate with
the publishers"!

For help with strategy, consult EOS

Stevan Harnad

Harnad, S. (2008) Waking OA’s “Slumbering Giant”: The University's
Mandate To Mandate Open Access. New Review of Information Networking
14(1): 51 - 68

Harnad, S. (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of
Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine 16

"How to Integrate University and Funder Open Access Mandates"
Received on Wed Aug 25 2010 - 14:05:31 BST

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