Mandates: Practical Questions

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 08:44:58 -0400

On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 3:56 AM, Jan Velterop <velterop --> wrote:

> What I disagree with Stevan on is the primacy of 'green' over 'gold'. He
> regards that more or less as a given, even an axiom; I don't.

The primacy of green over gold is not an axiom. It is based on reasons
and evidence:

(1) Most authors (80%) are not providing OA of their own accord today
-- either Green or Gold OA.

(2) Green OA costs the author nothing (and the institution next to
nothing per article)

(3) Gold OA (BMC, PLOS) costs extra money per article (from the
author, institution or funder)

(4) Authors are even less likely to do what they are not already doing
of their own accord if it costs extra money

(5) Most journals (90%) are not Gold OA.

(6) Green OA can be mandated

(7) Gold OA can only be subsidized

(8) Most of the potential money to pay for Gold OA is currently tied
up in subscriptions

(9) Gold OA costs include much more than just peer review costs today

(10) Green OA provides the infrastructure (repositories,
access-provision, archiving) that allows publishing costs to be
reduced to just peer review costs

For all these reasons, Green OA needs to come before Gold OA; and it
needs to be mandated, for free, before institutions and funders commit
their scarce funds to paying for Gold OA:

What is urgent for research and researchers today -- and immediately
attainable via Green OA self-archiving mandates -- is OA, not
publishing reform or re-use rights. (Moreover, mandating Green OA
today is the fastest and surest way to achieve OA today, but also to
achieve Gold OA and Re-Use Rights tomorrow.

First things first. Grasp what is within your immediate reach (Green
OA). If you instead over-reach, you will miss what is already in your
grasp, and just keep delaying the optimal and inevitable even longer.

Stevan Harnad

> Andrew A. Adams wrote:
>> I'm not wishing to start or continue an argument with Jan, but to post
>> some
>> philosophical musings prompted by his comment that he dislikes "mandates".
>> I disagree that mandates are always wrong. The so-called "publish or
>> perish"
>> "mandate" has severe negative consequences for academic, that most here
>> will
>> know about (least publishable unit, skewing research progress,
>> particularly
>> in fields that require significant groundwork before a flurry of
>> publications
>> of results, etc etc etc.
>> However, the "mandates" placed by institutions on their staff and on staff
>> and institutions by funders are not always negative. It seems quite right
>> to
>> me that funders mandate that the work they fund has its results
>> disseminated
>> widely. This means that they require (or, mandate) that papers be produced
>> and, when published, be made available as widely as possible. Without
>> them,
>> some staff would indulge in potentially world-changing research which had
>> its
>> impact delayed or denied. Academic freedom, like many other freedoms, is
>> not
>> unbounded, and comes with responsibilities. One of those responsibilities
>> is
>> to disseminate the results of one's work widely, balancing the need/desire
>> to
>> do further work with the necessity of transmitting the results already
>> done.
>> --
>> Professor 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 Tue Aug 31 2010 - 13:48:13 BST

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