Re: Mandates: Practical Questions

From: Jan Velterop <velterop_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2010 21:28:19 +0100

Traditionally, publishers provide organisation and management services. That's it. No more, no less. They organise peer review and dissemination. (They do not *provide* peer review.) Dissemination includes printing and posting on the web.

The reason publishers exist is that organisation and management skills needed for publishing are extremely scarce in academia (and maybe even incompatible with the creative processes). They couldn't organise the proverbial piss-up in a brewery. Either that, or academics are simply not interested in organising and managing the publishing process. No problem, as publishers step into the breach.

Were academics at large capable of -- or interested in -- organising and managing the publishing of their results, it would look very different and likely be much cheaper. Jounals (virtual ones, by now) might in that -- almost hypothetical -- scenario require submitted manuscripts to be endorsed by reviewers willing to stake their names and reputations by endorsing the work, and would then publish it without delay, on a well-run repository. With full OA, of course.

That may still happen, but likely at the initiative of one or other publisher willing to take on practically the whole scientific 'ego-system' that's stacked against it. Just as happened with OA publishing ('gold' OA for cognoscenti).

Well, here is the challenge. Who picks up the gauntlet?

Jan Velterop

Sent from Jan Velterop's iPhone. Please excuse for brevity and typos.

On 31 Aug 2010, at 21:29, C Oppenheim <C.Oppenheim_at_LBORO.AC.UK> wrote:

> Just because something is logical, technically possible, eminently sensible and economically viable does not mean it is either inevitable or necessarily the option chosen. A glance at the policies aopted by governments regardng global warning shows that. Human beings can be irrational and often adopt strategies (or choose not to have a strategy at all) for the short term. Reasons and evidence is not enough.
> ________________________________________
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum [AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM_at_LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG] On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad [amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM]
> Sent: 31 August 2010 13:44
> Subject: Mandates: Practical Questions
> 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 Wed Sep 01 2010 - 22:52:11 BST

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