Which Green OA Mandate should an institution adopt?

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 06:00:13 -0400

On 2010-11-03, at 5:19 PM, sely maria de souza costa wrote:

> Dear All,
> My university has finally discussed our proposal of mandate. The idea
> has been entirely approved (the merit) on October 19. The text that
> comprise the policy mandate itself, however, is still being under
> discussion. We (the Central Library) has actually submitted a set of
> policies and they need a sounder analysis, as we have dare a little bit.

Bravo Sely!

May I make 2 suggestions?

(1) Adopt the ID/OA mandate, with deposit in the IR officially designated as the only means of submitting refereed publications for institutional performance review ("Liege model"). Do *not* adopt either a stronger or a weaker mandate. Both a stronger and a weaker mandate risk non-compliance.

(2) Register you mandate proposal as a "proposed mandate" in ROARMAP now (it will encourage more proposals).

See: "Which Green OA Mandate should an institution adopt?" http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/494-guid.html

SUMMARY: Which Green OA Mandate should an institution adopt?
    ID/OA: The Immediate Deposit, Optional Access-setting (ID/OA) mandate immediately guarantees at least 63% OA plus 37% Almost-OA, moots all objections on copyright grounds, and does not put the author's choice of journal at risk by requiring individual licensing negotiations by the would-be author with the publisher (with no guarantee of a successful outcome). The other alternative candidate mandates are:
    ID/IA: The Immediate Deposit/Immediate Access (ID/IA) mandate is stronger than ID/OA. But how can such a mandate manage to reach consensus on adoption as long as 37% of journals don't endorse immediate OA self-archiving? (Invariably this has meant having to allow an author opt-out for such cases, in which case the policy is no longer a mandate at all -- hence weaker than ID/OA. (Not one of the existing 58 mandates is ID/IA.)
    ID/DA: The usual compromise, therefore, is to allow access embargoes, with or without a cap on the maximal allowable length. But an Immediate Deposit/Delayed Access (ID/DA) mandate, with no cap on the allowable delay (embargo) is simplyidentical to ID/OA! Adding a cap on the maximal allowable embargo delay is splendid, but that's just ID/OA with an embargo cap. (So if an institution can reach successful consensus on this stronger mandate (capped ID/DA), they should by all means adopt it; but if not, they should just go ahead and adopt ID/OA.)
    DD/DA: Next there is Delayed Deposit/Delayed Access (DD/DA), in which thedeposit itself may be delayed until the embargo elapses, instead of being done immediately upon acceptance for publication, as in ID/OA. But with or without an embargo cap, DD/DA is in fact needlessly weaker than ID/OA, because it arbitrarily loses the 37% Almost-OA accessible via the button, until the date at which each embargo elapses. (DD/DA further risks needlessly losing a lot of the 63% OA as well, by not requiring immediate deposit in any case.)
    Author Licensing Mandate ("author addendum"): Last, and almost as strong as the (nonexistent) ID/IA mandate is a negotiated author-licensing mandate ("author addendum"). But how can such a mandate reach consensus on adoption and compliance with authors who are concerned that it would put their papers at risk of not being accepted by their journal of choice whenever the licensing negotiation fails? As a consequence, there exist no ID/IA mandates either, only ID/IA with an optional author-opt-out (as in Harvard's mandate) -- which again loses the 37% Almost-OA during any embargo or opt-out, and is hence needlessly weaker than ID/OA (if a mandate with an opt-out is indeed a mandate at all!).
    It is because of this logic and these pragmatics that ID/OA is the default baseline mandate: Anything weaker than ID/OA is gratuitously weaker than necessary (and generates less OA than ID/OA). Anything stronger (such as ID/IA without opt-out, or mandatory licensing without opt-out) is more than welcome, if an institution can successfully reach consensus on adoption and compliance. But no institution (or funder) has yet managed that, hence holding out for an over-strong mandate leads to the adoption of no mandate at all.
Received on Thu Nov 04 2010 - 10:37:24 GMT

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