[GOAL] Re: Open Access Mandates: Q&A with the NIH

Reckling, Falk, Dr. Falk.Reckling at fwf.ac.at
Mon May 21 10:41:43 BST 2012

Dear Stevan,

Many thanks for clarifying your position. But I see no need for your schoolmasterish tone, especially as it contradicts your demand for "... showing some open-mindedness, flexibility and reflection ..." and less rigidity.

I say that because I have learnt from this and other fora, from different studies and funders policies that your position is highly appreciated but other positions and approaches are also discussed.

(1) Before making a final judgment from a rather general perspective, please consult what happens in Austria and especially at the FWF since 2004:

- The development of our OA policy is described in a policy paper published in February 2012: http://www.fwf.ac.at/en/public_relations/oai/free-research-needs-the-free-circulation-of-ideas.html

- All major actions of the FWF since 2004 are publicly listed here: http://www.fwf.ac.at/de/public_relations/oai/oa-news.html (sorry, most of them written in German).

(2) Sometimes it makes sense listing to the daily problems of OA policies and its environment:

(a) As you might know the FWF mandated Green OA in 2006, see: http://www.fwf.ac.at/en/public_relations/oai/index.html. But we became aware that this policy has its limits:

- In 2006 no Austrian institution had a mandate or an IR. Today only some Austrian institutions have an IR but no one has an OA mandate. Moreover, it often not clear what kind of materials should be deposited and what not:

Repositories: http://roar.eprints.org/cgi/roar_search/advanced?location_country=at&software=&type=&order=-recordcount%2F-date

Mandates: http://roarmap.eprints.org/view/geoname/geoname=5F2=5FAT.html

By organizing a nationwide network we now try to tackle these problems.

(b) At the same time, we noted that a lot of Austrian scholars were/are voluntarily willing to deposit their articles in central disciplinary repositories like arxiv, Repec, SSRN, Citeseer or PMC.

(c) With BMC, PLoS and others the need for covering APC arose. And we found it useful to support an alternative business model, as other renown institutions did, see: http://www.oacompact.org/ ,

(d) I do not agree with your position that Gold OA is costly and Green OA is nearly for free. In practice, Green OA costs a lot of time and money for creating repositories, establishing mandates,  having well-informed supporting staff, interpreting publishers policies,  advising researchers, depositing papers, e.g.

That might give you some reasons why we find, for example, that UKPMC offers a very good option to solve some these problems: an existing and highly excepted repository, clear guidelines for the PIs, great technical support, e.g., see: http://www.fwf.ac.at/de/public_relations/oai/pubmed.pdf

Finally, we see no contradiction to support both Green and Gold the same time, but we think in the end a change of the business model should be envisaged.

All the best,


Von: goal-bounces at eprints.org [goal-bounces at eprints.org]" im Auftrag von "Stevan Harnad [amsciforum at gmail.com]
Gesendet: Sonntag, 20. Mai 2012 21:06
An: Global Open Access List (Successor of AmSci)
Cc: SPARC Open Access Forum; BOAI 10 meeting, post
Betreff: [GOAL] Re: Open Access Mandates: Q&A with the NIH
Dear Falk,

I profoundly hope that you are communicating with us on GOAL open-mindedly, with a view to gaining information you perhaps did not have, and with a readiness to revise policy if a valid case can be made for the fact that it would help.

Because all too often, I have alas found, those who come to OA policy-making tend to make some initial judgments and decisions, implement them, and then when either practical experience itself, or those who have more and longer experience in OA and OA policy, call into question those initial judgments and decisions, the response is: "My mind's made up, don't annoy me with facts!" and the initial policy simply becomes more and more firmly entrenched, regardless of the consequences.

It is too early for such rigidity, Falk. And Andrew and I (and many others) are trying to explain to you what is amiss with both the FWF policy and the rationales that you are voicing here.

You wrote:
On Sun, May 20, 2012 at 8:43 AM, Reckling, Falk, Dr. <Falk.Reckling at fwf.ac.at<mailto:Falk.Reckling at fwf.ac.at>> wrote:

Stevan,  Andrew,

a) [1] an IR has to exist and that is often not the case. [2] And if an IR exists it is often not used, [3] mandate or not. [4] Here some central disciplinary respositories are much more successfull as PMC/UKPMC.

1. Many, many institutions have repositories, and those that do not yet have one are merely a free piece of software and a server sector away form having one.

2. Yes, almost all existing repositories are unused (at least 80% of annual institutional refereed research output is not deposited). But *that is the point*! That's precisely why deposit mandates are needed.

3. It is an enormous factual error, however, to say that institutional repositories are unused whether or not they have a mandate. Again, that is the whole point. There is abundant evidence that institutions that mandate deposit are not near 80% empty but near 80% full! (And especially when they have adopted the optimal ID/OA mandate of U. Liege.)

4. It is also an enormous factual error to state that central repositories like PMC/UKPMC are exceptions to the 20/80 rule (i.e., that only 20% of total research output is deposited un-mandated). The total research output of an institution is all the refereed journal articles, in all disciplines, that its authors publish each year. The total research output of a central discipline-based repository is all the refereed journal articles published each year *by all authors in that discipline, in all institutions worldwide.* To imagine otherwise is to fall into the denominator fallacy --http://bit.ly/oaDenFal :

The annual percentage use of a repository is the annual ratio of deposited articles to all target articles within its ambit. For an institution, the denominator is obvious, and easily estimated. For an entire discipline, it is far from obvious, but it too can be estimated. And I can assure you that the un-mandated Bio-Medical Research content of PMC/UKPMC is no higher than the global 20% baseline for all other disciplines. What gives the illusion that it is otherwise is two things, one trivial, one nontrivial:

The trivial reason for this profound error and misconception is the simple fact that disciplines are much bigger than institutions. So the absolute number of articles in a disciplinary repository is much bigger than those in any institutional repository, even though their un-mandated content is just 20% in both cases.

The nonrivial reason for this profound error is the fact that much of PMC/UKPMC content is *mandated* (by NIH, MRC, Wellcome Trust), and for that subset the percentage deposit is of course much higher -- *exactly as it is with institutional mandated content*.

So the overall error is to conflate central repository content and mandated content, and incorrectly (and misleadingly) deduce that central repositories are doing better than institutional repositories because they are bigger and have more deposits.

Reflection will show that it is *mandates* that generate deposits, not centrality or disciplinarity (irrespective of whether the mandates are institutional mandates or funder mandates).

(The Physics Arxiv is the sole exception, where un-mandated deposits are close to 100%, and have been for two decades: But two decades is far too long to keep waiting in the hope that the physicists' spontaneous, un-mandated self-archiving practices would generalize to other disciplines: they have not. That's why the OA movement has moved toward supporting mandates.)

And as several of us have now stated, the functionality of a central repository for navigation and search (which is certainly incomparably better than the functionality of any single institutional repository, where no one would ever dream of doing navigation and search) is fully preserved if the central repository harvests the metadata and links to the full-text from institutional repositories.

The point being made here about the importance of ensuring that both institutional and funder mandates collaborate and converge on institutional deposit instead of diverging and competing is that it makes a huge practical difference -- both to the burden on authors and to the probability of persuading institutions (who are the universal providers of all refereed research, funded and funded, in all disciplines) to adopt deposit mandates of their own -- whether funders mandate institutional deposit or institution-external deposit: http://bit.ly/OAloc<http://bit.ly/OAloc>

But Falk, you do not seem to be hearing this in these exchanges so far: you seem instead o return over and over to funding Gold OA fees rather than mandating Green OA. Is there any hope of drawing your attention to this much more fundamental and urgent question, on which the prospects of OA growth in upcoming years hinges?

b) We believe that OA is better supported by the Gold road and therefore a change of the business model is needed. That means costs should be covered by APCs or institutions or mixed models.

It is a great pity if you are rigidly committed to this belief, which is not only erroneous (for the many reasons we have been describing) but costly, because of the premature, pre-emptive focus on getting OA by paying Gold OA fees instead of by mandating Green OA -- and designating institutional repositories as the locus for direct deposit.

If funders do that, institutions (the universal providers) will mandate Green OA too, and we will have 100% OA (Green). That will already solve the research accessibility problem, completely.

But it is also the fastest and surest way to eventually convert journals to Gold OA (and liberate the subscription money to pay for it.)

Solving the research access problem does not immediately solve the journal affordability problem too -- but does make it into a far less urgent, life/death matter (since with 100% Green OA, all users have access, whether or not journals are afforded or cancelled.)

I profoundly hope you will set a good example for other policy-makers, by showing some open-mindedness, flexibility and reflection on these crucial questions.

Best wishes,


Von: Andrew A. Adams [aaa at meiji.ac.jp<mailto:aaa at meiji.ac.jp>]
Gesendet: Sonntag, 20. Mai 2012 14:11
An: Global Open Access List (Successor of AmSci); Reckling, Falk, Dr.
Betreff: Re: [GOAL] Re: Open Access Mandates: Q&A with the NIH

> We think thatthe most important action right now is the national as well international coordination:
> a) A lot of Austrian research institutions and universities have notyet established an OA policy, repositories or publication funds for OA publishing. Therefore, together with other institutions wecurrently try to organise an Austrian network which implements and coordinates such activities.
> b) UKPMC is working hard to extend the consortium to evolve towards PMC Europe.
> c) For ScienceEurope (the new umbrella organisation of all major European research funders and research performing agencies) OA is one of the key topics.Therefore, a working group is established which will formulate recommendations for common actions (standards for funding APCs, incentives for high-level OA journals, OA for research data, e.g.)
> The OA movement was characterized by institutional or country based examples and experiments so far, which was in the sense of trial and error very important. But to accelerate the development and to reach the tipping point, we think it now needs more international cooperation and common standards.


As the previous two UK administrations (Blair and Brown) found to their
(political and UK taxpayers financial) immense cost, large centralised
databases are very hard to develop, maintain and populate. If we consider the
UK's NHS IT systems we see that a decade of attempts to put in place a single
overall system has been precisely worse than useless. The main project
delivered nothing of significant value and impeded local efforts because
either they weren't started (why do something local when one is promised that
something national is on the way) or because they were done but tried to keep
up with the ever-moving chimera of the NPfIT.

Institutional repositories are the natural scope for university-based
research. The technology (eprint and dspace) is there, as is the
interoperability (SWORD et al). The relatively smaller number of
non-university researchers have options of the opendepot for non-affiliated
researchers or the option of implementing the same technology as universities
for other institutions (individually or as consortia). The side benefits to
running one's own repository in terms of efficiency of promoting the
institutions' research output, monitoring the output of staff (for promotion,
funder mandate compliance and other purposes) should more than outweigh the
costs of supporting a local repository, which are not large compared to the
other systems that most universities operate (student registration databases,
scientific computation services...).

The vast majority of papers produced by any government research-body-funded
research have at least one co-author at a research university or similar
academic institution.

The obvious move is to mandate local deposit, with compliance a requirement
on the institution and the individual researcher (primarily the PI) who can
be motivated by a requirement on future funding - as with the Liege model
internally, only papers deposited full-text in the repository under an ID/OA
setting can be considered as formal outputs and used to justify future
funding applications.

Central deposit can be automated using SWORD and a simple set of keywords
(UKPMC for anything that should be deposited in there, for example).

I find it strange that the simple logic of this escapes anyone considering
how to move forward with OA from the funder side. Fund IRs instead of
pre-emptive Gold/Hybrid fees and mandate local deposit (enforced by final
report and future funding applications only being allowed to refer to IR
deposited papers). Promote whatever central harvesting is useful for
particular fields (medical research) automatically by simple keyword match.

Professor Andrew A Adams                      aaa at meiji.ac.jp<mailto:aaa at meiji.ac.jp>
Professor at Graduate School of Business Administration,  and
Deputy Director of the Centre for Business Information Ethics
Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan       http://www.a-cubed.info/
GOAL mailing list
GOAL at eprints.org<mailto:GOAL at eprints.org>

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