[GOAL] Re: Where now for OA in the UK?

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at gmail.com
Thu Nov 28 23:17:44 GMT 2013

On Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 3:51 PM, Bo-Christer Björk <
bo-christer.bjork at hanken.fi> wrote:

> The idea that publishers would tolerate large scale mandate driven green
> OA (say 50-60 %) of articles with no embargoes or counteractions is pretty
> naive. Elsevier has shown the way with rules stipulating that Green OA is
> OK, unless its mandated, in which case they require special deals with the
> the institutions in question. And many publishers who previously had no
> embargo periods are starting to define such.

Bo-Christer, unfortunately you have completely missed the point.

*Yes, publishers can and will try to impose embargoes on Green OA,
especially encouraged by the perverse effete of the UK's Finch/RCUK
preference and subsidy for Gold.* That was not being denied, it was being
affirmed: "Joint 'Re-Engineering' Plan of UK Government and UK Publisher
Lobby for 'Nudging' UK Researchers Toward Gold Open

But the immediate-deposit<https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&q=harnad%20OR%20Harnad%20OR%20archivangelism+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&ie=UTF-8&tbm=blg&tbs=qdr:m&num=100&c2coff=1&safe=active#c2coff=1&hl=en&lr=&q=%22immediate+deposit%22+blogurl:http%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org%2F&safe=active&tbm=blg>(
mandates are immune to these publisher embargoes. They are the compromise
mandate that fits all funders and institutions, regardless of how long a
maximal publisher embargo they allow. (Green OA after one a one-year
embargo has been pretty much conceded by all publishers, whether or not
they admit it, so that's the worst case scenario: that's the target to
beat). The HEFCE/Liege mandates get everything deposited in institutional
repositories immediately, whether or not it is made OA immediately. And
that means that access to everything immediately becomes at most 2
keystrokes away, one from the requestor, one from the author, thanks to the
repositories' automated "Almost-OA"
see below.)

As to Elsevier's "special deals" for mandating institutions: sensible
institutions will politely inform Elsevier that they are prepared to
negotiate with publishers about subscription pricing  "Big Deals" -- but
not about university policy.

As to Elsevier authors (who -- not their universities! -- are the ones
negotiating rights agreements with their publishers): They can rest assured
that Elsevier is still completely on the Side of the
immediate, unembargoed Green OA, as it has been ever since
All Elsevier authors today retain the right to make their papers OA
immediately upon publication -- no embargo -- by depositing their final
refereed draft in their institutional repository and setting access to it
as OA immediately.

The recently added Elsevier
and "systematicity<https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&q=harnad%20OR%20Harnad%20OR%20archivangelism+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&ie=UTF-8&tbm=blg&tbs=qdr:m&num=100&c2coff=1&safe=active#c2coff=1&hl=en&lr=&q=systematic+OR+systematicity+blogurl%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org%2F&safe=active&tbm=blg>"
has absolutely no legal force or meaning. As it stands, it is just vacuous,
pseudo-legal FUD<https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&q=harnad%20OR%20Harnad%20OR%20archivangelism+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&ie=UTF-8&tbm=blg&tbs=qdr:m&num=100&c2coff=1&safe=active#c2coff=1&hl=en&lr=&q=fud++blogurl:http%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org%2F&safe=active&tbm=blg>and
can and should be safely ignored by authors.

And if and when Elsevier (with its rather unhappy public image) ever
decides to bite the bullet and change its rights agreements to state
clearly that, as of today, Elsevier authors no longer retain the right to
make their papers OA unembargoed, then the institutional repositories'
automated request-a-copy
tide over researcher needs during the embargo with one click from the
user to request a copy and one click by the author to provide one. This is
not OA, but it's "Almost-OA."

Once the immediate-deposit mandate, the Button, and X% Immediate-OA +
100-X% Almost-OA prevail worldwide, it won't be much longer till embargoes
die their inevitable and well-deserved deaths under the overwhelming
worldwide pressure for OA, which by then will already all be only one
keystroke away.

Meanwhile, X% Immediate-OA + 100-X% Almost-OA will already be incomparably
more access than we have (or have ever had) till now.

If you don't mind my adding it: I do sometimes wonder whose side you are
on, Bo-Christer! It's one thing to objectively measure the level and growth
rate of Green and Gold OA, Immediate and Delayed, across disciplines and
time, as you do, valuably. It's a rather different thing to advocate for
Gold OA.

Now, I am myself unambiguously and unambivalently an advocate for Green OA,
whether when I am objectively measuring its growth rates or designing tools
and policies to facilitate and accelerate mandating it. And my reasons
(likewise no secrets) are the many reasons that Green OA can be facilitated
and accelerated by mandating it.

Gold OA, in contrast, costs extra money (over and above uncancellable
subscriptions) and can only grow on publishers' terms and timetable.

Do you really have any reason to believe that OA can and will grow faster
via the paid Gold route than the mandated Green route?

Because the reason you give above (publisher embargoes) certainly does not
entail that conclusion at all.

And here's a new parameter whose growth rate you might now find it
interesting to measure: The growth rates of various kinds of mandates,
keeping a special eye on the most powerful and effective one: The
HEFCE/Liege model. Because that's where most of the action in the next few
years will be taking place...

Stevan Harnad
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