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[BOAI] Re: On the Need to Take Both Roads to Open Access
From: Stevan Harnad <harnad AT ecs.soton.ac.uk>
[Identity deleted] wrote: > I agree with you completely that we need to persuade many more academic > authors to self-archive, and... we have been working to achieve this. I know and appreciate that some funding and advocacy support has been given to self-archiving worldwide: Yet though it may seem churlish, I feel that -- relative to what is already within reach today -- *far* more support needs to be given to self-archiving. If you asked for it in percentage terms, I would say that of the support (both funding and promotion) that funders and supporters are investing in open access, something closer to 95% should be devoted to the 95% solution (self-archiving) and something closer to 5% to the 5% solution (open access publishing), if we are hoping for anything like proportionate overall returns on our investment in open access to research. To invest more in a lower-yield stock makes no sense (though I am sure there are ways to divert my stock-market simile to make it appear otherwise!). > From your messages, you do not seem to allow for the benefit to the > campaign for self-archiving from work with publishers and funding > agencies. As far as I am aware, the work with publishers and funding agencies is currently all being directed at the 5% solution, open-access publishing: Considerable effort is being invested in trying to persuade and help publishers to become open-access publishers, and to persuade funding agencies to support open-access publishing. That is all fine, and welcome, but as a benefit to the campaign for *self-archiving* this is rather like the benefit to a campaign for universal vegetarianism that arises from trying to persuade beef producers to produce broccoli instead: Yes, to the extent you succeed, you indirectly benefit the campaign for universal vegetarianism, but not nearly as much as you would if you also addressed the consumers directly, rather than just the producers! In fact, if anything, it is concertedly pursuing the 95% strategy now (self-archiving) that will also benefit the open-access publishing strategy in the long run, hastening and facilitating the transition. http://www.nature.com/nature/debates/e-access/Articles/harnad.html#B1 Researchers and their institutions need to be persuaded to self-archive, directly, and not just as a side-effect or spin-off of a campaign for open-access publishing. The reason this is the 95% solution is that every self-archived article is immediately eo ipso open-access -- and the 95% of authors who have no suitable open-access journals to publish in today can immediately self-archive their toll-access journal articles, today, rather than wait for more open-access journals to be created, or toll-access journals to be converted. In other words, self-archivers can bring about immediate, 100% open access overnight, without waiting passively for the 5% of journals that are open-access http://www.doaj.org/ to inch their way toward 100%, just as consumers could immediately bring about universal vegetarianism by switching from beef to broccoli without waiting passively for producers to do it for them. Yes, there is one concrete thing that addressing publishers and funding agencies instead of addressing researchers can do to benefit the self-archiving route to open access, and that is to help persuade journals to support self-archiving -- as 55% of them already do! But, as has been pointed out repeatedly, even without that extra 45% support, 55% already trumps 5% -- so that card needs to be played at least in proportion to its strength! http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/ls/disresearch/romeo/Romeo%20Publisher%20Policies.htm Yet persuading publishers and research funders to support self-archiving is *not* what is actually being done. The primary target in the current ongoing campaign is open-access publishing, the 5% solution. The self-archiving is only dangling there, as a vague afterthought. Its logical and causal role is not clearly explained by open-access publishing advocates. It is merely being mentioned as another "good thing" one might want to do, for some reason or other! This is why the true 5%/95% proportion needs to be brought out in the open now: To make it clear that far from being just *another good thing* one might do, alongside open-access publishing, self-archiving is by far the fastest and most direct route to open access itself, and needs to be promoted directly, alongside open-access publishing, and in proportion to its potential power, rather than just as a vague spin-off of the campaign for open-access publishing. > We are not only persuading publishers to move to open access for the > publication opportunities but also to make open access (including > self-archiving) more acceptable to the academic community. > You know as well as any of us how academics cite the attitude of ↵ publishers > as a reason for not risking self-archiving. The problem insofar as self-archiving is concerned is not one of publisher "attitude." It is one of publisher *policy* -- actual as well as ↵ merely perceived. And the policy in question is the one that distinguishes the 55% of journals that already support self-archiving in their copyright/licensing policies (Romeo's "blue" and "green" ↵ journals) from the 45% that do not yet support self-archiving (Romeo's "white" ↵ journals). http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/rcoptable.gif But note that the policy in question is *not* the one that distinguishes the <5% of journals that are already open-access from the >95% that are not! Trying to persuade the publishers of the remaining 45% of journals to become blue or green is not the same as persuading the remaining 95% of publishers to become open-access publishers! To change metaphors: a campaign to persuade McDonald's to remove beefburgers from their menu does not benefit a campaign to persuade them to add vegeburgers to their menu -- and the road to 100% success for the former campaign is a long and uncertain one, compared to the second. So vague spin-offs from the campaign for open-access publishing are not the way to get the white publishers to go blue or green: A clear, motivated and proportionate compound strategy for open access needs to be formulated out of the two open-access strategies. Both their complementarity and their relative power must be made transparent. And that means making it clear to toll-access publishers that converting to open-access publishing is *not* the only way they can help support the open access that the research community so much needs: Adopting a blue or green publisher self-archiving policy also counts as support. And (as demonstrated by the fact that even the 55% of annual articles that are published in the blue and green of journals are still far from being self-archived yet), the real thing that is holding back self-archiving is neither publishers' attitudes nor their policies. The real problem is the *absence* of a systematic self-archiving policy on the part of institutions and research funders: What is needed is strongly and systematically encouraged or even *mandated* open access, as a matter of explicit institutional and funding-agency policy, through a simple extension of the existing carrot/stick policy that is called "publish or perish" to: ↵ "publish with maximised impact." That means open access, and mandating it means it must be provided by the researcher, whether by publishing in an open-access journal (where possible: 5%) or by self-archiving (the remaining 95%). The current draft of the otherwise welcome and promising Public Access to Science Act in the US Congress -- Sabo Bill, H.R. 261 http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/2981.html -- is needlessly proposing to mandate that all funded research publications must be put in the *public domain* (renouncing all copyright protection), which would be overkill even for the 5% solution, whereas all that really needs to be mandated is that all funded research be made *open access,* via either the 5% or the 95% strategy. The "Bethesda ↵ Statement" is similarly focused entirely on the 5% strategy, calling for funding agencies to cover the costs of publishing in open-access journals: no mention of the cost-free 95% alternative at all, except as a way of archiving articles that have been published in open-access journals! http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/2878.html > Likewise academics are worried about the attitude of funding agencies, > and if we can get the funding agencies to support open access journals, > this will also lead to more self-archiving. I think this is a red herring. Academics are worried about impact factors, because they know that articles in journals with higher impact factors carry more weight (with both funding agencies and promotion committees) than articles in journals with lower impact factors. Impact factors come from journal track-records for quality. They have nothing whatsoever to do with journal cost-recovery policy. (It is *new* journals, whether online or on-paper, whether toll-access or open-access, that start out with a handicap, until they establish a track-record. No a-priori lobbying of funding agencies can or should change this. http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/2415.html) If we want to address academics' worries about research impact, we should be persuading them to self-archive, in order to enhance the impact of their own research immediately, regardless of which journal it appeared in. http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/che.htm Hence it is self-archiving itself that funding agencies should be persuaded to favour, not certain new journals, simply on account of their cost-recovery models! http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue35/harnad/ > The two strategies are inter-twined and the situation is not > as black-and-white as your 5%/95% analogy. It is not an analogy but a realistic estimate of the relative scope and power of the two complementary open-access strategies. The two strategies are indeed intertwined, in fact complementary, but in a very concrete and specific way: If the goal is 100% open access for all refereed journal articles, as soon as possible, then the optimal compound strategy for all authors is: (1) Publish your articles in open-access journals whenever a suitable one exists (<5% currently) and (2) publish the rest of your articles in toll-access journals (>95%) as you do already, but self-archive them as well, in your own institution's open-access eprint archives http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/archpolnew.html Advocates of open access should, correspondingly, promote both complementary strategies, intertwined (and apportioned) as above. As to the black/white nature of the 5%/95% dichotomy: It is not black/white, it is 5% light-gray and 95% dark-gray! And it accurately reflects the relative scope, speed and power of the two open access strategies today. Stevan Harnad NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02 ↵ & 03): http://amsci-forum.amsci.org/archives/september98-forum.html or http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/index.html Discussion can be posted to: september98-forum AT amsci-forum.amsci.org
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