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[BOAI] Re: Elsevier's query re: "positive things from publishers that should be encouraged, celebrated, recognized"

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum AT gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 11:06:54 -0400


Threading: [BOAI] Elsevier's query re: "positive things from publishers that should be encouraged, celebrated, recognized" from harnad AT ecs.soton.ac.uk
      • This Message

** Cross-Posted **

On Sat, May 12, 2012 at 4:49 PM, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 AT cam.ac.uk> 
wrote:
>
> On Sat, May 12, 2012 at 9:10 PM, Stevan Harnad <amsciforum AT 
gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> On Sat, May 12, 2012, Alicia Wise (Elsevier Director of Universal
>> Access) wrote:
>>
>> It will be very helpful in helping researchers to provide -- and their
>> institutions and funders to mandate -- Open Access if Elsevier drops
>> its "you may if you wish but not if you must" clause, which 
is not
>> only incoherent, but intimidates authors.
>
> Stevan,
> Could you please explain this clause? (This is my ignorance as I don't
> publish with Elevier and so am unfamiliar with their author-side 
contracts).
> Does it mean that Elsevier sometimes allows Green Open Access and 
sometimes don't?

It means that Elsevier formally endorses its authors' right to make
their final, peer-reviewed drafts Open Access immediately upon
publication (no embargo) by posting them on their institutional
website (Green Gratis OA) -- "but not in institutional repositories
with mandates for systematic postings."

The distinction between an institutional website and an institutional
repository is bogus.

The distinction between nonmandatory posting (allowed) and mandatory
posting (not allowed) is arbitrary nonsense. ("You retain the right to
post if you wish but not if you must!")

The "systematic" criterion is also nonsense. (Systematic posting 
would
be the institutional posting of all the articles in the journal; but
any single institution only contributes a tiny, arbitrary fraction of
the articles in any journal, just as any single author does; so the
mandating institution would not be a 3rd-party "free-rider" on the
journal's content: its researchers would simply be making their own
articles OA, by posting them on their institutional website, exactly
as described.)

This "systematic" clause is hence pure FUD, designed to scare or 
bully
or confuse institutions into not mandating posting, and authors into
not complying with their institutional mandates. (There are also
rumours that in confidential licensing negotiations with institutions,
Elsevier has been trying to link bigger and better pricing deals to
the institution's agreeing not to adopt a Green OA mandate.)

Along with the majority of publishers today, Elsevier is a Green
publisher: It has endorsed immediate (unembargoed) institutional Green
OA posting by its authors ever since 27 May 2004:
http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/3771.html

Elsevier's public image is so bad today that rescinding its Green
light to self-archive after almost a decade of mounting demand for OA
is hardly a very attractive or viable option:
http://cdn.anonfiles.com/1334923359479.pdf
http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/self-faq/#32.Poisoned

And double-talk, smoke-screens and FUD are even less attractive:
http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/822-.html

It will be very helpful in helping researchers to provide -- and their
institutions and funders to mandate -- Open Access if Elsevier drops
its "you may if you wish but not if you must" clause, which is not
only incoherent, but intimidates authors. (This would also help
counteract some of the rather bad press Elsevier has been getting
lately...)

Stevan Harnad
        
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