Both the perverse effects of the UK's Finch/RCUK policy and their antidote are as simple to describe and understand as they were to predict:

The Perverse Effects of the Finch/RCUK Policy: Besides being eager to cash in on the double-paid (subscription fees + Gold OA fees), double-dipped over-priced hybrid Gold bonanza that Finch/RCUK has foolishly dangled before their eyes, publishers like Emerald are also trying to hedge their bets and clinch the deal by adopting or extending Green OA embargoes to try to force authors to pick and pay for the hybrid Gold option instead of picking cost-free Green.

The Antidote to the Perverse Effects of the Finch/RCUK Policy: To remedy this, both funders and institutions need merely (1) distinguish deposit-date from the date that access to the deposit is made OA, (2) mandate immediate-deposit, and (3) implement the repository's facilitated eprint request Button to tide over user needs during any OA embargo.

All funders and institutions can and should adopt the immediate-deposit mandate immediately. Together with the Button it moots embargoes (and once widely adopted, will ensure emargoes' inevitable and deserved demise).

And as an insurance policy (and a fitting one, to counterbalance publishers' insurance policy of prolonging Green embargoes to try to force authors to pay for hybrid Gold) funders and institutions should (4) designate date-stamped immediate-deposit as the sole mechanism for submitting published papers for annual performance review (e.g., the Liège policy) or for national research assessment (as HEFCE has proposed for REF).

As to the page that Emerald has borrowed from Elsevier, consisting of pseudo-legal double-talk implying that

"you may deposit immediately if you needn't, but not if you must"

That is pure FUD and can and should be completely ignored. (Any author foolish enough to be taken in by such double-talk deserves all the needless usage and impact losses they will get!)

Stevan Harnad

On 2013-06-17, at 5:22 PM, Richard Poynder <> wrote:

When last July Research Councils UK (RCUK) announced its new Open Access (OA) policy it sparked considerable controversy, not least because the policy required researchers to “prefer” Gold OA (OA publishing) over Green OA (self-archiving). The controversy was such that earlier this year the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee launched an inquiry into the implementation of the policy and the subsequent report was highly critical of RCUK.
As a result of the criticism, RCUK published two clarifications. Amongst other things, this has seen Green OA reinstated as a viable alternative to Gold. At the same time, however, RCUK extended the permissible maximum embargo before papers can be self-archived from 12 to 24 months. OA advocates — who maintain that a six-month embargo is entirely adequate — responded by arguing that this would simply encourage publishers who did not have an embargo to introduce one, and those that did have one to lengthen it. As a result, they added, many research papers would be kept behind publishers’ paywalls unnecessarily.
It has begun to appear that these warnings may have been right. Evidence that publishers have indeed begun to respond to RCUK’s policy in this way was presented during a second inquiry into OA — this time by the House of Commons Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) Committee. The Committee cited the case of a UK publisher who recently introduced a 24-month embargo where previously it did not have one. The publisher was not named, but it turns out to be a UK-based company called Emerald.
Why did Emerald decide that an embargo is now necessary where previously it was not? Why do the details of the embargo on Emerald’s web site differ from the details sent to the publisher’s journal editors? And what does Emerald’s decision to introduce a two-year embargo presage for the development of Open Access? To my surprise, obtaining answers to the first two questions proved more difficult than I had anticipated.
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