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[BOAI] Publication Lags, Green OA Embargoes and the Liege/HEFCE/BIS Immediate-Deposit Mandate

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad AT>
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2013 09:24:47 -0400

Threading: [BOAI] New data for article from dsolomon AT
      • This Message

On 2013-09-13, at 7:20 AM, David Solomon <dsolomon AT> wrote:

> We have made the data available for the paper: "The publishing delay 
in scholarly peer-reviewed
> journals" by Bo-Christer Björk & David Solomon recently accepted 
for publication in  
> Journal of Informetrics.  
> Paper
> Codebook 
> Data
> Abstract: Publishing in scholarly peer reviewed journals usually entails 
long delays from
> submission to publication.  In part this is due to the length of the peer 
review process and
> in part because of the dominating tradition of publication in issues, 
earlier a necessity of
> paper-based publishing, which creates backlogs of manuscripts waiting in 
line. The delays
> slow the dissemination of scholarship and can provide a significant burden 
on the academic
> careers of authors.
> 	Using a stratified random sample we studied average publishing delays in 
2700 papers
> published in 135 journals sampled from the Scopus citation index.  The 
shortest overall
> delays occur in science technology and medical (STM) fields and the 
longest in social
> science, arts/humanities and business/economics. Business/economics with a 
delay of 18
> months took twice as long as chemistry with a 9 month average delay.  
Analysis of the
> variance indicated that by far the largest amount of variance in the time 
between submission
> and acceptance was among articles within a journal as compared with 
journals, disciplines
> or the size of the journal.  For the time between acceptance and 
publication most of the variation
> in delay can be accounted for by differences between specific journals. 

Now it's time to put two and two together (and this pertains more to the lag 
acceptance and publication: the timing of peer review and revision is another 

1. The research community is clamoring for access, particularly those who are 
access to articles in journals to which their institutions cannot afford to 

2. In many fields, the most important growth region for taking up and building 
upon new
findings, hence research progress, is within the first year of publication.

3. The average delay from acceptance to publication for subscription journals 
is about
6 months (and especially long for arts & humanities journals)

4. Björk and Solomon point out that for Gold OA journals the delay is much 
under 2 months.

5. The delay for Green OA self-archiving is even shorter: zero if 
is immediate (and even negative if a pre-refereeing preprint has also been made
OA even earlier).

6. Subscription journals say they are in favor of OA, but they need an embargo 
in order 
to keep their subscriptions sustainable.

7. Subscription journals already have a built-in "embargo" because of 
the 6-month
delay between acceptance and publication.

8. So the 6-12-month Green OA embargoes demanded by STEM fields and even 
longer embargoes demanded by arts & humanities journals not only impedes 
progress by denying access during the embargo, but they compound the 
delays between acceptance and publication.

This is why the Liege-model immediate-deposit mandate ( together with the 
repository-mediated copy-request Button) -- now recommended by
both HEFCE and BIS -- is so important:

It makes it possible for researchers to request -- and authors to provide -- 
access with one click each as soon as the final, refereed, revised draft is 
accepted for 
publication, irrespective of publication lags or publisher OA embargoes.

Stevan Harnad

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