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[BOAI] Re: Elsevier: Trying to squeeze the virtual genie back into the physical bottle
From: Stevan Harnad <harnad AT ecs.soton.ac.uk>
On Tue, May 26, 2015 at 1:08 AM, Michael Eisen <mbeisen AT gmail.com ↵ <mailto:mbeisen AT gmail.com>> wrote: > Stevan- > > I hate to say I told you so, but .... at the Budapest meeting years ago it ↵ was pointed out repeatedly that once green OA actually became a threat to ↵ publishers, they would no longer look so kindly on it. It took a while, but the ↵ inevitable has now happened. Green OA that relied on publishers to peer review ↵ papers + subscriptions to pay for them, but somehow also allowed them to be ↵ made freely available, was never sustainable. If you want OA you have to either ↵ fund publishers by some other means (subsidies, APCs) or wean yourself from ↵ that which they provide (journal branding). Parasitism only works so long as it ↵ is not too painful to the host. It's a testament to a lot of hard work from ↵ green OA advocates that it has become a threat to Elsevier. But the way forward ↵ is not to get them to reverse course, but to look past them to a future that is ↵ free of subscription journals. > > Also, I don't view CC-BY-NC-ND as a victory as the NC part is there to ↵ make sure that no commercial entity - including, somewhat ironically, PLOS - ↵ can use the articles to actually do anything. So this license makes these ↵ articles definitively non open access. > > -Mike Mike, I will respond more fully on your blog: ↵ http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=1710 ↵ <http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=1710> To reply briefly here: 1. The publisher back-pedalling and OA embargoes were anticipated. That’s why ↵ the copy-request Button ↵ <https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/DSPACE/RequestCopy>was already ↵ created to provide access during any embargo, nearly 10 years ago, long before ↵ Elsevier and Springer began back-pedalling. 2. Immediate-deposit mandates plus the Button, once adopted universally, will ↵ lead unstoppably to 100% OA, and almost as quickly as if there were no ↵ publisher OA embargoes. 3. For a “way forward,” it is not enough to “look past the present to the ↵ future”: one must provide a demonstrably viable transition scenario to get us ↵ there from here. 4. Green OA, mandated by institutions and funders, is a demonstrably viable ↵ transition scenario. 5. Offering paid-Gold OA journals as an alternative and waiting instead for all ↵ authors to switch is not a viable transition sceario, for the reasons I ↵ described again yesterday in response to Éric Archambault ↵ <http://mailman.ecs.soton.ac.uk/pipermail/goal/2015-May/003366.html>: ↵ multiple journals, multiple subscribing institutions, ongoing access needs, no ↵ coherent “flip” strategy, hence double-payment (i.e., subscription fees for ↵ incoming institutional access to external institutional output plus Gold ↵ publication fees for providing OA to outgoing institutional published output) ↵ when funds are already stretched to the limit by subscriptions that are ↵ uncancellable — until and unless made accessible by another means. 6. That other means is 4, above. The resulting transition scenario has been ↵ described many times, starting in 2001 ↵ <http://www.nature.com/nature/debates/e-access/Articles/harnad.html#B1>, ↵ with updates in 2007 <http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/13309/>, 2010 ↵ <http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july10/harnad/07harnad.html>, 2013 ↵ <http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/353991/>, 2014 ↵ <http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/04/28/inflated-subscriptions-unsustainable-harnad/>, and 2015 <http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/361704/>, keeping pace with ongoing mandate and embargo developments. 7. An article that is freely accessible to all online under CC-BY-NC-ND is most ↵ definitely OA — Gratis OA ↵ <http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2008/08/greengold-oa-and-gratislibre-oa.html>, to be exact. 8. For the reasons I have likewise described many times before, the transition ↵ scenario is to mandate Gratis Green OA (together with the Button, for emabrgoed ↵ deposits) universally. That universal Green Gratis OA will in turn make ↵ subscriptions cancellable, hence unsustainable, which will in turn force ↵ publishers to downsize to affordable, sustainable Fair-Gold Libre OA (CC-BY). 9. It is a bit disappointing to hear an OA advocate characterize Green OA as ↵ parasitic on publishers, when OA’s fundamental rationale has been that ↵ publishers are parasitic on researchers and referees’ work as well as its ↵ public funding. But perhaps when the OA advocate is a publisher, the motivation ↵ changes… Stevan On Mon, May 25, 2015 at 11:23 AM, Stevan Harnad <amsciforum AT gmail.com ↵ <mailto:amsciforum AT gmail.com>> wrote: Alicia Wise wrote ↵ <http://www.elsevier.com/connect/coar-recting-the-record#comment-2037996108>: Dear Stevan, I admire your vision and passion for green open access – in fact we all do ↵ here at Elsevier - and for your tenacity as your definitions and concepts of ↵ green open access have remain unchanged for more than 15 years. We also ↵ recognize that the open access landscape has changed dramatically over the last ↵ few years, for example with the emergence of Social Collaboration Networks. ↵ This refresh of our policy, the first since 2004, reflects what we are hearing ↵ from researchers and research institutions about how we can support their ↵ changing needs. We look forward to continuing input from and collaboration with ↵ the research community, and will continue to review and refine our policy. Let me state clearly that we support both green and gold OA. Embargo periods ↵ have been used by us – and other publishers – for a very long time and are ↵ not new. The only thing that’s changed about IRs is our old policy said you ↵ had to have an agreement which included embargos, and the new policy is you ↵ don’t need to do an agreement provided you and your authors comply with the ↵ embargo period policy. It might be most constructive for people to just judge ↵ us based on reading through the policy and considering what we have said and ↵ are saying. With kind wishes and good night, Alicia Wise, Elsevier Dear Alicia, You wrote: "This refresh of our policy [is| the first since 2004... Embargo periods ↵ have been used by us... for a very long time and are not new. The only thing ↵ that’s changed about IRs is our old policy said you had to have an agreement ↵ which included embargos..." Is this the old policy that hasn't changed changed since 2004 (when Elsevier ↵ was still on the "side of the angels <http://j.mp/OAngelS>" ↵ insofar as Green OA was concerned) until the "refresh"? (I don't see ↵ any mention of embargoes in it...): Date: Thu, 27 May 2004 03:09:39 +0100 From: "Hunter, Karen (ELS-US)" To: "'harnad_at_ecs.soton.ac.uk ↵ <http://harnad_at_ecs.soton.ac.uk/>\'" Cc: "Karssen, Zeger (ELS)" , "Bolman, Pieter (ELS)" , ↵ "Seeley, Mark (ELS)" Subject: Re: Elsevier journal list Stevan, [H]ere is what we have decided on post-"prints" (i.e. published ↵ articles, whether published electronically or in print): An author may post his version of the final paper on his personal web site and ↵ on his institution's web site (including its institutional respository). Each ↵ posting should include the article's citation and a link to the journal's home ↵ page (or the article's DOI). The author does not need our permission to do ↵ this, but any other posting (e.g. to a repository elsewhere) would require our ↵ permission. By "his version" we are referring to his Word or Tex ↵ file, not a PDF or HTML downloaded from ScienceDirect - but the author can ↵ update his version to reflect changes made during the refereeing and editing ↵ process. Elsevier will continue to be the single, definitive archive for the ↵ formal published version. We will be gradually updating any public information on our policies (including ↵ our copyright forms and all information on our web site) to get it all ↵ consistent. Karen Hunter Senior Vice President, Strategy Elsevier +1-212-633-3787 <tel:%2B1-212-633-3787> k.hunter_at_elsevier.com <http://k.hunter_at_elsevier.com/> Yes, the definition of authors providing free, immediate online access (Green ↵ OA self-archiving) has not changed since the online medium first made it ↵ possible. Neither has researchers’ need for it changed, nor its benefits to ↵ research. What has changed is Elsevier policy -- in the direction of trying to embargo ↵ Green OA to ensure that it does not Elsevier's current revenue levels at any ↵ risk. Elsevier did not try to embargo Green OA from 2004-2012 — but apparently only ↵ because they did not believe that authors would ever really bother to provide ↵ much Green OA, nor that their institutions and funders would ever bother to ↵ require them to provide it (for its benefits to research). But for some reason Elsevier is not ready to admit that Elsevier has now ↵ decided to embargo Green OA purely to ensure that it does put Elsevier's ↵ current subscription revenue levels at any risk. Instead, Elsevier wants to hold OA hostage to its current revenue levels -- by ↵ embargoing Green OA, with the payment of Fools-Gold OA ↵ <https://www.google.ca/search?num=20&q=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org+%22fools+gold%22&oq=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org+%22fools+gold%22&gs_l=serp.3...339136.344145.0.3457184.108.40.206.0.0.0.217.856.11j0j1.12.0.ckpsrh...0...1.1.64.serp..12.0.0._lRkTp5SLmk> publication fees the only alternative for immediate OA. This ensures that Elsevier's current revenue levels either remain unchanged, or increase. But, for public-relations reasons, Elsevier prefers to try to portray this as ↵ all being done out of “fairness,” and to facilitate “sharing” (in the ↵ spirit of OA). The “fairness” is to ensure that no institution is exempt from Elsevier’s ↵ Green OA embargoes. And the “sharing” is the social sharing services like Mendeley ↵ <http://www.elsevier.com/online-tools/mendeley> (which Elsevier owns), ↵ about which Elsevier now believes (for the time being) that authors would not ↵ bother to use enough to put their current revenue levels at risk (and their ↵ institutions and funders cannot mandate that they use them) -- hence that that ↵ they would not pose a risk to Elsevier's current subscription revenue levels. Yet another one of the “changes” with which Elsevier seems to be trying to ↵ promote sharing seems to be by trying to find a way to outlaw the institutional ↵ repositories’ "share button ↵ <http://www.elsevier.com/about/policies/hosting#non-commercial-platforms>" (otherwise known as the “Fair-Dealing” Button <http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/18511/>). So just as Elsevier is trying to claim credit for “allowing” authors to do ↵ “dark” (i.e., embargoed, non-OA) deposits, for which no publisher ↵ permission whatsoever is or ever was required, Elsevier now has its lawyers ↵ scrambling to find a formalizable way to make it appear as if Elsevier can ↵ forbid its authors to provide individual reprints to one another, as authors ↵ have been doing for six decades, under yet another new bogus formal pretext to ↵ make it appear sufficiently confusing and threatening to ensure that the ↵ responses to Elsevier author surveys (for its "evidence-based ↵ policy") continue to be sufficiently perplexed and meek to justify any ↵ double-talk in either Elsevier policy or Elsevier PR. The one change in Elsevier policy that one can applaud, however (though here ↵ too the underlying intentions were far from benign), is the CC-BY-NC-ND license ↵ <http://www.elsevier.com/about/policies/article-posting-policy#accepted-manuscript> (unless Elsevier one day decides to back-pedal on that too too). That license is now not only allowed but required for any accepted paper that an author elects to self-archive. Let me close by mentioning a few more of the howlers that keep making ↵ Elsevier's unending series of arbitrary contractual bug-fixes logically ↵ incoherent (i.e., self-contradictory) and technically nonsensical, hence moot, ↵ unenforceable, and eminently ignorable for anyone who takes a few moments to ↵ think instead of cringe. Elsevier is trying to use pseudo-legal words to ↵ squeeze the virtual genie (the Web) back into the physical bottle (the old, ↵ land-based, print-on-paper world): Locus of deposit: Elsevier tries to make legal distinctions on ↵ "where" the author may make their papers (Green) OA on the Web: ↵ "You may post it here but not there." "Here" might be an ↵ institutional website, "there" may be a central website. ↵ "Here" might be an institutional author's homepage, "there" ↵ might be an institutional repository. But do Elsevier's legal beagles ever stop to ask themselves what this all ↵ means, in the online medium? If you make your paper openly accessible anywhere ↵ at all on the web, it is openly accessible (and linkable and harvestable) from ↵ and to anywhere else on the Web. Google and google scholar will pick up the ↵ link, and so will a host of other harvesters and indexers. And users never go ↵ to the deposit site to seek a paper: They seek and find and link to it via the ↵ link harvesters and indexers. So locus restrictions are silly and completely ↵ empty in the virtual world. The silliest of all is the injunction that "you may post it on your ↵ institutional home page but not your institutional repository." What ↵ nonsense! The institutional home page and the institutional repository are just ↵ tagged disk sectors and software functions, of the self-same institution. They ↵ are virtual entities, created by definition; one can be renamed as the other at ↵ any time. And their functionalities are completely swappable or integrable too. ↵ That too is a feature of the virtual world. So all Elsevier is doing by treating these virtual entities as if they were ↵ physical ones (besides confusing and misleading their authors) is creating ↵ terminological nuisances, forcing system administrators to keep re-naming and ↵ re-assigning sectors and functions, needlessly, and vacuously, just to ↵ accommodate vacuous nuisance terminological stipulations. (The same thing applies to "systematicity" and ↵ "aggregation," which I notice that Elsevier has since dropped as ↵ futile: The attempt had been to outlaw posting where the contents of a journal ↵ were being systematically aggregated, by analogy with a rival free-riding ↵ publisher systematically gathering together all the disparate papers in a ↵ journal so as to re-sell them at a cut-rate. Well not only is an institution no ↵ free-rising aggregator: all it is gathering its own paper output, published in ↵ multiple disparate journals. But, because of the virtual nature of the medium, ↵ it is in fact the Web itself that is systematically gathering all disparate ↵ papers together, wherever they happen to be hosted, using their metadata tags: ↵ author, title, journal, date, URL. The rest is all just software functionality. ↵ And if the full-text is out there, somewhere, anywhere, and it is OA, then ↵ there is no way to stop the rest of this very welcome and useful ↵ functionality.) The Arxiv exception. In prior iterations of the policy, Elsevier tried ↵ (foolishly) to outlaw central deposit. They essentially tried to tell authors ↵ who had been making their papers OA in Arxiv since 1991 that they may no longer ↵ do that. Well, that did not go down very well, so those "legal" ↵ restrictions have now been replaced by the "Arxiv exception": Authors ↵ making their papers OA there (or in RePeC) are now officially exempt from the ↵ Elsevier OA embargo. Well here we are again: an arbitrary Elsevier restriction on immediate-OA, ↵ based on locus of deposit. The Pandora's box that this immediately opens is ↵ that all a mandating institution need do in order to detoxify Elsevier's OA ↵ embargo completely is to mandate immediate (dark) deposit of all institutional ↵ output in the institutional repository alongside remote deposit in Arxiv (which ↵ is already automated through the SWORD software ↵ <http://arxiv.org/help/submit_sword>). That completely moots all Elsevier ↵ OA embargoes. Yet another example of Elsevier's ineffectual nuisance ↵ stipulations consisting of ad-hoc, pseudo-legal epicycles, all having one sole ↵ objective: to try to scare authors of doing anything that might possibly pose a ↵ risk to Elsevier's current revenue streams, using any words that will do the ↵ trick, even if only for a while, and even if they make no sense. What's next, Elsevier? "You may use this software but not this ↵ software"? The Share Button. Although it never defines what it means by "Share ↵ Button" (nor why it is trying to outlaw it), if what Elsevier means is the ↵ Institutional Repository's copy-request Button ↵ <https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/DSPACE/RequestCopy>, intended to ↵ provide individual copies to individual copy-requestors, then this too is just ↵ a software-facilitated eprint request. Whenever a user seeks an embargoed deposit, they can click the Button to send ↵ an email to the author to request a copy. The author need merely click a link ↵ in the email to authorize the software to send the copy. So does Elsevier now want to make yet another nuisance stipulation, so the ↵ Button cannot be called a "Share Button," so instead the name of the ↵ author of the embargoed paper has to be made into an email link that notifies ↵ the author that the requestor seeks a copy, with the requestor's email alive, ↵ and clickable, so that inserting the embargoed paper's URL will attach one copy ↵ to the email? Elsevier is not going to make many friends by trying to force its authors to do ↵ jump through gratuitous hoops in order to accommodate Elsevier's ever more ↵ arbitrary and absurd attempts to contain the virtual ether with arbitrary ↵ verbal hacks. There are more. There are further nuisance tactics in the current iteration of ↵ Elsevier's charm initiative, in which self-serving restrictions keep being ↵ portrayed as Elsevier's honest attempts to facilitate rather than hamper ↵ sharing. One particularly interesting one that I have not yet deconstructed ↵ (but that the attentive reader of the latest Elsevier documentation will have ↵ detected) likewise moots all Elsevier OA embargoes even more conveniently than ↵ depositing all papers in Arxiv -- but I leave that as an exercise to the ↵ reader. So Alicia, if Elsevier "admires [my] vision," let me invite you to ↵ consult with me about present and future OA policy conditions. I'll be happy to ↵ share with you which ones are logically incoherent and technically empty in ↵ today's virtual world. It could save Elsevier a lot of futile effort and save ↵ Elsevier authors from a lot of useless and increasingly arbitrary and annoying ↵ nuisance-rules. Best wishes, Stevan Harnad
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