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Re: OA Mandates, Embargoes, and the "Fair Use" Button

On Fri, 25 May 2007, Martin J. Osborne wrote:

> Regarding "fair use": is it your understanding that an author 
> can email *the publisher's pdf file* of a published paper to a 
> person who asks for a copy?  (I looked through the list 
> archives, but didn't see an answer.) My assumption is that she 
> can, given that it is just the electronic analogue of mailing 
> out a xerox of a published paper.
> (Feel free to reply on the list if you think it is of 
> interest.)
> Martin J. Osborne
> Department of Economics
> University of Toronto
> http://www.economics.utoronto.ca

Yes, for simply emailing eprints, it makes no difference whether 
the author emails a copy of the publisher's PDF or the author's 
accepted final draft (postprint).

It also makes no difference which version is sent via the 
Institutional Repository's "Fair Use" Button, in the case of 
articles that have been deposited as Closed Access instead of OA 
because of publisher access embargoes.

But where it makes a huge difference is in institutional and 
funder self-archiving (Green OA) *mandates*. The default version 
that should be mandated for deposit is the author's final draft, 
*not* the publisher's PDF. The reason is that the author's final 
draft has far fewer restrictions imposed on it. (In other words, 
far more publishers endorse author self-archiving of the 
publisher's final draft, and far more publishers endorse 
immediate, unembargoed setting of access to the deposit as OA 
rather than Closed Access.)

So, if the publisher does happen to fromally endorse immediate, 
unembargoed self-archiving of the publisher's proprietary PDF, 
it's fine to self-archive that. But the default version that 
mandates should specify for all other cases is the publisher's 
final draft.

By the way, the difference between the publisher's PDF and the 
author's final draft means next to nothing to those would-be 
users who currently have no access at all. Hence it would be 
absurd to keep on depriving them of access in order to hold out 
for a difference that makes no difference.

It would in principle be possible to deposit both the author's 
final draft *and* the publisher's PDF, the latter always in 
Closed Access, and, whenever a user requests an eprint via the 
Fair Use Button, always to send the PDF rather than the author's 
postprint. I would say that at a point in time when 85% of 
articles are not being deposited at all, any which way, and most 
institutions and funders have yet to adopt deposit mandates, this 
would be an example of a needless overcomplication, discouraging 
rather than accelerating progress. Both authors and their 
institutions and funders do best to forget about depositing the 
publisher's PDF at all, except in the specific cases where it has 
been endorsed by the publisher for immediate OA (and the author 
prefers to do so).

I not only prefer to deposit my final draft, but in addition to 
depositing it, I sometimes also deposit postpublication updates 
and corrections (clearly tagged as such!) of the published 
version, which would in any case supersede the PDF.

     "Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates:
      What? Where? When? Why? How?"

Stevan Harnad