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Re: On OA, Self-Interest and Coercion
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- From: "Ari Belenkiy" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 19:24:27 EST
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It seems I began to understand logic of the proponents of OA.
They believe authors are either lazy or negligent to make their results open to others as soon as possible - and want to coerce them by new laws. They cover themselves with nice words about public welfare.
While to open results to others at once is important, this can certainly distract from more serious work in the field.
Once I spent entire evening trying to place a file at the arXive and did not succeed. The people who support the site explained that no one can place two PDF files at once (separate for a main text and for an appendix) but I stopped doing any other attempt to finish the job.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stevan Harnad" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, January 28, 2008 2:35 AM
Subject: On OA, Self-Interest and Coercion
On Thu, 24 Jan 2008, James J. O'Donnell wrote:...Whether to include [books] in OA "mandates" is Stevan Harnad's question, and since I regard such mandates with skepticism, that question doesn't concern me.But the question of mandates does concern a bigger and bigger constituency, now that 6 of 7 UK Research Councils, the European Research Council, the US National Institutes of Health, and a growing number of universities worldwide have already mandated OA self-archiving, and the vast sleeping giant of universities worldwide is about to awaken and follow suit: http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/356-guid.html 22 funder mandates, 12 institutional mandates, 3 departmental mandates, plus 5 proposed funder mandates, 3 proposed multi-institutional mandates, 1 proposed institutional mandate That's a total of 37 mandates already adopted and 9 more proposed so far = 46 http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/policysignup/ So this might be an opportune time to re-examine the basis of one's skepticism about OA mandates...I am struck by the assertion that "all authors would want OA for their articles" if certain conditions are met. That's an interesting hypothesis, but I would simply underscore that the number of authors who currently *do* want OA for their articles is low enough that Harnad and others recommend they be coerced to achieve the goal. That fundamental disjuncture is important to understand and is advanced by empirical work, not by thought experiments.(1) "Coerced" is a rather shrill term! (Is every rule that is in the public interest -- smoking bans? seatbelt laws? breathalyzer tests? taxes? -- coercion? Is academia's "publish or perish" mandate "coercion"?) http://www.ercim.org/publication/Ercim_News/enw64/harnad.html (2) It is empirically incorrect to assume that the number of authors that do want OA for their articles is the same as the number who spontaneously self-archive or publish in an OA journal today: (3) Considerable empirical work has been done on these questions: The surveys by Alma Swan and others have repeatedly shown that (a) many authors still don't know about OA, and (b) many of those who know about it agree that they would want it for their articles, but they fear (wrongly) that it might be illegal, prejudicial to their publishing in their journal of choice, or just plain too complicated and time-consuming to do it. (4) As a matter of empirical fact, (a) - (c) are all wrong. (5) More important, the surveys have found that although most authors still do not self-archive, 95% report that they would self-archive if their institutions and/or funders mandated it -- and 81% of them report they would do so *willingly*. http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/337-guid.html (6) In other words, most authors regard Green OA self-archiving mandates not as coercion, but as facilitation, for doing what they would want to do, but otherwise daren't (or otherwise could not assign it the proper priority in their academic publish-or-perish obligations). (7) By way of still further empirical confirmation, Arthur Sale's many studies have shown that institutional self-archiving policies are successful -- and institutional OA repositories successfully approach capture of 100% of institutional research output -- if and only if they are mandates. http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/337-guid.html (8) All of that is empirical; there is one thought-experiment, however, and that is the various speculations and counter-speculations about whether or not Green OA self-archiving mandates will destroy peer-reviewed journal publication (see APPENDIX below). (9) I fully agree that the only way to settle that question too, is empirically -- and the mandates will do just that. (10) All indications are that if and when mandated Green OA should ever make the journal subscription model unsustainable, the only thing that will happen is a natural transition to Gold OA publishing, with (a portion of) the institutional subscription savings simply redirected to paying the (reduced but nonzero) costs of Gold OA: implementing peer review. http://www.scoap3.org/ http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmsctech/399/399we152.htm
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