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Re: Campus OA Resolution Stevan Harnad 06 Oct 2010 13:19 UTC

                  ** Cross-Posted **

On Tue, 5 Oct 2010, [identity deleted] wrote:

> Hi Stevan,
> We are happy to inform you that [university identity deleted] senate passed
> a campus open access resolution...
> [Here] is the text of our open access resolution. We are not sure
> if we should register it to ROARMAP since it is not a policy or a mandate.
> Do you have any guidance for us?
> Thanks,
> [Identity deleted]


Congratulations to your university for taking a stance on OA, but I'm
afraid there is nothing yet to register in ROARMAP on the basis of
this kind of resolution (encouraging OA), for the following reasons:

(1) Ten years of evidence on which kinds of policies succeed and which
fail have shown that encouraging deposit simply does not work.
Baseline deposit rates remain about 15% of university research output,
even with encouragement, recommendations, invitations, and requests.

(2) If the encouragement is accompanied by relentless activism,
contacts, incentives and assistance from library staff, the deposit
rate can be raised somewhat higher.

(3) But only a deposit requirement (mandate) can raise the deposit
rate to 60%, from which it approaches 100% within a few years
(especially quickly if deposit is officially designated as the sole
procedure for submitting publications for performance assessment).
Neither encouragement nor activism will accomplish deposit rates of
that order, no matter how long the policy remains in place.

So I am afraid that your university is now destined to have to
discover for itself -- by losing several more years of research uptake
and impact while other institutions (over 100 now) adopt a deposit
mandate -- that encouragement alone simply does not work.

I also think it is a mistake to foreground the recommendation to
publish in open access journals ("Gold OA"): Unlike "Green OA" -- i.e.
depositing articles published in conventional journals (which still
constitute about 90% of journals today, and still include virtually
all the top journals) -- publishing in Gold OA journals cannot be
required; it can only be encouraged. So it should clearly be a
portrayed as a supplement to a deposit mandate. Your faculty
resolution puts the encouragement to publish in OA journals first,
followed by the encouragement to deposit. Not only is the crucial
requirement to deposit missing, but the priorities are
counterproductively reversed.

Last, I have to point out that the your resolution's statement
regarding deposit is so hedged by apparent legal worries that it is
virtually just a statement to the effect "We encourage you to deposit
if and when your publisher says you may deposit"!

Not only is that legalistic hedging not helpful, but it is misleading
and unnecessary. Your university can and should require deposit of the
author's final, refereed, revised draft, immediately upon acceptance
for publication, without exception. Over 60% of journals already give
endorse immediate OA self-archiving (see the ROMEO registry).  If
there is a desire to abide by the remaining journals' OA embargoes,
then your university should simply recommend setting access to the
(immediate, mandatory) deposit as Closed Access rather than Open
Access during the embargo. But the immediate deposit itself should be
mandatory, without exception, regardless of publisher policy on the
timing of OA. That way even during any OA embargo users can request
and authors can provide "Almost OA" on a case by case basis, for
research or educational purposes, via the repository's semi-automatic
"email eprint request" button.

All I can do is hope that as you see the growing evidence of the
feasibility and success of immediate-deposit mandates registered in
ROARMAP, your university will be emboldened to upgrade its policy to
an immediate-deposit mandate (as NIH did, after 2 years lost hoping
that encouragement would be enough) before it needlessly loses many
more years of uptake and impact for its annual research output.

Invaluable OA policy-making guidance is now available to universities
from EOS (Enabling Open Scholarship)
Convenor, Alma Swan, Key Perspectives and University of Southampton;
Chairman, Bernard Rentier, Rector, University of Liege.

We hope many new deposit mandates will be announced during
international OA week (beginning October 18):

Best wishes,

Harnad, S. (2008) Waking OA’s “Slumbering Giant”: The University's
Mandate To Mandate Open Access. New Review of Information Networking
14(1): 51 - 68

Harnad, S; Carr, L; Swan, A; Sale, A  & Bosc H. (2009)  Maximizing and
Measuring Research Impact Through University and Research-Funder
Open-Access Self Archiving Mandates. Wissenschaftsmanagement 15(4)

Harnad, S. (2010) The Immediate Practical Implication of the Houghton
Report: Provide Green Open Access Now. Prometheus 28 (1). pp. 55-59.

Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2010)
Open Access Mandates and the "Fair Dealing" Button. In: Dynamic Fair
Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren
Wershler, Eds.)

Swan, A. (2010) The Open Access citation advantage: Studies and
results to date. Technical Report. School of Electronics & Computer
Science, University of Southampton.