[Irtalk] Fwd: [GOAL] Evidence-Based vs. Ideology-Based Open Access Policy

Hilton Gibson hilton.gibson at gmail.com
Thu Apr 23 14:11:00 SAST 2015

*Very good summary of the state of open access policies and their

*Hilton Gibson*
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JS Gericke Library
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Stellenbosch University
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South Africa

Tel: +27 21 808 4100 | Cell: +27 84 646 4758

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum at gmail.com>
Date: 23 April 2015 at 13:58
Subject: [GOAL] Evidence-Based vs. Ideology-Based Open Access Policy
To: "Global Open Access List (Successor of AmSci)" <goal at eprints.org>

In my own opinion there have been four main reasons for the exceedingly
slow growth of OA (far, far slower than it could have been) — (1) author
inertia and needless copyright worries, (2) publisher resistance via
lobbying and OA embargoes, (3) premature and needless fixation on Gold OA
publishing and (4) premature and needless fixation on Libre OA (re-use
rights, CC-BY).

By far the most urgent and yet fully and immediately reachable objective
has always been free online access to refereed journal articles (“Gratis
OA”), which could long ago have been provided by authors as Green OA
(exactly as computer scientists spontaneously began doing in the 1980s with
anonymous ftp archiving, and physicists began doing in the 1990s with XXX
(then Arxiv).

Instead, authors in most other fields have proved extremely sluggish —
because of (1), and eventually also (2) -- and the public campaign for OA
became needlessly and counterproductively focussed on Gold OA and Libre OA,
which were neither as urgently needed as Gratis OA, nor could they be as
easily provided as Gratis OA.

OA mandates by funders and institutions then began to be recommended and
adopted, but these too have been exceedingly slow in coming, and needlessly
weak, having gotten needlessly wrapped up in Libre and Gold OA, even though
Gratis Green OA is the easiest, most effective and most natural thing to

And the irony is that this premature and needless fixation on Libre and
Gold OA (which still persists) has not only helped slow the progress of
Gratis Green OA, but it has also slowed its very own progress.

Because the fastest and surest way to Libre, Fair-Gold OA is to first
mandate Gratis Green OA -- which, once it is being universally provided,
will usher in Libre, Fair-Gold quickly and naturally. This is evident to
anyone who simply thinks it through.

Instead, we now continue to be bogged down in (1) - (4), with many weak and
wishy-washy OA policies, Fools’ Gold (as well as predatory junk Gold OA)
(3) from publishers clouding the landscape, and an almost superstitious
obsession with a Libre OA (2) that most research and researchers don’t need
anywhere near as urgently as they need Gratis OA itself.

Meanwhile, hardly noticed, is the fact that mandates could be incomparably
stronger and more effective if they simply focussed on requiring Green
Gratis OA, in institutional (not institution-external) repositories, where
institutions can monitor and ensure compliance by designating
immediate-deposit as the sole mechanism for submitting publications for
research evaluation (as Liege and HEFCE have done) and implementing the
copy-request Button as the antidote against publisher OA embargoes.

In yet another effort to try to get mandates on the right track — requiring
Gratis Green OA — we have now analyzed the few existing OA policies’
effectiveness to identify which conditions maximize compliance, in the hope
that the research community can at last be persuaded to adopt
evidence-based policies instead of ideology-driven ones:

Vincent-Lamarre, Philippe, Boivin, Jade, Gargouri, Yassine, Larivière,
Vincent and Harnad, Stevan (2015) Estimating Open Access Mandate
Effectiveness: I. The MELIBEA Score <http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/370203/>.

Swan, Alma; Gargouri, Yassine; Hunt, Megan; & Harnad, Stevan (2015) Open
Access Policy: Numbers, Analysis, Effectiveness
<http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/375854/>. Pasteur4OA Workpackage 3 Report.

Here is a quick little history of OA, particularly highlighting
Southampton’s contribution:

Carr, L., Swan, A. and Harnad, S. (2011) Creating and Curating the
Cognitive Commons: Southampton’s Contribution.
<http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/21844/> In: *Curating the European
University *

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