Re: Green Party Green on Gold but not on Green

From: Jan Velterop <openaccess_at_BTINTERNET.COM>
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2005 17:18:52 +0100

Not sure if the wordy discussion of the last few days brings open
access any closer if we don't understand a few basics (and perhaps
try to adhere to Pythagoras' wisdom: "Do not say a little in many
words; say a great deal in a few"?).

1. Researchers do not 'give away' their articles, certainly not to
publishers, without anything in return. They seek something in
exchange: recognition and impact: the 'brownie points' they need for
their careers. These things do not just come from making their
articles visible, but to a large degree from citations and the
'label' that is the journal title attached to their article. Wanting
something in return makes it a trade, commerce. Authors do not
'give'; they 'pay' for what they want in return, either with
exclusive rights (to be converted by the publisher into money), or
with money. They could, of course, 'give' their work away, to the
world. They don't need journals for that. But they won't get the
'brownie points' without peer-reviewed journals.

2. "Being required to give away" is in conflict with being required
to publish in a peer-reviewed journal, as that implies a trade.
'Giving away' here is of the same nature as being required to 'give
away' money to the taxman. There are plenty of verbs that could
describe such a transaction, but 'to give away' isn't usually among

3. Self-archiving can, of course, be a supplement to formally
published articles. Rather in the way that a soup-kitchen is a
supplement to bakers, butchers and greengrocers, for those who can't
afford to buy food. These traders won't object to a soup kitchen and
may even donate their leftover loaves, pig-trotters and kale. But
don't ask them to lend their quality reputation, their brand, to the
soup kitchen's food. Self-archiving could be a tool to put pressure
on publishers to provide open access. But there is no denying that
there is the potential that it substitutes publishing when - not if -
it gets organised properly and offers the material with journal
'labels' attached. Journals (i.e. their publishers and organisers of
peer-review) will vanish. Unless they make the transition to viable
publishing models that make open access possible. The Green Party
seems to understand that, but so did the HoC S&T Committee and the
RCUK, if one reads their reports in full, and many others.

Jan Velterop

On 10 Sep 2005, at 16:05, Stevan Harnad wrote:

> Preface: I not in passing that my message about the irony of the
> Green Party
> supporting Gold while not supporting Green -- yet here we are
> again, debating the
> merits of Gold...
> On Sat, 10 Sep 2005, Matthew Cockerill & Jean-Claude Guedon wrote:
>> MC: "Gold" - i.e. open access publishing, is not a business model,
>> it is
>> simply a measure of the level of service provided by the publisher.
> Call it what you like: funders can tell their fundees what to do,
> but publishers
> are not their fundees.
>> MC: The research community (which, largely from its own public
>> funding,
>> pays publishers for the service they provide)
> Libraries pay for books as well as journals out of whatever public
> funds they use: Are books to be given away online too? And all other
> digital products (software, for example)?
> No, Matt, the relevant give-away is only that of the author's own
> (funded)
> research. The author gives it away (royalty/fee-free) to the
> publisher,
> and can give it away (and be required to give it away) to all would-be
> users too, who cannot afford the publisher's version. Publishers
> cannot
> (and need not, hence should not) be forced to give it away, if they do
> not wish to.
>> MC: it is currently enforced by community standards in most
>> disciplines that
>> journals must peer review the research they publish, if they are to
>> be taken seriously. It is entirely possible, and indeed likely, that
>> community standards will evolve to require that publishers make
>> research openly available immediately on publication. Given that the
>> research community is paying for the service from publishers - they
>> *can* call the tune.
> Researchers can call the tune through their choice of which
> journals to
> submit articles to and to purchase. But if they want OA for their
> articles
> so badly, yet cannot even be bothered to *provide* it by self-
> archiving
> them, it is unlikely they will stop submitting to or using journals
> that
> decline to provide it in their place. If the (failed) PLoS boycott --
> in which 34,000 researchers pledged that they would stop submitting
> to,
> refereeing for, or using journals that did not make their articles
> OA for
> them by September 2001 --
> demonstrated one thing it is that trying to beg or bully publishers
> to give away their authors' give-aways for them is not the way to
> achieve 100% OA: Doing it for themselves (by self-archiving) is.
> And if
> researchers haven't the sense to realise or act on this, their funders
> and institutions can (and, one hopes, will) require them to do it
> (just as
> they require them to -- and reward them for -- publishing in the
> first place).
>> J-CG: Stevan claims that one cannot impose a business model to
>> publishers. My
>> answer, and we should consider it very carefully, is that if a
>> journal
>> is run with money that is public money
> What proportion of the planet's 24,000 peer-reviewed journals does
> Jean-Claude think that corresponds to -- and what proportion of the
> budget of those journals does he think that covers?
>> J-CG: be it directly from the government or through some agency
>> distributing
>> public money - this includes universities and their support in
>> kind for
>> many journals, as this is ultimately paid up by public money
> Apart from subscribing to journals (with public money, discussed
> above in
> response to Matt), what I assume Jean-Claude means here is the time
> that
> academics and their institutions contribute to editing and peer-
> reviewing,
> sometimes even housing a journal's editorial office. Of course an
> (unpaid)
> editor, referee, or host can impose whatever (local) conditions they
> desire, but those are local decisions -- decisions that few, if any,
> are making at this time. And no wonder (and we should consider it very
> carefully), since the OA enthusiasts who are so eager for OA as to be
> willing to militate for imposing OA-provision on their publishers are
> not yet willing to impose OA-provision on themselves, by performing
> the
> few keystrokes it takes to make their own give-away articles OA for
> all
> those who cannot afford the paid access.
> We all reckon the odds according to our own perceptions, hopes and
> expectations, but I'm willing to bet that the likelihood that a
> research
> community that is not even ready to self-archive for the sake of OA is
> even less likely to do what the PLoS boycotters threatened to do for
> the sake of OA.
> As to their institutional employers and research funders: much the
> same applies to them, except that, whereas they *are* in a position to
> require that all of their employees/fundees provide OA by self-
> archiving,
> they are in no position to require that all their publishers
> provide OA
> (for the reasons already adduced): Institutions/funders have control
> over their researchers' budgets and doings but very, very limited
> input
> to, hence control over, publishers' budgets and doings (limited to the
> few institutions and/or funders that make a local contribution to a
> given journal's editorial or operational budget).
>> J-CG: then we should seek to have open access mandated.
> Easily said. And easily done in the case of mandating OA
> self-archiving. Bur mostly just empty hand-waving in the case of
> mandating
> OA publishing. (Ceterum censeo: We should not be wasting still more
> time, this late in the day/decade, with this idle shadow-boxing
> when on
> the one side we have a concrete, implementable policy proposal, RCUK,
> and on the other we have merely vague allusions to public funding and
> "support in kind.")
>> J-CG: There is no reason that public money supporting the
>> publishing of
>> scholarly journals should then be the condition of possibility (as
>> French
>> philosophers are wont to say...) for toll-gated research results, all
>> the more so that the research itself is also supported by public
>> money.
> Apart from the (all-important) fact that article-authors give away
> their research royalty/fee-free to publishers and users alike (because
> they are writing for research impact, not text-sales income), all of
> this reasoning would -- if it were valid -- apply equally to books,
> textbooks, software, and any other digital (or, for that matter,
> analog)
> product produced by researchers or academics supported all or part by
> public money. Hence the implications are far from clear for the whole
> incoherent mass that fits the formula.
> If we separate the give-away authors from the rest, however, the
> rational
> resolution becomes quite obvious: These can and should give away their
> own give-aways in order to make them OA, by self-archiving them
> (and they
> should be required to do so, for their own good, by their employers
> and
> funders, if they are sluggish and/or foolish enough to *want* OA
> yet not
> to know how to go about providing it, or not be spontaneously inclined
> to do so, immediately).
> To tilt instead at fantasies about requiring publishers to do so in
> their stead
> has other suitable adjectives for describing it, but it is
> certainly no formula
> for reaching 100% OA any time soon -- or over, more likely.
>> J-CG: In conclusion, some form of mandating can be applied to both
>> green and
>> gold; in the latter case, it would apply only to journals
>> receiving any
>> form of public support. When you pay part of the bill, you are
>> entitled
>> to having a say in the design of the business model.
> I agree. Strings can be attached to any purse: Now, what percentage of
> the planet's annual output of about 2.5 million articles in its 24,000
> journals does Jean-Claude believe the "gold mandate" will cover? I
> reckon
> about 20% at most, whereas green covers 100% -- and already has
> that 20%
> covered too.
>> J-CG: Scholarly journals with public support should be forced to
>> be OA. Let
>> them design their individual business model within that framework.
>> Period!
> Scholarly journals (what percent of total 24,000 journals?) with
> public
> support (what percentage of their budgets?) should be forced (by
> whom?,
> how?) to be OA (what percent OA for each journal?) in accordance
> with their
> percent public support.
> Some of this is doable, in principle, but I can't imagine why we
> would focus on it now, in practice, when 100% OA is 100% doable simply
> by mandating OA self-archiving. The need to impose anything else on
> publishers may well vanish, once we all have the 100% OA that is all
> supposedly about (remember?).
> And the point of my posting was that the Greens proposed to mandate
> Gold,
> but not Green...
> Stevan Harnad
Received on Sun Sep 11 2005 - 17:56:39 BST

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