Re: What Provosts Need to Mandate

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2006 22:33:49 +0000

      Re-directed from "OA and Academic Freedom"
      to the Amsci Topic Thread:

      "What Provosts Need to Mandate" (2003)

On Sun, 12 Mar 2006, Terry Anderson (Athabasca University) wrote:

> At Athabasca University we are in a debate to have our Academic Council
> (senate) approve a strong OA requirement. It prescribes publishing in either
> or both of OA Journals or self archiving through our University repository.

This sounds very confusing, and is certainly not the recommended
institutional OA policy. The simple, clear, canonical form of a strong OA
requirement is the following (as recommended in Berlin 3 [Southampton]):

        "In order to implement the Berlin Declaration institutions should
         implement a policy to:

        1. *require* their researchers to deposit a copy of all their
           published articles in an open access repository


        2. *encourage* their researchers to publish their research
        articles in open access journals where a suitable journal exists
        (and provide the support to enable that to happen)."

Much the same policy is recommended at ROARMAP:

        "Our institution's researchers publish their research in the
        suitable peer-reviewed journal of *their choice*:
        a conventional non-open-access journal
                    (*encouraged* if/when a suitable journal exists;
                    funded if/when institutional funds available)
        an open-access journal
        AND in both cases :
        immediately upon acceptance for publication, they are
        *required* to deposit a copy of their article in our
        institutional repository"

> In the policy we allow an individual faculty member to exempt themselves
> from the requirement if they have negotiated with publishers and feel there
> is no alternative but to publish in a restrictive journal or monograph.

First of all, no policy can or should dictate where the faculty member
should publish. (OA journals can be encouraged, but not required.)

Second, for the time being, OA policy does not apply to monographs, only
to journal articles. (So monograph self-archiving can be encouraged, but
it certainly cannot and should not be mandated.)

Third, once the author has chosen which journal to publish in, the
policy merely requires that the author's final, refereed draft must
be deposited, immediately upon acceptance for publication, in the
university's IR.

If you want a *strong* policy, you should also require that access to
the article be immediately set to Open Access.

If there is insufficient consensus for a strong policy, a weaker policy
can still be 100% effective: Immediate deposit of full-text and OAI metadata
(author, title, date, journal) is required but *access-setting* for the
full-text is left up to the author:

The author is *encouraged* (not required) to immediately set access
privileges to the full-text to Open Access. But if the author elects not
to do so, the full-text access privileges can be provisionally set to
Restricted Access (only the metadata are accessible).

The metadata for all deposits are still visible webwide, so would-be
users can always email the author to request an eprint (until/unless
the author elects to re-set access to OA).

> We have been challenged by an opponent of this proposal who quotes the
> collective agreement with our faculty that states:
> "Members of the university community are entitled, regardless of prescribed
> doctrine, to freedom in carrying out research and in publishing the results
> thereof..."

He is quite right, and you should make it crystal clear that the policy
does not constrain the author's freedom to publish wherever he chooses.

The deposit requirement is merely an internal record-keeping
requirement. With the stronger policy, immediately setting access as OA
is also required; with the weaker policy it is merely encouraged.

Since 93% of journals have already endorsed immediate OA self-archiving,
it will only be for about 7% of articles that some author might elect
to set access as RA instead of OA:

> He is arguing that requiring faculty to publish formal research in one of
> the two OA ways above is " a prescribed doctrine" and forcing faculty to
> adhere (even with the self-exemption clause) infringes their academic
> freedom.

He is quite right. But the solution is simple: Please do not formulate
the Athabasca OA policy in the confused and incoherent form you quoted
above, but in the form recommended by the Berlin 3 and ROARMAP (above),
the UK Select Committee, and RCUK:

as well as by the 5 institutions that have already adopted an OA mandate:

> I would be grateful for any arguments I could use to refute this contention.

All you need in order to refute this contention is to bring the policy
into the clear focus recommended above.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Chaire de recherche du Canada Professor of Cognitive Science
Ctr. de neuroscience de la cognition Dpt. Electronics & Computer Science
Université du Québec à Montréal University of Southampton
Montréal, Québec Highfield, Southampton
Canada H3C 3P8 SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

> Terry Anderson, Ph.D.
> Editor, International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning
> Professor and Canada Research Chair in Distance Education
> Athabasca University
> #1200 10011 109 St
> Edmonton AB Canada T5J3S8
> Ph. 780 497-3421 Fax 780 497-3416
Received on Sun Mar 12 2006 - 22:42:40 GMT

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