Re: What Provosts Need to Mandate

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 2 May 2006 17:03:11 +0100

I am re-directing the posting by Andrew Waller (below) from the Ian
Gibson thread -- to which it no longer belongs, to the "What Provosts
Need to Mandate" thread, which began in 2003:

    "What Provosts Need to Mandate" (began Dec 2003)

I am also giving a pre-emptive data-based answer to Andrew Waller's
posting, below:

    "[O]ur second author international, cross-disciplinary study
     [1296 respondents], [t]he vast majority of authors (81%) would
     willingly comply with a mandate from their employer or research
     funder to deposit copies of their articles in an institutional or
     subject-based repository. A further 13% would comply reluctantly;
     5% would not comply with such a mandate."

    Swan, A. and Brown, S. (2005) Open access self-archiving: An author
    study. JISC Technical Report, Key Perspectives Inc.

The actual experience of the 4 institutions that have mandated
self-archiving (CERN, U. Southampton ECS, U. Minho, QUT) has confirmed

So the speculation that authors would not comply is incorrect.

The way to persuade Provosts and Pro-Vice-Chancellors to mandate it is:

(1) To show them the evidence for the dramatic degree to which it
enhances usage and impact:

(2) To show them the survey results and the 4 successful
implementations (above)

(3) To show them the generic *deposit* policy that also moots all
copyright concerns:

(4) To show them the generic risk analysis:

Stevan Harnad

Date: Tue, 02 May 2006 08:19:17 -0600
From: Andrew Waller <>
Subject: Re: Ian Gibson on open access

Hello. De-lurking for a moment, this is /great/ list of activities that
can be used to support mandatory self-archiving but is there a similar
fulsome list of activities that can help establish the mandate in the
first place? In my mind, the creation of the mandate is a very large
obstacle in the road to self-archiving at an institutional level. Many
if not most teaching faculty/researchers /hate/ being told that they
/have/ to do something (despite the fact that they /have/ to do many,
many things in their work lives already; think of all the hoops one has
to jump through when applying for and working with major grants),
especially these days when there is so much on people's plates.

Andrew Waller
Serials Librarian
Collections Services
University of Calgary Library <>
(403) 220-8133 voice
(403) 284-2109 fax

Arthur Sale wrote:

> Effective author support policies involve a plethora of activities,
> and are well exemplified by the activities undertaken at QUT,
> Queensland University and here. No doubt in many other places. They
> include (but no university does all):
> * Assistance with uploading the first document (hand-holding).
> Maybe devolve this out to departments/faculties/workshops.
> * Fall-back positions which allow a subject-librarian, or a
> department/faculty office professional, to upload on behalf of
> an author who is not computer literate.
> * Provision for turning final manuscripts into pdf format (info
> about free OSS options and/or a library service).
> * Provision of as much [automated] statistical use information as
> authors find useful. See for example
> * League tables of document downloads (Do NOT publish or put on
> the Web league tables of academics by totals of downloads. This
> is counter-productive as the same few people are always at the
> top {sometimes because of extraneous discipline or popularity
> reasons}, and everyone else feels aggrieved). Document download
> info seems ok as it is anonymized and variable. See for example
> * Encouragement (or stronger) from a head of school or research
> coordinator - they need to be converted and they are
> intra-university competitive as well as being
> discipline-competitive.
> * Integration of the repository into school and university
> websites (eg instead of a list of publications on a web-page
> (always out of date) put a php/perl query on the repository for
> the particular author or authors (always up to date).
> Possibility needs promotion and education to web-page designers
> (may be academics).
> * Professional development workshops for PhD candidates to put
> their publications up (*Important: these are Trojan horses.
> Maybe you can get a mandate for them ahead of academics/faculty*)
> * Development of repository software to provide extra information
> to authors and possibly readers, such as citation counts.
> * Briefing meetings with heads of departments, deans and research
> directors. Keep it as routinized as possible: we are not trying
> to do something radical but to smooth something that should be a
> routine part of research activity.
> * When you have a mandated policy, act on selected
> departments/faculties in a sequential strategy. Do not attempt a
> scattergun approach. Again, it is routinization that you are after.
> * Some universities have introduced financial benefits for depositing.
> * Do not worry about metadata quality, nor bother authors about
> it. Authors are often as good as librarians, if not better. In
> any case the most popular discovery techniques are not dependent
> on metadata.
> * Provide a service for authors who are worried about copyright.
> It generally isn't important nor is the service onerous.
> * ... I am sure that there are more I have forgotten for the moment...
> *Getting back to the requirement (mandatory) policy.* I well
> understand that most universities do not yet have such a policy. I
> think I know exactly how many do. However, unless it is in your kitbag
> (like a field-marshal's baton) the university is wasting its money
> even having a 5-15% full repository. Striving to achieve such a policy
> is understandable and laudable, but it must be a continuous and strong
> push.
> However, expending money on author support policies without a mandate
> is like pushing a large rock up a hill. *It does not work and is
> demonstrated not to work.* Precisely because of what I wrote earlier:
> the vast majority of academics (85%+) are non-participants and will
> seize any excuse however spurious to avoid doing any extra work. They
> are incapable of being persuaded in the mass. Remember that I am a
> researcher, not a librarian. I know the mindset of researchers.
> So to summarize:
> * Try to get the mandate before the repository.
> * If you've got the repository before the mandate, make it
> crystal-clear to *everyone* (especially in higher management)
> that a mandate is in your sights and you are not going to let go
> of it until you get what you want and the forces of reaction are
> defeated. Use the word "luddite" if you have to.
> * Don't expend significant amounts of time and money on
> author-support until you've got the mandate. It is pretty much
> wasted anyway, like flushing dollar notes down the toilet.
> * After you've got the mandate, go for full-on author-support. It
> will speed up the transition which will take 1-3 years.
> Arthur
Received on Tue May 02 2006 - 17:19:33 BST

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