Re: Forthcoming OA Developments in France

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 13:38:03 +0100

On Wed, 28 Jun 2006, Peter Banks wrote:

> On 6/27/06 9:48 PM, "Stevan Harnad" <> wrote:
> > Multiple author surveys --=20
> > international and multisciplinary -- as well as repeated=20
> > experience with actual mandates have shown that there will be=20
> > very high rates of compliance.
> Really?
> The NIH had about 4% compliance with its request for voluntary deposit in
> PMC.

Yes, really. The point you seem to have missed, Peter, is that the NIH Public
Access policy was not a mandate. The above quote was very specifically about
compliance with *mandates*, as against mere inivitations to deposit voluntarily.

The NIH policy is rumoured soon to be strengthened. The FRPAA
self-archiving policy is already being proposed as a mandate (the RCUK and
the EC self-archiving policy proposals too) -- and the reason is precisely
because deposit mandates work, and voluntary deposit does not. That's what
not only the author surveys but the actual implementations of deposit
mandates (CERN's, Wellcome Trust's, and the emerging university-level
mandates) have demonstrated: Very high compliance rates. Growing author
and user satisfaction with the results will soon clinch it.

> The 2005 CIBER author survey concludes, "At the moment, relatively few
> researchers are familiar with the concept of institutional
> repositories...such evidence as we have suggests that--at the population
> level--there is no great interest or drive from the author community for
> this model." (page 43)

Awareness of OA and its benefits is growing, but I agree that information about it
still needs to be disseminated far and wide -- and it is being disseminated.

I am afraid I must disagree that the CIBER survey (or any other of the
numerous author OA surveys that have now been conducted) indicates no
great interest from the research author community. I am afraid that
that interpretation represents wishful thinking on the part of the
publishing community!

But I do agree on the matter of author drive: The surveys have shown very clearly
that spontaneous OA self-archiving levels by authors are low (about 15%) and that
most authors themselves say that they will not self-archive until/unless their
funders and/or institutions mandate it. But if/when they do mandate it,
95% report that they will self-archive (81% of them willingly). And the
actual mandates that have been implemented confirm this fully, with very
high and growing rates of deposit.

> Even the Swan paper you cite doesn't suggest high levels of awareness of
> interest in OA. A slight majority had not placed a paper in an IR, and about
> three quarters of these didn't even know about repositories.

All true (and all 2005 and earlier history). But awareness has since been
growing and growing, largely out of the advocacy efforts of the OA
community, and including also the proposed and adopted mandates
in the UK, US, France, Germany, Australia, and the EC that have been
announced and discussed in this Forum and elsewhere.

> What all the evidence does suggest is that most authors would comply,
> sometimes grudgingly, with IR deposit if forced to, much as they would
> comply with the need to pay taxes or get a wisdom tooth extracted.

And much as most authors comply (sometimes grudgingly) with the mandate
to publish at all ("publish or perish") -- something for which publishers
have good reason to be grateful, I should imagine!

Tax-paying might be a good analogy, but I think wisdom-tooth-extraction may be
a bit over the top (or a projected pain from some publishers)...

I suggest that some realism might be more useful to the peer-reviewed journal
publishing industry, rather than this sort of wishful thinking and selective

Note that the OA movement does not apply to the magazine industry (in which
you wield your considerable influence) as a whole, but only to the peer-reviewed
research sector -- about 24,000 journals, none of which pay a penny of royalties
or author fees/salaries, because the researcher/authors publish in them only for
the sake of research impact: so that as many users as possible read, use, apply,
build-upon and cite their findings. And that is the rationale for OA.

Best wishes, Stevan

> Peter Banks
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Received on Wed Jun 28 2006 - 13:54:26 BST

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