Re: [SOAF] In Defense of the American Psychological Association's Green OA Policy

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 09:50:15 -0400

On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 8:51 AM, <>

> Nonsense. Stevan is simply trying to opportunistically use this
> unfair charge by APA as a wedge to force a change in NIH policy.

One is free to see absence of sense where one fails to see sense, but
I wonder what Matt Hodgkinson thinks my opportunistic motives are...

> There is nothing wrong with the NIH wanting their funded
> research to be deposited in PubMed Central. This is self-archiving.

If it is not always self-archiving, it is certainly always (Green) OA
(once the allowed embargo elapses). And there is certainly nothing
wrong with wanting and mandating OA.

But what Matt seems to overlook (whereas my opportunism on behalf of
OA cannot) is that there is no need for direct deposit in PMC in
order to provide OA; IR deposit provides OA too, and as I've
repeatedly described in considerable detail (which Matt seems to pass
over), there are many practical and functional reasons why mandating
IR deposit instead of CR deposit will generate a lot more OA, a lot
more surely and swiftly, by making institutional and funder mandates
convergent and synergistic instead of divergent and competitive. PMC
and other central collections can harvest from the IRs, which are the
content-providers. There is no advantage -- and lots of disadvantage
-- from mandating divergent, institution-external deposit.

> If researchers want to deposit it elsewhere too - in institutional
> repositories, for example - then good.

If researchers were spontaneously depositing of their own accord,
then there would be no need or talk of mandates, either funder or
institutional. These mandates are keystroke mandates, and we are
talking about where these keystrokes should be systematically
directed (and how many times).

Institutions are the content-providers, for both funded and unfunded
research. And OA's target content is all institutional research
(article) output. The natural locus for the institution's own
research output is its own OA IR. Being OA, that means it can then be
harvested by any central collection or service, including PMC (or
UKPMC, or CiteerSeer, or OAIster, or Google). That is the instrinsic
nature of OA.

> All that will happen to APA
> journals is that NIH funded researchers will realise that other
> journals will do for free what APA is charging them $2500 to do.
> Then either APA will lose credibility or it will back down.

I can quite understand the first disjunct, on the part of a rival
journal publisher (and I won't call it opportunistic as long as the
wish is made purely in the interests of OA!); and APA may well back
down from its $2500 PMC deposit fee under pressure from the
well-meaning OA lobby. 
But the OA lobby is being sadly short-sighted if it targets only APA
and not NIH to remedy the real underlying problem, which is about
what locus for mandated deposit is likely to lead to universal OA
more surely and swiftly: convergent or divergent? (I declare that as
my sole interest. Can all OA advocates do the same?)

Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Jul 18 2008 - 14:56:29 BST

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