[Open-access] [GOAL] Re: Re: Fight Publishing Lobby's Latest "FIRST" Act to Delay OA - Nth Successor to PRISM, RWA etc.

Bjoern Brembs b.brembs at gmail.com
Thu Nov 21 17:32:20 UTC 2013

On Monday, November 18, 2013, 6:06:21 PM, you wrote:

> But as for librarians getting out of the business of
> subscribing to journals -- that's just ideology (and
> completely unrealistic) as long as authors don't into the
> business of self-archiving their published articles in
> their institutional repositories. 

I only partially understand why you argue that getting out of subscriptions at this point in time and into infrastructure is an ideological proposition.

I propose it because I find subscriptions too expensive  compared to other solutions, because the functionality publishers offer is not even in the ballpark of adequate and because publishers do not take care of my data nor my software. Proposing a technically and financially feasible solution that solves all these problems is evidence-based policy, not ideology.

> And that's precisely what Green OA mandates are for.

My proposal is not in competition to green mandates, but expands them: I would expand green mandates to cover not only text, but also data and software.

> Without an effective Green OA mandate, institutional
> repositories are useless (for OA).

And if they don't interoperate and only cover text and not software and data, they are as good as useless.

> Users need access, now, and if they can't have open
> access, they at least need as much subscription access as
> their institutions can afford. 

That is only correct insofar as you ignore technical solutions to the access problem, afforded by green mandates and other forms of OA.

It is technically simple to develop a crawler that harvests every single article any institution on this planet has access to (and, perhaps more importantly, it is not even illegal :). Placed in a decentralized repository, one can make accessible only these articles which were either published OA, or are in a repository already, or fall under a green mandate but have not been deposited, or where the copyright has expired, or that are legally accessible for some other reason.

The properties can be extracted from articles with a reasonably high degree of accuracy and should cover so much of the current literature, that targeted subscription cuts would hardly be noticed by faculty. For those faculty that would notice, it should not be too difficult to explain that for a limited period of time, there is a limited reduction in access, which will be fully restored as soon as the reform is completed.
What happens after we have the money is a separate issue, for a later time, but quite straightforward.

Why, if few people would notice a drop in access, should we not cut subscriptions in order to finance much needed reform?

Technically, this is not difficult, but it requires international coordination and standards. If you think it is ideology to suggest we coordinate ourselves and agree on standards, then we have probably deserved the quagmire we're in right now and should abandon all reform efforts anyway.

Best wishes,


Björn Brembs
Universität Regensburg

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